Sportsman 282 was built for family and fishing
At least twice a week, you can find Jason Keeling far offshore at an artificial reef, or about 80 miles out of Galveston, fishing near some oil rigs.
Just a few months ago, Keeling purchased a 2019 Sportsman 282 fishing boat and he’s having a fun time breaking it in, he said.
“It’s pretty exciting,” he said of the boat he named Outta Range. “Offshore, you just don’t know what you’re going to get.”
Keeling has caught all of the usual suspects during his time fishing offshore — red snapper, kingfish and others — and is now into checking fish off his bucket list, he said.
For as long as he can remember, Keeling has been fishing with his family, originally with his grandfather and father, but now with his wife, Shawna, and 4-year-old daughter, Brelee Jo.
“My daughter loves to go out to the sandbar and swim around,” he said. “And she caught her first offshore fish about three weeks ago. She loves it.”
Together, the Keeling family enjoys their new fishing boat, and everything it offers, Keeling said.
Keeling first heard about the boat for sale while sitting outside of a cigar bar in July, he said. The family had been using a 23-foot 2015 Tidewater boat.
They traded that vessel in for the Sportsman and have been pleased with the result, Keeling said.
“It’s got all the bells and whistles you could want,” he said.
The boat came equipped with twin Garmin GPS devices, a sound system, two 300-horsepower motors and a 200-gallon fuel tank, among other features, Keeling said.
The boat can reach speeds up to 60 mph, Keeling said.
South Carolina-based Sportsman Boats started operations in 2011 with just six employees, according to its website. The company prides itself on developing center console boats meant for entire families.
Since first shipping boats in 2012, Sportsman has grown its lineup to include two lines of offshore boats and two lines of bay boats, according to the company.
Keeling and his family split the vessel’s time between farther offshore ventures and some exploring closer to Galveston, he said.
Keeling takes the boat out about twice a week to two fishing spots — the first, an artificial reef called the Kraken, which sits in about 100 feet of water farther south toward Freeport, he said.
The second destination is called the Intersection Rigs, which is on the way to the Flower Gardens, between 80 to 100 miles outside of Galveston, Keeling said.
On days when Keeling doesn’t go out to fish, the family will sometimes take the boat out so Brelee Jo can swim and enjoy herself nearer to shore, he said.
“It’s definitely very nice,” Keeling said of his recent purchase. “All this new technology that boats have.”