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2019 FISHING BOAT BUYER’S GUIDE - PART 2

With so many new boats on the market this year, we had to break out annual buyer's guide in half. Here’s part 2 of the ultimate guide for what’s new in fishing boats for 2019!
By Capt. John N. Raguso

The good times continue for 2019, with the economy still riding a positive note, consumer confidence high and gas prices relatively low. Bottom line, it’s a good time to go boat-shopping and I’ve done most of the research and legwork for you. So sit back and enjoy the ride as we explore some of the most interesting new outboard-powered sport fishing boats for the 2019 model year.

STEIGER CRAFT
This popular Long Island boat builder recently launched their 255 DV Chesapeake model, and this one really rocks. I had a chance to do an extended sea trial on it and was very impressed with its layout, speed, ride and functionality. A few seasons back, the Steiger team literally “broke the mold” and introduced the 21 DV Miami model that set new standards for other family members to ultimately follow. The 255 DV series is the next wave of boats in the Steiger lineup to follow this evolutionary path, incorporating many of the improvements introduced by their little sister last year. These upgrades include an enhanced heavy duty rubrail; a redesigned bow pulpit with a better fit into the deck mold recess; a raised cabin area with a full 77 inches of standing headroom; an additional four inches of cockpit depth for more security when bringing the big ones onboard; an upgraded livewell hatch in the transom cap that minimizes backsplash; a new up/down captain’s bolster seat and a doublewide bench for the crew in the pilot house; an expanded electronics dash panel that accommodates a 12-inch multi-function display; a higher profile rocket launcher for the pilot house top that has added a sixth rod to the mix; twin Blue Sea waterproof breaker panels; plus the Chesapeake version gets a locking Pompanette cabin door, along with a three-rod rocket launcher to port, two storage shelves and a knife rack.

The large windows in the 255DV’s pilot house offer an unobstructed 360-degree panoramic view of the horizon for excellent situational awareness of the waters around. These windows also protect you from cold winds and spray when heading to the fishing grounds, but the sliding and/or pop-out features allow welcomed ventilation on those sweltering hot summer days. The 255DV features a large insulated fishbox in the cabin area between the bench and helm seat. The icy gurry is evacuated overboard via a heavy duty diaphragm pump when it’s time to clean up. The cabin setup also offers a marine toilet with holding tank, a full width bunk that’s 7 feet in length with 2-1/2-inch thick upholstered cushions, a Bomar hatch overhead complemented by twin portholes for added natural light and ventilation, plus plenty of dry stowage for your gear.

For more information, visit www.steigercraft.com.

YELLOWFIN
I
spoke with Yellowfin Sales Manager Marty Bistrong at the recent Ft Lauderdale boat show, and he gave me an update on Yellowfin’s new model for the 2019 season, the “mid-sized” 34 Offshore. The 34 Offshore is part of the middle pair of six siblings that include 29-, 32-, 36-, 39- and 42-foot versions.

The 34 Offshore is a live-bait fisherman’s dream, with a cavernous 55-gallon transom livewell and the option to add an additional 55-gallon recirculating livewell under the cockpit sole aft, for maximum bait-keeping capability. You can power the 34 with twins or triples and it easily cruises at 35- to 40-mph while burning roughly 1.5 mpg, which is fairly impressive performance for a 34-footer that tips the scales at 8,800 pounds dry without power. This astounding level of performance comes with Yellowfin’s trademark dry ride, courtesy of a proprietary twin step deep-v running bottom, and the 10-foot beam gives the crew plenty of room to bend the rods and bring the big ones to boatside. Forward seating options and a choice of consoles and leaning posts make the 34 Offshore a flexible performer and the perfect boat for the family who takes their fishing seriously.

With an overall length of 34 feet 8 inches, the 34 Offshore will bridge short, choppy waves, preventing the bow from falling into the troughs and will allow you travel at speed when going to and from the faraway fishing grounds. The 419-gallon fuel tank guarantees extended canyon range and beyond. The 1,250-hp rating for the transom will give you the speed to get there and have plenty of quality time to fish.

For more information on the new 34 Offshore or the entire Yellowfin fleet, visit www.yellowfin.com.

CENTURY BOATS
The latest introduction from Century Boats was last season’s revamped 3200 CC. With this new model, Century Boats introduced its first-ever elevated helm platform. Fully integrated with the 3200 CC’s new leaning post, the elevated helm platform folds forward out from the leaning post, which provides a 4-inch higher deck space for enhanced operator visibility. The extra height is designed to give a standing captain an elevated view over the console and around the perimeter of the boat. The platform requires no working mechanism to activate or stow and folds easily into the leaning post with one-handed operation.

The entire leaning post has been redesigned on the new 3200 CC to provide enhanced comfort, convenience and storage. Featuring two independent electric helm seats with adjustable bolsters and slides, each chair is wrapped in a new diamond-patterned Silvertex vinyl to provide enhanced protection against bacteria, mildew and UV rays. Stowed inside the leaning post is a 65-quart Frigid Rigid cooler that is accessible from behind the station via a new one-handed slide mechanism. The leaning post also features added flip-out storage behind the helm seats, flush-mount combination rod and cup holders, and stainless-steel side grab handles.

New technology items on the 3200 CC include a remote key fob and full digital switching via Raymarine. The new key fob engages the boat’s batteries remotely to activate lighting and accessories as the captain steps aboard. Upon disembarking, the key fob can return all batteries to the off position. The new 3200 CC is also fully digitally switched via the Raymarine eSeries HybridTouch. Digital switching replaces mechanical circuit breakers and rocker switches with a state-of-the-art digital power distribution that allows users to control onboard electrical systems like lighting, navigation lights, entertainment systems and more from their multifunction displays, smartphones or tablets. The new heavy-duty side swim door is another prominent feature on the 3200 CC. Overbuilt to withstand punishing weather and seas, the new swim door features a durable, stainless-steel latch and two-step operation to open fully-flush inside the vessel, allowing easy access to the boat from the dock or water.

For more info, visit www.centuryboats.com.

EVERGLADES
After extensive research, development and sea trials, Everglades is excited to announce the unveiling of their latest model, the new 340DC. This large dual console marks Everglades’ re-entry into the dual console market. While it is a departure from the center console models that currently make up the majority of their fleet, the Everglades DNA is evident the moment you step aboard. Luxury and comfort take center stage, with a spacious 96-square-foot cockpit and double-wide seating at the starboard helm and port companion seat. Unlike most boats of this type, the port companion seat features a fold-down portion, making it easily convertible into a chaise lounge. The companion seat also lifts to reveal storage for life jackets and other requisite accessories. The expansive bow seating of the forward lounge sports a built-in insulated cooler. You can relax and socialize with family and friends around the adjustable bow table, which removes and stores easily for even more space when it’s time to fish or to run to your favorite beachside hideaway. Alternatively, the bow can be completely sealed off with the center door and windshield. The windshield silently slides open or closed, with the push of a button, via a 12-volt motor, which is the first of its kind in the industry for outboard-powered dual console crafts. There are no pumps, hoses or fluids, no hydraulics and zero potential for disaster.

Pair the standard 24-gallon recirculating livewell and 71-gallon aft insulated fishbox with the optional Gemlux carbon-fiber outrigger package and you're ready to spend some serious time in search of the blue-water bite! With two folding seats at the transom, you'll do it in comfort and style. You can also choose to upgrade the aft lounge by adding the optional high/low teak table. With a spacious 11-foot 1-inch beam, there’s plenty of foot space aboard. The 300-gallon fuel tank offers generous range and if you are a performance fanatic, the 850-hp max transom rating will accommodate a pair of Yamaha’s fire-breathing 425 XTO V8 outboards.

For more information, visit www.evergladesboats.com.

EDGEWATER
EdgeWater introduced their new 230CC at the Ft Lauderdale show and it is intended to be the first in a fresh new line of offshore center console models designed to be the perfect blend between fishing and family cruising. The EdgeWater 230CC boasts single piece infusion construction, a fully finished bilge and more standard features than many other boats in its class.

Essentially, the new EdgeWater 230CC is a “new and improved” version of my 228CC, and it features a similar length and beam, but sports a newly redesigned running bottom with slightly less freeboard forward and transom extensions on either side of the conventional single outboard transom. The new leaning post with twin bolster seating with flip-up bolster pads for standing when underway are a huge improvement over my first-gen single level leaning post. The 230CC also sports a standard bench seat that intrudes into the cockpit somewhat but offers convenient dry stowage away down under. The upside of this arrangement is the inclusion of four vertical rodholders installed in the transom cap bulkhead, which is a definite plus. There is a second quartet of flush mounts in the gunwales, split two per side, with an additional five rod rocket launcher overhead in the standard T-top. Standard raised bench seats forward of the console house an insulated fishbox and dry storage areas, with convenient overboard gravity drains. A wave gate set in the starboard corner provides easy entry and egress via the transom platform. When nature calls, the head area can be accessed via a swingout door located in the front of the console, which makes getting down and back an easy task. There are also storage areas and access to the wiring and electrical panel from down below. The transom is rated to carry 300 sea ponies (Mine is only 250.) and performance with Yamaha’s F300 is breath-taking, with a top speed of 52.4 mph at wide open throttle and 3.5 mpg fuel efficiency at 3,500 rpm/29 mph. The lifetime warranty on the hull is hard to beat, and my boat can run in the rough stuff, so its newbie sister can definitely do the same.

For more information, visit www.ewboats.com.

CONTENDER
One of the latest and most popular Contenders is the 32ST, which features a twin stepped hull design. If there was ever a “mid-sized” hull that was designed to fish the tournament circuit and run with the big boys, the Contender 32ST is the one. The twin stepped design on the 24.5-degree aft deadrise running bottom causes a vacuum at higher speeds, sucking air underneath the chines, creating less friction and less wetted surface. This translates to more speed, hotter performance and more miles per gallon on a given amount of fuel. This is just the ticket when running 50 to 75 miles plus in choppy sea conditions under tournament pressures and time deadlines. The overall length of the 32ST hull is 32 feet 7 inches, supported by a narrow 9-foot 8-inch beam. The 3.37:1 length to beam ratio, combined with her extreme 24.5-degree deep-v bottom confirms that this Florida girl was built for speed. And the Contender’s tough composite construction ensures that the boat and the crew will be none the worse for wear when taking care of business. She’s rated to carry a max of 800 sea ponies on the transom in twin or triple configurations, so you can find a power source that meets expectations.

Some notable features on the Contender 32ST include the ability to employ a trio of recirculating livewells, with two in the transom and one cavernous well below the cockpit sole aft. All three are fed through a sea chest system in the bilge area with each well having its own dedicated pump and individual shutoff. The leaning post features a fold-out bait prep station and a Frigid-Rigid fiberglass cooler underneath, plus a six-pack of vertical rodholders. The electronics are stowed in a recessed box at the helm, complemented by a hideaway protective acrylic see-through cover. The single level cockpit allows for seamless fore-n-aft movement when fighting and landing large gamefish. The center steering station allows for the crew to get out of the weather on either side of the helmsman. A huge coffin box up front will ice your best day’s catch for the ride home.

For more information, visit www.contenderboats.com.

ROBALO
I spoke with Robalo Sales Manager Joe Pegg down at the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, and he gave me a quick tour of Robalo’s two new models for the 2019 season, the 206S and the R272 CC. The smaller 206 Cayman S is a trailerable bay boat and a great platform to get the family out on the water for a variety of watersport activities. With a 20-1/2-foot LOA and a trailerable 8-foot beam, her 15-degree modified-v running bottom will get you in and out of skinny water, as you explore the back bays with your family and friends, getting them involved with some quality time out in the salty sun. Whether it’s a day at the beach, working the inlets and back bays for inshore species with rod and reel, skiing or tubing, the 206 Cayman S will get you in the game at a reasonable price tag. Standard power is a Yamaha F115, with F150 and F200 four-stroke upgrades available. The 50-gallon tank should give you dawn-to-dusk fun in the sun.

The larger R272 center console hits the center sweet spot in Robalo’s product line between their 24- and 30-footers, with a boat that has the capability to do a lot of missions well. Based on an overall length of 27 feet 4 inches, supported by a wide 9-foot 10-inch beam, her hefty dry weight of 7,000 pounds with a 23-degree aft deadrise deep-v running bottom should tame any afternoon chop that you encounter in style and comfort. A 27-footer is just the right size to offer expanded comfort and fishing room in the cockpit and still be able to run with the big dogs to the faraway fishing grounds with speed and relative fuel-efficiency. The R272’s 180-gallon fuel tank, paired with twin Yamaha F200s, will give you the speed and range to get the job done. Need to travel in the fast lane? No problem, just opt for the Yamaha F250 V6 upgrade, and you will take care of business. The initial asking price of the R272 is $25k to $50k less than many of the top brands, but Robalo is no slouch in the quality department, with a 100 percent composite hull with Kevlar reinforcement, backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

For more information, visit www.robalo.com.

JUPITER MARINE
The BIG news for Jupiter Marine for 2019 is the successful launch of their new flagship sportfisher, the 43 SF. It seems like only yesterday that Carl Herndon (the founder of Blackfin Boats) started up Jupiter Marine, but they are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year and the 43 SF is a good way to start the next 30 years!

When you have 43 feet 1 inch to work with, combined with a 12-1/2-foot beam, you can get a lot done. The cockpit on this sportfisher is predictably huge, with convenient swing-in doors located both port and starboard to get the big ones onboard. A cavernous 90-gallon above deck livewell is tucked into the transom cap, and can be used as an insulated fishbox when live baiting is not on the menu. You can equip the 43 SF with an optional Seakeeper gyro stabilizer and there’s a dedicated area with flush hatch under the aft cockpit to fit it in just the right spot. Bilge access to your wiring and pumps is conveniently located just forward of the livewell via a flush hatch in the sole. Ditto for the port and starboard insulated fishboxes, which are also located down under. If you need to ice more of your catch, a trio of storage boxes forward in the bow will get it done. There’s a separate 49-gallon diesel fuel tank just in case you want to add a generator for weekends at your favorite beachside hideaway or canyon overnighters. The helm will fit the captain and two crew members in cushioned bolsters, plus you can flush-mount a trio of 22-inch multi-function displays to satisfy all of your electronics needs. A companionway located on the port side of the consoles allows access down into the head and cabin, which features sleeping capacity for two crew. The 1,400-hp rating will allow owners power options that include either quad Yamaha F350s or a trio of Yamaha’s new 425 XTOs on the transom. The standard 602-gallon fuel tank should allow extended blue-water range, with the speed to get there before the fleet arrives and to stay for the late afternoon bite after they have left for home.

For more information, visit www.jupitermarine.com.


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