2020 New Boat Buyer’s Guide - The Fisherman

2020 New Boat Buyer’s Guide

Bigger, faster, better, high-tech, inter-connected, user-friendly, ergonomic, multi-functional—the list goes on and on regarding why you might want to consider a new boat for the 2020 model year. There are some wickedly cool and interesting new boats to talk about for the upcoming model year, so just sit back and enjoy the ride as we begin our annual exploration with the 2020 version of the Fisherman’s Boat Buyer’s Guide.


Grady White Canyon 326

This North Carolina based builder has introduced a trio of newbies for the 2020 model year. One of these, the Canyon 326 CC was detailed in a Fisherman product review a few months back. The other two, the Canyon 336 and the Freedom 285 are revised and reimagined versions of boats that were already in their existing lineup that received a dramatic upgrade. I spent a significant amount of quality time on all three models with Grady’s VP of Marketing Shelley Tubaugh down at the recent Ft Lauderdale Boat Show and she explained the nuances of each in great detail. If you are in the market for a dual console/crossover craft that can perform family duties, but can still fish with the best of them, consider the Freedom 285 as a must see on your short list. This is a high-tech machine, from her excellent engineering and ergonomics to her top-notch construction, in addition to the availability of just about every creature comfort. 

Passengers will appreciate the port and starboard electromechanically extendable aft facing lounge seats, both of which abut perfectly to the retractable bench seat in the transom cap, creating a huge multi-person lounger area that’s perfect for relaxing in the sun. When old sol gets to be too much, the optional SureShade electrically retractable shade with Sunbrella canvas is a welcomed addition. The roomy bow sitting area can also be complemented with Grady’s new optional bow shade, an easily deployed screen that offers protection from the harsh mid-day sun. With its standard fiberglass bow table and optional bow insert with filler cushions that create a second roomy sun pad, the Freedom 285 is fully outfitted for a day on the water. The optional retractable ski pole is easily put away when skiing and tubing are finished. And if you’re going from a day on the water straight out to dinner, the roomy next-gen head compartment, complete with indirect lighting and a sink with pull-out faucet, makes it easy to change to dinner attire without leaving the boat. We will definitely get you a detailed analysis of the upgraded Canyon 336 in an upcoming 2020 product review, so stay tuned. For more information on the entire Grady-White lineup, visit www.gradywhite.com.


Contender 44FA 1

I had a chance to inspect hull #1 of Contender’s new 44FA at the recent FLIBS and it is quite an impressive and cultured beast. The 44FA is built on the same twin-stepped running bottom as last season’s popular 44ST. With a fish around liner, this Florida girl offers down-under accommodations that include a berth with queen-sized bed, enclosed head with shower, galley with sink, refrigerator/freezer and stovetop that are all a welcomed addition for long overnighters offshore at the canyons or for weekend stays at your favorite beachside hideaway. Her svelte 12-foot beam and overall length of 43 feet 10 inches translate to a 3.7:1 length to beam ratio. Supported by a knife-like entry forward and 22.7 degrees of deep-vee deadrise aft, she gets you to the hotspots before everyone else. She is available with either triple or quad Yamaha 425 XTO V8s, both of which outboard power options will get you to the fishing grounds fast, supported by a 575-gallon fuel capacity.

The Contender building process is not an automated assembly line that offers limited options. In contrast, the 44FA is hand built in Homestead, FL with a variety of fishing and comfort options to create the boat that fits each owner’s specific lifestyle. Every Contender features hand laid fiberglass composite construction with an attention to detail, quality fit and finish and a consistent ride that keeps both professional captains and customers coming back time and again. Notable standard equipment includes a forward anchor locker; above-deck cooler storage in the bow; 70-gallon freshwater capacity; 300-gallon under-deck forward fishbox; twin 100-gallon aft under-sole fishboxes; a pair of 55-gallon transom livewells; recessed aluminum bow handrail; oversized electronics panel; recessed Kiekaffer trim tabs; waterproof switches and breaker panel, and much more. For additional info, visit www.contenderboats.com.

Skeeter Boats

Skeeter SX2550 Family Fish

Texas-based Skeeter Boats announced over the summer the debut of the SX2550 Fish/Family, which is a new bay, inshore and near-offshore fishing boat that comes with the high-performance features signature to their top-quality bay boats. At 24 feet, 6 inches overall length with an 8-foot 5-inch beam, the SX2550 is the largest in the Skeeter SX bay boat family that now includes a total of six models ranging between 20 to 25 feet.

Powered by a Yamaha F300 four-stroke outboard, the SX2550 is packed with features designed to create more room, better fishability and powerful performance. The SX2550 Fish/Family comes standard with a larger and taller two-toned console with a side-entry door, private head and plenty of space to accommodate a marine toilet. Features include built-in LED lighting, a 145-quart in-floor fishbox with macerator pump, a 12-inch manual jackplate, trim tabs and both fresh and raw water washdown systems. Tall gunnels and a Carolina flare vee-bottomed hull add a distinctive look and create a smooth, dry ride. The SX2550 Fish/Family also comes standard with a two-tone gel Omni hardtop; a Fusion marine stereo with four speakers mounted in the underside of the electronics box; a quartet of combo rodholders/cupholders flush-mounted in the gunwales; front removable cushions and backrests; a 50-quart Engel cooler with cushion top; forward coaming bolsters; leaning post with a 40-gallon baitwell; bow handrails; an Omni swim platform; recessed anchor storage locker in the forepeak; horizontal rod racks port and starboard; plus LED underwater lights at the stern. For more information, visit www.skeeterboats.com.

Steiger Craft

Steiger Craft

The 23 Miami DV is just the right size for most Fisherman readers and is built tough using proven construction methods like all of the Steigers that have come before her. The hull is formed using hand laid fiberglass coupled with an exclusive I-Beam grid system technology, offering long term durability and a rigid structure that can withstand our unforgiving northeast sea conditions. Steiger offers a limited structural lifetime hull warranty on all of their models. Notable standard features on the 23 Miami DV include a 124-gallon fuel tank; three cupholders; a five-rod overhead rocket launcher on the built-in fiberglass roof; an aluminum outboard bracket; anchor locker; both aft and cabin auto bilge pumps; a cabin hatch; cabin bunks with shelves; interior cabin lights, porta-potti and opening port holes; marine compass; a protected portside crew couch under the hardtop; Blue Sea Systems dual battery switch; hydraulic steering; mid-ships pop-up cleats; opening front windows and sliding side windows for ventilation; recessed trim tabs; a quartet of gunwale mount flush rodholders; rod racks under the coamings with convenient sinker tray holders; hardtop spreader lights; stainless steel deck hardware and bow rail; plus a two-tone tan deck.

Optional features include but are not limited to a bow pulpit with extended stainless steel rail; a 12-volt cabin fan; Chesapeake fiberglass wall for 360-degree weather protection; cockpit bolsters; under gunnel cockpit LED lighting LED; colored hull; a drop down transom seat; a fiberglass swim platform with boarding ladder; raw water washdown; additional gunwale mount rodholders; freshwater sink; tackle box; underwater LED lighting; remote spotlight; and more. Rigged with a 250-horsepower four-stroke, factory tests have shown that the 23 Miami DV will hit a top speed of over 46 mph with a half tank of fuel and two crew onboard, with fuel efficient cruising speeds of 29 to 34 mph at 4000-4500 rpms. The generous 124-gallon tank will provide 40-fathom range for most anglers, depending on your home port. For more information, visit www.steigercraft.com.

World Cat

World Cat 400DC X Product Photo, Rendering

World Cat launched its all-new flagship, the 400DC-X dual console catamaran, at the 2019 Miami International Boat Show. According to World Cat CEO Andrew Brown, “The 400DC-X will not only be our largest catamaran built to date, but it will also be the first 40-foot model of a whole new series. Our Custom Yacht Division will include three different base versions of the 40-footer, with each model being highly customizable.”

Whether you need a kitchen with propane grill, a 60-gallon livewell, chiller box, bait rigging station, dive tank storage or additional seating, there is a combination that fits each owner’s wish list. The 400DC-X dual console, the initial model of the 400 Series, boasts over 200 square feet of usable cockpit in the dual console version. The expansive bow seating area seats up to 12 adults comfortably and boasts two power-actuated tables that can lower to the floor for bow side access. With a portside air-conditioned queen berth stateroom and a large head area to starboard with A/C and a walk-in shower, the 400DC-X can cruise like a pro. Behind the sliding glass windshield enclosure, the U-lounge in the salon seats eight with multiple configurations courtesy of power backrests.

The 400DC-X is powered by twin Yamaha 425 XTO outboards, fueled by a generous 464-gallon fuel capacity. Additional standard features include an integrated hardtop with sun roof and electric aft cockpit shade; double wide helm and companion seats; helm area with room for two optional 17-inch MFDs; an entertainment center with a drawer refrigerator, aft facing seat with insulated cooler storage underneath, storage drawers, helm air conditioning vents and a tilt out trash can; pull-out hot/cold aft deck shower wand; with rod and cup holders throughout. The 400DC-X offers a 9 kW Fischer Panda diesel generator with 24-gallon tank and customers have the option of adding a Seakeeper 3 gyro stabilizer. For more information, visit www.worldcat.com.


Cobia 350CC

The latest Cobia to hit the docks is their new 350CC, which offers a similar running bottom to last season’s 344CC, but with a totally new deck layout. One of the first things that the engineering team did to upgrade the new 350CC was to beef up the transom so that she could handle a pair of Yamaha’s relatively new heavyweight 425 XTO V8 outboards that tip the scales at roughly 950 pounds per motor. The new 350CC fishes hard and plays easy with a rare combination of style and performance. A double-stepped hull makes getting to the fishing grounds fast and fuel efficient while elegant topside amenities bathe you in style and comfort. Tournament capable fishing features include dual 42-gallon bait tanks, two huge in-floor fishboxes that pump overboard, a full tackle station and bait prep area, plus hidden below-deck rod storage that’s lockable. With an 11-foot 2-inch beam and a clean, wide open cockpit, there’s plenty of elbow room for a group of anglers to fish, with space to spare when chasing around a hot fish at boatside. An inward opening side door makes pulling aboard a big tuna or dropping in a diver safe and easy. When it’s time to relax, the 350CC converts to a cruising and sandbar hopping pleasure vessel. Comfortable and elegantly appointed seating for 11 includes triple independent helm seats, an integrated chaise lounge large enough for two and full sun lounge capability with forward facing backrests. There’s even a hideaway bow table that rises electronically out of the floor that’s perfect for a picnic lunch or sunset dockside party spread. Plus, the boat comes with seven insulated boxes to provide more than enough cooler space and has tons of dry storage for beach gear and water toys. The console interior houses a spacious, airy berth that’s surrounded by a refined interior with wooden cabinetry, an electric head and a combination sink/shower. Scuttlebutt has it that Cobia will introduce a new 330 Dual Console powered by twin Yamaha 425 XTOs at the upcoming Miami Boat Show, so stay tuned. For more information, visit www.cobiaboats.com.


Everglades 395cc

Designed for those looking for something larger than the 355cc/365cc, but not as supersized as the 435cc, Everglades introduced their new 395cc at the recent Ft Lauderdale Boat Show. Like every model from Everglades, the patented RAMCAP hull construction is the center of this boat’s DNA, bringing the variable deadrise deep-vee hull to life. With a quiet powerful ride, comfortable seating throughout and unrestricted fishability, the 395cc will perform out on the blue water. The fully finished cabin floor, cushioned seating, ample standing cabin headroom and interior dining area (that transforms into an oversized sleeping area) all contribute to the model’s luxurious and functional feel. At the console, you’ll find Everglades’ patented hydraulic sliding windshield, with tempered glass and built-in wiper and washer system, an oversized electronics mounting area that’s ready for multiple 16-inch flush-mounted displays and Garmin’s digital switching system with touch-screen controls, the first time Garmin has offered this feature standard for any production boat manufacturer. The molded-in footrest with mat and folding visibility platform provides a comfortable ride in any conditions. Forward of the console, there’s a double lounge seat with armrests, cup holders, grab rails and USB charger. The 395cc comes standard with a single-level cockpit sole with unobstructed 360-degree perimeter access, an insulated in-deck 112-gallon fishbox, an insulated 75-gallon transom fishbox, two pressurized livewells, under-gunwale power ports, 39 total rodholders, forward in-gunnel rod storage compartments, numerous rod and gaff storage racks, outrigger quick-cam cleats and powder-coated, low-profile hand and toe rails. Also new for 2020 are the reimagined 295cc and the 365cc, which replaces last season’s 355cc model. For more information, visit www.evergladesboats.com.


Albemarle 31DC

Yet another newbie that made one of its first public appearances at the recent Ft Lauderdale Boat Show was the Albemarle 31 DC. According to Albemarle General Manager Burch Perry, “Our boat owners have been telling us that they needed more versatility and family-friendly features and required one boat that’s capable of chasing fish offshore in the morning and accommodating a variety of family activities in the afternoon.” Featuring a 24-degree aft deadrise, hand-laid solid fiberglass hull, one-piece construction and superior weather protection will allow boating even when the weather is less than ideal. She will be powered by Yamaha outboards, with a choice of either twin 300 or 350 horsepower four-strokes. The bow, helm and cockpit seating will offer plenty of comfortable space for family and friends. The standard boat has everything you need for a day offshore and with the addition of the optional cockpit galley, she is very capable of onboard dinner cruises as well. The 31 DC also features Albemarle’s “A” Berth, an innovative full beam berth, making her the first dual console in the class truly capable of comfortable overnighting. According to Keith Privott, Albemarle’s Director of Sales and Product Development, “Like all Albemarles, her ride will be best in class, keeping the crew dry and comfortable even when the weather turns, and she is loaded with features and comfort for the entire family. We have designed the exact boat that our customers requested.”

For more information, visit www.albemarleboats.com.


Blackfin 242 DC

This Florida boat builder has expanded its dual console series with the introduction of the 242 DC for the 2020 model year. I had a chance to inspect this beauty down at the recent FLIBS and she definitely has a lot to offer the fishing family that also enjoys water sports activities in between rod-bending flurries. She measures 24.5 feet LOA with an over-wide 8-foot 10-inch beam, supported by a 22-degree aft deadrise deep-vee running bottom, tipping the scales at a beefy 5,800 pounds dry and without power. This translates to a solid, wave-taming ride that will give you the confidence to get back safely to home port, even in marginal sea conditions. The Blackfin 242 offers a classic dual console deck layout that includes a cushioned U-shaped bow seating area, convertible double-backed port lounge seat with storage down under, a helm seat with cushioned flip-up bolster, plus a foldaway doublewide transom bench seat. The head area is equipped with a porta-potti with pump-out deck fitting, a port light, plus a vanity with solid surface top and pullout freshwater spray nozzle.

This Blackfin features an advanced high-tech carbon fiber hull laminate with vinylester barrier coat to prevent water osmosis into the laminate. This construction process also includes finished fiberglass hatches and a molded composite stringer grid, backed by a limited lifetime warranty. Other notable standard features on the 242 DC include an insulated/lighted 24-gallon recirculating livewell in the transom cap; handy 5-gallon bucket holder; a dozen S/S drink holders; both freshwater and raw water washdown systems; a fiberglass hardtop system with white powder-coated aluminum framework, a four-rod overhead rocket launcher, LED courtesy lighting and a trio of LED spreader lights; a pair of insulated fishboxes under the cockpit sole with macerator pump-outs; a quartet of gunwale-mount S/S rodholders, with a trio also mounted in the transom; Fusion AM/FM satellite stereo with a six-pack of JL speakers; in-floor stowage for all of your tow toys, plus a wet bar with sink, pull-out sprayer and a removable 35-quart YETI cooler. The 242 DC is offered in a kaleidoscope of hull colors. For more information, visit www.blackfinboats.com.

Boston Whaler

Whaler 405 Conquest Turning

As the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show got underway, Boston Whaler revealed the all-new 325 Conquest, joining the 405 Conquest to kick off a new chapter for this proven series of luxury cabin fishing boats. Both boats premiered at this event alongside the 380 Outrage, which is now available with a new quad engine package.

The 405 and 325 Conquests deliver multi-mission performance, paired with luxury touches that encourage entertaining and overnighting. Designed for offshore fishing runs as well as comfortable multi-day cruises, they offer inviting cabins, inventive seating, purposeful amenities and seamless performance. The dive door with removable ladder makes it easy for anglers to drag large catches onto the deck, or for swimmers and divers to climb back onboard. Breakthroughs in seating include a new portside companion lounge with hidden table that converts to multiple positions, and on the 405, an inviting adjustable bow chaise lounge with its own personal stereo system. Both boats feature a well-appointed helm deck wet bar complete with a sink, refrigerator (optional on the 325) and storage, making it easy to host a crowd. The 405 Conquest also features a highly customizable transom prep area, with several options for fishing and entertaining.

Below deck, the 405 features a private master stateroom and guest sleeping quarters, an enclosed head with separate shower, a convenient galley and more. The 325 includes a convertible V-berth sleeping/dining area and guest accommodations, and both boats feature a full-height hanging locker.

The Conquests’ new hull, redesigned from the keel up, delivers greater stability and the optional Seakeeper gyro-stabilization system virtually eliminates boat roll. Underway, the standard 300-horsepower Mercury Verado engines (quads on the 405; twins on the 325, with 350s available) with optional Joystick Piloting provide impressive power and control. For more information, visit www.bostonwhaler.com.

Carolina Skiff

Carolina Skiff 21 LS

This is a big year for Carolina Skiff, with a total of six new models, all of them being members of the new LS Series of family fishing and utility boats. Unlike its Carolina Skiff predecessors, the LS Series has a full hull liner, enhancing not only the boat’s appearance, but its handling on the water for a smoother, tighter and more comfortable ride. By incorporating a hull liner, the overall rigidity and strength of the boat has been improved. The addition of a hull liner enables all of the compartments on the deck to be molded into the design, instead of pieced-in as separate components. The LS Series boats are also self-bailing, so when water gets onto the deck during fishing and boating adventures, it automatically drains overboard. The self-bailing design utilizes gravity to pull any water toward strategically placed drainage points, keeping your feet dry all day long.

Prospective owners can choose from the new 17, 19, 21, 23 and 25 LS Series models. Additionally, the 21 LS Series hull is also available with a dual console layout, a first for the good folks from Carolina Skiff. The LS Series Dual Console is ideal for families or anglers who love a great runabout in both warmer and cooler weather. In colder weather, simply close the walk-through windshield and enjoy extended wind-protection and more time on the water. The entire LS Series comes loaded with premium diamond pleated upholstered seating, which enhances its overall fit and finish. The LS Series comfortably accommodates the whole family with its rear deck jump seats, cockpit seating, marine board storage lids with friction hinges, cup holders, cargo storage bags, removable 70-quart cooler and optional bow cushions, plus a whole lot more. All six of the new LS Series Carolina Skiffs are based on the identical 96-inch (8-foot) beam. Carolina Skiff has many upgrades and options to enable owners to select the items that best suit their needs. Key optional features include hull color upgrades, bow cushions, 12/24-volt trolling motor plug, S/S split bow and transom rail sets, AM/FM Bluetooth radio with USB, iPod and Aux plugs, fishing seats with bases and much more. For additional info, visit www.carolinaskiff.com.

Century Boats

Century 29 CC

I spoke with Century’s President Bryan Lucius at the recent FLIBS and he mentioned that for 2020, their popular 29-foot center console has morphed from the 2901 to the 29 CC. Both the running bottom and the layout have been tweaked, and the transom of the next-gen 29 CC is now rated to carry twin Yamaha F350s for a total of 700 horsepower. The running bottom has also been reshaped somewhat to provide a softer, drier and more fuel-efficient ride, with larger, wider chines for more stability at rest and increased lift when underway. The next-gen 29 CC features an integrated glass windshield and a new console with fiberglass liner down under. The T-top is 1.5 feet longer than the original, to provide added protection to the crew from the sun and harsh saltwater elements. Upholstery is now made from a silicone/leather material for enhanced protection from the sun and elements and it inhibits mold. The new 29 CC layout incorporates a six-pack of convenient S/S pop-up cleats; twin storage areas under the forward bench seating; a trio of under-deck stowage areas accessed via flush hatches on either side of the roomy console that include dry storage in the forward compartments, insulated fishboxes in the center compartments and battery boxes in the aft compartments; plus a full height transom cap with a freshwater sink and bait prep area, recirculating livewell, plus a tuna/access door to the swim platform tucked into the starboard corner. The crew’s seating arrangements include twin up/down cushioned bolster seats built into the leaning post/rocket launcher, a pair of cushioned sun lounges with removable backrests in the bow area, doublewide cushioned bench seat with rotating armrests forward of the console, plus a drop down doublewide bench seat aft. A half-dozen flush-mount rodholders are installed in the gunwales, with additional vertical storage units in the leaning post and overhead T-top. The 280-gallon fuel capacity will afford coastal anglers true canyon range, while the 23-degree aft deadrise deep-vee hull will slice and dice opposing head seas when in transit. For more information, visit www.centuryboats.com.


EdgeWater 340CC Front

The new EdgeWater 340CC premiered at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. The hull is based on their classic variable-vee deadrise running bottom and she is loaded with standard and optional features for both anglers and the family. If you need to travel in the fast lane in route to the blue water, you can exchange the standard twin Yamaha F300s and opt for a pair of Yamaha XTO 425 four-stroke V8s. When the offshore seas get nasty, the optional Seakeeper can keep her rock steady in the rough stuff. There are rodholders aplenty, and the console head offers dry storage and an impressive amount of room down below. The leaning post includes a wealth of standard features, and the salty upgraded version is equipped with an aquarium livewell and tackle drawers, along with a classy Corian countertop and cutting board. When it’s time to put the rods away and enjoy the weekend with the family, the plush forward lounge seat will enable the crew to work on their tan and the roomy bow area will entertain dockside guests with the easy-to-use stowaway bow table. Her fishing features include a quartet of vertical rodholders forward with a six-pack of flush-mounts in the gunwales; under-gunwale rod storage racks; a pair of lighted locking rod storage lockers amidships; raw water washdown; 28-gallon transom baitwell and 66-gallon transom fishbox; transom sink/bait rigging station with pull-out freshwater shower; stainless steel cockpit toe rails; fiberglass leaning post with removable 48-quart cooler, SS freshwater sink, pull-out shower, cutting board, storage drawers, four-rod aluminum rocket launcher and adjustable flip-up bolster helm seats; plus an insulated 620-quart bow in-floor fishbox with pump-out.

Notable standard features on the EdgeWater 340CC include a welded 316L stainless steel recessed powder-coated bow rail; a freshwater system with 30-gallon tank; removable Armstrong transom boarding ladder and walk-through transom door; folding removable stern bench seat; LED cockpit, underwater and navigation lights; twin auto bilge pumps; Lenco dual ram recessed trim tabs and much more. The bow is complete with a stainless steel 22-pound plow anchor, anchor locker with overboard drain; a protective stainless steel hull anchor chute chafe plate; a concealed S/S anchor windlass with 200 feet of rode and 15 feet of chain; plus freshwater washdown in the rope locker. For more information, visit www.ewboats.com.


Invincible 35 Catamaran 1

Like her predecessors in the Invincible Catamaran fleet, the 40 and the 37, the new 35 Catamaran was designed by the world-renowned naval architects at Morrelli & Melvin. Their decades of experience and the use of computational fluid dynamics gave birth to Invincible’s patent-pending Hybrid Semi-Asymmetric Stepped Multihull. Morrelli & Melvin designed the new 35 with the bluewater performance as the 37 and 40 in a smaller, more efficient and maneuverable package.

With the 35 catamaran, Invincible is offering more power options than ever before, including a number of different twin engine packages. Quad-outboard configurations will also be an option, as will additional seating arrangements. The separate large coffin boxes remain a standard feature on the 35, however there will be an option for a built-in console-coffin as well. The top will double as a two-person lounge seat while the inside will be a large insulated coffin box. Other notable standard items on the new 35 Catamaran include AGM sealed batteries; a built-in anchor locker; above and below-deck livewells; generous under-deck storage; interior console lighting; saltwater washdown; four automatic 2000 gph bilge pumps; vacuum-bagged cored hull construction using 100% vinylester resin; under-gunwale lighting; plus a single level deck with 360 degrees of walkaround fishability. I was able to inspect this new feline at the recent Ft Lauderdale Boat Show and she’s an impressive fishing platform that will appeal to a wide range of coastal anglers who want to fish and travel in comfort, and get there fast. For more information, visit www.invincibleboats.com.

Key West

Key West 263 FS Running

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 500 horsepower, 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. For more information, visit www.keywestboats.com.


Mako 236 CC 4

The new kid on the block for this Springfield, MO based boat builder is the Mako 236 CC, which offers a lot of inshore and offshore fishability in a relatively compact, affordable and trailerable package. This versatile mid-sized sportfisher has been designed with a fine balance of creature comforts and hardcore fishability. She features cushioned raised forward bench seating in the bow, with removable backrests and a 247-quart insulated fishbox/dry storage locker under each bench, plus a center transom jump seat that provides welcome crew seating when you need it and folds neatly out of the way when it’s time to fish. The integrated forward console bench seat features a 52-quart insulated cooler under the cushioned lid to ice down your day’s beverages. Dual aft 22-gallon rounded livewells are set in each transom corner, which is the perfect place for sending out a bait to a cruising gamefish and they are accessed via friction hinge acrylic lids. You can ice down your catch in twin 135-quart insulated fishboxes situated under the room aft cockpit sole. A tuna/dive door is set into the port side aft, complemented by a hinged locking gate and boarding ladder. The standard aluminum leaning post features a flip-up bolster with a four-rod rocket launcher aft. The console features a head area down under with 6 feet of standing headroom and up above, the generous dash panel offers standard digital switching via multifunction displays. 

When it’s rough outside, you can still take this mid-sized Mako out to play, since she features a 21-degree aft deadrise running bottom, with a 23-foot 4-inch overall length, supported by an 8-foot 6-inch trailerable beam that tips the scales at 4,100 pounds. Her 136-gallon fuel capacity will take you and the crew a long way in between fill-ups, and the standard Mercury 300 XL Verado supercharged four-stroke will get northeast anglers out to 50 fathoms and back with plenty of fuel to spare. Optional engine packages include either a Mercury 350 XL Verado or twin 150 XL four-strokes. For more info, visit www.makoboats.com.

Maritime Boats

Maritime Patriot 25

Maritime Boats are now based in New Hampshire and are built by Chislett’s Boating and Design. Their 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-potti 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. The 23 and 25 Challenger cabin models feature a composite laminated glass windshield for strength and good looks. These boats have large versatile cockpits ideal for cruising and fishing. Both Challenger models feature excellent visibility from the well-designed pilot house, a large comfortable V-berth that easily accommodates two adults and has a variety of seating, galley and cockpit configurations to meet your needs. For more information, visit www.maritimeboats.com.

Nautic Star

Nautic Star 32XS

Nautic Star has finally moved into a new neighborhood for the 2020 model year, with the introduction of their first 30-foot plus sportfisher, the 32 XS Offshore. This outstanding saltwater performer delivers all the necessary fishing features for the serious angler with a smooth, dry, comfortable ride with cutting edge styling and comfort features rarely seen in a boat of this style and size. With its 10.5-foot beam, the 32 XS Offshore offers a spacious and comfortable bow that features large forward lounge seating with arm rests and plush wrap-around bow seats. The head console has a fully lined interior with a sink, SeaDek floor and electric flush toilet. It offers a spacious and ergonomic helm that allows for the owner’s choice of either dual 12-inch or 16-inch multifunction displays. The leaning post features ergonomically correct Lebrock double billfish seats with flip-up bolsters and pivot arms. It has a sink, tackle storage, and a slide-out, 35-quart YETI cooler. The D-channel, integrated T-top can be fitted with a variety of options such as a retractable shade and fold-down cockpit television. Aft, the jump seats flip-up for a spacious fishing deck with sizable, in-floor fishboxes and large port side dive door.

According to Nautic Star’s Director of Engineering Ryan Witt, “The new 32 XS Offshore is engineered for exceptional reliability and performance and carries forward Nautic Star’s 100% wood-free construction and one-piece foam filled fiberglass stringer system. Additionally, we’ve added some great new design features such as sculpted hull sides, a side-entry cockpit door and large insulated in-floor fishboxes. The 32 XS Offshore also features cutting edge technologies with NaviOP digital vessel control system and Klipsch custom tuned audio system.” Notable standard features include a pair of 8.8-cubic-foot cockpit in-floor fishboxes, a 9.8-cubic-foot in-floor fishbox forward, a 31-gallon livewell aft and a 38-gallon freshwater capacity. The 23-degree aft deadrise will let you blast through an afternoon chop on the way home, and with twin Yamaha 425 XTOs, you can travel fast and far with her 307-gallon fuel tank. For more info, visit www.nauticstarboats.com.


North Coast 255 Cabin

As many Fisherman readers might recall, we did a detailed review of the NorthCoast 255HT a few months back, which is this Rhode Island builder’s new offering for the 2020 model year. One of the most unique attributes of the 255HT cabin is that her three-sided open pilot house setup will offer weather protection for four crew members when underway. Two cushioned benches feature a trio of tackle storage drawers, plus a 113-quart insulated cooler down under with on-deck drains. Yet another attractive feature of this beamy (9 feet, 5 inches) deep-vee sportfisher is her roomy cockpit, which measures 47 square feet, supported by almost 25 inches of cockpit depth with standard coaming bolsters. A 28-gallon recirculating livewell is positioned in the full-height transom cap and a bait-rigging station with cutting board is located under a flush transom hatch to starboard. Twin 139-quart fishboxes are set under the cockpit sole port and starboard, with each having its own dedicated macerator pump-out. A clever, high-end battery switching setup is located under the starboard cockpit step that allows owners to select, charge and interconnect the trio of standard AGM batteries (engine, engine, house). Two pair of stainless steel flush-mount gunwale rodholders are standard, in addition to a trio of horizontal rodholders set under each gunwale. Raw water washdown is standard, as is the ability to flush-mount a pair of 12-inch multi-function displays at the dash. She’ll hit a top speed of 56 mph powered by twin Yamaha F250s, super-cruise at 30-mph at only 3500 rpm and plane on one engine. For more information, visit www.northcoastboats.com


Parker 2600 SH

The Parker 26 Sport Hybrid (SH) is a dream that has come true. For nearly two years, a dedicated team of engineers at Parker Offshore, including Linwood Parker himself, designed the ultimate vessel to keep you inshore, take you offshore, or opt for a relaxing day of sandbar hopping with the family. Twenty-six and a half feet LOA with a 9.5-foot beam, complete with all the bay boat essentials, the 26 SH offers ample fishing space at the bow and stern, twin 30-gallon recirculating livewells aft with clear observation lids, a four-rod rocket launcher, plus multiple rodholders, located on both the starboard and port side. Friends and family will enjoy comfortable and ergonomic seating at the bow and stern, with convenient cupholders throughout, a Fusion stereo and with six speakers, dome lights and freshwater washdown to rinse off the salt when the day is complete. The 17-degree aft deadrise modified-vee running bottom will keep this overwide bay boat stable at rest, even with a quartet of anglers casting to all points of the compass. With a dry weight of 5,073 pounds, she’s beefy enough to tame an afternoon chop out on the open bay, and if the weather’s right, you can run the inlet to near offshore waters, and the 97-gallon fuel tank will provide enough range to get you there and back.

Notable standard features include a Yamaha F300 with digital electronic controls and an Atlas hydraulic jack plate; forward casting platform (69 inches L x 102 inches W); forward anchor locker; a quartet of S/S 8-inch pull up cleats; lighted, lockable rod and gear storage port and starboard; centerline dry storage area; 148-quart insulated fishbox or (optional) 20-gallon livewell; trolling motor receptacle (no batteries included); tilt-out tackle storage; integrated windshield; T-top with lockable electronics box; three spreader lights; four-rod rocket launchers; twin stereo speakers; raw water washdown; under gunwale rod storage with protective reel pads and fish ruler; cockpit lighting; self-bailing cockpit; in-hull retractable boarding ladder; and 10×14 Lenco trim tabs with LED trim indicators. For more information, visit www.parkerboats.com.


Pioneer Pelagic 266

The Pioneer 266 Pelagic center console is the latest new boat in their lineup and one of the most popular power configurations is a pair of Suzuki DF250 four-strokes. She sports 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 horsepower, 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. For more information, visit them on at http://pioneerboats.com/


Pro Line 26 Super Sport

I spoke with sales reps down at the Ft Lauderdale boat show and other than a few tweaks, there is nothing new for Pro-Line for the 2020 season. One of the most recent models is the 26 Super Sport center console. Measuring 26 feet 4 inches LOA with an 8.5-foot beam and a 22-degree aft deadrise running bottom, tipping the scales at 4,400 pounds dry, this Pro-Line will get you 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 milk maximum fuel economy from her 138-gallon 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-potti. 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. For more information, visit www.prolineboats.com.


Pursuit DC 326 Port Side

The DC 326, the latest addition to Pursuit’s innovative dual console family, builds on the reputation of one of their most popular boats, the DC 325. The next-gen DC 326 features a fully integrated fiberglass hardtop with tempered glass windshield, re-engineered storage, plus a starboard hull side door, taking the distinctive Pursuit dual console series to the next level of ergonomics and functionality. A port side wrap-around lounge, rotating helm seat, forward bow and foldaway cockpit seating offer plenty of room for friends, family and crew while rodholders, a 24-gallon recirculating livewell and dedicated tackle storage are ready to fish on a moment’s notice.

The amount of seating room that you will find on this newbie is simply amazing. There’s a doublewide bench seat set into the transom bulkhead, which is replete with a total of five vertical rodholders in the cap. These complement the four gunwale mounted rodholders set in the coaming boards and a (optional) six-pack of vertical holders in the hardtop’s rocket launcher. The portside seating arrangements include a double bench that faces aft and an L-shaped wrap-around lounge. The operator works from an adjustable overwide seat to starboard, which abuts up against an entertainment center with freshwater sink, counter top and storage down under. The bow area will seat yet another quartet of folks, either underway or at dockside when it’s time for drinks and conversation. The DC 326 is rigged with a pair of Yamaha F300s as her standard power complement, which will provide excellent range when fueled by the 300-gallon tank. The port side console features Pursuit’s patented Single Motion/Dual Action console access door with gasket and 316L S/S locking latch, a cabin entry step, molded console hull and deck liners with drainage, dedicated storage for four rods, bow table, safety gear, and a hanging locker. There’s also convertible berthing accommodations/seating with cushions, an opening port light with screen, the main distribution panel with voltage display, a 12V dual USB charger and flush mounted charging station, 120V GFI outlet, fire extinguisher and CO monitor. The starboard console features a vacuum flush electric marine head, 10-gallon holding tank with macerator discharge pump, a molded sink with cold water faucet, Corian countertop and vanity mirror, under sink storage locker, plus a 120V GFI outlet. There are dozens of other standard features, too many to mention here. For more information, visit www.pursuitboats.com.

Regulator Marine

Regulator 26XO Fishing

Introduced in the mid-2019 season, the Regulator 26XO is a center console crossover providing access to open bays, saltwater flats, inlets and skinny waters, as well as the capability to head offshore. Equipped with a Yamaha F300 with SeaStar Solutions hydraulic jackplate, the 26XO features more than 122 square feet of deck space, spacious seating for the whole family, generous storage, built-in coolers, flush-folding rear cockpit seats and a stand-up head compartment. The 26XO Seating & Tackle Center, Garmin 16 XO Fish Package and Fiberglass T-top with Integrated Wraparound Windshield all come standard. Buyers can choose from options like a factory-installed Power Pole Blade for precise shallow water anchoring; removable watersports tow bar; and a versatile Minn Kota trolling motor with iPilot GPS.

The layout and build quality of the new 26XO is pure Regulator, which means that she’s built like a tank at 5,900 pounds (including engine). Measuring 26 feet 9 inches LOA with a 9-foot 3-inch beam, her 17-degree aft deadrise modified-vee running bottom only draws 14 inches with the engine tilted up and she’ll scoot along in the fast lane with her standard Yamaha F300. She may be a crossover that appeals to the entire watersports family, but she’s still a fishing boat first and her angling capabilities are totally off the charts. Standard fishing accoutrements include a pair of 292-quart insulated fishbox/dry lockers with locking rod storage in the bow; a 280-quart fishbox set under the sole, just forward of the console; raw water and freshwater washdown systems; rod stowage racks under the gunwales; a quartet of stainless steel flush mount rodholders in the coamings; plus a pair of 256-quart storage lockers aft. Seating is not an afterthought on this Carolina girl, with an upholstered leaning post for two with flip-up bolster, and an integrated 32-gallon livewell and tackle storage; an upholstered twin bench set in the forward console; plus forward seating with flip-up backrests. For more information, visit www.regulatormarine.com.

Release Boats

Release 240RX 1

I spoke with the sales rep of Release Boats down at the FLIBS back in November and although they don’t have any brand new hulls to introduce for 2020, they have tweaked two of their most popular boats for the new model year. The 238 RX Center Console has morphed to the 240 RX and the 208 RX CC has transitioned to the 210 RX model. According to the Release Marine folks, both of these hulls include minor upgrades to the dash panels to accommodate larger multi-function electronics displays; there is increased tackle storage onboard; Simrad 9-inch displays are now standard; both now include Fusion stereo and speakers in the standard equipment list; plus there is a new collection of interior colors to choose when outfitting your ride.

Standard equipment on the 24-footer includes a veritable laundry list of useful fishing and comfort features, including a side entry door and ladder setup built into the port side aft; an array of individual aft bench seats that fold down into the aft platform to make either a rooming casting deck or a large boarding area. When put in the upright position, these combine to make a triple-wide aft bench seat for the family and crew; a deluxe forward lounge area with standard cushions, a pair of large insulated fishboxes down under, rodholders and a dual-purpose casting deck; a deluxe T-top with Sunbrella canopy, four-rod overhead rocket launcher and LED spreader light; leaning post with backrest and footrest; stainless steel accessory switch panel with circuit breakers; cockpit bolsters; 35-gallon livewell; Sea Star hydraulic steering and more. One of my close fishing buds just purchased a new Release 238/240 RX center console, so I should be hopping aboard for a bunch of inshore and near offshore fishing trips in the spring, so stay tuned for a more detailed evaluation later this year. For more info, visit www.releaseboats.com.


Robalo R230 CC

Robalo introduced their new R230 center console at the FLIBS and you’d be challenged to find a more capable boat in its class for their reasonable asking price. With a 23-foot LOA supported by an 8-foot 6-inch beam, the R230 is equipped with a mechanical Yamaha F200 four-stroke as the standard power plant, with an F225 and drive-by-wire electronic F250 also available as upgrades. The R230’s 20-degree aft deadrise hydrolift running bottom will provide a dry and comfortable ride and the 90-gallon fuel capacity will enable you to either fish or cruise all day. The private head area features a full 5 feet of standing headroom that is easily accessed via a swing-out door set in the forward section of the console. She’s rated to carry up to 12 passengers, so you can pack her down with friends, family and gear for those beach days in between fishing trips. The R230 offers a unique transom bulkhead that is flat, acting as a rear casting platform. Lift-up hatches reveal cushioned seating for four across the stern for traveling to and from your destination. Down under, there’s a removable storage bin and a recirculating livewell under the port position. Other notable standard features include twin raised bench seating in the bow with insulated coolers/fishboxes underneath, and a recessed anchor locker. The console features plenty of dash panel space to mount a big-screen multi-function display and a pair of convenient accessory switch panels flank either side of the dash. There are a multitude of accessories, fishing and comfort options that are available that will allow owners to totally trick out their ride. For more information, visit www.robalo.com.


Sailfish 360 CC 2

Introduced in the 2019 season as the biggest and baddest Sailfish center console to date, the 360CC will give anglers and crews a multi-mission platform that is equally adept at the 100-fathom line as she is taking family and friends to the beach or dinner. Her layout offers plenty of space for a crew of six anglers, with everyone having their own private space to sit comfortably while cruising to and from the offshore fishing grounds. This is accomplished via a leaning post with three person helm seating and three-person aft-facing seating. When it’s time for a day at the beach or a trip to your favorite waterside dining spot, the seating capacity expands to 13 when you include the hideaway triple wide bench seat in the transom bulkhead, a fully upholstered convertible bow seat/lounge for two, plus twin raised bench seats with forward facing backrests. Other features include an automated motor flushing system, a thru-hull windlass system and a three station freshwater washdown system. The helm of the 360CC offers an adjustable height standing driving position, including a Comfort Zone anti-fatigue pad to support the driver’s knees on those long trips offshore. The large dash area can accommodate either a pair of 16-inch or a trio of 12-inch multi-function displays. The expanded head area is accessed via a port side companionway in the console and includes Corian counter tops, a freshwater stainless steel sink, a berth area to catch a quick nap in between fishing frenzies, a standup shower, wood cabinetry and venting port light. The 360CC’s fishing features are totally off the charts and include a total of 34 rodholders, 42- and 32-gallon pressurized circulating baitwells, build-in tackle storage, a sea chest baitwell pump system, a tuna/dive door on the aft port side, plus 30 inches of cockpit depth aft and 40 inches in the bow for crew comfort and safety. For more information, visit www.sailfishboats.com.


Scout 330 LXF

Scout’s new 530 LXF made its debut at the 2019 Miami Boat Show and absolutely wowed the crowds. Her aerospace-proven, epoxy-infusion process hull design provides a smooth finish, with more structural stability, while reducing overall weight. LOA is 53 feet, with a width that’s 14 feet, 8 inches. Owners can opt for either four or five Yamaha 425 XTO V8s, or up to six Mercury outboards hitched to the transom, for breath-taking speeds up to the mid-60s.

Scout’s new 277 LXF and 330 LXF made their debuts at the recent Ft Lauderdale show and expand the fleet of luxury center console sportfishers to include a total of nine models from 27 to 53 feet. The 277 LXF is sure to appeal to a cross-section of Fisherman readers with its good looks, excellent finishing detail, ergonomic layout and fuel-efficient 22-degree aft deadrise variable vee running bottom. The Scout 277 LXF is a performance machine that is loaded with standard features such as a fully walkable transom swim platform, a port-side swing-in door and a powder coated T-top hardtop with integrated frameless windshield and rocket launchers. Some notable optional features are underwater lights, outriggers and an engine flush kit. She measures 27 feet 6 inches in length, supported by a 9-foot beam and tips the scales at 5,650 pounds dry without power.

This Carolina girl is no slouch in the performance department, with a top speed of 58.1 mph outfitted with a pair of Mercury’s next-gen V6 four-strokes. Zipping along at only 3500 rpm, this power package will push the Scout 277 LXF at 32.7 mph, at only 13.6 gph, for a net of 2.4 mpg. The standard 164-gallon fuel tank will take you and the crew a long way between fill-ups. The 330 LXF offers offshore anglers similar capabilities, but on a larger scale. For more info, visit www.scoutboats.com.

Sea Chaser

Sea Chaser 35 HFC Bluewater Series

Just like it was a big model year for new product introductions for parent company Carolina Skiff, the same is true for Sea Chaser, their bluewater fishing boat spinoff. Sea Chaser has introduced a total of four new models for 2020, including the 27 HFC (hybrid fishing and comfort) Dual Console, 30 HFC Dual Console, 30 HFC and 35 HFC. These newbies totally dwarf most of Sea Chaser’s fleet prior to entering the over 30-foot competitive marketplace. It’s a totally new day for this popular Georgia based boat builder, as they jump into this new competitive market with all guns blazing.    

Designed for fishing families who also enjoy cruising, a day at the beach and their watersports, the 27 HFC DC is versatile enough to surpass the expectations of the most serious coastal angler. The new 27 HFC Dual Console has everything you could ever need on the water, no matter what the mission of the moment. Measuring 27 feet 3 inches LOA with a 9.5-foot beam, the 20-degree aft deadrise deep-vee running bottom combined with her hefty 6,244-pound dry weight should tame just about any afternoon wind chop. In addition to the innovative dual console design, the 27 HFC DC features a wrap-around walk-through windshield, which enables comfortable movement from the bow to the stern. It also features spacious bow seating, a plush captain’s chair and ample rear seating featuring our new diamond-embossed upholstery. With strategically placed speakers, a large galley with a built-in grill and refrigerator, a spacious bathroom and plenty of bright LED deck lighting, the 27 HFC Dual Console makes hosting gatherings on the water a simple reality. The deep-vee hull design makes offshore adventures or weekends at faraway places a distinct reality. Plus there’s plenty of built-in storage space from stem to stern for all your family, fishing and fun needs! For more information, visit Carolina Skiff’s home page at www.carolinaskiff.com, and then hit the Sea Chaser tab at the top of the page.

Sea Fox

Sea Fox 368 Commander 3

The all-new 368 Commander was unveiled earlier this summer and will be the new flagship of the Sea Fox family. At 36 feet LOA with an 11-foot 2-inch beam, the 368 Commander has a sharp forward entry angle that tapers back to 23 degrees at the transom, for true deep-vee/stepped hull performance to handle the roughest water conditions. The 3-inch thick composite transom can hold either triple Yamaha F300s or twin 425 XTOs. The hull incorporates an infused lamination process and is the first of its kind in the Sea Fox line up. The foam filled stringer mold is a beast with massive bonding points throughout the hull to ensure a solid ride in any weather conditions.

Like all Sea Fox boats, the 368 is designed for comfort in the bow area with its extended multi-person lounger set forward of the console and has multi-dimensional cushions for the ultimate in comfort. The cockpit is a serious fisherman’s dream machine, boasting twin 45-gallon aquarium livewells that are also pressurized, which means that they push 100% water and 0% air. Four insulated fishboxes in the floor will chill out your catch of the day for the ride home, and a larger freezer plate storage facility located across the transom wall will keep bait, food and drinks at any temperature desired. Triple helm seats sit high for 360-degree viewing of the ocean around you and a full glass console enclosure keeps the crew dry in all weather conditions. The generous 382-gallon fuel tank will give this sportfisher canyon range and then some, making for some interesting extended range bluewater trips for you and the crew to the faraway fishing grounds that few can reach. Notable standard features on the 368 Commander include a 22-pound anchor, 15 feet of chain and 200 feet of rode connected to a thru-hull windlass system (with controls at helm and bow), stainless steel chafe plate and anchor roller; a total of four auto bilge pumps; side door cockpit access; wireless console cell phone charger and storage compartment; 65-quart YETI cooler with electric catch and mechanical slide out mechanism; twin Garmin 8622XSV MFDs with two thru-hull transducers (B175 L CHIRP & B175H CHIRP); Reverso quick connect automatic motor flush system and much more. For additional details, visit www.seafoxboats.com.

Sea Hunt

Sea Hunt 239 Ultra CC

According to the Sea Hunt factory folks that I spoke with down at the recent FLIBS, they are engineering the next generation of popular Ultra luxury center consoles, starting off with the Ultra 239 SE. This mid-sized sportfisher measures 24 feet, 3 inches LOA, supported by an 8.5-foot beam and 18 degrees of deadrise at the transom. This South Carolina girl is equipped with a 55-degree forward entry angle and a fairly flat running attitude, so there is minimal penalty for the reduced deadrise aft. She tips the scales at 3,900 pounds dry and can be rigged with the prospective owner’s choice of Yamaha four-stroke power. I tested the original version of this hull with a Yamaha F225/4.2L V6 a few years back, but depending on your need for speed and performance when carrying a crowd, she can handle up to 300 sea ponies on the transom, so the Yamaha F250 and F300 are realistic options. Depending on how you use her and where you are traveling, the 96-gallon fuel tank will take care of the majority of your needs and travel plans. If fishing is on the menu for the day, the 15-gallon aft livewell will come in handy, as will the 140-quart insulated fishbox tucked under the starboard bow bench seat and the numerous flush-mount rodholders.          

Sea Hunt’s integrated tempered glass enclosure protects captain and crew from the elements while providing excellent air flow. At the touch of a button, an electric actuator opens the front window, and air flows freely at the helm to keep everyone cool. The oversized fiberglass T-top comes complete with LED lights, a vapor mist cooling system, two 6-inch JL audio speakers, a four-rod overhead rocket launcher, outrigger plates, spreader lights, an anchor light and an electronics box. Yet another neat feature of the Sea Hunt Ultra 239 SE is the stern anchor locker, set under a flush hatch on the starboard side of the swim platform. The convenience of having a second anchor onboard and readily available can make those family beach days all the more enjoyable. With the use of both a bow and stern anchor, you can relax without having to move a singular anchor with every change of the tide. For more information, visit www.seahuntboats.com.

Sea Pro

Sea Pro 259

Sea Pro is back in business and their boats are currently built at a newly renovated 200,000 square-foot facility. Sea Pro’s growing line-up offers four bay boats from 17 to 24 feet and a trio of deep-vee center consoles (21, 23 and 25). The newest of these is the 259 Center Console, and I jumped aboard and took 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-vee 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-vee center console at the upcoming Miami Boat Show, so stay tuned for more. For additional info, visit www.seapromfg.com.

Sportsman Boats

Sportsman Masters 267OE Running

Sportsman has expanded their lineup of bay boats with the introduction of the new Masters 267OE, joining the existing 20-, 22- and 24-footers in the family. The Masters 267OE offers skinny water and back-bay aficionados a supersized capability in a stable platform that measures 26 feet 7 inches in length, with an over-wide 9-foot 2-inch beam. Her 16-degree aft deadrise running bottom will keep her stable at rest, enabling you and the crew to take full advantage of her built-in bow and stern casting decks. Although standard power is provided courtesy of a Yamaha F300 V6 four-stroke outboard, you can also upgrade to either of Yamaha’s V8 power packages, the F350 or 425 XTO. Going with the 5.6L 425 XTO, she’ll hit a top speed of over 60 mph, with fast lane cruising speeds in the mid-40s.

The Sportsman Masters 267OE offers some unique layout modularity, depending on your needs. The fiberglass dual chair leaning post with bolsters and tackle storage is a no-charge option that replaces the full fiberglass leaning post/32-gallon livewell setup with a downsized fiberglass and aluminum combo leaning post. This leaning post is not as deep and opens up some aft cockpit room while maintaining all of the same functionality. Additionally, it adds a YETI cooler and welcomed tackle storage. Yet another no-cost option is the ability for prospective owners to replace the standard 104-gallon coffin box cooler/lounge seat forward of the console with a chopped version to allow for even more fishing room up front at the bow. This option includes a YETI cooler up front to chill out your food or beverages, also doubling as a seat for one of your crew. Other standard features on the Sportsman Masters 267OE include a 116-gallon fuel tank, 25-gallon freshwater capacity, 21-gallon rear livewell, 32-gallon rear in-deck fishbox, 8-gallon bow livewell, 36-gallon box fishbox and more. Sportsman also plans to launch a new Open 352 at the upcoming Miami Boat Show in February, so stay tuned. To learn more, visit www.sportsmanboatsmfg.com.

Southport Boats

Southport 30 FE

Southport Boats recently announced the introduction of a new 30-foot Center Console model, the Southport 30 FE, which made its debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The Southport 30 FE is the evolution of the original Southport 292, and will usher in a new style and design for Southport center consoles. According to Southport Marketing Director Jonathan Kirby, “The Southport 30 FE will carry over many features from the 33 FE and 33 DC, but also feature many new design cues for the whole brand that we are excited to introduce on this boat.” The Southport 30 FE fits in the middle of the Southport lineup, and offers a mid-sized option for buyers who are looking for a very capable offshore boat, but don’t feel the need to jump up to the 33 FE. The new 30 FE, much like the 33 FE, will offer features and comforts that make the boat ideal for both offshore fishing and family days at the beach. The 30 FE offers increased aft and forward cockpit space for fishing and entertaining, with some all-new features including an insulated transom fishbox (in addition to the classic in-deck fishboxes), rear swim decks and an even more comfortable console interior.

The 30 FE also features a mezzanine seating leaning post with built-in coolers, room for a fridge and tackle storage, plus a comfortable aft-facing bench seat to watch the baits or just enjoy the ride. A large insulated fishbox is set in the transom cap, which also includes a livewell in the port corner and a drop-down triple-wide bench seat. With a 30-foot LOA, supported by a 10.5-foot beam, 22-degree aft deadrise variable-vee running bottom and a 232-gallon fuel capacity, you can power her with twin 300s or 350s and enjoy true canyon range. For more information, visit www.southportboats.com.


Striper 230 DC

Striper has consolidated its lineup somewhat for 2020 and is currently offering 20- and 22-foot center consoles, 20- and 23-foot walkaround cuddies and 20- and 23-foot dual consoles.

The Striper 230 Dual Console is a versatile switch hitter that is right in the wheelhouse of most Fisherman readers from a size, capability and budget perspective. The 230 DC offers a bait station, rod storage and deep freeboard for serious anglers, plus a comfortable bow lounge and options like a wet bar and wakeboard tower for those who find their entertainment out on the water in other ways when fishing is not on the menu. The Striper 230 DC measures 22 feet 8 inches on the centerline, supported by an 8.5-foot beam and a vee-bottom running surface that offers 20 degrees of aft deadrise. This dual console tips the scales at 3,665 pounds dry and she’s rated to carry 300 sea ponies on the transom. The 129-gallon fuel tank will take you a long way in between fill-ups, especially if you are spending most of your time fishing inshore and running family and friends to and from the beach.

The 230 DC offers a “modified” dual console layout in its standard package, one that features twin jump seats in the aft corners, dual adjustable pedestal seats at the helm and companion positions, plus a pair of cushioned bench lounges in the bow. When it’s time to fish, the Striper 230 DC offers one of the most spacious and clutter-free cockpits in her class, with a total of six flush-mount rodholders in the gunwales and transom, a pair of insulated fishboxes tucked under the sole, an aerated baitwell, stainless steel toe rails and a walk-through transom door to help land the big ones. Notable standard features include hydraulic trim tabs; freshwater transom shower; extended swim platform with S/S boarding ladder; anchor locker with flush access hatch; a fiberglass hardtop; head area with locking door, freshwater sink, porta-potti with pump-out and deck fitting, plus an opening port window for ventilation. There are numerous options available to help make this dual console a true weekender. For more information, visit www.striperboats.com.


Tidewater 272 Adventure Custom

This South Carolina based boat builder has recently introduced their 272 CC Adventure for the 2020 model year, joining a growing Adventure family that now includes a total of nine center consoles ranging from 18 to 32 feet in length. Neatly tucked in between the existing 252 CC and 280 CC Adventure models, the new 272 CC measures 27 feet 2 inches on the centerline, with an over-wide 9-foot 8-inch beam, featuring 21.5 degrees of deep-vee deadrise at the transom, with a sharp forward entry, distinctive Carolina flare forward and dry weight of 5,500 pounds. No matter what’s on the day’s agenda, she offers plenty of cockpit space fore and aft, with 26.5 inches of cockpit depth aft and 35 inches amidships. Unlike other builders that force you to embrace their brand of outboards, whether you like it or not, Tidewater offers each prospective owner his/her choice of pre-rigging from Mercury, Yamaha, Evinrude and Honda, so your dealer can just plug and play the outboards that you select. The 272 CC Adventure also comes factory-rigged with the option of twin Yamaha F115s, F150s or F200s. She can also sport a single XXL shaft F300 or F350 if that is your preference. No matter what power you decide for your transom, the 180-gallon fuel tank will take you a long way between fill-ups and offers serious bluewater range. Other notable standard features include a 28-gallon livewell tucked in the starboard corner of the transom; cockpit and bow coaming bolsters; removable twin bow bench backrests and bow cushion; JL stereo with four speakers; black dash with digital gauges; plus a deluxe leaning post with drop-down bolsters. A fiberglass T-top is standard, as are trim tabs; a macerator pump-out for the under-sole fishbox; raw water washdown; dual battery switch; recessed anchor with windlass; swim ladder; bow table; and a six-pack of pull-up cleats. For more information, visit www.tidewaterboats.com.

Valhalla Boatworks

Valhalla Boatworks V33 Running 2

Valhalla Boatworks, an offshoot of Viking Yachts, made a huge splash at the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show with the introduction of a trio of new bluewater center console outboard models that are sure to turn heads. All Valhalla Boatworks models are constructed with blister resistant modified vinylester resin, using closed cell foam core in selected areas for optimized strength and stiffness, while minimizing weight. Each of the three Valhalla hulls (V33, V37 and V41) features an integrated Seakeeper mounting structure that is molded into the stringers and they are based on a patented Michael Peters Stepped-V Ventilated Tunnel running surface. Each of these newbies will include a Hooker sea chest livewell system with high-speed pick-up and single variable speed pump with a control knob at helm. The transoms of each new Valhalla sport racing style trim tabs, with LED interior console lighting and under gunwale lighting. Generous multiple rod storage is provided for each model, including dedicated space under the lounge seating.

All three models will be offered with the operator’s choice of either Mercury or Yamaha four-stroke outboard power. The V33 can be equipped with twin 300 Merc V8s, dual Verado 400s or a pair of Yamaha F300 V6s. The V37 offers the choice of triple Merc 300 V8s, 400 Verados, Yamaha 300s, or a pair of Yamaha’s big-block 425 XTO V8s. The V41 can be powered with triple Mercury 400 Verados, quad Mercury 300 V8s or 400 Verados, or a trio of Yamaha 425 XTOs. Standard fuel capacity is listed as 358 gallons for the V33, 485 gallons for the V37 and 550 gallons for the V41. Valhalla boats are backed by a 1-year limited warranty to the original purchaser. For more information, visit www.valhallaboatworks.com


Wellcraft 162 CC

The news from the Wellcraft factory folks that I spoke with at the FLIBS was both large and small. Wellcraft has introduced two new models for 2020, the 162 Fisherman and their new flagship, the 402 Fisherman. The reps gave us the some preliminary details of the 402F at the Ft Lauderdale show, so we’re all going to have to stay tuned for more in the coming weeks. The new hull measures 40 feet 4 inches LOA, has a 12.5-foot beam, with a 486-gallon fuel tank and she’s rigged to carry four of Yamaha’s 425 XTO V8s on the transom, so bring your seatbelts! Key features on this big girl are aquarium style livewells, bow seating with a hydraulically activated table, cabin and sleeping accommodations with a porcelain toilet and separate shower; cockpit dive/access doors port and starboard; dockside power; raised mezzanine seating for three at the helm, with second row seating for another trio of crew with a built-in refrigerator; a large console with forward seating and plenty of dry storage; an optional secondary helm station up top; a deluxe T-top/hardtop with ladder back supports; folding transom seating; plus a standard windlass with anchor, rode and chain. I was able to board hull #1 and snap a few pics on my iPhone, but we’ll have to wait until the Miami boat show for more.   

Wellcraft’s 162 Fisherman is the ultimate entry level, trailerable sport fishing platform that can get you into the game fishing the back bays and coastal estuaries. She’s available in a trio of hull colors and offers the same look and feel to her somewhat shorter lines as her larger siblings. Her diminutive dimensions make her eminently trailerable with the family car and she measures 16 feet 4 inches LOA, with a 7-foot beam, with an approximate boat/engine weight of 1,700 pounds. With 12 inches of draft (engine up) and a six-person capacity, you can sneak her into some really skinny water. The 15-degree aft deadrise modified-vee running bottom is easy to power and she’ll perform nicely with her engine choices, which include either Yamaha (70, 90 horsepower) or Mercury (60, 75, 90 horsepower) four-stroke outboards. The removable 12-gallon poly tank fits neatly into a secure space in the transom, yet can be easily taken off the boat for refilling at any local service station. For additional details, visit www.wellcraft.com.


Yellowfin 34

I spoke with Yellowfin Sales Manager Marty Bistrong at the recent Ft Lauderdale boat show and he mentioned that they are planning a “BIG” splash at the upcoming Miami show in February with the introduction of their new 55CC, which will be powered by at least four Mercury or Yamaha 400+ horsepower outboards on the transom. This project was still a work in progress as of this writing and as you know, a lot of things can change between now and then.

The most recent Yellowfin to hit the marinas, the 34 Offshore introduced at the 2019 Miami Boat Show, 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 getting 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-vee 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-horsepower 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.



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