I´m Gerardo, born in New Orleans, LA and raised in El Salvador, Central America. Fishing aficionado, builder of Panga-style boats, and owner of Uforia Marine, with 20 years of fishing experience.
My passions consist of boats and fishing. These always lead to the greatest of adventures. I always explore with great respect for the ocean and great admiration for what´s out there: wildlife, vast oceans, and the bluest of skies. Everything blends together to create some of the most stunning sights I have ever experienced.
I am currently living in Aventura, FL though still manufacturing Panga boats in El Salvador.
El Salvador is a very small country in the middle of Central America where less than a handful of “brave” people specialize in building boats. Not nearly as many as FL or NC or SC where hundreds of great boat factories stand.
My dad and I both share this great enthusiasm for fishing. Our first fishing boat was a 20-foot center console Century. We took many worthwhile trips where we fought big marlins, sailfish, roosterfish and countless mahi!
We have access only to the Pacific Ocean side, but we encounter great billfish, tunas, and dolphin and are home to some great fishing destinations. The ocean is only an hour away from the city, so this makes it very accessible for those of us who love fishing and want to do it often (like my dad who fishes up to three times a week!).
After a few years, we moved to a bigger walkaround Century 32-foot fishing boat but we always used the center console more. The only disadvantage of this 20 footer is that we had a short range due to fuel capacity and when the sea was rough, we got beat up, wet and took a long time to get back home.
Every time I went out on a fishing trip with my friends, we had to use the center console because of the expenses that we incurred such as gas, food, tackle, etc. The 32 walkaround although much more comfortable was too much for a couple of kids to pay for over 100 gallons of fuel every trip.
Taking all this into account, when we started our first marine retail store and boat factory, IPC El Salvador (Industria Pesquera Comercial), I started looking into Panga-style boats. I had always seen Panga boats around. At first, they were made out of wood. They later evolved to fiberglass reinforced boats.
Pangas are very popular work boats that get used for commercial fishing and even as people carriers. You can easily see a Panga carrying up to 20 people with a Yamaha 75 Enduro on the back, or pulling 4 cows across the bay to an island! Funny, but true story!
I started noticing that these commercial fishermen went out as far as 150 miles offshore for three days to catch big fish. The boats could withstand any kind of weather and a relatively small boat, a 25 footer, would run 25 knots with a 75hp while getting over 6mph! My thoughts were: impressive!
These boats could handle any sea you throw at them, they are tough, plus they have a very shallow draft! It´s just a perfect combination!
We started with the 25-foot model as this is the most popular within Pangas. I started building commercial applications for these Pangas; like the other few manufacturers in El Salvador, except I had another idea in mind: Get rid of the wood used to build these Pangas and opt for something that would last longer and make them lighter.
When the building method was perfected, I then chose to develop sport fishing applications: side and center console Pangas. I did not want a “modernized” version of a Panga, I wanted the real thing! No liner, no maintenance, tough, rugged and ready for anything my adventures could toss at me and my Panga.
“SIMPLICITY IS THE ULTIMATE SOPHISTICATION” Gaddis
From this, I developed a 21 foot, all fiberglass version of the Panga. I built the first hull for myself. I named it Black Jack. It’s a 21 footer with a side console, 59 gallons of fuel, twin Evinrude E-Tec 50hp, fully loaded electronics: my dream boat. It has a range of over 350 miles. Even though I can fish in a bigger boat (37 Luhrs with triple outboards) and several Zodiac ribs, I still most of the time fish the Black Jack.
It is just a great, simple design: inexpensive to fish, very shallow draft, extremely rugged and durable, reliable and always gets me back home. I have crushed 10-foot waves crossing the bar at home and gone out 140 miles to Guatemala for fishing tournaments! I´ve had great fishing days and less great fishing days, but I always have fun and each time I´ve felt safe facing the unexpected.
With this blog, my intentions are to share some of my quests, my understanding and future knowledge I will acquire about Panga boats, in order to help you clear any doubts and concerns you might have. After all, fishing and boating is a very interesting lifestyle that brings many of us together. Some of my most memorable fishing moments have been on that 21 foot Uforia Panga.
You can find more information on Uforia Pangas at www.UforiaMarine.com