The Fish Tank is perhaps the most unique 65 Hatteras in the world. Beyond the fact that it was specially designed by one of the highest-profile teams in sportfishing, the backstory of the boat is fascinating. Before getting into the specifics about the boat’s many technical and performance features, it is useful to start with some background.
Chris and Laura Jessen, owners of the Fish Tank, spearhead the fishing program of the same name. The Jessen’s and Captain Ben Horning have been fishing in Costa Rica since December of 2015. In this time, they have caught some 8,700 billfish.
The Fish Tank program has Costa Rica dialed in. Just how finely tuned is their approach to fishing Costa Rica? Their best day blue marlin fishing… 32. The best day of sailfishing on this boat produced an incredible 94 releases in March 2021 (in a single day).
The Fish Tank is a tournament headliner as well. The Jessen’s and company won the 2019 Los Sueños Triple Crown, placed second in Leg one of the 2021 Triple Crown and they were in first place overall heading into the third leg this year as well and they placed first in leg one of The 2021 Los Sueños Ladies Tournament. “We also placed third in the 2021 Pelagic Rock Star tournament in this boat,” says Chris Jessen.
Each fall, the operation heads south to fish Mag Bay and the Cabo tournaments. The striped marlin release statistics they produce are incredible.
The combination of the Fish Tank’s tournament success, dedication, and high profile led Hatteras Yachts to approach the Jessen’s with a unique opportunity. They were given the chance to design their next boat, with inputs on the layout, functionality, and design of many of the boat’s systems. The result was the first of its kind—a Hatteras like none before.
Chris Jessen is a thoughtful man who really enjoys fishing. He also loves boats. His passion jumps through the phone as he describes their design work on this one.
“From the house to the interior to the way the engine room is laid out, we did everything you could think of. Palm Beach Towers did the tower,” Jessen provides.
“We took delivery of the boat last July. We finished the electronics at Rybovich (in South Florida) and shipped the boat to Costa Rica in November of 2020,” Jessen recalls of the boat’s timeline.
“Offshore Marine Electronics installed the Furuno and Garmin packages. The boat has a Furuno Omni sonar. The radars (a 6’ and a 4’ open array radar), screens, and interfaces are Garmin. The Garmins can be run through iPads that can control the Seakeepers and the stereo system. The boat has two Seakeeper 9s installed.”
For power, the 65 has two Caterpillar C32A 1925 horsepower main engines. Each came with a five-year/6,000-hour warranty. Right now the boat has around 800 hours on it. The boat holds 2,050 gallons of diesel and has two generators.
As the Jessen’s primarily troll, the boat features a removable anchor chute that can be used when they need it and stowed when they don’t. When sailfishing out of Los Sueños, the chute can be removed. When traveling or overnighting in Mag Bay, the anchor chute can be reinstalled.
The boat is configured with a four-stateroom design. In addition to the master, there is a VIP with two beds, a tackle room with a bunk (and rod storage on the ceiling), and a double bunk room.
In the main salon/galley, there is a dinette that can be transformed into an additional bed. There is also the couch. “We purposefully have lots of places for people to stay because a lot of our fishing involves staying offshore overnight,” Jessen explains.
Comfort and accommodation are central to the boat’s charm. “My favorite thing about the boat is that its’ so comfortable. It rides great. It has a great stereo system,” Chris describes. “We have lots of freezer space and the tuna tubes are great too.”
This ability to comfortably accommodate lots of anglers and crew is ideal for not only fishing the FADs in Costa Rica but many other destinations as well. The next owners will be ready for marlin fishing on the Gulf Coast, heading to Mag Bay in Mexico for a week or ready to moor in many remote areas of Panama.
The boat’s setup—including the countless small touches— was customized for the modern approach to sportfishing. The boat includes a set of eight tuna tubes. The Fish Tank’s tournament accolades speak to the meticulousness of their approach. The boat’s catch statistics illustrate that these finely tuned details did in fact translate into the final product.
This final product, however, features a great deal more luxury than its hardcore fishing profile might suggest. “The entire boat is ceramic coated—even the interior. The mezzanine is air-conditioned—that’s really amazing,” says Chris.
“The boat has a teak cockpit and covering boards. The toe rail and belly band are faux teak by Monique. The engine room door really keeps the noise down,” Chris explains. “It has a Spot Zero, a Willy Vac, two radars… the boat literally has everything.”
On many sportfishers, the engine room is more of an afterthought than a priority. Not so on this 65 Hatteras. Captain Ben Horning worked with the Hatteras design team on many aspects of engine room layout, design, composition, and finish.
“Ben had everything to do with how the engine room and the pump room turned out. He was involved in everything related to the fuel tank and the Seakeeper layout,” Jessen provides. “The entire engine room has a Class A finish—everything is painted. It makes for an easy clean-up.”
Why is such a highly customized, uniquely designed Hatteras 65 for sale with only 800 or so hours? This is perhaps the most obvious question about the boat.
The answer involves not the boat, but the next evolution in the Fish Tank program. The next step for Chris and Laura Jessen involves bringing a boat to the far reaches of the Atlantic to chase giant blue marlin.
“We plan to bring a boat to Cape Verde and to keep a smaller boat in Costa Rica,” Jessen says with obvious excitement.
The allure of bait and switch fishing for large blue marlin is the driving force behind the sale of perhaps the most interesting 65 Hatteras in the world. This scenario is fitting.