2021 Fishing Boat Buyer's Guide - The Fisherman

2021 Fishing Boat Buyer’s Guide

2020 was a year that we’d all like to forget. One of the bright spots during the pandemic was that the world suddenly wanted to go boating – and all at the same time. New boats, used boats, old boats, new boats – if it floated, someone wanted to buy it and get out on the water to escape from reality. The bottom line is that the boating industry is one of the few that has thrived during the past year’s economic gyrations and lockdowns and the price of fuel is still relative inexpensive, making your trips on the briny relatively affordable. So get onboard and let’s take a closer look at some of the new boats for the 2021 season.

Boston Whaler

Boston Whaler has introduced a quartet of new boats over the past 12 months, including two new Conquests, the 325 and the 405, that had their coming out party at the 2020 Miami Boat Show last February. Also new to the lineup is the 280 Vantage dual console, which is ideal for boaters who want the flexibility of a multi-capable open bow model. The 280 Vantage comes equipped for a wide range of boating activities, from entertaining to fishing to watersports and beyond. Amenities for socializing include a stowable cockpit grill station; an electrically actuated cockpit SureShade; spacious lounge seating in the bow; and Whaler’s convertible helm companion zone seating. New features make the 280 Vantage a capable fishing boat as well, including integrated stainless steel rod holders, a transom livewell and two large cockpit fishboxes that double as extra storage for keeping beverages on ice. A standard portside dive door aids in boarding the boat from the dock or from the water.

The latest addition to the Whaler family is the 240 Vantage, which made its debut in the fall of 2020. The 240 Vantage is well suited to a wide range of activities, including fishing, cruising, beaching, water sports, entertaining and more. Conversation-friendly seating can be found throughout the boat, from the plush bow lounge seats to the convenient foldaway aft seat. Across from the captain’s chair, you’ll find Whaler’s innovative portside lounge seating, which easily converts to a trio of positions (facing forward, facing aft, or laid flat to serve as the perfect napping spot). An optional fiberglass prep center in the cockpit adds a handy place to prepare snacks, drinks or bait. The Vantage includes a standard enclosed head and sink to port, making a long day on the water a little easier on everyone. She’s also available with both a windlass and a bow boarding ladder to help passengers climb down to and back up from the beach. When it’s time to bend the rods, a large, insulated in-floor fishbox keeps your catch fresh, while an optional livewell on the transom puts bait at your fingertips. Stainless steel rod holders are located strategically throughout the boat, and enclosed rod storage in the starboard console is easily accessed through the bow. The 240 Vantage features Whaler’s proprietary foam-injected hull, which delivers a soft and stabile ride when underway. Available with pre-rigged Raymarine electronics and solo Mercury Verado outboards up to 400HP, this newbie can run like the wind and help you find all of the honey holes to catch ‘em up. For more information, visit www.bostonwhaler.com.

Grady-White

Although this North Carolina builder has nothing new for 2021 as of this writing, I’ve heard scuttlebutt that they’ve been working on a “top secret” project that is sworn to secrecy. Until this newbie is introduced, one of the latest second-gen Gradys to hit the marinas is their new-and-improved Canyon 336. I have spent over 100 hours of wheel time during my away charters with the first-generation 336s and you will be hard pressed to find a more predictable, smooth, dry and comfortable ride in any other boat in its class. Even in three to four footers, it seems like its running on rails.

Grady-White Marketing VP Shelley Tubaugh walked me though the nuances of the latest Canyon 336 at last year’s Miami Boat Show and she was like a momma bear showing off her new cub. Grady-White’s state-of-the-art full height glass windshield, completely integrated T-top, and new, sleek styling elements accentuate this Carolina girl’s good looks and eye appeal. The ergonomically advanced helm and all-glass windshield provide improved line of sight and overall visibility. Combined with the fiberglass T-top, this creates a superstructure that together, eliminates the need for side curtains and provides ample wind and spray protection for up to three at the helm. Optional canvas wing curtains offer added coverage if needed and an electric vent in the center of the windshield means you don’t have to sacrifice air circulation for added protection.

Other stand-out features of the 336 include Yamaha’s Helm Master EX along with an all new helm design that offers room for dual supersized 17-inch flush mount electronic panels located closer to the captain. This redesigned console and T-top allows added walkaround space around the console and expansion of both the cockpit and bow. A deluxe lean bar features three adjustable contoured helm chairs with deluxe flip-up bolsters and footrests. The 45-gallon insulated raw water livewell, rigging station with cold freshwater shower, 104-quart cooler, cutting board, lockable bulk storage and dedicated tackle storage, two knife and plier holders and six rod holders complete this extensive list of standard features. Optional equipment includes a new electric grill, 26-gallon livewell and an integrated electrically retractable SureShade cockpit shade with Sunbrella canvas, bow thruster, water heater, air conditioner and diesel generator. The spacious console offers plenty of room down below for a head, freshwater sink, storage and vee-berth area that is perfect for catching a few winks during those long canyon overnighters, or to get out of the hot sun on family beach days. Rigged with a pair of Yamaha’s 425 XTO V8s, she’ll hit a top speed of 53 mph and her optimum cruise is 30 mph at only 3700 rpm. For more info, visit www.gradywhite.com.

Contender

The latest and greatest Contender to hit the blue water is their 44FA, which features a unique “fish around” center cabin design. I had a chance to perform a first-hand inspection on hull number one and she is an impressive canyon-running overnighter that will get you to the 100-fathom line quickly and maximize your fishing time. The 44FA is built on the same twin-stepped running bottom as their popular 44ST center console. 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 welcome 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, this enables the 44FA to head offshore with a wave-cutting, chest-pounding, go-fast ride to get you and the crew to the hotspots before everyone else gets there. She is available with either triple or Quad Yamaha 425 XTO V-8s, both of which will get you to the fishing grounds fast, supported by a 575-gallon fuel capacity.

The Contender build 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 time again. 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 fish boxes, a pair of 55-gallon transom livewells, recessed aluminum bow handrail, a choice of hull and deck gelcoat colors, dual hydraulic steering with power assist pump, recessed Kiekaffer trim tabs, and much more. For additional info, visit www.contenderboats.com.

Steiger Craft

I had the opportunity to visit the Steiger Craft factory back in the spring to observe firsthand how their 25 Long Beach has morphed into its current iteration, the 255 Center Console. This dog can hunt and is the largest of three center consoles currently offered by the Long Island-based boat builder as it approaches its fifth decade of producing quality coastal fishing boats. They also offer 21 and 23-foot models.

 

The layout of the new and improved 255 CC is wide open, and will easily support a full crew of anglers in comfort, no matter what type of fishing is on the menu. There’s over 33 square-feet of unobstructed cockpit space aft of the standard leaning post/rocket launcher, which features two enclosed lockers with a total of ten tackle drawers down below and a two-tiered, five-rod rocket launcher above. You can stick four anglers forward of the console with plenty of elbow room when drifting the bottom or working your favorite wreck. There’s additional tackle storage in the transom, with removable Plano 3700-series boxes and/or deep slide-out drawers set aft of weatherproof hatches in each corner that can be removed to afford access aft for critical maintenance items like the fuel filter, drains and fuel lines. The console companionway door set into the starboard side of the console allows entry to the head area that features a neat “trap door” floor…with the hatch lowered to the “down” position, this creates a storage space that will hold a variety of fishing gear and safety equipment. With the floor raised, this morphs into a step-down area to the standard Porta-Pottie marine head that offers five-feet, eight-inches of standing headroom when nature calls. Other notable standard features include hydraulic steering; T-Top with power-coated rails; recessed trim tabs; raw water washdown; a quartet of gunwale-mounted rodholders; pop-up bow and stern lights; forward anchor locker and more. Although she can be rigged with either twin 150s or a single 300 V6, the preliminary factory tests indicated that she’ll hit over 45-mph with the single F300 spinning a 16-inch pitch 3-blade SS prop. Notable standard features on the Steiger 255 CC include a forward insulated fishbox; dedicated anchor locker; pop-up bow and stern navigation lights; a Porta-Pottie down under; a powder-coated T-Top with hard fiberglass top; powder-coated leaning post; raw water washdown; a two-tone deck, plus a quartet of gunwale-mount flush rodholders. Desirable options include bow bolster cushions, a recessed bow rail, colored hull and a drop-down transom bench seat. For more information, visit www.steigercraft.com.

Regulator Marine

Introduced late in the 2019 season, the Regulator 26XO is a center console crossover built for a world of alternate adventures, giving you easy access to expansive open bays, saltwater flats, inlets and skinny waters, as well as the capability to head offshore when the time is right. It joins her sister vessel the 24XO in Regulator’s “do anything” hybrid fleet. 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 and tackle center, Garmin 16 XO fish package and fiberglass T-Top with integrated wraparound windshield all come standard. Prospective owners can choose from adventure-inspired options like a factory-installed Power Pole Blade for precise shallow water anchoring; removable watersports tow bar for tubing, skiing and boarding, 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-lbs (including engine) and unlike any other back-bay or flats boat that you’ve ever come across. Measuring 26-feet nine inches LOA with a nine-foot three-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; 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-qt storage lockers aft. Seating is not an afterthought on this Carolina girl, with an upholstered leaning post for two with flip-up bolster, individual footrests, seatback handrail with cupholders, and an integrated 32-gallon livewell and tackle storage. An upholstered twin bench set in the forward console; a trio of integrated flush folding rear cockpit seats with storage/fishboxes down under, plus forward seating with flip-up backrests, round out her many features. For more information, visit www.regulatormarine.com.

Robalo

The biggest Robalo to have ever hit the water is finally here with the introduction of the R360. Coming in with an LOA of 36 feet, 6 inches and a beam of 11 feet, 4 inches, this boat’s mission is to set new standards in its class. Available with triple Yamaha 300 V6s or powered by a pair of 425 XTO V8s, its 350-gallon fuel capacity will take you a long way in pursuit of big game sportfishing opportunities and will do it with grace and speed. Other amenities include twin 100-gallon fish boxes to ice your catch, a cabin under the spacious console area, along with plenty of seating for the crew and/or the beach crowd. If you are looking to spend a fun day at the beach or at your favorite shore side watering hole, the Robalo R360 provides seating for 13 family and crew, courtesy of triple wide bench seats at the helm, an equal number in both aft facing mezzanine seating and a triple wide pop-up aft bench seat, plus two in a doublewide chaise lounge forward of the center console, and two more in raised bench seats in the bow.

The Robalo R360 is the perfect mix of luxury that goes hand in hand with its intense fishing features, including the newest high-performance 23-degree aft deadrise stepped hull design by marine industry legend Michael Peters (who has designed boats for the U.S. Navy, Intrepid, Invincible and others). Pairing the needs of dedicated fishermen with passengers’ desire to enjoy a day on the water in comfort and style, the R360 combines luxury with performance, which translates to an optimal experience for all. Fully equipped with Dual Simrad 16-inch NSS16 EVO3 Color Displays, a JL Audio sound system and three forward facing helm seats with flip-up bolsters, the R360 is ready to take on any coastal or bluewater adventure. Other notable standard features include a slide-out Yeti cooler; NASA-quality quad-switch battery system; a twin vee berth with head and freshwater sink down in the lower cabin; swing-in fiberglass access doors in each gunwale; a tuna door aft, and twin livewells with one in each transom corner. There is also excellent bilge, filter and pump access via an aft cockpit sole hatch, with room for a generator or Sea Keeper unit; and much more. For additional details, visit www.robalo.com.

Everglades

The new for 2021 Everglades 235cc made its debut at the recent Ft Lauderdale Boat Show back in November and raises the expectations bar to the “next level” for the entry-level, mid-sized center console category. Built using their patented RAMCAP high-density hull, the 235cc has innovations and features that make the term “entry-level” a misnomer. A fish hunter at its core, the rigidity and strength of its hull can take you well beyond shallow bays and inlets out into the deep. The unsinkable hull also provides welcome peace of mind when making these journeys where the sight of land is but a distant memory. Powered by a single Yamaha F300 V6 four-stroke outboard and the Yamaha Helm Master EX package, you can direct its power seamlessly at the 235cc’s futuristic helm center. Digital displays, Bocatech switches, a sliding windshield, and Helm Master controls are ergonomically spaced across the helm, giving the operator complete control and total 360-degree visibility. Everglades’ patent-pending swivel helm seat provides next-gen versatility and keeps the captain comfortable yet stable when facing forward and can be turned to face the stern as a mezzanine seat, providing the captain with an alternative cushioned leaning post when standing up to rough seas. Moving forward, bow console seating is provided with large contoured seats and under-seat insulated cooler storage. Below deck, the console provides a roomy head and storage area. Other creature comforts include raised bow bench seating and storage down under, retractable full transom seating and powder-coated accent color options. When it comes to the hunt, the 235cc is equipped with Everglades’ exclusive fishing DNA. This Florida girl will be right at home working the coastal and near offshore fishing spots. She features a rigging station with tackle tray storage, tackle drawers, tool and leader storage, rigging surface and four-rod holders. A 17-gallon recirculating livewell with a clear acrylic lid and stainless steel friction hinges and latch is positioned in the starboard transom corner. Also included is a standard port side insulated cooler. All of your tackle and gear can be stowed in the abundant storage spaces and under gunwale rod racks and it’s all within reach. Other notable standards include high-end upholstery with exposed stitching, integrated cup/rodholder combos flush-mounted in the gunwales, a massive transom fishbox and more. For additional info, visit www.evergladesboats.com.

Sailfish

The all-new 2021 Sailfish 272CC is designed for serious fishermen looking for a smooth-riding, mid-sized offshore boat loaded with big-boat features. This debutant can fish with the big dogs with standard angling features like 25 rod holders, a 35-gallon livewell in the leaning post, along with a 30-gallon transom livewell. The port side dive door can haul in oversized pelagics and makes it easy for passengers to board at dockside. Twin in-floor insulated fish boxes in the rear cockpit, along with two more under the bow seats, offer plenty of capacity for icing your catch. Operators will appreciate the standard thru-hull windlass system. Raw water washdown combined with a freshwater transom shower and an optional freshwater shower/washdown in the bow makes cleanups a breeze.

Like its big sister the 360CC, the 272CC features Sailfish’s sixth-generation Variable Degree Stepped (VDS) hull. The VDS6 has an aggressive entry and a variable deadrise hull, stepping out from 24 to 22 degrees. To help keep the ride dry, the 272CC features reversed chines and plenty of bow flare. All Sailfish boats are reinforced with Kevlar and carbon fiber to add strength without increasing weight. No wood is used in their construction and all hardware is high-grade stainless steel. In rugged offshore conditions, crew security is paramount and with a minimum cockpit gunwale height of 30-inches, the 272CC delivers big time. Low profile stainless steel bow rails and a standard fold-out dive door handle ensure that the crew can get a grip when needed.

While the 272CC is targeted for serious anglers, it’s also a comfortable family boat. The Entertainment Package offers a pop-up ski tow bar, removable bow table, Fusion/Wet Sounds stereo system and three underwater LED lights. The center console is roomy and comes standard with an electric head with an above-deck pump out. Down below, there’s a port light and vanity with a Corian counter sink, and freshwater shower. A dozen cupholders spread throughout the boat afford a quick parking spot for beverages when a fish strikes. There’s plenty of seating aboard the 272CC with raised forward bench seats that have actuated self-rising backrests that are easy to deploy and stow. A flip-up doublewide bench seat aft stows quickly when it’s time to fish and the bench seating forward of the console has a convenient 55-quart cooler underneath. At the helm, twin deluxe captain’s chairs are equipped with flip-down bolsters when it’s time to stand. For protection from the elements, there’s a full-height standard glass enclosure with venting. Offered with your choice of twin Mercury or Yamaha four-strokes up to 400-hp, she’ll hit 50-mph plus with a pair of Yamaha F200s. For more info, visit  www.sailfishboats.com.

Skeeter Boats

The all new Flagship model SX2550 from Skeeter is a great example of how a few small changes to a boat design can make a very big difference in the boats ability to perform. The result of adding only a foot of length and inches of beam to their 24-foot hull and re-tooling the running surface with the addition of a bit more deadrise, while adding a generous amount of flare to the bow in conjunction with an additional 5-inches of freeboard, transformed an already solid Bay boat into a capable big water performer. The SX2550 delivers a dry, soft ride along with a secure gunwale height; landing right above the knees for fighting a fish comfortably from a rocking boat.

Beginning forward at the stem is an anchor locker leading the way. Working aft is a center located dry storage compartment. To port and starboard along the gunwales are a pair of roomy dry lockers each with Mega Tube rod holders. Between the outboard lockers is a space which converts (based upon placement of a fiberglass insert) into three separate configurations. Lowered to deck height it creates leg room for those seated around the forward bench. Raised to upper casting deck height it becomes an extension of the foredeck for multiple anglers. And, with the placement of a removable pedestal, the pad becomes a dining table. At the main deck height between the forward casting platform and the leading edge of the center console is a 148-quart insulated fish box with a macerator pump out. Behind this hatch at the console is a 48-quart Engel® cooler seat with a cushion on the lid and a backrest. The console is oversized but not awkwardly so and is large enough to accommodate an optional electric head and store loads of gear. The dash face sports a 16-inch Simrad® MFD and a two-man helm station incorporates comfortable seating together with a 40-gallon live well in the rear. The rear casting deck houses an additional insulated 43-gallon live well at center under a wide seat. This well/seat is flanked by a pair of fold-up jump seats behind each of which is located a separate dry storage locker. At the center along the transom is a hatch compartment providing access to bilge hardware. Our test model also featured a PowerPole® Blade along with a 36V MinnKota® Ulterra® trolling motor.

A few thoughtful tweaks included fresh and raw water washdown hoses with a saltwater 25-foot washdown hose located amidships. A wide bolster around the cockpit fell at the perfect height for average sized anglers and a Skeeter designed mounting bracket for the trolling motor offered a sliding mount which enables you to move the overhanging motor out of the way of a dock or piling to avoid any collision. A full assortment of forward deck cushions converted the foredeck into a nice lounge area should you elect to leave the rods home for a day and relax with the family. For the existing Skeeter owners looking to expand their horizons or anyone looking for an able performing Bay Hybrid to use in the near coastal zone with extended range into the blue on moderately choppy days, the SX2550 adds an extra measure of security and comfort to get you there and home. The SX2550 is 24-feet 6-inches in length, has an 8-feet 5-inchbeam, weighs 3,660 pounds, 76 gallon fuel tank, max horsepower is 330, and it has a draft of 14 inches. www.skeeterboats.com

Pursuit

Pursuit’s new S 428 made her public debut at the 2020 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. When it came to creating the flagship of their center-console Sport Series, Pursuit decided to make it iconic. The size, power, singular design and amenities built into the S 428 give her a very special place in today’s marketplace, combining fishing and family versatility with unrivaled style and comfort. With an LOA of 43-feet, nine-inches and a wide 13-foot beam, the S 428 isn’t only the largest Pursuit ever built; it’s also the most powerful and the most spacious. With a fuel capacity of 547-gallons and powered by quad Yamaha 425 XTO engines, the hull and power combination work in perfect unison, becoming the driving force behind your faraway adventures. Within this grand footprint, you even have an industry-first second row of powered, converting seats under the oversized hardtop. For fishing, the S 428 is equipped with plenty of rod holders and storage, three fishboxes, extra-large fridge/freezer boxes, tackle storage, bait prep areas, hull side doors both port and starboard and a large aft cockpit. When it’s time to entertain, your crew will have plenty of social zones to choose from, whether it’s multi-function forward lounge seating or the plush aft-facing seat. A spacious and tastefully designed cabin features yacht-quality components, plenty of light and great views, thanks to the innovative cabin and hull side windows, which is a first for a center console sport fisher, you can see the water flowing off the hull when you’re underway from down below! A second station tower is an option that offers access to both sides from inside the cockpit.

“The S 428 is brimming with amenities so you and your family can really do it all. Whether that’s swimming up to the electro-hydraulic hull-side beach platform, fishing from the ample aft cockpit or getting ready to grill in the entertainment center, every detail was designed to go beyond your expectations,” said Bruce Thompson President of Pursuit Boats. “We are very proud of this model. The S 428 is the perfect flagship representation of what Pursuit delivers to the center console market – the ability to cruise, entertain, and fish in style and comfort.” The S 428 will cruise at 31 MPH while turning 3500 RPM rigged with her standard quad XTO power array. For more information, visit www.pursuitboats.com.

Valhalla Boatworks

One of the hottest product launches last year was Viking Yacht’s subsidiary, Valhalla Boatwork’s introduction of their V-33, V-37 and V-41 outboard sportfishers. They sold a total of 70 units in year one, with back orders for another 75 boats for this year. But there’s a new sheriff in town for 2021 in the form of the just released V-46 and she is a total beast. Like her stablemates, the V-46 is an outboard-powered center console that utilizes the patented Michael Peters Yacht Design (MPYD) double-stepped hull. The V-46 possesses the same signature design traits (S-shaped sheer, double chines, tumblehome transom), aesthetic enhancements (teak toe rails and transom) and 360-degree fishing prowess of the V Series. This Valhalla’s significant length (46-feet, seven-inches) and beam (13-feet, four-inches) allow for a massive console that functions as an air-conditioned cabin. Through the port-side console door, a powder-coated pedestal with teak stair treads leads to an inviting living space. It offers six-feet, seven-inches of headroom and a free-flowing open layout that’s filled with natural light flowing through four port lights. Forward, a dinette with U-shaped seating and bolstered backrest surrounds a drop-down table that converts to a queen berth. The galley is to starboard, featuring a polished Corian countertop, stainless steel sink, brushed nickel and chrome faucet, two-burner recessed stove, refrigerator/freezer, microwave oven and cabinet storage. Directly aft of the galley is the private head with a molded-in vanity with freshwater sink and faucet, toilet and shower. The seating arrangements on the V-46 are diverse from bow to stern. The V-46 features standard Costa Marine bench seating at the helm with optional Release Marine or Llebroc seating consisting of three chairs with individual armrests, folding bolsters and electric slides. The V-46 also offers a second row of seating for up to four additional crew or guests, as well as the aft-facing mezzanine seating, popular on the first three V Series models. Dual 50-gallon transom live wells anchor the cockpit. An in-deck live well is available in lieu of the Seakeeper aft, and the forward section of the lounge seating can also serve as a live well. The Valhalla 46’s cockpit features five fishboxes, all insulated and equipped with macerator pumps and plumbed for overboard drainage. Six standard stainless steel Gemlux rod holders line the cockpit coaming and you can add more.

The V-46 can be powered with either quad Mercury V8 450Rs, Mercury Verado 400s or Yamaha V8 425s. All three packages utilize fly-by-wire electric power steering and are available with joystick control and GPS station-keeping systems. With a 694-gallon fuel capacity, the V-46 has the legs for canyon overnighters or extended weekend getaways. It’s the ultimate fish-and-cruise hybrid, with hull number one being ready for a January 2021 launch. For more information, visit www.valhallaboatworks.com.

World Cat

Recently introduced for the 2021 model year, World Cat’s new 235 CC is a great entry-level introduction to their feline fishing fleet, which also includes a 28, 29, 32 and a soon to be released 40-foot model. This newbie’s running bottom is based on a proprietary twin sponson planning hull that is 22-feet, seven-inches in length, with a trailerable eight-and-a-half foot beam. She carries this beam for most of her overall length, which translates to considerably more cockpit and storage space compared to a similar sized monohull platform. Accordingly, the 235 CC is rated with a 10-passenger capacity, so when it’s not time to fish, you can entertain a bevy of family and friends for a sunset cruise or a day at the beach.

Standard features on the new World Cat 235 CC include cushioned bow seating for five adults; raised seating benches in the bow with port and starboard 150-quart forward insulated fish boxes down below with overboard drains; a center bench seat with storage underneath, and a fiberglass T-Top with spreader lights and handy life vest storage bag. Other features include an acrylic windshield; a Garmin 8612XSV multi-function color chartplotter/echo sounder display with transducer and model 315 VHF radio; four gunwale-mounted stainless steel rod holders; horizontal rod racks for four rods; an aft deck non-skid casting platform; premium entertainment center with two JL Audio speakers and Bluetooth connectivity, plus World Cat’s On-Ramp swim ladder and swim platform.

Standard power on this 23-foot fishing cat is a pair of Yamaha F115 in-line four cylinder four-stroke outboards, which produce a top speed of 41 mph. Owners can upgrade to twin Yamaha F150s if they need more speed to get to the fishing grounds before the fleet, with a top speed over 51 mph. The 235 CC’s 89-gallon fuel capacity is divided equally into a pair of 44.5-gallon polyethylene fuel tanks set into each of the sponson interiors, with one feeding each of the twin power plants.

Other notable standard features from her impressive list include tilt helm hydraulic steering; a flip-bolster leaning post with a quad vertical rocket launcher aft and Yeti cooler down under; raw water washdown; a 30-gallon recirculating livewell and twin 1,000-gph auto bilge pumps. Optional packages include a Porta-Pottie with deck pumpout; Gemlux deluxe 18-foot outriggers with collapsible poles; plus five different solid or two-tone hull colors. For more information, visit www.worldcat.com.

Blackfin

This Florida boat builder currently offers a six-pack of models which include 22, 25, 27 and 32-foot center consoles and 25 and 27-foot dual consoles. For 2021, both the 242 CC and 242 DC have been renamed the 252 CC and 252 DC respectively. I had a chance to inspect the 252 DC last year down at the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show and she definitely has a lot to offer the fishing family that also enjoys water sports when it’s not time to fish. She measures 24.5-feet LOA with a wide eight-foot 10-inch beam, running on a 22-degree aft deadrise deep-vee hull, 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. Her fuel capacity of 140-gallons will take her a long way between fill-ups. The Blackfin 252 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-Pottie 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 252 DC include an insulated/lighted 24-gallon recirculating livewell in the transom cap, a dozen S/S drink holders, both freshwater and raw water washdown systems, and 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, and a quartet of gunwale-mount S/S rodholders with a trio also mounted in the transom add to her fishability. There’s also a Fusion AM/FM satellite stereo with a six-pack of JL speakers, in-floor stowage for all of your tow toys, plus a wetbar with sink, pull-out sprayer and a removable 35-qt Yeti cooler. The 252 DC is offered in a kaleidoscope of hull colors. For more information, visit www.blackfinboats.com.

Cobia

I had a chance to jump aboard Cobia’s new 330 DC at the recent Miami Boat Show back in February and this Florida girl is the new queen of their growing dual console fleet, which also includes 22, 24 and 28-foot models. The dual console layout is the next “ultimate do-it-all” sport utility concept for the boating industry. The 330 DC offers a generous wide-open cockpit space, measuring over 54-square feet, that can quickly be converted from a serious fishing platform to one that promotes comfy seating for seven when heading to your favorite beachside entertainment spot. Seating that becomes instantly available at the touch of a fingertip are a drop-down triple-wide bench seat in the stern, aft-facing jump seats on the back end of the bait/cocktail prep station to port and the kitchenette to starboard, plus an electronically controlled double-long bench along the port side. There are 70-gallon and 40-gallon insulated fishboxes under the aft cockpit sole (with an optional macerator), plus twin storage lockers under the center fore-n-aft cockpit walkway to stow skis, PFDs and other water toys. The L-Shaped portside lounge features a pair of insulated coolers down under with overboard drain, with plush cushions that make long days out on the water a luxurious experience. The adjustable captain’s chair sits on an elevated platform for great visibility that allows an excellent field of view whether sitting or standing. There’s plenty of dash space to mount twin 12-inch displays or a single large MFD.

The port console opens up to reveal a roomy head with freshwater sink and plenty of dry storage available under the starboard console, with access to all of the panels and wiring. Moving forward, a 9-piece cushion setup produces and endless array of entertainment possibilities, with an electro-controlled table that literally rises up out of the from floor when you need it and totally disappears as part of the bow’s sole when you don’t. The twin bench seats feature roomy insulated fishboxes/storage areas down below and the through-stem anchor chute setup is a breeze to use. The bow boarding ladder is a nice touch that allows a lot of flexibility depending on how you lay the boat up on the beach. When it’s time to fish, a 28-gallon livewell and a quartet of flush rodholders in the transom will put you in the mood. If you need to bring a big one aboard, aft cockpit bolsters, a swing-in fiberglass cockpit door to starboard and a transom door in the starboard corner help ease the job. Available with either twin Yamaha F300s or a pair of 425 XTOs, you can power her according to your needs. For more information, visit www.cobiaboats.com.

Sportsman

New for Sportsman for the 2021 model year is a boat that they launched at last year’s Miami Boat Show, the 352 Open center console. This model, which is the queen of their growing fleet, puts this South Carolina boat builder in a completely different competitive league of mid-30s bluewater, go-fast sportfishers, but at a very attractive price point that will be of interest to both those trading up and first-time boat buyers. Starting at the transom, the 352 Open CC features a pair of 30-gallon aquarium livewells with tempered glass windows, dual side entry doors, removable cockpit table, large center cooler and a large triple-wide flip-up bench seat. The bilge access compartment has a dedicated pod for the optional Seakeeper unit. The leaning post features triple adjustable captain’s chairs, with table storage and rear-facing doublewide bench seating, which makes a perfect perch to watch the trolling baits. At the helm, a blacked-out command center will support a pair of 22-inch Garmin displays, a VHF, JL Audio M6 sound system with MVi DSP amps and storage. Inside the console, there’s a dual berth, porcelain toilet with holding tank, a freshwater sink and plenty of storage courtesy of a quartet of built-in fiberglass boxes that are set under the lift-up berth. Going topsides, the chaise lounge sunpad features a sculpted cushion seat for two with a handy built-in 65-qt insulated cooler. The bow features wrap-around seating with an electronically actuated table, under gunwale storage, comfortable deep seating with backrests and windlass foot controls for the through-stem anchor system.

The Sportsman 352 Open CC features advanced vacuum infusion fiberglass construction, with a full-grid stringer system which provides 360 degrees of support for the hull. Another standard feature on this boat is a sea chest pump box located in the aft access compartment that helps to remove air from the water and prevents air locks. It also fully submerges the raw water pumps so they never run dry, allowing them to run cooler and last longer. And lastly, it simplifies the entire system as there’s only one thru-hull and one place for pumps, hoses and wiring. Behind the aft bench seat, a wide 88-quart cooler box is set in the transom cap and is perfect either for beverages or as a handy chill box for smaller fish. A six-pack of Gemlux flush mount rodholders are standard, as are both saltwater washdown and a freshwater system. For more information, visit www.sportsmanboatsmfg.com.

Scout

Scout has unveiled the new 305 LXF for 2021, which replaces the popular 300 LXF in the model lineup. Scout’s LXF Collection is comprised of luxury sportfish models that showcase a unique blending of high performance fish boats with high-end cruisers, with a total of eight models from 27-to-53 feet. This amalgams of sport fishing and sporty styling allows owners to enjoy amenities on this collection normally only found on much larger sportfishers. One of the unique features on the 305 LXF is the forward seating design in the bow. Scout introduced the idea of forward seating backrests in center consoles to the industry in 2006. This design takes it up a few more notches by having molded-in backrests that not only add comfort, but also provide ample room to stretch out in the bow for any crew. The 305 LXF has numerous standard fishing features including a port side swing-in door to haul the big ones aboard; starboard under gunnel rod storage; port aft recirculating baitwell; stainless steel flush mount rod holders; port and starboard in floor fish boxes; plus a large cockpit fishing area. Other standard features include an integrated stern seat; under gunnel LED rope lighting; a powder coated T-top hardtop with glass enclosure; deluxe leaning post with dual Airmar custom helm chairs and 65-quart Yeti cooler; a Garmin 8612 XSV display; hydraulic steering with tilt and trim tabs; Fusion Bluetooth stereo with JL Audio speakers; a private self-contained head, and a fully cushioned berth/seating area. The 305 LXF also has transom door that leads to a fully-walkable swim platform, and there’s a patented anchor camera in the bow. Ready for any fishing, watersports or entertainment adventure you want to embark on, the 305 LXF also boasts notable optional features such as upgraded Garmin screen options; your choice of four upholstery cushion color upgrades; Lumishore underwater lights; outriggers; 110V air conditioner with inverter; removable teak bow table; and a dual engine flush kit. There are also a new 425 LXF and a 277 Dorado dual console that were introduced recently at the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, but more on those in a later Fisherman review. For additional info, visit www.scoutboats.com.

NorthCoast

NorthCoast’s new 315HT is now the largest member in their growing cabin fleet, joining the 285HT, 255HT, 235HT and 215HT models. The NorthCoast engineers took the basic shape of the 285HT Cabin, which features a 23-degree aft deadrise, three-strake per side deep-vee running bottom that sports a 10-foot, two-inch beam, and lengthened it out to an LOA of 35-feet, which includes the standard bow pulpit and Armstrong outboard bracket aft. The new 315HT’s fuel capacity was also increased to 316-gallons, offering true canyon range. The net result is a bluewater sportfisher with overnighting capabilities, with plenty of room in the extended cockpit to wrestle a four-banger of big eyes, a spacious area under the hardtop to protect the crew when underway in the rough stuff, plus room down below for a head and sleeping for four.

Compared to her siblings, the 315HT’s fishability was enhanced by removing the L-shaped bench in the pilothouse, which allows captain and crew to the action quicker in the cockpit. There’s plenty of seating for the crew when underway courtesy of standard cushioned bench seats, both on the port and starboard sides aft of the helm and companion seats. There’s a pull-out refrigerator and standard cockpit grill in the portside fiberglass module, with a freshwater sink and expanded tackle drawer storage center to starboard. By lengthening the cockpit on the 315HT, this created enough space for a pair of 58-gallon in-deck fish boxes, each of which is individually macerated. The full transom design includes a pair of blue-walled recirculating livewells, with one a 26-gallon oval design and the other a smaller 19-gallon well for specialty baits. When it’s time to either jump onboard at the marina or to wrestle the big ones aboard offshore, the portside cockpit door combines with the starboard corner walk-through transom door to give the crew some great options. The full height transom bulkhead will help to keep big seas outside where they belong, complemented by a doublewide Armstrong swim platform/twin engine bracket, and the cockpit gutter system with oversized scuppers will evacuate green water quickly wither underway or at rest. Rigged with a pair of Yamaha F300s, she’ll hit a top speed in the high-50s, with optimum cruise at 31-mph/3500 rpm. For anglers looking for even more fishing capability, optional accessories include a six-pack of rocket launchers, both on the hardtop and the transom’s outboard bulkhead, Rupp Top Gun outriggers, plus an additional pair of flush-mount rodholders in the gunwales. Other popular options are your choice of hull color; Dometic 16k BTU A/C; a domestic hot water unit; 1.5kW bow thruster; a 3.5 kW gasoline generator and more. Like all other NorthCoast boats, the new 315HT is backed by a 12-year structural hull warranty. For more information, visit www.northcoastboats.com.

Sea Hunt

One of the latest introductions in Sea Hunt’s next generation of popular “Ultra” lineup of luxury center consoles is the Ultra 239 SE. This mid-sized sportfisher measures 24-feet three-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-qt 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 airflow. 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 4-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

As we discussed in last year’s Buyer’s Guide, Sea Pro is back in business and their growing line-up offers four bay boats from 17-to-24 feet and a trio of deep-vee center consoles (21, 23 and 25). But there’s a new queen of the fleet for 2021. Their just-introduced 320 Center Console will be produced at their new Winnsboro production facility. As of this writing, the spec sheet for this big Carolina girl has not been finalized, so there’s not much to share, but I saw pictures of the mold and other images of the 320 CC being built, so this is the real deal and not an apparition.

The latest Sea Pro to hit the marinas a few seasons back was the 259 Center Console and I was able to jump aboard and take a closer look at her down in Florida at a few recent boat shows. My first impression of this sportfisher was that she is constructed on 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 from two feet up. At 4,850-lbs 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 nine-inch LOA, supported by an overly wide nine-foot, four-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 deluxe fiberglass T-Top. Other notable standard features on the 259 Deep V include a 30-gallon pressurized livewell, a pair of 160-quart insulated fishboxes set under the cockpit sole with macerator pumps, twin 110-quart insulated boxes under the forward bench seating port and starboard, a huge 255-quart forward under-deck storage area, a Lewmar Pro Fish 1000 windlass with thru-hull anchor chute, and both raw water and freshwater wash down systems. There are enough interesting options to make this sportfisher as unique as your personality. For additional info, visit www.seapromfg.com.

Century

In April of 2020, Century Boats announced the acquisition of Vanquish Boats, a builder of premium center console, dual console, cuddy and runabout day boats renowned for their beauty, classic American styling and exceptional performance. This merger is an example of Century Boats’ continuing commitment to providing the best designs, highest quality and essential features in an expanding model lineup for today’s boating lifestyles. The existing Vanquish models will soon be reintroduced as Century Coronado, which signals a return to the company’s roots and is in keeping with the natural evolution of the brand for the 21st century. Additional benefits of this merger include a dramatic increase in the dealer distribution and service network, and greater availability of boats with production being moved to the main Century facility in Zephyrhills, Florida. Lloyd R. “Skip” Sorenson, CEO of Century Boats stated, “Vanquish is known for producing stunning designs in the New England tradition, rooted in timeless quality and craftsmanship. This merger represents a natural expansion of our model portfolio which will be mutually beneficial across our line of fishing and family boats.”

Morgan Huntley, the Owner of Vanquish Boats, will stay on as Chief Operating Officer of Century Boats and will continue to lead production and product development for the company.

On the new boat front for Century’s classic fishing boat lineup, they have introduced the 24CC for the 2021 model year. Some of the key features on this newbie include advanced hull geometry for a smooth, stable and dry ride, an oversized cockpit for increased comfort and fishability and four in-floor insulated fish boxes with diaphragm pump outs. A hydraulic table stretches out to full extension for entertaining, or recesses into the deck when it’s time to fish, and there’s a convertible console for additional seating or to create a forward sun pad for catching some rays. Other features include an integrated enclosed windscreen for driver protection, plus a dive door with integrated telescopic re-boarding ladder. The 24CC tips the scales at a beefy 4,500 pounds dry without power, and is based on a deep-vee 20-degree aft deadrise running bottom with a 162-gallon fuel tank. Standard power is a single 300, but depending on your needs, you can outfit this Florida girl with either twin 150s or 200s,. For more info, visit www.centuryboats.com.

Sea Fox

The 368 Commander was unveiled last year and is the reigning flagship of the Sea Fox family fleet. At 36-feet LOA with an 11-foot, two-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 live-wells that are also pressurized, which means that they push 100-percent water and 0- percent air. Four in the floor insulated fish boxes 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 & bow), stainless steel chafe plate and anchor roller, and a total of four auto bilge pumps. There’s also side door cockpit access, a 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, Reverso quick connect automatic motor flush system and much more. For additional details, visit www.seafoxboats.com.

Carolina Skiff

Last season was a big year for Carolina Skiff, with a total of six new model introductions, all of them part 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. Additionally, 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.

Tidewater

One of the latest newbies from this South Carolina based boat builder is their 272 CC Adventure, which was introduced in 2020, 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, two-inches on the centerline, with an over-wide nine-foot, eight-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 in 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.

Albemarle

This boat builder that hails out of Edenton, NC continues to augment its outboard-powered fleet for 2021. The latest addition to Albemarle’s list of notable sportfishers is the new 30-foot Express model that is currently under construction and will be shown to its dealer network before making its public debut on the 2021 boat show circuit, if it happens. According to Albemarle General Manager, Burch Perry, “We have introduced a new outboard model each of the last two years with our 27 and 31 Dual Consoles. While these boats are huge successes in that they meet the demands of boating families quite well, the new 30 Express will be more of a return to our fishing roots.”

The 30 Express will offer the ultimate in hardcore fishing amenities in a compact express package. Serious anglers will appreciate its offshore ability, exceptional handling in rough seas, and fuel economy. Featuring a modern helm area with forward facing seating for three, mezzanine style seating aft, large in-deck macerated fishboxes, transom livewell, tackle center and a standard transom door, this express delivers bluewater capability in a big way. With a full galley, a stand-up head, in addition to an A-bunk down below, the 30 will also overnight quite comfortably. “This new model will have a custom Carolina look and unsurpassed visibility from the helm with a standard rigid acrylic enclosure,” stated Keith Privott, Albemarle Director of Sales and Product Development. “She will have a standard anchor windlass system with a through-stem roller and polished stainless steel anchor. Every boat will be Seakeeper 2 ready, with the requisite stringer beds in place. A triple 300 HP Yamaha option will provide the low-end torque needed to maintain slower cruise speeds on those sloppy days and make her the fastest Albemarle ever built. The hull is designed to bust through head seas, land softly in the troughs and keep the enclosure dry.” With a dry weight of 13,000 popunds, 24-degree aft deadrise and a 320-gallon fuel capacity, she has both the range and toughness to get you to the edge and back. For more info, visit www.albemarleboats.com.

Invincible

For 2021, Invincible Boats has added 9th and 10th vessels to its expanding fishing fleet, giving them a total of five Michael Peters designed twin stepped hulls and adding two additional Morelli & Melvin inspired catamarans. The new 46 Catamaran was introduced at the Miami Boat Show last February. Invincible’s new flagship model is the largest ever built by the Opa Locka, FL-based manufacturer. The new 46 is Invincible’s fourth catamaran model since entering this niche market in 2017 and indicates that they are fully invested in this segment for the long run. Each catamaran model utilizes the patented hybrid semi-asymmetrical design created by Morrelli & Melvin exclusively for Invincible. Based in Newport Beach, California, Morelli & Melvin are the leading authority in multihull designs, given their extensive involvement in the America’s Cup and Olympic competition. Their vast knowledge of computational fluid dynamics results in the trademark qualities of Invincible’s catamarans, which don’t lean outward in a turn and can handle all sea conditions without the assistance of negative trim or ballast.

However, the boat that caught my attention is the latest newbie, boat number 10 in the fleet, the 33 Catamaran. She is more conventional with one powerplant per sponson, so the transom layout, wiring and fuel fittings will be very familiar to anyone who has owned or operated a twin engine boat. The 33 Catamaran is also more compact and easier to handle with a reduced crew size, offering acres of usable fishing space. One of the most notable features of the new 33 Catamaran is her 400-gallon fuel capacity. She is rated to carry up to 900 sea ponies on the transom(s), so you can attach some mega four-stroke power to give her some giddy-up, like a pair of Mercury 400 Verados, twin Merc 450R V8s or a set of Yamaha’s 425 XTOs. This translates to 14 to 15 hours of cruising range, so those distant canyons where the big ones live don’t seem that far away. “Our brand is focused on the serious saltwater sport fisherman and we believe that the most effective size range to chase trophy fish is 33-49 feet,” CEO John Dorton said. “With the launch of our new 33 Catamaran, we officially have the largest model offering in this segment.” According to Pete Melvin of Morelli & Melvin, “A dedicated twin-outboard platform is something we’ve been excited to work on with Invincible for a while now. The versatility of the smaller platform with more storage space than a traditional monohull should prove to be popular for the customer looking to make the jump to a cat.” I can’t wait to test this one out on the briny. For more information, visit www.invincibleboats.com.

Southport Boats

Southport Boats recently announced the introduction of a new 30-foot Center Console model, the Southport 30 FE, which stands for Family Edition. This next-gen Maine-built boat is the evolution of the original Southport 292, and according to Southport Marketing Director Jonathan Kirby, “The Southport 30 FE will set a new direction for the Southport Center Console designs. The new model 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 debuts a feature that was pioneered on the 33 FE…a new 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. According to the Southport folks I talked to recently, there’s also a new 27 FE model for 2021 that was just introduced. For more information, visit www.southportboats.com.

Key West

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 live wells, 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 salt water 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-qt 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. For more information, visit www.keywestboats.com.

Maritime Boats

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 rod holders, 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 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 comfortably accommodating friends and family. 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.

Jupiter Marine

New for 2021, the Jupiter 32 CC is a next-gen version of their classic 31 CC that was first introduced in the mid-90s. With an overall length of 32-feet, eight-inches and a relatively narrow nine-foot, nine-inch beam, she sports a deep vee entry and 24-degrees of aft deadrise, so this Florida girl is built for speed out on the briny. This Jupiter’s unique Posi-Stern Hull Pad design increases lift and reduces drag, so she breaks free of the water’s grip on her running bottom and dials in a fairly flat running attitude, with excellent cruising and top-end speeds. Rated for 900 sea ponies, most blue water aficionados that thrive with being first to the faraway fishing grounds will probably go for twin Yamaha 425 XTO V8s to provide the push at the prop to make it happen. If she’s anything like her sibling the 34 CC, which I have run offshore on numerous occasions, she will run like the wind, even in a bumpy seaway and will reduce your travel times while increasing the sport fishing experience. Some of the many notable standard features on the Jupiter 32 include C-Zone digital switching for all accessory functions, coaming bolsters, tilt helm with Optimus electronic power steering, multi-function instrumentation matched to the engine package, Down below there’s an electric porcelain head under the console with molded sink and pull-out freshwater shower, and much more. When it’s time to fish, you’ll find a quartet of flush-mounted gunwale rodholders, bait prep center, twin horizontal rod storage racks under the coaming boards, raw water and freshwater washdown systems, a pair of 250-quart macerated fishboxes under the cockpit sole, plus a T-Top package with fiberglass hardtop and forward and rear LED spreader lights. Other accoutrements include AGM marine batteries, a bonded electrical system, a multi-bank battery charging system, plus a half-dozen storage compartments to keep your gear.

As a limited production builder, Jupiter is committed to quality, execution and performance from start to finish. Their hand-laminated solid fiberglass hull bottoms, poured ceramic transoms and Uni-Grid stringer systems are so durable, they proudly offer a transferable limited lifetime warranty for structural integrity. Premium mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems are added to ensure years of dependable use. For more information, visit www.jupitermarine.com.

EdgeWater

The new EdgeWater 340CC is based on their classic variable-vee deadrise running bottom and 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 sunpad 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, a 28-gallon transom baitwell and 66-gallon transom fishbox and a sink/bait rigging station with pull-out freshwater shower in the transom. Other features include stainless steel cockpit toe rails, fiberglass leaning post with removable 48-qt cooler, SS freshwater sink, pull-out shower, cutting board, storage drawers, 4-rod aluminum rocket launcher and adjustable flip-up bolster helm seats, plus an insulated 620-qt 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-lb 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.

Parker

The latest Parker to hit the marinas is their 26 Sport Hybrid (SH). The Parker engineering team invested nearly two years, with input from Linwood Parker himself, to design their ultimate hybrid vessel for angling inshore, near offshore, or a relaxing day at the beach with the family. With a LOA of 26-and-a- half feet with a wide 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 rod holders, 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, large forward casting platform, forward anchor locker, a quartet of S/S 8-inch pull up cleats, lighted, lockable rod and gear storage port and starboard and a 148-quart insulated fishbox or optional 20-gallon livewell. Other features are a trolling motor receptacle (no batteries included), tilt-out tackle storage, integrated windshield, T-Top with lockable electronics box, three spreader lights,

four-rod rocket launcher, 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.

Sea Born Boats

Sea Born boats, along with sister companies Sundance (utility skiffs) and Spyder (flats boats), are a division of Composite Research Inc, located down in Blackshear, GA. Making its debut for the 2021 model year is the all-new LX26 Center Console. The new model is the largest of four vessels in the company’s LX series. According to Sea Born engineers, every boat in the LX lineup successfully merges family-centric features with let’s-go-fishing readiness.

According to CRI President Wally Bell, “Sea Born owners spend as much time cruising and sandbar hopping as they do fishing. Knowing that before we started building the LX26 really helped us to create a boat that serves multiple roles while offering a buyer a ton a value. As of today, the LX24 is our top-selling model, but based on early orders from our dealers and the response we’ve already seen from buyers at just a few boat shows, the LX26 could easily be our new number one.”

In years past, boat buyers have frequently been forced to choose between one style of focus or another, limiting the ability of their new boat to a singular purpose. Sea Born has overcome this shortfall by building in multi-function, must-have features with every model in the LX series.

“Purchasing a Sea Born is pretty simple. You pick the boat you want based on your needs. Pick a trim package and then link up with a local dealer.” Bell continues.

The company feels this not only reduces confusion but also allows would-be buyers to make easier comparisons as they compare brands. Far from a base model, standard features of the LX26 include an easy-boarding port-side dive door, multiple charging ports, in-console head, LED lighting throughout, along with convenient passenger grab rails for improved safety.  From the helm, the pilot and co-pilot will appreciate the two-position leaning post when standing, but as the need arises, the unit easily converts to a captain’s style chair with backrest. On the console, there’s an endless array of information via two glass-mounted, multi-function displays. Other notable standards include on-console toggle switches, a phone-saving dash pad and a large shade-providing hardtop with overhead storage.

When it’s time to bend the rods, the LX26 provides a additional cockpit depth compared to Sea Born’s bay boats, giving it big-boat energy and allowing owners to run near shore or offshore in bumpy seas in complete comfort and safety. At the bow, there’s an anchor pulpit and chain, ideal for keeping the boat steady over a wreck or reef. As with any craft, storage is always at a premium, and the LX26 delivers with ample gear and tackle bins, under-and-in-gunwale rod holders and a rounded port-side aerated baitwell.

Yellowfin

The new 54 Offshore from Yellowfin Yachts raises the bar in terms of what buyers can expect from a supersized center console boat. Available with quad or quint outboard power that will vary from 1,800-2,250 sea ponies hitched to the transom (Yamaha or Mercury), the 54 Offshore will provide the same legendary level of stepped-hull performance that has made Yellowfin an industry leader with previous models. But the 54 is sure to take things to a new level and raise both the performance and expectations bars. Although this builder is calling this behemoth a “center console”, practically speaking, it’s more of a walkaround or single level fisharound cabin design. The 54-foot overall length and wide 15-foot beam allows the naval architects a lot of extra room to make things happen, both in the cockpit and down below.

From what I could observe from the initial layout plans, you can seat a small village of people on this boat with four-across individual bolster seating at the helm, an equal number in a mid-row of mezzanine seating, plus a third row of mezzanine seating that faces aft. Working forward towards the bow area, a triple wide sunpad will sequester three more crew members, plus two more can be situated in the port and starboard raised forward bench seats. Rodholders abound in every nook and cranny and as you would expect on a vessel of this magnitude, the aft fishing cockpit is absolutely huge. Another benefit of the single level sole is that you can literally work a big gamefish from the bow to the stern with no obstructions. A spacious cabin area beneath the mega console will house a full queen berth, a fully equipped kitchenette, along with wraparound seating and a head. But hardcore fishing features abound on this debutant as well, including 150 gallons of livewell capacity that can be configured as one massive well, or split into two smaller 75-gallon wells. There’s also a huge, transverse fish box in the cockpit sole with over 200 gallons of insulated capacity. The 54 Offshore offers big-boat fishing capabilities combined with a high level of creature comforts, all delivered with the style and quality construction that owners have come to expect from Yellowfin. The 900-gallon fuel capacity will take you and the crew a long way to those distant canyons and you are likely to get there before most of the fleet. The projected displacement on this beast is 27,000 pounds and more details will be forthcoming in the future months. For additional info, visit www.yellowfin.com.

Pro-Line

I spoke with some local dealers at this past Miami Boat Show and Pro-Line will continue with its current fleet, which includes 20, 23 and 26-foot Express cabin models, along with the 20 and 23 Sport center consoles, 26 Super Sport CC and the 23 DC dual console. From what intel I could gather, other than a few tweaks, there is nothing new for Pro-Line for this season. One of their most recent models is the 26 Super Sport center console. Measuring 26-feet four-inches LOA with an 8.5-foot beam and a 22-degree aft deadrise running bottom, she tips the scales at 4,400 pounds dry. She’ll 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 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 insure plenty of room to fight the fish in the 92-square foot cockpit. Twin 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 4-rod horizontal racks. When it’s time to fish, a pair of flush-mount rod holders 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. For more information, visit www.prolineboats.com.

Release Boats

This Opa Locka-based Florida builder has been working its product line into the Northeast regions over the past few years and offers some excellent quality fishing boats for fair value prices. Their product line includes a 196, 210, 240 and 301 center consoles, 240R and 301 RXS center consoles with forward bench seating, plus a 230 DC dual console. I spoke with one of the local Release Boats dealers down at this past Miami Boat Show and although they don’t have any brand new hulls to introduce for 2021, the 240 RX and the 210 RX are their latest models. 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 and 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 from 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, and 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. There’s also 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, a 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. For more info, visit www.releaseboats.com.

Sea Chaser

Just like last year had a wealth of new product introductions for parent company Carolina Skiff, the same is true for Sea Chaser, their bluewater fishing boat spinoff. Sea Chaser’s latest include a quartet of bluewater fishing boats, 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 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 three-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.

Striper

Striper currently offers a six-pack of rugged models, including 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, eight-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-Pottie 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.

Wellcraft

The “big” news from Wellcraft for 2021 is the availability of their new 402 Fisherman that launched in the 2020 calendar year. The newbie measures 40-feet, four-inches LOA, has a 12.5-foot beam, and sports a deep vee running bottom with 22-degrees aft deadrise, fueled by a 486-gallon gas tank. She’s designed to carry four of Yamaha’s 425 XTO V8s on the transom, so bring your seatbelts! Recent factory tests indicated speeds up to 65-mph at wide open throttle, where she’ll consume a whopping 154-gph – yes you read that correctly. Key features on this big girl are twin aquarium style livewells in each transom corner, twin doublewide lift up bench seats in the transom cap with electric lifts, bow seating with a hydraulically activated table, and cabin and sleeping accommodations with a porcelain toilet and separate shower. There are cockpit 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 offers plenty of dry storage. Other features include 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 inspect hull number one and she definitely has a lot to offer. The Wellcraft 402 Fisherman is available with an optional Sea Keeper 3 unit for the ultimate in roll control when offshore. Other engine packages include quad Verado 300, 350 and 400s, plus a quartet of Yamaha F300s. If this were my rig, I’d seriously consider these other options and trade some of that raw top end speed for increased fuel efficiency. While the 425XTOs are behemoths and put out 1,700 sea ponies of raw power, her 486-gallon tankage is a bit short for these thirsty girls and if canyon fishing is on the agenda, the other engine options might be a better choice and will shave 1,000+ pounds off the transom for improved sea keeping and fuel efficiency.  For additional details, visit www.wellcraft.com.

Mako

The latest 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 live wells 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 six-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 four-inch overall length, supported by an eight-foot, six-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.

Nautic Star

One of the latest NauticStar center consoles to hit the briny was last season’s 32 XS Offshore. This queen of the Nautic Star fleet 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 television. Aft, the jump seats flip-up for a spacious fishing deck with sizable, in-floor fish boxes 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 NauticStar’s 100 percent 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 fish boxes. 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.

Pioneer

For 2021, last season’s Pioneer 266 Pelagic got a name change to the new 270 Pelagic. The Pioneer 270 Pelagic center console is the latest new boat in their lineup and is also their largest to date. 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. Other notable standard features on the 270 Pelagic CC include a stainless steel steering wheel with speed knob, recessed trim tabs w/indicator light, a white powder coat package; 13.5-gallon fresh water tank; a six-pack of flush-mounted gunwale rodholders; twin insulated in-floor macerated fish boxes; a 52-gallon lighted live well with sea chest; 80-quart Engel cooler with cushion; an anchor locker with windlass, anchor and rode; a single Garmin 12-inch MFD; dual battery switch with battery isolator; deluxe fiberglass leaning post w/tackle storage station; a deluxe hard top; walk-in console with Porta-Pottie; a dozen stainless steel cupholders; a fold-down rear bench seat; cockpit coaming bolster cushions; a bow cushion set and more.

When it’s time to power this southern girl, you can choose from twin Yamaha F200/I4s; twin F250/V6s; a single Yamaha F350/V8; twin Suzuki DF200/I4s; dual Suzuki DF250/V6s; a single Suzuki DF350; twin Mercury FourStroke 200/V6s; a pair of Mercury FourStroke 250/V8s; or a single Mercury 350 Verado. Wow, that is some selection! The current 2021 Pioneer lineup includes a total of nine outboard-powered center consoles, bay boats and dual console designs ranging from 17 to 27 feet. All Pioneer boats are backed by a transferable 7-year/10-year original owner structural hull warranty. For more information, visit www.pioneerboats.com.

Limestone Boats

Limestone boats, developed by renowned designer Mark Ellis of Essex, CT, have been built in the Great Lakes region since the mid 1980s. As the models evolved, customers took notice of the manufacturer’s dedication to quality, durability and functionality that ultimately created a cult like following. Scott Hanson, a marine industry veteran, now serves as Limestone’s new chief executive officer. Earlier this year, he and his partners acquired the global manufacturing and Limestone branding rights from Mark Ellis Design LLC, purchased the Limestone molds and created the Limestone Boat Company.

“We recognized the history and future potential of the Limestone brand and decided to secure the global licensing rights,” said CEO Scott Hanson. “We’ve relocated the manufacturing operations across to Tennessee and we’ve engaged Mark Ellis to assist us with guiding the new model designs of which he originally created.”

Initial product offerings over the current 2021 and following 2022 model year will provide a nine model lineup ranging from 17-to-29 feet, complete with runabouts, cuddies, center and dual consoles with classic day boat and fishing boat arrangements. Models include the L-170DC and CC, L-200R and CC, L-250R, L-270CD, L-290CD, and soon to be launched L-270DC and L-290DC (set to debut in Q2 of 2021). Limestone has partnered with a renowned, centrally-located U.S. manufacturer that has a 40-plus year history in manufacturing quality boats that dealers and boaters have counted on for decades. They also offer substantial capacity for growth in their 145,000 square foot facility, a large skilled labor force, and a management team that brings to bear generations of experience with household boat brands in the saltwater and freshwater markets.

Limestone models have historically been sterndrive, with outboard configurations typically used commercially and in coastal New England, but the current and future designs move the models to outboard engine applications. The move to focus solely on outboards is a major evolution for the model line-up, enhancing their accessibility, usability, performance, safety and maintenance characteristics. For more information on the Limestone Boat Company, visit www.limestoneboats.com.

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