A detailed look at your 2023 Dream Boat!
The 21 Classic has been a fixture in Steiger Craft’s fishing boat lineup for over 30 years. There are many good reasons for this longevity and universal appeal. Accordingly, it was the logical choice as The Fisherman’s Dream Boat prize in 2023.
Steiger’s 21 Classic harkens back to when fishing boats were significantly less complex, offering a simple center console skiff layout with plenty of room to fish both forward and aft of the roomy console. You’ll also find functional electronics and panel layout, easy access to the batteries and critical systems, a decent amount of cockpit freeboard, and the fuel capacity to fish from sunup to sundown.
At first glance, the 21 Classic that I jumped aboard reminded me a lot of my first boat back in the early 80s, a competitive 19-1/2-foot center console with single 100-horsepower two-stroke on the transom. I caught a lot of fish with that center console skiff, and more importantly, it didn’t break the bank to spend a day out on the water. The Steiger 21 Classic can do it all, with a super-solid, all-fiberglass, modified-vee hull that tips the scales at a hefty 3,400 pounds dry. But she can still travel in the fast lane if sea conditions permit, hitting the mid-to-upper 40s with her Yamaha F150 four-stroke powerplant.
The 21 Classic CC offers a generous amount of fishing room for her size, with a single level cockpit sole that makes it easy to traverse fore and aft when fighting a fish with plenty of space between the inside of the gunwale caps and the console’s sidewalls that promotes fluid movement. The 23 inches of cockpit depth aft tapers to 22 inches amidships and underscores the tilt in this Steiger’s self-bailing deck, evacuating all deck water overboard via a quartet of flapped scuppers positioned in outboard cutout transom design.
This “classic” transom arrangement makes for plenty of space aft of the standard leaning post/four-rod rocket launcher set-up, with this business end section of the cockpit sole measuring 52 inches long by 78 inches wide, translating to over 28 square feet. When taken in conjunction with the standard recessed trim tabs, this layout also removes just about every obstacle that might snag your line with a big fish on the other end fighting for its freedom. That’s more of a big deal than you might expect and also makes this 21-footer punch way above her weight class for usable fishing room onboard.
The fuel filter is tucked under the starboard transom corner, out of the way, yet easy to swap its canister when the time comes without spilling any of its contents down into the bilge. The flush aft bilge area hatch allows for easy access to any wiring or pumps, plus a great spot to mount either an in-hull or through-hull transducer if that was your plan. Working forward of the console, the casting deck up front offers even more space, measuring 6 feet wide by 5 feet in length, adding an additional 30 square-feet of totally clear fishing room.
Talking with The Fisherman’s Publisher Mike Caruso along with the Steiger folks, the 2023 top prize in the Dream Boat Fishing Challenge which is the Steiger 21 Classic, will be powered by a Yamaha F150XCA XL shaft outboard, and will also include a Humminbird APEX 13 MEGA SI+ Chartplotter and 87-inch Minn Kota Riptide Terrova 112 (installation required). Notable standards you’ll find on the Dream Boat Steiger 21 Classic are a six-pack of flush-mount stainless steel rodholders in the gunwales; a trio of identical stainless steel vertical rodholders flanking either side of the roomy console; triple polymer horizontal rod racks under each gunwale; a quad stainless steel rocket launcher in the leaning post; a removable plug-in cushioned backrest for the leaning post, with a 36-quart Igloo cooler tucked away down under; a storage bin under the console’s cushioned forward flip-up seat with access to the twin batteries; plus deep storage directly under the console.
There’s plenty of tackle storage on the 21 Classic, with a deep pullout box in the port side of the console; a flush hatch to starboard revealing triple Plano 3700-series tackle trays; a vertical rack for your fillet knives, pliers and mono cutters recessed into the port side of the leaning post; plus a similar area to the starboard side featuring space to stow yet another Plano 3700 box and hang a few leader rigs ready for action.