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In All Conditions, This Fanatic Trusts His Grady!

 

 

In all kinds of weather, even 30 mile per hour winds and 10-foot waves, this fanatic always has confidence in his Grady! This 40-year Grady Life journey has shaped the Thomas family’s way of life.  

 

Discovering a love for fishing at age 10, Len Thomas gathered up what little money he could and purchased an aluminum boat. From that moment forward, his dream was to own a bigger, better boat! As an adult, he and his family moved to Delaware for his job, and there his dream boat became a reality. Now, 40 years later, that ultimate boat choice has shaped a lifestyle for three generations of the Thomas family.

 

Sometime in 1980, while visiting a local boat dealer, Len began comparing two models: a Grady-White Hatteras 204-C Overnighter, Grady’s first walkaround model, and another brand. “I don’t even remember what the other boat brand was,” says Len. “But after a month of debating, I came to the conclusion that because I was going to primarily use the boat for fishing, the Grady-White was clearly the best choice.” After buying that first Grady he never looked back.

 

In the beginning, Len trailered the boat to fish with his dad and brothers just about every weekend all summer long. They were using the boat so often, they decided to go in together and purchase a small coastal home on Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. There the family could gather, and they could use the boat more. The most alluring aspect of the house was the small tributary in the back that allowed them to keep their boat in the water. With three children, two boys and a girl, boating soon became a family affair, as the coastal house made enjoying the 204 so easy.

 

Len found that they were taking the boat farther out in the ocean to fish and decided maybe they needed a larger model. Around 1990, Len sold the Overnighter and bought a Sailfish 254. The new boat was just right for his family. Len noted, “There’s nothing you can’t do on these boats!” After Len’s oldest son went with the neighbors on a charter boat to fish for tuna 75 miles offshore, Len realized, his Grady could do that too. That summer, Len and his sons took the Sailfish 254 about 100 miles offshore and anchored out for the night. By the time they headed home at the end of the next day, they’d caught five tuna, each between 50 and 100 pounds! From then on, throughout the summer, they enjoyed crabbing, inshore and offshore fishing and anchoring out along the sand bars where they would swim and relax together. Once again, Len’s Grady-White purchase proved to be the perfect choice!  

 

Still, in the back of Len’s mind, he was dreaming of that bigger, better boat. With the boys now at an age where they were regularly fishing farther offshore, he decided now was the time for a larger Grady model. In 1996, he bought the family’s ultimate fishing boat, a Grady-White Marlin 300. This boat proved to be everything Len ever dreamed of – a strong, solid boat that he felt comfortable taking anywhere. Len recalls a time, during the middle of the week, that he heard anglers talking about a lot of tuna action about 100 miles off the coast. Len was anxious to get out there! Finding no one that could accompany him on the last-minute trip, he convinced his wife to go. In his excitement, Len made one big mistake, “I was so focused on the tuna report, I didn’t pay attention to the weather.” A horrible storm blew up with 30-mile per hour winds and 10-foot waves. The return trip was long, with water splashing up over the top of the boat, but Len never had a concern. He knew the 300 could handle that water without a problem. In fact, Len and JoAnn didn’t even get wet!

            

As his boys got older, they wanted to take the boat out themselves; however, Len felt the Marlin was more boat than they needed to handle on their own. Purchasing a Grady-White Sportsman 180 for them to run on their own proved to be a great decision. This boat was a safe and secure center console model, the perfect boat for both boys to learn seamanship.  

 

Today, Len has recently purchased his seventh Grady-White, a Freedom 215 that he keeps at their current home in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Sharing the boat with his daughter and sons (Marlena, Brian and Jason), and now eight grandchildren (girls - Breanna, Caitlyn, Taryn, Mariah, and Alyssa; boys - Riley, Cory, and Roman), they all still love the flexibility of the Grady-White and the fact that it allows them to do the variety of activities that first attracted the family to the water: fishing, crabbing, watersports and anchoring out!

 

At the end of the day, Len believes that first Grady ended up shaping their family’s lifestyle. Len and his family regularly fish offshore, and he is emphatic that no other boat is as solid, safe, and dependable as a Grady-White. When asked what his advice is to first time boat buyers, he enthusiastically responds, “Get the Grady!”  

 

Len and JoAnn’s grandsons enjoy relaxing in the bow of the boat as they head home after a long and successful day of fishing.

 

The Thomas family often include friends, like John, when they go fishing. It’s always exciting when they get to take home dinner!

 

Len and JoAnn’s grandsons enjoy relaxing in the bow of the boat as they head home after a long and successful day of fishing.

 

The Thomas family often include friends, like John, when they go fishing. It’s always exciting when they get to take home dinner!

 

Len’s son, Jason, and grandson, Roman, take a selfie to remember their great day together on the Grady.

 

Grandsons, Cory and Riley, show off their great catch!

 

Cory and Riley entertain a neighborhood friend on an exciting Grady adventure.

 

Grandsons, Cory and Riley, show off their great catch!

 

Cory and Riley entertain a neighborhood friend on an exciting Grady adventure.

 

Siblings, Alyssa and Roman can’t help but smile when they’re on the boat!

 

Brian Thomas loves to fish as much as his dad and takes the Grady out for inshore and offshore fishing often.

 

Siblings, Alyssa and Roman can’t help but smile when they’re on the boat!

 

Brian Thomas loves to fish as much as his dad and takes the Grady out for inshore and offshore fishing often.

 

While the Grady is great for fishing, Caitlyn prefers the comfortable bow seat for relaxing in the sunshine.

 

Fishing reigns high on the boys to do list, but they equally enjoy anchoring out for a refreshing swim with a friend.

 

While the Grady is great for fishing, Caitlyn prefers the comfortable bow seat for relaxing in the sunshine.

 

Fishing reigns high on the boys to do list, but they equally enjoy anchoring out for a refreshing swim with a friend.