I’ve been a designer with Viking for 27 years and have captained five company demo boats. I’ve also fished in big-game tournaments up and down the East Coast, but I never had my own boat until I bought a new Jupiter 26 FS three years ago with my father, Bruce.

Dad is Viking’s senior designer and has been with the company for more than 50 years. When I was a kid, we always had boats. We started out with a 20-foot Robalo center console, then a 21-foot Pursuit cuddy and a 13-foot Boston Whaler. I caught sharks 50 miles offshore before I turned 14 and boated lots of bluefish, stripers, flounder and weakfish. I used the Whaler to go crabbing and fishing in the bays and rivers from Ocean City to Cape May. I could make six gallons of gas last all day. I even proposed to my wife on that Whaler!


I was a lucky kid. And Dad and I wanted my 7-year-old son Brody and 8-year-old daughter Keely to have the same experiences I had growing up boating and fishing in south Jersey. Being designers didn’t make buying a boat any easier. We’re particular, and we knew that no single boat would satisfy us completely. The Jupiter came closest. It’s safe and well-built, and the deep-vee hull gives us a comfortable, dry ride. The boat has twin 200-horse Yamaha 4-strokes. We run offshore or fish the bays and rivers. In the spring, fall and early winter we go for stripers; in the summer, it’s flounder. Dad, Brody and I have even fished in a few family tournaments. Brody has won the same flounder derby in his age group two summers in a row. Great memories. A lot of fun. This boat has brought three generations of our family together on the water. For my father, my son and me, this truly is a story of “our boat, our life.”

This article originally appeared in the Sumer 2018 issue of Anglers Journal magazine.


The author and his 22-foot Privateer Roamer

My Boat My Life — By Jay Fleming

I found my 22-foot Privateer Roamer in an art gallery, and she can take just about anything the Chesapeake can throw at her as I fish and photograph my home waters.


My Boat My Life: “My Regulator”

For the past decade, I entertained a naval architecture fantasy that came to fruition earlier this year. She’ll be my last boat, and finally I can use the phrase “my Regulator.”