Mike Caringi is no stranger to boating or offshore fishing. With an extensive background fishing in blue water from the offshore canyons in New Jersey to the Gulf Stream off his home waters on the Treasure Coast, the Stuart resident has owned a string of large boats up to 53 feet in length.
As years march by, time ensures that aches last a little longer and bruises heal more slowly—and Caringi found himself throttling back somewhat. The hard-charging offshore marathons evolved into a more peaceful alternative, enjoying time on the water without the collateral damage sustained from a day spent on rough seas. The sun rising over rolling tarpon schools on the glassy waters of the St. Lucie River proved to be a relaxing yet thrilling way to begin a day before work, and it was right in his backyard for the taking. In his search for the perfect platform to embark on this new endeavor, Caringi found the answer to all of his questions in the Morada 18.
As it happened, local builder Rich Devito, the owner of Islamorada Boatworks, had been working tirelessly for several years on perfecting the design of a boat that was exactly what Caringi needed. Devito is himself a tarpon addict, who has spent many years chasing these fish with his fly rod in hand. Never quite satisfied with previous tarpon skiffs that he had owned, he set out to improve on each detail he believed fell short. The process of elimination resulted in several prototype models that would eventually be tweaked and tuned until there was no room for doubt that he had his ultimate skiff locked down. Only then would the Morada 18 be ready for prime time.
Attention to detail such as a soft and dry riding hull that would be whisper quiet on the flats came first. A light yet strong hull was achieved using 100 percent Carbon Innegra resin-infused construction. And custom touches like a teak toe rail to tame fly lines and a hidden Simrad EVO MFD that rises out of the console on an electric actuator add class to an already elegant design aesthetic. The first model was rigged with a Yamaha 115 SHO engine.
Hull number one, which will be Caringi’s personal tarpon hunter, is finished to exacting standards for his very specific needs. Consulting with Devito every step of the way (including receiving advice about chasing local tarpon from this veteran angler) has resulted in a boat that is perfectly designed for the area’s inshore inhabitants. For Caringi, the simplicity of running upriver for a relaxing morning session signals a new chapter that allows him to divide his time between inshore and offshore—without taking a beating in the process.
Length: 17 feet, 10 inches
Beam: 6 feet, 6 inches
Draft: 7-9 inches
Deadrise: 12 degrees
Fuel: 28 gallons
Max HP: 115