Outboard powered sportfishers continue their evolutionary journey, breaking new size and capability barriers with each passing season.
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.
I jumped aboard Cobia’s latest intro, the 240 CC at the Miami Show earlier this year and spent some time checking out this Florida girl up close. Ever since the Maverick Boat Group (which includes Maverick, Hewes and Pathfinder) acquired Cobia back in 2005, their star has continued to rise. Cobia represents one of the best brands of saltwater fishing boats on the market if you are looking for affordable quality, and the new 240 CC is a perfect example. The 240 CC is equipped with everything you’ll need for a fun day out on the water as standard equipment, either bending rods in the bluewater, or pulling a tube loaded with kids in the back bays. The one-level cockpit makes for easy transit fore and aft. A pair of insulated 40-gallon fishboxes are positioned under the cockpit sole, with a second pair of insulated boxes set under the raised forward bench seats equipped with overboard drains that can do double duty as either backup fishboxes or to stow your safety and sport gear out from underfoot. Cobia has added a convenient deep stowage space positioned in between the bow benches in the cockpit sole, accessed easily by a flush locking hatch. When it’s time to anchor up over your favorite wreck, reef or beachside hideaway, a convenient vertical anchor locker in the forepeak will hold a generous amount of rode and features a through-stem stainless steel anchor chute that makes deploying the hook a breeze, plus its low-profile signature keeps it out of the way when maneuvering around dockside obstacles.
Cobia is a Yamaha OEM partner and offers Yamaha four-stroke outboards as their exclusive power source. According to recent factory tests, the 240 CC will hit a top speed of 49.3 mph powered by an F300 V6 spinning a 17-inch pitch SWS II prop. Cobia is planning to introduce the 240DC at the upcoming 2019 Miami Boat Show.
The big news is that Malibu Boats has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Pursuit Boats from S2 Yachts. A Malibu statement said the purchase is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018. Malibu, which acquired Cobalt Boats in June 2017, said the acquisition would expand its brand offerings into the saltwater outboard fishing market. It also said it would give the company the ability to leverage manufacturing, design expertise and distribution to accelerate outboard growth. Pursuit, located in Fort Pierce, Florida, builds 15 models of offshore, dual console and center console boats. The saltwater outboard fishing market is one of the largest and fastest growing segments in the marine industry, and Pursuit is considered one of the leaders in that sector.
Pursuit Boats recently introduced its all-new S288, which joins a family of boats that include the S408, S368 and S328 models introduced over the last two years. The Sport series styling continues with the new S288, which features an overall length of 30 feet. Other notable standard features include the oversized fiberglass integrated hardtop and tempered safety glass windshield system, updated classic sheer line, through-stem anchor system and integrated transom extensions. The roomy console includes a fully enclosed head. On deck, seating with storage is available in the bow area and aft in the cockpit, providing room for family and friends. Other features on the S288 include a 24-gallon livewell, large in-floor fishboxes and plenty of storage for rods, lures and other gear. A standard hull side door makes it easy to slide a large fish on deck or enter the cockpit from the water after a dive. Teak accents around the helm add a touch of warmth and style to the focal point of the Sport model. Fold-away transom and aft-facing seats may be deployed to entertain dockside. The S288 has a fuel-efficient cruising speed of 30.8 mph while turning only 3,500 rpm rigged with her standard power, twin Yamaha F300s. I had a chance to step aboard at the recent Ft Lauderdale Boat show, and this Pursuit S-Series is as pretty, functional and head-turning as her three bigger sisters.
World Cat’s new 296DC dual console catamaran combines its best-selling 29-foot hull with an all-new look and multi-use dual console layout for 2019. The model boasts an overall length of 29 feet 1 inch, with a wide stable beam of 9-1/2 feet. Available space in the boat is extremely generous, both for seating and storage. One of a catamaran’s greatest benefits is the oversized bow area that seats eight comfortably, and the 296DC’s new cockpit layout features aft-facing softback seats with safety handrails, a 25-gallon livewell located underneath the port side seat, and a 125-quart fishbox located in the starboard seat box. New port and starboard rod racks with molded-in toe kicks flank the aft cockpit and the huge onboarding swim platform sports World Cat’s famous dive ladder system. This creates one of the widest, safest and most comfortable ways to board and exit a boat. The new instrument panel design, combined with a sleek lower-profile powder-coated hardtop frame with hand-finished surfboard top, complete a svelte new look for this proven offshore cat.
Additional features onboard the new 296DC include a lockable, dedicated rod storage area underneath the port bow seating storage box (with easy access inside the head compartment), USB outlets, stainless steel cup holders, courtesy lighting in the bow, a forward insulated 225-quart fishbox with overboard drain located underneath the starboard bow seating area, and one of the roomiest head compartments of any boat in this size range.
Like her sister cats, the 296DC offers a softer ride with high-speed performance; more stability at rest; greater handling ability and a better ride in all kinds of seas compared to a monohull of similar size. A shallower draft allows owners to sneak into skinny waters. This cat’s wide and stable profile also offers greater load bearing capabilities, more usable deck space, and minimum bow rise for greater visibility and easier docking and maneuverability. Also new for 2019 is the new flagship of the fleet, the 400DC-X Dual Console.
The big news for Sailfish is that there’s a new queen of the fleet for this Georgia-based boat builder. The long-awaited 360CC made her debut at the recent Ft Lauderdale boat show, and I was able to jump aboard to take a closer look. With an overall length of 36 feet supported by a beam of 11 feet 2 inches, she has a weight-to-beam ratio of 3.24:1, which translates that she should blast through opposing head seas when underway with minimal bounce and fatigue to the crew. The deep-v entry angle and VDH hull design, combined with her dry weight of 12,700 pounds should all collaborate to ensure a soft and smooth ride when heading to and from the offshore fishing grounds. The standard features list on this Sailfish is a nautical mile long and includes the things that you would expect on the queen of the fishing boat fleet, like 34 standard flush mount, vertical and horizontal rodholders; console top tackle organizer (CTO); an Engel 80-quart carry-on cooler; insulated locking coffin box storage; tackle storage port and starboard; twin 260-quart insulated aft fishboxes; twin hardtop storage boxes; a primary 42-gallon recirculating livewell with a 32-gallon secondary baitwell; a sea chest baitwell pump system; a tuna/entry-egress door to port; plus a built in freshwater system with a trio of stations. Crew comfort is taken to the max on the 360CC with a trio of individual benches that are totally weather-protected at the helm under the hardtop, a second trio of aft-facing seats in the cockpit, plus a hideaway triple-wide flip up/down cushioned bench seat set in the transom cap. Operators can choose from a trio of 12-inch or twin 16-inch flush mount multi-function displays at the helm dash panel to satisfy their marine electronics needs.
You can rig this sportfisher with a variety of outboard power options and some of the most popular choices will be a pair of Yamaha’s 425 XTOs, triple Yamaha F300s, or a trio of Merc’s 350 Verados. The Sailfish 360CC is offered in eight different hull colors, so there’s one out there that should turn you on.
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.
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.
Last season’s new 150 and 170 Montauk were a popular redesign for a model lineup that is still revered by coastal trailer boat anglers, five decades after the original 17 Montauk was first introduced. Following up on this effort, Whaler introduced the redesigned 190 and 210 Montauk models at this past year’s Miami Boat Show as 2018-1/2 models, completing the big splash of Boston Whaler’s 60th anniversary year.
The new 190 and 210 Montauks feature increased storage space throughout, including an integrated forward fishbox/storage compartment and a bow locker with fiberglass cover, both with overboard drainage. Seating has been enhanced as well, with cushioned aft quarter seats that are standard on the 210 and optional on the 190. Both models feature a reversible pilot seat with locking backrest and storage below. Underway, boaters are treated to a soft, safe and dry ride, courtesy of a precision-engineered redesigned hull and Whaler’s Unibond construction. Rugged hose-and-go utility makes these the perfect craft for fishing, exploring and pleasure boating with family members of all ages. Operators will appreciate the intuitive helm console with stainless steel accents. Reliable, efficient Mercury outboard power options are available up to 150hp on the 190 Montauk and a 200hp on the 210, with both boats available with hydraulic steering. Each Montauk is readily customizable through a purposeful array of options. For anglers, the optional Fishing Package adds a 72-quart (190 Montauk) or 94-quart (210 Montauk) cooler seat with cushion and backrest, tackle drawers, and added console-mounted rodholders. Several state-of-the-art Raymarine electronics packages are available to enhance navigation and fish-finding capabilities.
Boston Whaler is taking boaters into an exciting future with the all-new 380 Realm. Combining the open cockpit of a center console with the convenience and comfort of a cabin boat, the 380 Realm is designed to empower boaters seeking to share new experiences with family and friends. Part center console and part cabin cruisier, the 380 Realm is the second member of the family lineup, joining last season’s 350 model. Also new for 2019, Whaler upgraded the 130 and 160 Super Sports, marking a keel-up redesign for this popular utility series. Available with a variety of seating configurations, features and options, these family-friendly skiff models are easy to customize for favorite activities including watersports, fishing, exploring and more.
A talk with some of the Carolina Skiff folks down at the recent Ft Lauderdale boat show confirmed that there was nothing new for 2019. The latest newbie from last season was the 24 Ultra Elite, which features an elevated full-width casting deck across the stern that is ideal for sight casting to schools of gamefish, and an aerated 20-gallon lighted well in the port corner that will keep your baits lively all day. When underway, the aft deck area quickly transforms to a trio of independent cushioned jump seats that lift up on compression hinges. Standard accommodations at the helm are a leaning post/rocket launcher with thick cushions on the seat bottom and backrest for the captain and mate. A four rod rocket launcher aft of the backrest will stow your sticks out of the way until they are needed. There’s a removable 100-quarrt insulated cooler down under, plus a flip down footrest for added comfort when underway, in addition to a molded fiberglass footrest built into the console. A six-pack of horizontal racks are set under each gunwale for added rod storage, augmented by four flush-mount rodholders installed in the covering boards. The console’s dash will accommodate a 10-inch multi-function display for your marine electronics needs.
A spacious full-width casing deck in the bow converts into cushioned lounge seating for the crew when it’s time to hit the beach, supported by removable backrests on either side and low profile stainless steel bow rails. A pair of dry storage lockers are set under the seating, with a removable deck table, a front deck swivel seat that pulls out when not needed, and an insulated storage box with LED light and overboard drain set under the cockpit sole. A hinged hatch in the forward section of the console swings up to reveal a private head area with standard porta-pottie, complete with a privacy curtain. Other notable standards include hydraulic steering, 24-volt trolling motor plug/panel, a removable rear deck swivel seat, a quartet of stainless steel pop-up cleats, swim platform and more.
I spoke with NorthCoast’s Sales Manager Gregg Weatherby recently about potential new models for the 2019 season, and he mentioned that the most dramatic upgrade to their lineup was to their flagship 285 Cabin, which now sports a redesigned pilot house and can carry another 100 sea ponies on the transom (revised from a 500hp max up to 600hp). This means that she can be rigged with twin 300s, which should enhance performance dramatically, whether you go for the new Mercury 300 FourStroke V8s, Yamaha’s proven F300 V6s, Suzuki’s DF300s or Evinrude’s 300 G2s. The 216-gallon useable fuel capacity on this Rhode Island built sportfisher will give you realistic bluewater range. The beefy 6,300-pound displacement (dry, without power), coupled with her deep-v forefoot that tapers back to 20 degrees at the transom, will enable you to tame a tight afternoon wind chop. Owners of the first-generation 285 Cabin marvel at how this boat can plane at slower 16- to 18-knot speeds for max comfort in the rough stuff, no doubt due to the fact that the outboards are mounted directly onto the transom, immediately aft of the running surface and not on a bracket. The 10-foot 2-inch beam offers plenty of foot space in the cockpit, elbowroom in the raised bridge deck and living space down in the cabin, where it offers sleeping accommodations for three crew. The new next-gen Pilot House has a sleeker look and a more ergonomic interior compared to the original, but the smooth ride of the 285 Cabin remains the same. Also on the horizon is yet another cabin boat that should appear sometime in late summer of 2019. I was sworn to secrecy about this new addition to the cabin lineup, but let’s just say that it will be somewhere in between the existing 235 and 285 models.
For those following the news, NauticStar was purchased by MasterCraft boats at the end of last year, which gives them a parent company with more resources. With its sleek lines and stylish contours, the new for 2019 NauticStar 251 Hybrid offers a fresh new look and a 25-foot addition to the NauticStar Hybrid lineup, which includes 21- and 23-foot models. This unique multi-purpose vessel offers the perfect size and features for a family-friendly pleasure boat, but can also swap personalities in a heartbeat and be a tournament ready fishing platform on a moment’s notice. It has several innovative features that are show stoppers, such as the aft deck, which is covered with SeaDek material and the oversized fold-down jump seat, which quickly converts to a fishing platform. It also has a nice storage area and integrated SmartStar access hatch that makes it easy to get to the vessel’s pumps, batteries and any wiring in the bilge area. A couple of storage hatches and a 40-quart swim-up cooler makes grabbing a cold beverage while enjoying the water a snap.
Other notable standard features include an Infinity PRV 315 Bluetooth stereo with all new JBL marine speakers; premium Llebroc seating with flip-up bolsters, folding armrest and footrest; a galley with sink and cutting board; flip-out backrests for the bow bench seats; a large insulated fishbox; dedicated rod locker; and a portable 45-quart Yeti cooler. There’s forward and aft livewells/baitwells and storage for up to 21 rods, along with a list of attractive optional features, so that you can totally personalize your on-water experience. It all adds up to a hybrid that can be a switch hitter whenever you change your moods. The large dashboard provides ample room to flush-mount a pair of beg screen multi-function display monitors for all of your electronics needs. The running bottom on this Mississippi girl sports a modified-v with 16 degrees of aft deadrise, but also offers a single step amidships, which should catch some air under the vee and soften the ride, while also improving speed. With an 8-1/2-foot beam, she should be a stable platform both underway and at rest. If you need a serious fishing machine for yourself, or an entertainment platform with enough room for a large crowd, the 251 Hybrid could be just the ticket.
Albemarle Boats has introduced the 27 Dual Console for the 2019 season to meet the demands of boating families wanting to do a variety of on the water activities. Her deep-v hull and solid fiberglass construction offer the soft dry ride necessary to run in big open water. The 27DC is loaded with amenities and offers comfortable seating from bow to stern to provide ample room for the entire family. An electric head, freshwater sink and cockpit shower have the basic necessities covered. The starboard console houses a bunk and a cavernous dry storage area for larger items like rods and water toys. Charging ports are located throughout the boat in case you forget to leave your electronic devices at home. In addition to seating, the cockpit offers a huge insulated in-deck box that can be used for storage or to hold your catch. An insulated multi-purpose transom box is also plumbed as a livewell, plus there’s an insulated 64-quart cooler beneath the aft-facing seat. A transom door makes it easy to get from the cockpit to the integrated swim platform and ladder. The optional hardtop, bow and cockpit sun shades will keep you cool on hot summer days, and the full height windshield and custom enclosure will keep you dry and comfortable when the weather conditions deteriorate. With a 190-gallon fuel tank, you’ll go a long way between fill-ups. The external Armstrong outboard bracket maximizes foot space in the 58-quare foot cockpit. The 27DC can be powered with your choice of either Yamaha in-line four cylinder F200s or the V6 4.2-liter F250s. I was able to jump aboard this beefy 8,000-pound (dry weight) family sportfisher down at the recent Ft Lauderdale boat show and she feels a lot larger than 27 feet, which is a good thing when you’re miles from shore.
Since it was acquired by Seabring Marine, Inc., the builder of Monterey Boats, the Blackfin brand has undergone a total transformation while continuing the tradition of toughness and reliability. Blackfin’s team of engineers, designers and fishermen spent years creating the ultimate next-gen fishing and family boat lineup. Since 1973, Blackfin has carried fishermen, friends and families on unforgettable adventures. The new Blackfin team recognizes this legacy and draws on a true passion for fishing and leisure boating, plus decades of experience, to deliver innovative boats that combine yacht-like design and legendary heritage with cutting-edge marine technology and high-end construction.
I was on hand at the recent Ft Lauderdale Boat Show to witness the debut of Blackfin’s all-new 33-foot center console, the 332 CC, and she’s a beauty. The 332 CC is equipped with a deep-v, twin stepped running bottom that is 10-1/2 feet in width and is rated to carry up to 900 sea ponies on the transom, which can be arranged in either twin or triple formats. The generous 315-gallon fuel cell will let you explore the blue water fishing grounds with a safe and solid feel under your deck shoes. The 272 DC takes last season’s proven 27 center console design and upgrades it to a family-friendly dual console layout, which is growing in popularity with each passing season. This 27-footer is based on a 22-degree aft deadrise running bottom with 9 feet 4 inches of beam, a 180-gallon fuel tank and is rated to carry up to 600hp on the transom. Standard amenities include a 21-gallon freshwater system with pressurized cockpit shower and washdown, Fusion stereo, seven gunwale mount rodholders, two roomy, in-deck insulated fishboxes with macerator pump-out, wet bar with sink, removable 35-quart Yeti Tundra cooler, in-floor storage, a vanity with freshwater sink, plus a head with porta-pottie and pump-out deck fitting and much more.
The current Blackfin family includes models that range between 21 to 33 feet. However, the scuttlebutt at Ft Lauderdale is that the company is planning on launching five new boats in 2019 that will include center and dual console models up to 40 feet in length.
You’ve heard the expression, “go big, or go home.” Scout heard the call too and went large—very large in fact—with the pending introduction of their flagship 530 LXF model that has been a few years in the planning and development stages. Hull #1 has been making the rounds on the Yamaha test circuit, as they try to perfect the black art of getting this hull to run with five of their mega outboards, the 425 XTO V8s. Strapping four on the back was no challenge, since the Scout’s 14-1/2-foot beam has plenty of acreage to fit them on the transom. Indeed, powered by a quartet of the big 425 XTOs, the 530 LXF hit a top speed of 57 mph at 6,000 rpm. Throttling it back to 4,500 revs, factory tests indicated that this South Carolina girl hit 39.6 mph at 79.3 gph (gulp!), for a net of 0.5 mpg. This might sound like a lot of petrol being consumed, but remember this: the Scout 530 LXF tips the scales at almost 27,000 pounds dry and without power. Those mega Yamahas weigh almost 1,000 pounds each and there are four of them. Add 805 gallons of fuel at 7-plus pounds per gallon with thousands of pounds of onboard gear and that fuel efficiency number doesn’t look so bad, especially when you consider that you are covering a lot of sea surface quickly in a very large boat. Talking with the Scout and Yamaha engineers at the Ft Lauderdale show back in November, they surmised that adding the fifth 425 XTO will allow this battleship to break 60 mph and then some. If it were me, I’d be thrilled with four of those fire-breathin’ monsters on the back, but a lot of folks just have the need for more speed. If you are one of the lucky ones who are considering this supersized chariot as your next ride, you’d better move fast. The word at the show was that Scout had already taken at least a dozen advanced orders and they will probably make one of these a month, so if you snooze, you’ll lose. Scout will have hulls # 2 and #3 down at the upcoming Miami Show in February, with one in the water available for test rides and the other high and dry at the convention center. I can’t wait to hop aboard!
Celebrating its 60th year in operation, Grady-White’s Canyon 456 CC was created for those looking for the top-of-the-line alternative to traditional luxury sportfish yachts, whether moving up from a boat they’ve outgrown or transitioning from a large inboard. The Canyon 456 is a perfect blending of tough battlewagon fishing machine and superior cruising yacht. With onboard storage for a total of 32 rods, she is ready to fish. Onboard control starts with Grady’s exclusive Sea Command Center, which is aesthetically striking, exceptionally comfortable and offers an amazing assembly of technology. The center’s ultra-comfortable forward-facing seating features four premium individual electronically adjustable seats, each replete with rich upholstery and stainless supports for the armrests. A fold down footrest for each adds even more comfort. The starboard center seat accommodates the captain, who has an easy reach to the ergonomically arranged array of systems, electronics and controls at the helm. CZone digital switching technology enables one-touch control of on-board systems including power, electrical, lighting, heat and air conditioning, even the seacocks. A software application allows remote command of these functions from your smart phone. Grady’s sea chest raw water reservoir allows remote electronic control for livewells, generator, air conditioning, washdown systems and more.
The Canyon 456 is equipped with a Seakeeper gyro stabilizer to give an added element of control in the most extreme sea conditions. The Yamaha Helm Master system with Set Point is also standard, further providing enhanced performance. The revolutionary Zipwake dynamic auto-leveling trim control system also assures maximum ride control. This canyon runner also offers a standard variable speed bow thruster. The entire helm area is covered by a stylish, sophisticated, enclosed AV2 T-top with an integrated wraparound windshield for maximum visibility and protection. Electronic side windows and a large overhead hatch allow plenty of fresh air, when the heating or air conditioning system is not needed. This top includes a built-in SureShade electronically retractable cockpit shade and LED spreader lights forward and aft. And now that she is being equipped with a quartet of Yamaha’s new 425 XTO extreme offshore V8 four-strokes, this Carolina girl will hit a top speed of 58 mph, with relatively fuel efficient cruising speeds between 30 to 37 mph at 0.64 mpg. Her dry weight is listed as 24,500 pounds without power, and ready to go with fuel and engines, she’s pushing 32,000 pounds. This is a beast, and her 616-gallon fuel tank will take you to the fishing grounds in style and comfort.
I spoke with factory reps down at the Ft Lauderdale boat show and the bottom line is that other than a few tweaks here and there, there is nothing new for this fishing boat builder for the 2019 season. The latest addition in the Pro-Line stables is the 26 Super Sport center console. Measuring 26 feet 4 inches LOA with an 8-1/2-foot beam and a 22-degree aft deadrise running bottom, tipping the scales at 4,400 pounds dry, this Pro-Line will get you to out to the fishing grounds fast, especially if you outfit her with the max rating of 450 sea ponies. If you aren’t consumed by living life in the nautical fast lane, a pair of 150s will do just fine and will probably tweak max fuel economy from her 138-gallon fuel tank and provide bluewater range. A lighted 20-gallon recirculating baitwell is integrated into the transom to ensure plenty of room to fight the fish in the 92-square-foot cockpit. A pair of large 74-gallon insulated fishboxes with macerator pump-outs are set under the rear cockpit sole to chill out your catch of the day. Rod storage is conveniently located under the covering boards, courtesy of a pair of four-rod horizontal racks. When it’s time to fish, a pair of flush-mount rodholders are installed in each of the gunwales and the 27-inch cockpit depth will give max leg support to captain and crew when angling the big ones to boatside. There’s a large forward casting deck with two storage lockers down under, plus raised bench seating with a pair of insulated fishboxes with overboard drains. The console features a companionway on the port side to step down into the enclosed head area, which is equipped with a standard porta-pottie. When it comes time for relaxing back at the dock, the 26 SS has a molded bench seat with backrest forward of the console and the aft deck features Pro-Line’s foldaway transom bench seat with backrest. Other notable standards include cockpit bolsters, a T-top with LED spreader lights, hydraulic steering, electric trim tabs with LED indicators, dive platform with integrated ladder, plus seven pull-up S/S cleats. Wood-free composite construction and a 10-year structural hull warranty offer peace of mind.
The latest Parker introduction is their 2540 Dual Console, which made its debut for the 2018 model year. According to President Linwood Parker, “Parker Marine has worked diligently to deliver a blend of our classic styling with the latest technologies to bring new levels of enjoyment to your boating experience. This design for multi-purpose family and fishing can be personalized to fit your lifestyle needs.”
The 2540 DC hull offers an overall length of 30 feet, 2 inches (with standard outboard bracket) while boasting a 9-1/2-foot beam. Parker’s proven 21-degree deep-v hull design paired with twin Yamaha F200 outboards provides a top-end speed of 50 mph while cruising comfortably and economically in the 25- to 35-mph range. This new dual console will go a long way in between fill-ups with a generous 163-gallon fuel tank. When you venture into choppy waters, this Carolina girl is no slouch and will tame a tight afternoon chop with her deep-v forefoot and hefty 6,220-pound dry weight. If you have a need for speed, you can rig her with twin Yamaha V6 F250s, but she’ll get by nicely with a pair of Yamaha F150s.
With the 2540DC, Parker continues to embrace its heritage while combining trend-setting features to maximize the family boating experience. An attractive, rugged hardtop, spacious helm and cockpit with convertible seating arrangements, along with an enclosed head are all configured with the family’s comfort in mind. High-end upholstered lounge and sundeck seating offers the best of style, comfort and long-term durability, and she can also work efficiently at bending the rods when it’s time to fish. Notable standard features on this dual console include a hardtop with four-rod rocket launcher with painted aluminum piping; a head compartment with Corian counter top, sink, faucet, dry storage, electric flushing head with holding tank and macerator pump, Flexiteek floor covering and LED lighting; coaming bolsters; raw water washdown; a tackle station with flip up lid, freshwater sink, cup holders, knife and pliers storage box, fire extinguisher mount and three tackle storage drawers; a full transom with bracket, swim platform and dive ladder; freshwater pull-out shower; insulated fishbox; livewell and transom door with access to the swim platform; underwater lighting and more.
Wellcraft is alive and well, thriving as part of Groupe Beneteau Americas, with all boats handcrafted in the USA at their Cadillac, Michigan facility. I had been hearing rumors of a larger 30-something center console in the planning stages for a while and it all came to fruition at the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show this past fall in the form of the Wellcraft 352 Fisherman CC. This boat is equipped with some impressive standard features, with a bunch of innovative out-of-the-box thinking behind it. One of these features is the helm, which features two massive twin 22-inch screen Garmin multi-function displays that will surely make your navigating and fish finding chores seem like playing some sort of 3D video game. The three-across cushioned helm seats feature flip up bolsters and footrests down under. What’s totally cool is that the center helmsman’s seat flips back and allows the operator to stand up on an elevated platform for better visibility. Yet another totally cool feature is the roomy area under the cabin, that features the usual head, sink and storage accoutrements, but also a double-v berth forward that allows overnighters or a nice place to take a catnap during those long day trips.
A second station tower is available that offers most of the same features that you have down below at sea level. Fishing and luxury features abound on this 35-footer and are married together into one seamless experience. Twin individual bench seats lift down from their travel position set in the transom cap and there’s a dive door in the port aft corner for easy entry and egress. Two huge insulated fishboxes are set into the cockpit floor on either side of the leaning post. There’s a livewell in the transom, a second livewell in the leaning post, a forward lounge seat ahead of the console, twin raised benches in the bow with a removable dinette table, plus enough rodholders and tackle storage to please even the most demanding blue water crew. Rigged with a trio of Mercury Racing 400 Verados, she’ll hit a blazing top speed of 57 mph, which is not too shabby for a mid-30s luxury fishing machine with all the trimmings. There are at least 20 different Yamaha and Mercury power options for this chariot, so visit the website for more info.
This Maine-based boat builder’s coastal fishing boat lineup includes five different styles of layouts from 14 to 25 feet. Maritime’s 14-, 18- and 20-foot rolled edge Skiffs are simple, basic, uncomplicated boats with maximum interior space, self-bailing cockpits and hulls that are fuel efficient and easily propelled with low to moderate horsepower. They are built strong and “unsinkable” and are dry-running with a seaworthy ride. The distinctive feature of the Defiant center console series is the wraparound non-skid deck that facilitates easy boarding, installation of flush mount rodholders, pop-up cleats and self-bailing cockpits. Models 21 feet and larger have a large step down area under the console that provides room for storage and an optional porta-pottie or marine head. The Patriot and Voyager Center Cabin models combine all the benefits of a center console with the convenience of a full cabin. You can walk and fish around the side decks of the cabin without tripping over elevated steps. Additional weather protection is provided by each of these models giving you the opportunity to cruise, play, or fish longer in comfort and security. The 21, 23 and 25 Express models feature a composite laminated glass windshield for strength and good looks. These boats have large versatile cockpits ideal for cruising and comfortably accommodating friends and family. Maritime’s 23 and 25 Challenger cabin models feature excellent visibility from the well-designed pilot house, a large comfortable V-berth that easily accommodates two adults and have a variety of seating, galley and cockpit configurations to meet your needs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The new Southport 33 DC dual console model expands this Maine builder beyond the current trio of 33-foot center console models to deliver full forward seating, an enclosed helm area, stay-aboard accommodations and enhanced cruising capabilities. The 33 DC is built on a Ray Hunt Design 22-degree aft deadrise variable deep-v hull that combines offshore racing technology with cutting edge composite manufacturing to deliver a ride with incomparable seaworthiness and stability.
Comfort features on the new Southport 33 DC include twin 6-foot berths, a full size integrated hardtop with power-retractable sunroof and a raised port side co-pilot lounge with forward and aft facing lounge seats. The integrated livewell, fishboxes, storage and optimized cockpit layout appeal to the serious angler.
The Southport 33 Dual Console is designed for the fishing family that also enjoys other watersports activities, with the added amenities allowing an alternate focus on family cruising and entertainment. The DC remains true to the fishing DNA heritage of Southport, and she delivers the exceptionally dry, safe and economical performance of much larger cruisers. When the rods aren’t bending, fishing families can enjoy a day of relaxing, swimming, beaching it, viewing the sunset, or making a trip to a favorite island getaway with no worries about the ride home, even when the wind picks up and the ocean turns angry. The Hunt designed deep-v hull combined with a hefty 11,500-pound dry weight will go a long way to tame an afternoon chop. The standard 250-gallon fuel tank should take you a long way between fill-ups, and standard power options include a pair of 300s by either Yamaha, Mercury or Suzuki. For those looking for max power at the transom, the 33DC’s 850hp rating will allow the adventurous owner to opt for a pair of Yamaha’s new 425 XTO V8s.
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.
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.
Hot on the transom of last season’s debutant, the 40 Cat, Invincible has introduced the second feline into its growing lineup, the 37 Catamaran.
Invincible Catamarans were designed by the distinguished multi-hull architects at Morelli and Melvin. Known for composing the modern America’s Cup yachts, they worked with Invincible to create the most advanced fishing catamaran on the market.
The focus on this project had one singular objective: sea-keeping ability. They collaborated to create a boat that would tear through seas from any direction, while still being able to maneuver in turns at high speeds, without the need to drastically back off the throttles, a flaw found on many contemporary catamarans today. Even though the 37 is the smaller sibling to the 40, it still shares many of the same characteristics. The goal was to achieve great seakeeping ability, propulsion efficiency and maneuverability at all speeds. The deck is similar, with the two large insulated fishboxes amidships, but the flat transom and two long forward fishboxes offer a different layout compared to the 40. The 550-gallon fuel capacity still makes long trips easy without sacrificing range at high cruising speeds. The 37 is ideal for those who want to get the fantastic features that the Invincible catamarans provide, but in a smaller footprint.
The wide, single-level cockpit makes this cat a dream to fish, with total 360-degree walk around fishability. Notable standard features include above and below deck livewells, a built-in anchor locker, generous under-deck storage, a quartet of 2000-gph auto bilge pumps (two per sponson), vacuum bagged composite cored hull with 100 percent vinylester resin construction, a huge chill box/rocket launcher combo forward and more. The transom is rated to carry quad outboards up to 1,600hp. This cat can dance!
The Mako 414 CC is the largest, most powerful and most comfortable boat in their 50-year boat building history. With top-shelf fit and finish, premium fishing features and state-of-the-art technology, the 414 CC is ready to safely take you and your crew to the horizon and back for an unparalleled adventure to the 100-fathom line and beyond, with the potential to create the fishing trip(s) of a lifetime. This super-sized center console is available in a Standard, Bluewater Family Edition and Sportfish Edition, with each package determining the standard features list and accommodations. The Mako 414 CC is the ultimate offshore fishing and family recreational boat, depending on how you decide to deck her out and it’s backed by Mako Assurance, one of the best factory warranties in the business. In a nutshell, Mako Assurance is a combination of a limited lifetime structural hull warranty, a five-year “stem-to-stern” coverage warranty, a three-year gelcoat coverage warranty, plus provisions for transferring these coverages to a second owner. Some notable standard features on this big Mako include an upper helm station-ready hardtop; huge 80-gallon leaning post baitwell; GEM carbon fiber outriggers; a Rupp flush-mount rodholder package with 20 gunwale rodholders; head and cockpit air conditioning, with a chiller package for onboard freezers; Iris NightRunner infrared camera on the forward hardtop with a helm control pad; Shadow-Caster underwater light package with eight SCM-10 Blue LED lights; Fusion UD750 stereo with eight speakers, 1,600W amp and subwoofer; and an electric head with overboard discharge. Powered by quad Mercury 350 Verado four-strokes, and sporting a 24-degree aft deadrise deep-v running bottom, this platform will take you far and fast, fueled by a large 566-gallon tank. Mako has also introduced a new 15 Skiff for 2019 and has updated the layout on the 17 Skiff.
Sea Pro is back in business after one of the original principals bought the name back from Brunswick, so they returned to South Carolina to do what they do best, manufacturing quality, affordable fishing boats. Sea Pro founder Jimmy Hancock joined forces with former Tidewater Boats founder Preston Wrenn to bring about the resurrection of a very popular brand of saltwater fishing boat. Sea Pros are built at a newly renovated 200,000-square-foot facility.
Sea Pro’s line-up currently offers four bay boats from 17 to 24 feet and a trio of deep-v center consoles (21, 23 and 25). The newest of these is the 259 Center Console, and I was able to jump aboard and take a closer look down at the Ft Lauderdale boat show. My first impression of this sportfisher was that she was a large and solid hull, with a 22.5-degree aft deadrise deep-v running bottom and an abundance of standard fishing and comfort features. Her specs support what my feet and eyes told me when I jumped on the cockpit sole. At 4,850 pounds dry and without power, she has a bulk that is meant to support her mission of blasting through uncooperative coastal seas. With a 25-foot 9-inch LOA, supported by an overwide 9-foot 4-inch beam, there’s plenty of cockpit space onboard for a quartet of anglers to do their thing, either inshore or offshore. This boat offers an abundance of comfortable seating for the crew to settle in when underway, including a pair of up/down cushioned bolsters in the standard leaning post/rocket launcher and a triple-wide collapsible cushioned bench in the transom bulkhead. A standup head is standard, as is the T-top/hardtop setup. Sea Pro is planning to launch the 319 deep-v center console and the 240 DC at the upcoming 2019 Miami Boat Show, so stay tuned for more.
Striper has complemented their 200CC and 220CC models by adding their biggest center console to date, the 270CC. With an overall length of 27 feet 7 inches and supported by a 9-foot beam, the 20-degree aft deadrise running bottom will tame the majority of sea conditions that you are likely to encounter on your long distance travels. The 190-gallon fuel capacity will provide blue-water range for most coastal anglers with a 5,500-pound displacement that will soften the journey along the way. She is rated to carry up to 500 sea ponies on the transom, but a pair of 200s should do nicely and help you milk maximum range on your offshore trips. Standard essential fishing features on this neophyte include raw water washdown, an aerated recirculating livewell, recessed rod racks under the gunwales, flush mount rodholders in each covering board and more. Niceties include a locking head area to take care of business when nature calls; twin cushioned bench seats forward with storage bins down under; plug-in back supports when it’s time to show a softer side and catch some rays; plus platform extensions port and starboard that make it a breeze to get back onboard or to transit to and from the vessel at dockside.
According to the scuttlebutt I was able to gather at the recent Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, Striper is planning to introduce a new 255 CC at the upcoming 2019 Miami Boat Show.
The latest offering from this South Carolina boat builder is the 242 Open Center Console. She is one of six siblings in the lineup that also includes the 212, 232, 252, 282 and 312 models. The 242 Open CC measures 23 feet 8 inches LOA, with an 8-1/2-foot beam, sporting 21 degrees of aft deadrise on her deep-v running bottom and tipping the scales at 3,400 pounds (dry, without power). She is rated to carry up to 300hp on the transom, fueled by a 111-gallon tank.
Her layout offers a lot of room to fish with the crew or enjoy some fun time out on the water with your family and friends. The bow of this boat is roomy and snag-free, with raised bench seating and two large storage boxes down-under to provide a convenient spot to stow away your gear. They are both insulated and can be used as fishboxes or coolers, plus there’s additional large in-floor storage under the cockpit sole. The lockable enclosed head area under the console is a great place for changing out of wet clothes and for storage, plus it can also be equipped with a convenient porta-pottie. When it’s time to throw the hook, the dedicated anchor locker in the forepeak with plenty of storage for your rode will get it done. A recirculating livewell tucked into the starboard corner is at a convenient height to scoop up a bait and quickly toss it over the side for the catch of the day. The double wide bench seat at the transom is welcomed seating for the crew when underway and the gate in the port corner allows access to the swim platform that features a built-in telescoping boarding ladder. A quartet of flush-mount rodholders and cup holders set in the gunwales are standard (two of each per side). Outfitted with a Yamaha F300, she’ll hit a top speed of 49 mph at wide open throttle, with a 3-mpg cruising speed of 27 mph at 3,500 rpm.
This South Carolina boat builder’s bread-and-butter Commander center console lineup has been expanding over the years and currently, with the introduction of the new for 2019 228 Commander, has grown to a total of eight models between 18 and 32 feet in length. The latest addition, the 228 Commander, is roughly in the middle of the lineup card, and offers the open water capabilities of the larger boats with the go-anywhere nature, single engine simplicity of the smaller siblings. Built around a deep-v forefoot that tapers back to a mild 18 degrees of deadrise at the transom, her 8-1/2-foot beam and 2,700-pound dry weight make her relatively easy to power with outboards in the 200- to 250-hp range. A Yamaha F200 would be a perfect power match for this hull and would give you dawn-to-dusk range with the standard 90-gallon fuel tank. Notable standard features include a T-top with canvas overhead and LED spreader lights, a 30-gallon aquarium style pressurized livewell, a quartet of stainless steel flush-mount rodholders, LED navigation and courtesy lighting, insulated fish storage in the bow under the raised forward bench seating, coaming pads and faux teak decking, recessed electric trim tabs, raw water washdown, plus the ability to flush-mount twin 10-inch multi-function displays at the helm.
The 263FS represents the latest and largest of Key West’s growing fleet of Family Sportsman boats, which include the 189, 203, 219, 239 and 244 models. This 263FS is packed full of the latest innovations in design and performance to provide the active outdoors family with all they could ask for out on the water. Standard features include an under-deck windlass, fiberglass hardtop, side-entry door with hidden ladder, power-assist steering, a folding bolster leaning post, dual livewells, and much more. When it’s time to go fishing, the 263FS is equipped with a staggering 22 rodholders, not including the horizontal storage racks under the gunnels that can hold your longest saltwater rods. That’s more than most dedicated fishing boats in this class. When it’s time to relax and spend a quiet day in the bay or at the beach, 16 cup holders and a carry-aboard 75-quart portable cooler will keep a cold drink in everyone’s hand. There’s easy access to the fiberglass-lined bilge area to maintain all of the plumbing components. Owners can opt for twin outboards up to 500hp, but it will run in the mid 40-mph range with a single 300 for economical and relaxing days in the bay or out on the briny. Key West Boats all feature positive upright flotation for added peace of mind. Other notable standards include a recessed bow roller, windlass, plow anchor and S/S through-stem anchor chute; cushioned bench seating in the bow, forward of the console and aft; and cockpit bolsters.
The big news from Pioneer is that their long-awaited 266 Pelagic center console is finally in the production stages at their Carolina Composites facility located down in Walterboro, SC. This project has been in the planning stages for at least the last four boat show circuits and it is not a “mirage,” since I had a chance to look at the prototype photos, and it has a lot of potential. The initial 266 Pelagic CC is powered by a pair of Suzuki DF250 four-strokes and from what I could see in the pictures, she sports at least a dozen flush-mount rodholders in the gunwales and across the full height transom cap, a powder-coated T-top with a six-rod vertical rocket launcher, a large recirculating livewell set aft of the leaning post, full cockpit coaming bolsters, twin raised bench seat forward, a roomy cockpit and much more.
The current Pioneer lineup now includes a total of 12 outboard-powered center consoles, bay boats and dual console designs ranging from 17 to 26 feet. Looking at another popular model, the 222 Sportfish is a trailerable center console equipped with a 32-gallon recirculating livewell built into the leaning post that also features a cushioned backrest and four-rod rocket launcher. Other fishing features include a tackle storage center, flush-mount and under gunwale rod storage, a 94-quart Igloo removable forward console cushioned cooler seat and twin forward fishboxes set under raised bench seats. Rated to carry outboards from 150- to 300-hp on the transom, the 96-gallon fuel tank will take her a long way between fill-ups. All Pioneer boats are backed by a transferable seven-year/lifetime structural hull warranty.
I spoke to Regulator’s President Joan Maxwell at the Ft Lauderdale show, and she mentioned that although there was nothing new regarding the introduction of any new models for 2019, the engineering team did revamp the console area of their flagship 41 center console for this season, giving it improved ergonomics and weather protection. With Yamaha’s new 425 XTO V8 four-strokes now being available, the Regulator 41’s standard power package was upgraded, with its performance increased dramatically. A quad engine array of 5.6-liter 425 XTOs on the transom will produce a breath-taking top speed of 63.7 mph at wide open throttle. When you realize that this 41-footer tips the scales at a whopping 12-1/2 tons, this Carolina girl can really move in the fast lane. Dropping the electronic throttles back to a more mundane 3,500 rpm, she’ll cruise all day long at 33.6 mph and will do so at 43.6 gph, for a net fuel efficiency of 0.77 mpg. Her 600-gallon fuel tank will get you to the deep bluewater and back, but your range will be determined by your throttle hand. If you discipline yourself to run this girl between 3,000-3,500 rpm, you should get at least 15 hours of cruising range and still get to the edge in plenty of time for the early morning bite.
There are three new Sea Hunts for 2019, with the 27 Gamefish and 25 Gamefish experiencing some minor overhauls and embellishments, whereas the Ultra 275 SE is all new and will be the focus of our review. The Ultra 275 SE is designed to be a family friendly sport utility vehicle for a variety of waterborne activities, with serious fishing being one of them, but not its singular focus. The hull on the Ultra 275 SE is identical to that of its fishing sister, the 27 Gamefish, sporting an overall length of 27 feet 5 inches, with a 9-foot 9-inch beam, 21 degrees of aft deadrise, a 179-gallon fuel tank and a dry weight of 5,600 pounds. Both of these girls have the range and temerity to head offshore on a windy day, but the Ultra 275 SE has a softer side for the wife and kids when it’s time for a weekend at the beach, wakeboarding or skiing. She is also the largest Ultra in the fleet that includes seven models from 19 to 27 feet.
Notable standard features on the Ultra 275 SE include cushioned bench seats in the bow, with 148-quart insulated boxes under each side; a 188-quart in floor storage area; 19-gallon freshwater system; Ultra leaning post with captain’s chairs, flip-up footrests, plus a 20-gallon insulated livewell; an acrylic T-top enclosure with electric actuator; a side entry door in the port corner; contoured bow cushions, bolsters and backrests for functional added seating when underway; cockpit bolsters; China bowl toilet with holding tank and pump-out and overboard discharge; Tilt SeaStar hydraulic steering with power assist; a powder coat package over all exposed aluminum; triple-wide cushioned rear bench seating with VIP bucket seat in the port corner; a dozen rodholders and much more.
|EARL BENTZ HEADS NEW CAYMAS BOAT LINE|
Legendary marine industry entrepreneur Earl Bentz has formed a new fishing boat company – Caymas Boats. Beginning in February 2019, the 85,000 square foot Caymas plant will produce premium fiberglass bass and saltwater bay boats at its new manufacturing complex near Nashville, TN. As a boatbuilding executive, Bentz has logged one of the fishing boat industry’s most enviable track records. Originally a world champion boat racer, Bentz joined pioneering boat manufacturer Hydra-Sports in 1975 as a performance specialist. He later founded and grew the Stratos, Javelin and Triton fiberglass fishing boat brands to leadership positions with combined sales of over 200,000 boats.
The initial Caymas lineup will include 20- and 21-foot bass boats as well as 25- and 27-foot saltwater bay boats, Bentz indicated. “Caymas bass boats will feature a super-efficient hull design that mates perfectly with the latest outboard motors to deliver incredible performance and outstanding fuel economy,” he promised. “Our tournament-honed fishing features, including the fishing boat industry’s most technologically advanced livewell systems, will totally revolutionize the bass fishing market. On the saltwater side, our 25- and 27-foot bay boats, designed by the noted Michael Peters, are positioned to lead this fast-growing bluewater market segment with their hot-performing stepped tunnel hulls and state-of-the-art interior layouts.”
Caymas boat production is scheduled to begin in February. The company purchased a 60,000 square foot building in Ashland City last October. When renovation and expansion are completed by early 2019, total manufacturing space will encompass 105,500 square feet over 20 acres, and the plant will employ a work force of 300. “We’ve already put together a tremendous dealer network for Caymas,” Bentz said. “This means avid bass and saltwater anglers will shortly be able to find an authorized Caymas dealer close by, no matter where they live.” For more information on Caymas fiberglass bass boats and saltwater boats, log onto the Caymas website (caymasboats.com) or call (888) 4 CAYMAS.