Tag Archives: Contender Boats

Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat Recaps Season in Final Episode

We’re back with the final episode of the season for Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat.

In episode 13, Florida Sportsman Boating Editor George LaBonte and Marine Customs Unlimited Owner Brian O’Donnell look back on their favorite project boats.

The 31-foot Contender was a fan favorite, LaBonte said, with a lot of people commenting and e-mailing about the stunning remodel.

The 31-foot Contender Better Dayz before it was remodeled by the team at MCU.

What initially began as a fuel tank replacement morphed into a complete overhaul from inside the hull to the engines, paint, deck, upholstery, dash panel and brand new TACO Rub Rail.

The 31-foot Contender was redone and looked like a totally different boat, complete with TACO Rub Rail to compliment the custom hull paint.

Another favorite was the 21-foot Paramount, which came into the MCU shop in dire need of a complete rehab.

The 21-foot Paramount was in rough shape when it got to the team at MCU.

Beginning in the stringers, the team at MCU cut the cap down, repainted the hull and installed new Power-Poles, a new stereo system and brand new TACO Rub Rail with a Stainless-Steel Insert and LED Navigation Lights.

The 21-foot Paramount looked amazing. The TACO Rub Rail with a Stainless-Steel Insert and LED Navigation Lights tied the custom hull paint and deck together.

The 19-foot Cuda Craft for Capt. Ron in the Florida Keys was also a notable project for the team at MCU.

The 19-foot Cuda Craft came to MCU because it had a rotten fuel tank.

Originally, the boat came to the shop to repair a rotten fuel tank, but further issues were discovered as the team commenced work. They also replaced the deck, remodeled the center console, installed custom live wells and refitted an Engel cooler as a seat in place of the Leaning Post.

Once finished, the Cuda Craft was almost an entirely new boat and perfect for fishing in the Florida Keys.

Watch the exclusive clip about these boats below.

Watch the full episode 13 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat below.

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TACO Hires New Strategic Product Manager Mark Henderson

We are excited to announce that Captain Mark Henderson of the Liquid Fire Fishing Team is joining the ranks of TACO Metals as our new Strategic Product Manager.

Henderson at the 2018 Progressive® Miami International Boat Show at Miami Marine Stadium docks. TACO Marine Photo / Dana Koman

As a lifelong fishing enthusiast, who turned his hobby into a renowned sport fishing team, it only made sense that Henderson would someday work in the marine industry. The only question was when?

Henderson didn’t begin competitively sport fishing until 2004, when his friend invited him to join his team for the Raleigh Saltwater King Mackerel Tournament.

“We didn’t know anything about tournament fishing, but we wanted to fish,” said Henderson, a Durham, N.C. native equally known for his humor and thick Southern accent as well as his fishing accomplishments.

But by the end of 2004, Henderson and his friend qualified for the Southern Kingfish Association National Championship. Soon after, Henderson bought his first boat – a 25-foot Contender with a bright red hull, which he named “Liquid Fire” after his father’s homemade hot sauce.

From there, Henderson launched the Liquid Fire Fishing Team and began his dive into the marine industry – winning multiple tournaments and accelerating his team into the sport fishing record books.

Henderson, holding a freshly-caught King Mackerel, was awarded the 2008 Yamaha Professional Kingfish Tour’s Angler of the Year. Photo Courtesy of Liquid Fire Fishing Team

“I was able to spend more and more time in the industry, around boating and around center consoles,” said Henderson, who previously worked in the automotive industry for nearly 25 years. “[The marine industry] became a growing passion for me, [but] for a while I just kind of fought it. I [already] had a great job and great freedoms and things like that. I didn’t pursue it real hard, but I was also watching and looking at Trade Only Today and talking to a lot of people about the industry.”

In 2009, after Henderson caught a sport fishing sponsorship from TACO Metals, he said his passion for the marine industry grew to a point that he could no longer fight his desire to shift career gears.

“I saw such a vast opportunity within the company and the sections of the business that they’ve got,” said Henderson, a married father of three. “There’s really nobody around like TACO. I felt like my skillset could benefit them and benefit me as far as a career standpoint.”

Having only started at TACO March 5, Henderson has already hit the water at full throttle – working the TACO Marine booth at the Independent Boat Builders, Inc. Vender Expo in St. Louis, Mo. and angling together preliminary production on a new as-yet named TACO YouTube program, which is slated to debut this Spring.

The Liquid Fire Fishing Team is comprised of Henderson and his sons, Crockett and Joshua, wife Audrey, parents Sue and Charles and brother-in-law Chris Waters. Today, they compete aboard a SeaVee 390z Center Console with Mercury 350 quad outboard engines, which is equipped with TACO Marine Grand Slam Pro Series 500 Outrigger Top Mounts and Carbon Fiber Poles. Photo Courtesy of Liquid Fire Fishing Team

As the Strategic Product Manager, Henderson will oversee new TACO product launches in 2018, which may include everything from testing and development with TACO engineers to getting the product to market on time with the correct price point.

“Those are some very, very specific high-profile projects that I think we want to be sure to focus on,” he said.

Henderson said joining TACO Metals is a dream come true.

“I haven’t been as excited about a change in something as I am right now in many, many years,” he said. “I’m thankful to have another segment that excites me. I think I can be beneficial to the people in the company that mean so much to TACO and TACO means so much to them.”