The Boat Buyer’s Guide is Sponsored by:Your guide to the winter boat show season, and a new ride come spring!
With some of the very best inshore and offshore fishing in decades here along the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic there’s never been a better time to finally pull the trigger on a new boat to start living the fishing lifestyle. In fact, with the current high demand for boats, now may be a great time to sell your boat and trade up for the fishing machine you’ve been eyeing for so long. With boat show season ahead and another year of outstanding fishing likely ahead, let’s get you up to speed on the latest new models for the 2023 model year. And be advised there are a few surprises with new entries in to the competitive outboard-powered fishing boat market.
This respected North Carolina boat builder has introduced a new walkaround for the 2023 model year, the Adventure 218. As with all Grady-White boats, the list of standard features on this debutant is a nautical mile long. Necessities that many other competitive boats offer as added-cost items are part of the basic equation on this new Adventure 218, so she’s ready to fish and have family fun from the get-go.
The roomy cabin is complete with comfy cushions and welcome storage areas under the bunks. There’s a dedicated area for a portable head on the starboard side of the interior layout. The vee-berth offers enough space for overnighting at your favorite beachside hideaway, or for children to get out of the elements when they’ve had too much sun. Side windows combine with a Bomar hatch overhead in the cabin’s forepeak to provide fresh air and natural light down below. Other definitive Grady-White features include cockpit storage spaces, drop-in boxes below the aft seats that provide easy access to the bilge and batteries, twin insulated fish boxes (120-quart starboard and 126-quart port), plus storage for 10 rods, six stainless pull-up cleats and overboard-draining stainless cup holders strategically placed throughout the boat. The dash panel features room to mount a 12-inch multi-function display, engine monitoring gauges and more. Cockpit coaming bolsters are standard, as is a built in engine flushing system with hose attachment aft.
One of my favorite standard features on this newbie is her 100 percent fiberglass composite stringer system and transom. I also like the 25-inch cockpit depth and her unique integrated swim platforms and pivoting aft seat backs. Reversible seat bottoms convert the twin corner jump seats into flat aft casting decks that afford more room for an angler to fight fish while also providing easy access when beaching it or enjoying family watersports.
Fresh off her re-introduction at this past Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, Contender’s popular 24S is back in production. I was able to do a detailed video review of her plusses and possibilities that’s available on The Fisherman’s website. Contender sport series boats are rigged for your specific needs. Custom options for diving, fishing and on the water fun make each Contender unique. The 24S is a great day tripping boat with plenty of range offered from the 130-gallon fuel capacity, depending if you opt for a single or twins. Factory tests show that she gets over 2.5 mpg at 30 mph when powered with a single Yamaha F300!
Some of this reimagined boat’s standard fishing and construction features include a hand-laid fiberglass hull using multi-directional fabrics and foam cored glass stringer system, with foam floatation; integrated dive platform, full transom and transom door; anchor locker storage; forward bench seating; removable forward center seat insert; twin 59-gallon storage compartments set under the forward seats; 94-gallon forward fish box; forward console seat with insulated storage; step down console with optional head; two 30-gallon aft fish boxes; oversized flush hatch bilge access; 26-gallon above-deck live well; plus aft seating with additional bilge access.
The running bottom on the 24S features a deep-vee forefoot that tapers back to 22.5 degrees of deadrise at the transom. This Florida girl has an LOA of 24 feet, 6 inches, a trailerable 8-foot, 6-inch beam and an 18-inch draft with her engine drives up. She’s rated to carry up to 300 horsepower on the transom, so she’ll accommodate either a single 300 or twin 150s. Contender has also introduced a new 26 Bay Boat for 2023.
Pursuit has introduced two newbies for the 2023 season, their long-awaited Offshore 445 and a trailerable center console, the C248 Sport. I did a video review of the smaller 24CC that’s on The Fisherman’s website, so we’ll focus on the new OS 445 for this summary. With a LOA of 46 feet, 6 inches and a 13-foot, 10-inch beam, the OS 445 is powered by triple Yamaha F425 XTO outboards. She’ll cruise at 30.4 mph with a range of 349 miles at 4000 rpms, hitting a top speed of 49.2 mph. Factory installed Garmin electronics are standard and include twin 22-inch screens and Helm Master EX, which makes docking and maneuvering in tight quarters a breeze. Also standard is the Seakeeper 6 Gyro Stabilizer to guarantee a smooth day on the water.
The bridge deck offers an L-shaped lounge and table, a fold away ceiling mounted television and plenty of storage tucked away in the ample cabin. Showing her versatility, the bridge deck can be open or closed, depending on the elements. An innovative awning window swings up and is held in place, opening the salon and cockpit into one large indoor/outdoor entertaining space, whether anchored or underway. Another innovative element is the galley-up design on the bridge deck, which puts the chef in the middle of the action. Yacht-style bulwarks provide ease of passage to the foredeck that features a cabana area, which arguably offers some of the best seats in the house. A forward-facing seat, complete with armrests and drink holders, provides the amazing views. The sunpad can be found just aft and features two chaise-style seats with adjustable backrests.
Comfortable overnighting is a reality, courtesy of the cabin’s twin staterooms with TVs and ample storage. The head features two entry doors, including private access from the primary stateroom and also a separate shower with acrylic door.
There are a pair of new fishing felines for this North Carolina based catamaran builder for the 2023 model year. Since the 400CC-X was the subject of an excellent fishing boat video review that was taken on a Hudson Canyon tuna trip this fall with The Fisherman’s Mike Caruso onboard, we’ll focus more on the other debutant for this summary, the new 260CC-X.
The 260CC-X is the sixth model in the World Cat center console lineup. She features a standard wrap around U-lounge bow seating area with a self-storing bow filler and casting deck; side console vertical rod storage; an integrated powder coated aluminum frame and windshield system with manual forward vent and a fiberglass T-top featuring two LED spreader lights, four LED recessed lights and red/white helm lights. Also standard on the 260CC-X is a unique full transom with a fold-down 50-inch double-wide bench seat that converts to a flush, aft casting deck.
Standard features on this cat-fisher include a convertible transom bench, combined with rod holders in the gunwales and side console, insulated fish boxes, livewell, tackle storage, as well as the leaning post with vertical rocket launchers, plus a 65-quart Yeti cooler. The new 260CC-X also boasts a draft of only 14 inches, allowing owners the ability to fish inshore as well as having the performance, stability and safety to run offshore with confidence. Some desirable options include a T-top mounted LED forward light bar, electric marine head with eight-gallon holding tank and overboard discharge, T-top rocket launchers and a RGB light upgrade including courtesy, hardtop, cockpit, under gunwale, console accent and UW lights and speakers.
When can something old be something new? When Al Steiger reimagines one of the longest running hulls in his 50-year boatbuilding history, the 21 Classic center console. The 21 Classic is a model that has been in the Steiger Craft lineup for over 30-years. Historically, it’s been a great boat for “skinny water” fishing adventures in the back bays and flats that permeate Long Island, New England and New Jersey, where Steiger boats have made their reputation over the decades. However, this trailerable 21-footer, offering an easy-to-power modified-vee deadrise with a compact 8-foot beam, is equally adept at chasing bass and blues around the inlets and along the beach.
According to the Steiger folks, “It is by far the best built modified-V 21-footer on the market.” It is certainly one of the beefiest, with a weight of 3,400 pounds. The minimal nine-inch draft will allow anglers to access skinny water for the various local residents like weakfish, schoolie stripers, fluke and bluefish, along with those exotic pelagic species like cobia and drum that seem to visit us for longer periods with each passing season.
The 21 Classic’s standard power is a Yamaha F115, but Steiger also installs Mercury power as an option. If this were my rig, I’d go for the Merc 115 ProXS, which is a high-output (126 HP) engine that can spin big V6 and V8 props for max performance with its Command Thrust gearcase. If you are a Yamaha fan and need a few more sea ponies on the transom to get around the big open bays with your 21 Classic, Yamaha’s proven F150 is probably the right outboard option for you. No matter what engine you fancy, the 60-gallon fuel tank will let you run all day without needing a refill. Standard features include two pairs of cleats, bow and stern; marine compass; cupholders; dual batteries; hydraulic steering; a leaning post; recessed trim tabs; three horizontal rod racks under the gunwales on each side; plus a cool two-tone deck, your choice of tan or gray. A T-Top and different hull colors are available as options.
Sisu boats have been bouncing around Northeast coastal areas ever since Designer Royal Lowell drew up their lines back in the 1970s. Originally, the three hulls that he drafted were 22, 26 and 30 feet in length. The majority of these were slated to be work boats and run single inboard powerplants at displacement speeds. I actually took a ride on a 26 Sisu decades ago and it was the typical New England lobster boat format, with a 16-knot cruising speed from its displacement hull and 200-horsepower diesel engine. Fast-forward to 2023; the company that originally manufactured the Sisu lineup is long gone and the molds were sold off, never to be seen or heard from again. That is until the 22 Sisu mold was purchased by Eastern Boats a few years back and the darling little 22 Sisu is back in business, albeit with a few contemporary tweaks.
Modern composite materials plus a couple of design tweaks have made her even better. Recessed chines reduce spray and add dynamic lift to her round chines as she accelerates, while a transom-mounted outboard frees up a huge amount of usable space in her cockpit. Owners can choose a traditional framed bass boat windshield with Bimini top at the helm or an open-sided hardtop pilothouse. On deck, the only fixtures are helm and companion pedestal seats mounted on storage boxes that double as aft-facing lower seats. The rest of the cockpit can accommodate a full-transom fishbox with a cushioned seat on top, a couple of folding chairs, or a portable livewell.
The open pilothouse offers shelter from sun and weather, with optional roll-down sides and rocket launcher on top for additional rod storage. The cabin offers a 6-foot, 9-inch V-berth with a portable toilet and 69 inches of standing headroom. Performance is great with a modest 115-horsepower four-stroke outboard, fueled by a 60-gallon tank. With numerous standard and optional features, this New Hampshire girl continues to be a winner.
According to NorthCoast’s Sales Manager Gregg Weatherby, this Rhode Island based builder will make an announcement for the Miami boat show that they are introducing a new larger flagship model to their current lineup of coastal sport fishing craft. Gregg wouldn’t say if it was a cabin model or a center console, but we will soon learn the answer. In the interim, the current queen of the fleet is NorthCoast’s 315HT.
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, 2-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.
Fishing features include twin 58-gallon in-deck macerated fish boxes, plus a full transom that houses a pair of blue-walled recirculating livewells (26 gallons and 19 gallons). 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 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/3,500 rpm.
Making a big splash at the 2022 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, the 2023 model year Sailfish 312 CC is a real head-turner that finds the magical middle ground between serious bluewater fishing machine, family watersports and weekend entertainment platform. Starting aft, the expansive cockpit is built with a fishing focus, with plenty of dancing space aft of the standard leaning post. When it’s time to lay out a serious trolling spread, a trio of flush-mount stainless steel rodholders are installed in the port and starboard covering boards, with a six-pack of vertical units built into the transom cap, with an additional seven rodholders in the T-Top’s overhead rocket launcher. Add the horizontal racks under each gunwale, plus a pair of vertical units up forward, this rodholder array will put a smile on every bluewater angler’s face.
Insulated in-floor fish boxes port and starboard will chill your catch of the day and clean up easily via an overboard pumpout system. A pair of circulating baitwells will handle your live bait needs. Crew seating includes a recessed doublewide fold down bench seat in the transom and a second bench tucked away in the starboard gunnel, for complete unobstructed fishing access when it’s time to bend the rods. The cockpit easily converts from fishing mode to the ideal entertainment platform with deployment of the aforementioned fold-out cockpit seating benches, a cockpit table (part of the optional entertainment package) and cup holders everywhere you turn.
The Sailfish 312 CC’s impressive list of standard features includes a fiberglass T-Top with rocket launcher and electronics box; a portside dive door with foldaway grab handle; transom door in the aft starboard corner with boarding ladder; raw water washdown; dual ram, heavy duty trim tabs with LED indicator and auto retract feature; a freshwater transom shower; front, back and side spreader lights and much more.
This bass boat builder from Kilgore, Texas is a household name on all of the lakes and rivers in the Lower 48. But one of the best kept secrets in northeast coastal communities is that they make a very capable lineup of saltwater bay boats too. The newest addition to their Bay Boat series, which now includes seven models from 21 to 25 feet, is the SX2350 center console.
Storage abounds on the Skeeter SX2350, with a door on the port side of the console opening to reveal access to your system wiring, battery access and plenty of dry storage for tackle boxes and safety gear. The raised forward casting deck offers a wide, flat elevated perch to sight cast to your favorite gamefish. A quartet of flush hatches down below reveal a rod locker to port, and insulated fishbox to starboard, a dry storage locker on the centerline and a vertical anchor locker forward. There’s yet another storage area under the cockpit sole forward of the front console seat, which includes a 14-gallon livewell down under. The leaning post offers additional stowage under its flip up cushion seat for handy access to your fishing accessories. The aft casting deck offers twin 20-gallon livewells under each corner hatch, in addition to a flip-up twin bench seat for added crew comfort when underway. The bench section flips up to enable access to all pumps, plumbing and wiring in the bilge area.
A quartet of power options from Yamaha includes the F200, F200 V6 SHO, F250 and F250 SHO. Whatever your choice, the 59-gallon fuel tank should give you sunup to sundown performance. Notable standard features include a 12-inch manual jackplate; a pair of flush-mount rodholders in the covering boards and a six-pack rocket launcher aft of the leaning post backrest; Seastar tilt hydraulic steering; and a retractable boarding ladder.
Valhalla Boatworks, owned and operated by Viking Yachts, burst onto the scene in 2019 with the premiere of the first three V-Series center consoles, the V-33, V-37 and V-41. The Valhalla 46 followed last season, solidifying Valhalla as one of the top choices for high-performance premium center consoles from 33 to 46 feet. And now Valhalla is pushing the envelope once again, conquering new ground in the Viking tradition with the revolutionary V-55. “There will be nothing like it,” says Viking Yachts President and CEO Pat Healey, adding “We’re setting a new standard by bringing together the qualities of a large center console and a luxury sportfishing yacht.”
The V-55 combines the speed, maneuverability, 360-degree on-deck access and convenience of an outboard-powered center console with the engineering, accommodations and conveniences of a Viking convertible. The V-55’s overall size, especially its 15-foot, 6-inch beam, allows for more fuel capacity, cockpit space, on-deck seating and interior living accommodations than just about any other center console in its class. Quad or quint Mercury 7.6-liter V12 600-hp Verado outboards power the new Valhalla. “The boat was designed and engineered for these engines,” says Viking Vice President of Design and Engineering Lonni Rutt, who adds “We developed the transom and structure to support the weight and horsepower. We prepared for and are working with the new technology rather than adapting to it.” Mercury’s electric power steering delivers true finger-tip control. The engine manufacturer’s JPO (Joystick Piloting for Outboards) technology, combined with the 600’s steerable gearcase, give operators excellent responsiveness and 360-degree maneuverability.
The Valhalla 55 holds a total of 1,200 gallons of standard fuel, which is roughly 200 to 300 gallons more than competing models. The boat is also engineered with an electrically operated fuel management system, providing increased reliability and utility by allowing each engine to draw from designated fuel tanks. This is a super-exciting new ground-breaking sportfisher and I am hoping to do a performance review on one of these in the upcoming season.
I spoke with Robalo’s National Sales Manager Joe Pegg at the recent Fort Lauderdale Boat Show and he introduced me to Robalo’s latest midsized sport fishing platform, the all-new R250 center console. Robalo’s latest sportfisher was designed to be a best-in-class, all-around, do-everything center console to fit the needs of both the family as well as the most dedicated anglers. Versatility is the name of the game on the R250 with features to excite all types of boating and fishing enthusiasts.
A few of her standout features are an oversized hardtop, large aft cockpit, side entry door and integrated three-sided tempered glass windshield with vent. The hull’s 23-degree aft deadrise is a true deep-vee running bottom designed to glide softly through rough seas. With one of the most reasonable entry prices in the industry rigged with a pair of Yamaha F150 outboards, she will run fast and far with her standard 165-gallon fuel tank. Other notable features include a roomy step-down head, a 13.5-gallon freshwater tank and a 6.5-gallon holding tank for the standard marine head. Yet another nuance on this debutant that will be shared by all 2023 Robalo fishing boats is her new upholstery material made from 100% SiO silicone, making it virtually maintenance free. SiO is a very pure form of silicone which, unlike conventional marine seating, is free of chemical additives. SiO’s angular resin technology offers enhanced durability, robust scuffing and scratch resistance, and one of the softest and most comfortable marine seating surfaces available today. Joe Pegg also mentioned that Robalo is planning to intro a larger R270 CC at the upcoming Miami boat show.
Scout has introduced the much anticipated 377 LXF S-Class, the company’s newest addition to its LXF model line. This 37-foot center console was built with performance, luxury and styling in mind. Scout’s LXF Collection is comprised of luxury sportfish models that showcase a unique blending of high-performance fish boats with high-end cruisers. The cross between these two popular recreational marine mainstays allows one to enjoy amenities on this collection normally only found on much larger sportfishers. The 377 LXF is the ninth current model in this category to date, joining the 255, 277, 305, 330, 355, 400, 425 and 530 LXF models.
The 377 is built on Scout’s carbon fiber epoxy-infused, double-stepped fuel-efficient hull. The Epoxy-infusion process utilizing Carbon Fiber/E-glass is utilized on models 37 feet and above and provides a Class A finish, with more stability in the hull while reducing the overall weight in the boat, countering the long-term ideology that a larger boat must be heavy to perform. The 377 LXF falls within Scout’s S-Class category, which is reserved for luxury models 33 feet and up. The S-Class designation signifies the upper echelon of the Scout Boats line-up, the highest level of luxury, similar to what one would experience with high-end luxury automobiles.
Standard on the 377 LXF is a lithium ion battery with a battery management system, eliminating the need for a generator; portside swing-in boarding door with ladder; double sun deck lounge with cushions, armrests and underside storage forward of the console; key fob remote controlled lights; spacious cabin down below and an enclosed head with a porcelain sink, Corian vanity and mirror; marine head with electric overboard discharge with an 11-gallon holding tank; 120-volt air conditioning and heat in the cabin and at the helm; and much more. Also new for Scout for 2023 is their flagship bay boat the 281XSS.
Introduced at the 2022 Miami boat show, the latest Carolina Fox to hit the water is Sea Fox’s 268 Traveler dual console. This new family fun and fishing model is based on the 268 Commander CC hull, which features a pronounced Carolina flare and a deep-vee entry forward that tapers back to 20 degrees of deadrise aft. The wider 9-foot, 3-inch beam gives this 26-footer plenty of internal space for an efficient dual console cockpit design that feels bigger than she looks at first glance. The port side dive door makes it easy to get on and off the boat, whether at dockside or returning after a swim or your favorite watersport activities. With her standard power of twin Yamaha F200s, she will top out at 51 mph and travel in the fast lane at 33-mph/2.5-mpg at a normal cruising speed of 4,000 rpm. Her 127-gallon fuel tank will take you and the crew a long way between fill-ups.
When it’s time to bend a rod for the catch of the day, a total of 10 standard rodholders and a 30-gallon livewell build into the transom cap will help your angling pursuits. There’s a roomy head under the portside console, plenty of aft bench seating for a bunch of friends, three-way adjustable lounger to port, plus a pair of cushioned bench seats forward of the walk-through center windshield that offer deep storage down under. Other standard features include recessed trim tabs, a pull-out Yeti cooler for your drinks, deep under-deck storage for your water toys, a fiberglass hardtop with massive power-coated aluminum support bracing, tempered glass windscreen and side window, and much more.
Introduced last season, the Sportsman Open 262 offers a host of standard amenities that you usually don’t see on your typical 26-footer. For starters, the dual side entry doors open 180-degrees for unobstructed water-centric access. When it’s time to escape from the sun, a feature-packed fiberglass hard-top comes complete with lights, speakers and overhead rod holders. At the helm, state-of-the-art electronics are standard, along with weather and wind protection all the way around, courtesy to the integrated tempered glass windshield. Gorgeous twin aquarium livewells set in the transom corners annotate the fishing-ready cockpit layout.
The bow of the 262 features wrap around seating with adjustable bow backrests, two easily accessible large insulated fish boxes, a through-hull windlass system, drink holders and speakers to play your favorite tunes. The helm’s premium captain’s chairs feature individually adjustable flip-up bolsters, offering lumbar support either standing or sitting when underway and the armrests add a nice comfort touch. Just aft of the captain’s chairs, there’s a tackle center topped with a lid, sink, cutting board and a small cooler. Access to the battery switches has never been easier. There’s a dedicated switch for each engine and one for the house system. The house switch isolates all of your electronics, lights and pumps from your engine batteries. Inside of the leaning post, there’s a designated battery storage compartment. When it’s time to fish, the rear bench conveniently stows away to open up the aft cockpit space.
For 2023 Sportsman Boats has created a new company called Phenom (phenomyachts.com) which is offering a million dollar 37CC with various 1,200-horsepower engine configurations. They are also planning to launch a new 34CC at the upcoming Miami boat show.
The latest and largest Pioneer sportfisher is the 270 Pelagic Center Console. 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 or 10-year original owner structural hull warranty.
Consistent with the theme of the past few seasons of sport boat companies either introducing new fishing boat line-ups, or just outright purchasing known fishing boat companies (like Pursuit, Blackfin, Parker, Cobia, etc.), this is a growing and robust part of the boating industry at the moment. The folks at Finseeker, which is a brand of Crownline Boats located in the Midwest, took the first route. I spent some time at their booth down at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show discussing with their sales manager the attributes of the new Finseekers on exhibit.
The initial wave of Crownline’s Finseeker boats includes a quartet of center consoles in the sweet spot for most Fisherman readers at 20, 21, 22 and 23 feet in length. Two newbies that were just introduced at the show for the 2023 model year include the 260 and 280 dual consoles. These boats all share a unique family look with their Carolina flare bows that taper aft with broken sheer lines, complemented by a single stepped hull that Finseeker dubs their “Gen 2 Performance Fast Tab” hull. The 42-degree angle of entry featured on all Finseeker boats tapers back to 20 degrees aft, so these variable vee running bottoms are designed to tame the fickle nature of traversing open water. The aggressive 7.5-degree reverse chine angle is designed to keep quartering wind salt spray off the windshield and away from the passengers when underway. Myriad standard features make the Finseeker lineup something to check out if you are in the market for a new ride.
Launching over 2,400 boats per year, few manufacturers can match this South Carolina builder’s scope and scale. New for the 2023 model year is a pair of family-oriented center consoles, the 23 Escape and the 28 Escape, which bookend the existing lineup of 25 and 27-footers. The name Escape says it all. Sea Hunt’s Escape series was created for families desiring the “Escape” experience on the water. Sea Hunt delivers on this concept with one of the most comfortable and functional center consoles in its class with their Escape lineup. With its cushioned rear bench seating and oversized bow area, it’s easy to sit back and enjoy pleasure cruising, working on your tan and sandbar hopping. When it’s time to catch your dinner, standard rodholders and livewells instantly turn every Escape boat into a bona fide fishing machine.
The 23 Escape is right-sized for a big chuck of The Fisherman’s readership, with affordable single engine performance in a hull that will spoil at least eight crew members with plush triple wide bench seating aft, twin full-length lounge seating in the bow, a forward bench seat in front of the center console, plus a leaning post/aft-facing bench seat at the helm. Some of the impressive standard features on this newbie include an integrated fiberglass T-Top with tempered glass enclosure; an Ultra windlass package complete with through-stem anchor chute, electric windless, anchor and rode; cockpit and bow bolsters, with forward seating backrests; dual side entry doors; China bowl marine head with holding tank; underwater LED lighting; freshwater system; and a standard Garmin GPSMap 12-inch MFD. The 28 Escape offers all these features and more, in a larger, more roomy package that’s powered by twin Yamaha outboards.
Parker Offshore, now a division of Florida-based Correct Craft, introduced their new 24CC at the 2022 Miami boat show. The 24CC is the second offering of the all-new line of Parker center consoles, joining the 22CC introduced late in 2021. The 24CC builds on the Parker tradition and moves forward to create the next generation of rugged offshore-capable center consoles by incorporating proven manufacturing processes with new features and refined styling that make it the perfect boat for the fisherman or family. Parker Offshore has built its reputation by staying true to its core values of providing customers with a boating experience rooted in strength, and seaworthiness.
The 24CC offers several notable standard features not typically found on a boat of this size. These include bow seating with cushions and insulated storage, forward console lounge seat with 240-quart insulated storage/fishbox underneath, LED under gunnel lights, port and starboard swim platforms with boarding ladder and a head. Ready for any adventure on the water, the 24CC boasts notable optional features such as an adjustable bow table with cushion that converts into a sunpad or casting platform, fiberglass leaning post with 30-gallon insulated livewell with tackle storage and a 64-quart cooler on a slider assembly for easy access. Additionally, Parker Offshore offers a variety of electronic upgrades from Garmin and Fusion Stereo, as well as options from Power-Pole and Motor Guide to complete the experience. When I was talking to the Parker folks at the recent Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, they mentioned that there will soon be two new additions to the Parker Offshore center console lineup in the form of the 25CC and the 28CC, making a good thing even bigger and better. The 25CC is slated to make its debut right around Christmas and the 28CC is slated to make a big splash at the upcoming 2023 Miami Boat Show in February.
Maritime Boats are 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”, 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.
Boston Whaler recently announced the newest member of its Dauntless family, the 280 Dauntless. Sporting an all-new design from the keel up, state-of-the-art technology, sleek styling and exciting new features, the flagship 280 Dauntless is the ideal platform for all boating activities and completes the evolution of the Dauntless line, which also includes 220 and 250 models. Designed for cruising, fishing, watersports and more, the new 280 combines predictable inshore performance with offshore confidence. She has more comfort features, loads of storage space and can be customized with dozens of options that cater to any type of boating pursuit. Its open bow allows for free-flowing movement around the boat, optimizing the layout for hosting family, friends or large groups.
Comfortable seating options can be found everywhere on board, including a spacious lounge seat in front of the console, port and starboard seating with pull-up backrests near the bow and a flip-up bench seat for two passengers in the stern deck. Delivering a premium helm seating experience, the standard convertible helm seat with electric actuation can quickly convert into an aft facing seat at the push of a button. Cup holders, a bow table, coolers and other amenities can be found throughout the vessel.
For anglers, the 280 Dauntless includes fishing-focused amenities such as a large casting platform, a 19-gallon livewell, a large fishbox with pump-out and increased storage capacity throughout the boat to effectively store all fishing gear. An optional full glass windshield protects the helm from the elements, and an outrigger package is also available to enhance offshore capability. An excellent all-around design, the 280 Dauntless also offers a deluxe leaning post, with gyro stabilizer, a freshwater sink and rod holders on either side. Powered by Mercury, the 280 Dauntless is available with either single or dual outboards. Also new for 2023 is Whaler’s new 360 Outrage, which we will hope to cover in detail in a future product review.
For the 2023 model year, this Florida boat builder has a trio of reimagined boats, evolving their 320cc into the 325 and doing a similar refresh for the popular 280, which now goes by the 285cc handle. The other news is that their popular 230CX is now back in production, better and more sophisticated. The 230CX is the smallest sister in a sorority that includes the popular 248CX, 262CX and 285CX crossover models, so-called because they are equally adept at either family fun or serious fishing.
The reintroduced 230CX offers more standard features than ever before, including a bow lounge with bolster cushions and armrests; a bow filler cushion with a table/leg insert; an integrated triple wide stern seat with storage and 12-gallon insulated baitwell set under the rear seat; a six-pack of under-gunwale rod racks; starboard side prep station with freshwater sink and sliding cooler storage set aft of the captain’s pedestal seat; insulated bow storage lockers that double as fishboxes with overboard drains; raw water washdown; a fresh water shower; a retractable ski pylon; fiberglass hardtop; underwater lights; portside head; 19-gallon freshwater tank; plus an integrated swim platform with ladder and anchor storage.
Popular sport fishing options include a quartet of vertical rodholders installed in the transom cap and a 28-gallon livewell tucked into the port corner aft. These complement the four gunwale mount flush rodholders that come as standard equipment. To minimize investment, fuel and maintenance costs, the 230CX also works well with a single outboard, hitting a top speed of over 43 mph with a single Yamaha F250 and will cruise comfortably at 4000 rpm getting roughly 30 mph at 12 gph for a net of 2.5 mpg. Combine that with her 110-gallon fuel capacity and you’ll go a long way between fill-ups.
According to my buds over at Jupiter, “the good life begins at 40.” Welcome to the big 4-0, as in their new, long-awaited 40 supersized center console. The eagerly anticipated introduction of the Jupiter 40 is no ordinary milestone. This is the product of a company and a design team at the very top of their game. Rated for 1,350 outboard horses, the new 40 is powerful and agile enough to handle anything Mother Nature throws at you in distinctive Jupiter fashion…with yacht-quality comfort, performance and detail inside and out, plus an unwavering confidence at the helm. I have driven some of these big Jupiters 80 miles out and back to the canyons in the fast lane and this statement is not just marketing hype; these Florida girls were designed to run far and fast, even in choppy seas.
The Jupiter 40 features a hull length that’s an inch shy of 40 feet, supported by a beam of 11 feet, 11 inches. She tips the scales at a rather svelte 16,000 pounds with her standard power setup, featuring a knife-like forward entry that tapers back to a true deep-vee 24-degree deadrise aft. Standard notable features include a six-pack of flush gunwale mount rodholders set at the appropriate 0-degree, 30-degree and 45-degree outboard angles to avoid tangles; vacuum-infused vinylester biaxial and quad core construction with high-tech PVC foam coring, a fiberglass uni-grid stringer system, with the deck mechanically fastened to the hull; 500 gallons of usable fuel capacity; a 50-gallon freshwater tank, plus a 20-gallon fuel tank for the diesel generator. The head features a 15-gallon holding tank, plus there’s a 6.5-gallon hot water heater for the ultimate in comfort aboard. There’s too much stuff to list here, so check it out in person if you can.
NauticStar Boats, one of four brands under MasterCraft Boat Holdings Inc., introduced the company’s first-ever pair of 24-foot offshore fishing boats during the recent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The 24 XS and 24 Legacy join NauticStar’s other offshore models in providing hardcore, offshore fishing platforms for the serious angler with the ability to clean up, host your family and friends and enjoy the luxurious amenities and creature comforts onboard. An impressive lineup of standard features and customizable upgrades including stainless steel under-gunwale rod holders, optional integrated power windlass anchor system and versatile seating configurations provide a smooth, dry, comfortable ride. Both boats come with endless standard features including pressurized live wells and Yamaha performance engines and tons of optional upgrades like premium consoles, Simrad displays and Fusion Audio options.
Although the 24 XS was introduced last year, it finally started to ship in late 2022. She features a large forward lounge seat and plush wraparound bow seating made of luxurious vinyl and includes Nano-Block Stain Protection. For added comfort, there are telescoping backrests on both sides that provide the ability to face forward when in motion but can be stowed away when not in use. The bow cushions can also be stored to give anglers a large and stable fishing platform up front. The 24 XS features a running bottom with a 42-degree entry angle that tapers back to 19 degrees of deadrise at the transom. It’s rated to carry up to 300 horsepower on the transom and the 106-gallon fuel tank will provide a weekend of fun at the beach, fishing back bay and nearshore waters, or a near offshore trip to and from the 40-fathom line. There is also a 22 XS in the works for 2023.
Designed as a do-it-all for most boaters, the new 22 Ultra Elite is built for a variety of on-water activities. With comfort-minded features and amenities, this boat is perfect for families and fishermen alike. This Georgia girl features an expansive sun pad in the bow with a removable backrest. There is also a hidden insulated storage space with overboard draining under the port and starboard loungers so you can enjoy cool beverages all day long. Combing pads surround the back bow walls for added comfort when lounging as well. Need table space? There is a moveable table that can be raised on the deck. This multi-use amenity is perfect for lunching, prep for fishing and anything else you can think of.
You can opt for maritime shades that extend from the top of the console over the bow and the cockpit for added comfort from the sun’s harmful rays. When nature calls, flip up the front console to reveal a changing room and porta pottie with a privacy curtain. The console area also has a tilt steering wheel, two cupholders, and space for twin 12-inch displays. If you opt for a stereo system, you will also get a USB plug for your phone or other devices to play some tunes. The console is also equipped with a footrest so you can take a load off your deck shoes and drive in style.
The 22 Ultra Elite features three comfortable jump seats aft and the swim platform offers get onboard convenience. For fishing, the 22 Ultra Elite has a 20-gallon livewell, an atlas jack plate and a power pole. The 13 standard rodholders along the gunnels, on the leaning post and aft of the hard top will keep them ready for action when it’s time to go fish.
Hot off the transom of last year’s flagship 5300 launch, Century has doubled down on the big boat, go-fast center console experience with the introduction of their 4100 CC. Although hull number one is still in the works getting ready for the upcoming boat show circuit, we do have an idea of what she will look like and how she will roll. The Century 4100 CC’s hybrid hull design is an engineered balance between a traditional “Vee” hull and a stepped hull design. Century blends the best of both worlds with a unique strake geometry, a dynamic keel pad and a multifaceted transom. This hull has been designed to minimize bow rise while reducing drag and increasing lift. To make this engineering feat possible, high performance materials are used throughout the manufacturing process. An exclusive carbon fiber/Kevlar hybrid fabric was developed for the hull of to provide extra stiffness while reducing overall weight. All composites are vacuum infused to achieve optimum glass/resin ratio.
Twin transom doors open to an oversized swim platform providing complete 360 degrees of fishability. Engine rigging is hidden below the platform for safe, unobstructed maneuverability. A semi-enclosed console area provides climate controlled isolation from the elements while still being open to the rest of the deck space onboard. Convenient zip-up canvas converts this space into a fully enclosed, weather-protected pilot house. Twin berths below deck comfortably sleep three to four adults. The second row lounger in the console area converts to sleep a fifth crew member above deck in the air conditioned space.
The 4100CC measures 41 feet LOA, supported by a 12-foot, 4-inch beam and deep vee running bottom that tapers back to 23.5 degrees at the transom. The 535-gallon fuel tank should provide adequate offshore range, depending on how you power her and how you ride the throttles when underway.
When I was down at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, I was able to get a sneak peek at Blackfin’s latest intro, the 302DC. The Blackfin 302DC offers an uncompromising dual console design accompanied by outstanding performance and an abundance of standard features and amenities. This boat’s unique running bottom features a Michael Peters twin step hull design which helps boost speed and performance, creating an impeccably smooth and dry ride. Blackfin’s 302DC also comes standard with everything you need for serious fishing, while offering an incredible crossover design that makes it the perfect vessel for enjoying your time on the water with friends and family. Featuring a fiberglass hardtop, gunnel and transom-mounted rod holders, in-floor fish boxes with macerated pump outs, an insulated baitwell, as well as the latest in navigation and fish-finding technology, the 302DC is ready for all your fishing expeditions in the bays or offshore.
When the moment calls for some fun in the sun with the family, hit the water with a premier sound system with JL audio speakers with twin subwoofers, U-shaped bow seating, helm seats with flip-up bolsters and armrests, a multi-position starboard side flip seat, and a transom foldaway bench seat. A wet bar with pull-out faucet, 45-quart Yeti Tundra cooler and refrigerator help provide you with everything you need to enjoy all of your on-the-water activities. Blackfin’s 302DC is at the top of its class in features and performance. Whether you’re cruising, beaching, fishing or enjoying your favorite watersports, the 302DC has everything you need to make things happen. Scuttlebutt has it that Blackfin will intro a new 400CC at the upcoming Miami boat show.
Invincible recently announced the introduction of the 43 Open Fisherman. Replacing both the outgoing 42 Open Fisherman and Center Cabin models, the 43 Open utilizes the same proven Michael Peters Yacht Design SVVT hull with an evolved interior. “We designed the 43 with the tournament and master anglers in mind,” said John Dorton, CEO of Invincible. “Technology has advanced so much from even a few years ago and we’re always striving to be at the forefront of what benefits the sport fishing community, both on their way to the bite and when they have their lines in the water,” Dorton added.
Designed by SVP of Engineering Scott Wood, the new 43 Open is equipped with everything important in a large fishing center console. The cabin has a full sleeping berth, a vanity sink and head compartment for those overnight tournaments. The innovation comes in how the space has been reimagined and some of these new design features include an all-new extended console, helm and cabin which have been moved forward to accommodate dual row seating without affecting fishability from the cockpit, the standard extended console lounger which houses the largest fish box onboard, a new hardtop option added to accommodate additional electronics for the cockpit/helm areas and a rear-entry second station, along with a second live well with aquarium windows at the transom to complement the optional in-floor well. “This boat really showcases a lot of features that you have seen in some model enhancements over the past few years but there are also items that we’re showing for the first time,” said Wood, adding “It’s exciting to introduce enhancements that can be applied throughout our lineup.” Also new for 2023 is a 46 Catamaran Pilot House model.
Sea Born boats is a division of Composite Research Inc, located down in Blackshear, Georgia. Introduced back in the 2021 model year, the all-new LX26 Center Console 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.
Standard features on 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 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 fishing boat, storage is 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.
The newest addition to the lineup is the 24OS, which features a tweaked hull and totally redesigned floorplan. Two huge live wells (25 gallons and 40 gallons) insure that you will never run out of bait. The rear seat with its removable backrest is a nice addition and anglers will appreciate the 20 standard rodholders. The step-up in the bow makes throwing a castnet easy and also adds the space for a huge storage box. A 470-quart insulated fish box below-deck will chill out almost anything that you can bring onboard; just remember to get the optional macerator pumpout. A lockable console includes two storage compartments with plenty of dry storage space for all of your gear. The front seat offers a flip-up lid which reveals a handy 85-quart insulated cooler down under and the standard leaning post delivers additional storage for tackle and gear.
The 24OS hull design is built for the bluewater with a deep-vee forefoot that will slice through a tight chop, with a running bottom that tapers back to 23 degrees of deadrise aft. With a dry weight of 3,700-pounds (without power) and a fuel capacity of 136 gallons, a pair of 150s should give her maximum range and performance. Notable standard features include a 10-year hull warranty with lifetime transom warranty; aluminum trailer with four-wheel disc brakes; T-Top with electronics box; rear seating and leaning post with backrest; coaming bolsters; tilt-helm hydraulic steering; Sani-Pottie with holding tank; electric trim tabs with indicators; and unsinkable composite construction.
This Florida-based boat builder has introduced a new center console for the 2023 model year, the Release 295 Sport. Based on an overall length of 29 feet, 5 inches with a beam that’s an inch over 10 eet in width, she tips the scales with a dry weight of 7,800 pounds. Rated to carry up to 600 sea ponies on the transom, the standard 180-gallon fuel tank will give this sportfisher comfortable bluewater range with her 21-degree aft deadrise deep-vee running bottom and the speed to get there, pushed by a pair of 300 four-strokes.
Notable standard features include dual 12-inch Simrad NSS EVO3S Combo displays; Simrad 4G Radar; Simrad RS20 DSC VHF radio and antenna; Simrad 1kW transducer; JL Audio MM100 Source marine stereo with quad JL Audio speakers; powder-coated hardtop with handrails, spreader lights and overhead lights; twin Llebroc helm seats with flip-up bolsters and arm rests; 36-gallon livewell; tackle storage drawers; PRO Charging Systems three-bank battery charger; a quartet of flush-mount gunwale rodholders; electric head with holding tank and overboard discharge; a sink with fresh water in the leaning post; and much more. Desirable options include a windlass system complete with a stainless steel anchor, chain and rode; full boat coaming bolsters; a quintet of flush mount rodholders installed in the transom cap; swim platform extensions with boarding ladder; and more.
Building on the successful Trophy Series and its strategy to increase boater participation through its intuitive and feature-rich designs, Bayliner recently introduced the launch of the Trophy T24 Center Console (T24CC). The newest model as part of the Trophy lineup made its official debut at last year’s Miami boat show. With an overall length of 24 feet, the Trophy T24CC brings a high-performing, family-friendly center console fishing boat to the market at a price that will attract entry-level and experienced boaters alike. Built on a deep vee hull foundation, the T24CC expands Bayliner’s center console capabilities accommodating up to 12 people onboard with increased fuel capacity, rugged fishability and more storage.
Some of the notable T24CC standard features include a beam-forward hull design with the deepest freeboard of all Trophy models, offering improved fishing ergonomics; increased fuel capacity (100 gallons), livewell (21 gallons) and baitwell (15 gallons) for a full day of fishing fun; central command center featuring dual 6-foot insulated fishboxes and standard canvas T-top with an optional fiberglass hardtop; fold-away rear bench seating offering a transom walkthrough for easy swimming platform access. The T24CC is powered by a standard 225-horsepower Mercury V6 outboard with optional packages up to 300 horsepower.
Sea Chaser’s latest models 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. Designed for fishing families who also enjoy cruising, a day at the beach and their watersports, the 27 HFC DC is versatile enough to surpass the expectations of the most serious coastal angler. The new 27 HFC Dual Console has everything you could ever need on the water, no matter what the mission of the moment. Measuring 27 feet, 3 inches LOA with a 9.5-foot beam, the 20-degree aft deadrise deep-vee running bottom combined with her hefty 6,244-pound dry weight should tame just about any afternoon wind chop.
In addition to the innovative dual console design, the 27 HFC DC features a wrap-around walk-through windshield, which enables for 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!
Iconic American boat builder Bertram Yachts recently announced that the company is planning to expand its range of offshore fishing boats to include a comprehensive lineup of outboard powered products. Mark Paulhus, Bertram CEO, stated that Bertram plans to spend in excess of $15 million on new product development over the next four years to expand their portfolio of products into premium outboard powered boats. The result of this investment are the current outboard-powered Bertrams, the 28CC, 28XC (crossover dual console) and the go-fast 39CC.
“The introduction of the new outboard portfolio will certainly allow Bertram to increase its North American presence by giving boaters an outboard option that lives up to the Bertram ride and quality that they have come to expect,” said Tommy Thompson, Bertram’s VP of Sales, while adding “As a result, we are also planning a significant expansion in our dealer sales channel over the next 12 months.”
Bertram has also signed an exclusive outboard engine supply agreement with Mercury Marine. According to Paulhus, “Our partnership with Mercury will allow us to achieve the level of boat, engine and systems integration excellence necessary to ensure that the new Bertram models deliver the product performance and reliability that the company has long been known for.” Bertram believes that the no-compromises approach to boat/engine integration, along with premium construction materials and manufacturing techniques, will deliver a class-leading boat to the market.
Just introduced at the recent Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, Formula announced a new incarnation of the Formula heritage of bold design, exacting craftsmanship and immaculate execution in the Formula 387 Center Console Fish (CCF). Boasting a length of 38 feet, 7 inches and a 12-foot beam, the 387 CCF can be powered with a choice of Mercury and Mercury Racing options, from triple Mercury Verado 300s to triple Mercury Racing 450Rs or twin Mercury Verado 600 outboards.
The bluewater–taming 23-degree aft deadrise FAS3TECH hull is at the foundation of these high–performance offshore machines. Sure–footed, solid and dependable, the 387 CCF will take you to the 100-fathom line with absolute confidence. A sculpted, generous width hardtop with multicolored LED lighting, center ladder and access hatch, compound curved windshield with power–opening forward glass and washer/wiper combo will protect you on canyon runs. The Center Console Fish is a superb battlewagon born to haul in your catch. From custom–designed triple helm seats with folding armrests and electrically adjustable center seat to the dual 40–gallon pressurized livewells aft, to the port and starboard fish boxes with available freezer plates, and premium GEMLUX outriggers, this beast is born to fish!
Just aft of the helm, the impressive leaning post features an aft–facing mezzanine bench that slides away to reveal the Corian countertop, bait rigging station with removable cutting board and molded sink. Below are Plano tackle box organizer and fishing supply storage drawers, a pull–out YETI cooler to port and motorized slide–out cooler with reFLEX decking.
KEY WEST BOATS
For 2023, the largest boat in the Key West fleet is the 263FS, which is a family-friendly center console that’s equally adept at bending rods or taking a crew out for a day of “beaching it.” With emphasis on comfort, fishing and safety, the 263 FS (Family Sportsman) features added seating and storage, with a changing area and porta-pottie under the larger console. It doesn’t shortchange you on the fishing side, with a total of 22 rod holders, dual livewells and horizontal storage racks under the gunnels to hold saltwater rods up to 8 feet. A macerated fish box is set under the cockpit sole in the bow to ice down the day’s catch.
Some of the notable standard features on the Key West 263 FS include a thru-hull windlass, hardtop, side entry door with hidden ladder, twin bilge pumps, high-pressure washdown, spacious forward seating with built-in backrests, cockpit bolsters, an 8-speaker stereo system and Sea Star hydraulic tilt steering with power assist, plus 12-inch trim tabs with indicators. The 175-gallon fuel tank will take this Carolina girl a long way in between fill-ups, especially if you opt for twin 150s or 175s on the transom. Rumor has it that the Key West design team is working on a larger 28- to 29-foot version of the Family Sportsman series, so stay tuned for more if you are looking for something a bit larger than this 263FS.
The newest member of the Pro-Line family, the 23 Sport, quickly became one of the best-selling 23-foot center consoles on the market. Big on both features and performance, this fishing machine will get you offshore in a hurry and back home with a boat load of fish and many happy memories. Standard features on the Pro-Line 23 Sport include a Euro-styled center console with a large enclosed head with Porta-Pottie below; forward console seating with storage; forward bench seating with bow cushions and bolsters; twin insulated fish boxes under the forward bench seating; an integrated dive platform with ladder; a large lighted 18-gallon baitwell integrated in the transom; raw water washdown; under-gunwale rod storage for six saltwater outfits; and enough cockpit space for a bunch of your angling buddies to bend rods along her deep gunwales, supported by cushioned cockpit bolsters.
Other built-in features on the Pro-Line 23 Sport include a leaning post/rocket launcher bench at the helm that includes a cushioned seat and backrest, enclosed storage box for lures and rigs and an additional quartet of vertical rodholders aft; marine compass; Deutsch waterproof electrical connectors; hydraulic steering; AM/FM stereo with iPod, Bluetooth and four speakers; T-Top with radio box and LED spreader lights; BocaTech accessory switches; recessed trim tabs w/indicators; plus a vinylester resin barrier coat in the hull and deck to prevent osmosis in the fiberglass laminate. Engine options include either single 250s or 300s, or twin 115s or 150s from either Mercury or Suzuki. Her 20-degree aft deadrise running bottom should tame an afternoon chop and the standard 118-gallon fuel tank on this North Carolina girl will give you easy 30- to 40-fathom range in near offshore waters.
Scuttlebutt has it that Regulator Marine is preparing to make a big splash at the upcoming Miami boat show, but other than that one teasing tidbit, the Regulator folks were mum about additional details. Last season’s intro, the Regulator 37, is now in production, showcasing the next evolution in the brand’s popular center console sportfishers. Powered by triple Yamaha XF425 engines with Helm Master EX and boasting 507 gallons of fuel capacity, the 37 is ready for offshore action and should give you a range of more than 300 miles, even if you ride in the fast lane. Proprietary Regulator “MyHelm” technology, a big boat pump room and newly-designed seating and tackle center are just some of the features that showcase the next-gen approach that puts this Carolina girl at the top of her class.
The new Offshore Command Center with Garmin multi-function displays with digital switching and monitoring sets the 37 apart from the fleet. The proprietary Regulator MyHelm interface seamlessly and intuitively connects key functions, including engines, lighting, livewells, macerator pump and more, all via touchscreen. A wireless key fob allows you to turn on lighting, batteries and other convenient systems as you approach or exit with the touch of a button…just like your car! Critical functions including horn, bilge pump and nav lights are still fully accessible on the LED push button switch panel, with manual override zones to ensure certainty in any condition. The seating and tackle center features a raised deck with triple helm seating, plenty of tackle storage, six rocket launchers, plus aft-facing bench seating for two, flanked by built-in armrests with cupholder/rodholders. Down below in the cabin, there’s a queen-sized berth, galley, enclosed head with shower and rod storage.
According to the dealers that I spoke with down at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show back in October, Southport is working on “something bigger”, but had no details to share for our Buyers Guide. The latest Southport to hit the water was last season’s 33 Family Edition (FE), which boasts a variety of new features for both the hardcore angler and the family-centric boater. A large mezzanine leaning post creates a social space without intruding into the aft cockpit. A larger helm pod with plush, bolstered helm chairs seats create a comfortable and ergonomic workspace for the captain and mate.
The 33 FE is equipped with a new transom cooler box to accompany the centerline 35-gallon livewell. Two sets of port and starboard in-deck fish offer added space to ice fish and stow extra gear. More in-gunnel rod holders, as well as the standard T-top rocket launcher storage allow for flexibility when trolling, storing and clearing rods. The forward cockpit offers the most comfortable spot onboard. With a large, plush, bolstered console seat and ergonomic forward benches, there’s plenty of room for kicking back and relaxing. Strip the cushions and the forward cockpit remains an unbeatable spot for sight casting and retaining this design’s 360-degree fishability. The upgraded console boasts an even larger and more inviting interior space, with room to lie down, change after swimming, or just get out of the sun and soak up some the comfort of the AC. The console dash can now accommodate a pair of 22-inch MFDs.
With a dry weight of 9,500 pounds without power and a 22-degree aft deadrise deep vee hull, she’ll knock down her fair share of tight chop with minimal fuss, plus her 330-gallon fuel cell will take you a long way.
Combining tournament-ready features with yacht-like comforts, the all-new Everglades 285cc has a lot to offer. This Florida girl delivers on the Everglades tradition of providing one of the smoothest rides in the industry, combined with sophisticated comfort and intuitive technology to chase life’s obsessions. Its spacious bow features plush upholstered lounges with teak accents and recessed in-deck storage that quickly converts into an immense casting deck or spacious sunpad. An advanced helm station provides enhanced protection and functionality with dual Garmin 16-inch displays and proprietary digital switching. The helm offers versatility that few other fishing boats can match, with an exclusive rotating bolstered helm leaning post/mezzanine seat and loads of fish-focused storage.
This sportfisher’s dedicated fishing features are impressive with a 25-gallon insulated circulating livewell with light and clear acrylic lid; insulated 60-gallon in-deck forward fish box with macerator pump out; insulated 35-gallon transom fish box; a total of 11 flush-mounted stainless steel rod holders, along with four combination rod/cup holders; a six-pack of hardtop mounted rod holders; tackle storage box under the helm seat with dedicated tackle tray, leader and tool storage; 8-foot under gunwale rod and gaff storage racks port and starboard with powder coated toe rails; plus raw and fresh water wash down systems. The 285cc’s standard twin F300 Yamaha outboards are fueled by a generous 200-gallon fuel tank, so long range canyon trips are on the agenda. The variable deep-vee running bottom offers 23 degrees of transom deadrise to smooth out choppy seas.
The optional Yamaha Helm Master EX system puts the power of 600 horses and accurate steering between your thumb and finger. Integrated with a joystick, True Autopilot and pre-programmed fishing modes, you can focus on the moment instead of battling wind, waves, and current.
According to the Yellowfin folks that I spoke with, they are working on a new 48-foot model that should make an appearance sometime in the 2023 calendar year. Until that ship comes in, the latest Yellowfin to hit the marinas was last season’s 54 Offshore. Available with quad or quint outboard power that will vary from 1,800 to 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. Although Yellowfin is calling her a “center console”, practically speaking, it’s more of a walkaround or single level fisharound cabin design.
You can seat a small village 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. 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 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 Pro Skiff 19 CC is back in production and ready to take you farther with more confidence and creature comforts than ever before. A new 150-horsepower rating complements the Advanced Inverted V (AIV) hull design for spirited performance that delivers unshakable stability and smoothness to flatten chop and slide across bays and backwaters. A removable roto-molded 65-quart Orion foam-filled helm seat/cooler offers superior ice-keeping ability to chill your day’s beverages from sunrise to sunset. The raised aft deck features a recessed 26-gallon aerated livewell, in addition to a pair of fold-down jump seats that convert this area to a totally flat casting deck when it’s time to fish. The console dash panel offers a generous area to flush-mount your favorite midsized multifunction display.
The Mako Pro Skiff 19’s notable standard features include hydraulic steering; a multifunction speedometer/fuel gauge and a tachometer/trim gauge; a below-console storage area; 13-gal insulated baitwell with padded seat cushion set under the forward console seat; powder-coated aluminum grab rail and contoured acrylic windscreen; a six-pack of vertical flush-mounted console rod holders (three per side); a modular leaning post & cushioned helm seat for sitting or standing when underway, with a three-rod rocket launcher aft; anchor locker; plus an integrated trolling motor landing with embedded aluminum plate for easy installation.
Engine options are all-Mercury and include the 90 FourStroke with Command Thrust gearcase, a high-output 115 ProXS, or the 150 FourStroke. If this were my rig, I’d go with the 115 ProXS, an engine that I have run for the past five seasons on one of my boats and is one of the best in this horsepower class. The standard 30-gallon fuel tank will give you about five hours of cruising range with that 115 ProXS.
The latest version of Cobia’s popular 26-foot center console platform, the 262 CC introduced last year, has all the features of the original 261 CC, with the addition of more cockpit space, a new console and an integrated windshield frame. The console’s advanced ergonomics and contemporary styling maximize good looks and comfort while adding even more walk-around room and storage space. New optional features include a deluxe electronics suite with a black acrylic infinity dash and a full, three-sided windshield with electric wiper and vent. Notable standard features on the New Cobia 262CC include: the owner’s choice of either Mercury (twin 150s) or Yamaha four-strokes (twin F150s or F200s); waterproof Deutsch electrical connectors; a fully recessed bow rail; an insulated 52-quart cooler in the console; twin 45-gallon insulated fish boxes under the cockpit sole; seven heavy duty, pull-up stainless steel cleats; stainless gunwale-mount rod holders, with vertical storage racks under the coamings; plus a 29-gallon livewell.
The standard 161-gallon fuel capacity will give northeast anglers true bluewater range on nice days. One of the most desirable options that should be at the top of your list is the macerator pump-outs for the fish boxes. To seal the deal, this Cobia employs a bonded electrical systems and their unique VARIS construction process. This acronym stands for “vacuum assisted resin infusion system” and it’s the latest and greatest way to make a boat in one shot that maximizes fiberglass structural strength, minimizes unnecessary resin weight and is better for the environment with less VOC emissions.
One of the latest models from Tidewater Boats is their unique 232 SS. The “SS” stands for “side seat” and this singular design feature provides customers with one of the first midsized center consoles with full wrap around bow seating. This totally changes the perception that center consoles in the 23-foot range are one-dimensional Spartan fishing craft. The 232 SS is loaded with plush, comfortable seating, so when it’s time to take family and friends for a day at the beach or to engage in your favorite watersports, this relative newcomer will do the job. A newly designed console includes a glove box, footrest and catch-all trays. The large rear seat has a walk-through transom door for easy entrances and exits at the marina.
Other standard features include bow and cockpit bolster cushions; a pair of custom hinged bow backrests; fold-down rear seat; port and starboard bow cushions, leaning post with cushioned backrest and powder-coated supporting pipework; a fiberglass T-Top with enclosure; black dash panel with digital gauges; a JL Audio marine stereo with a quartet of JL speakers; an aerated livewell tucked under the aft center seat; raw water washdown; trim tabs with indicators; a six-pack of stainless steel pull-up cleats; swim ladder; plus a Lewmar free-fall windlass and rode setup for easy anchoring.
Standard power on the Tidewater 232 SS is a Yamaha F250 V6, with the popular F300 an option. With an overall length of 23 feet, 8 inches and an overwide 8-foot, 10-inch beam, this side seater is rated to carry up to 10 people onboard and unsurprisingly there’s a seat for every one of them with five forward and five aft. The stern section offers two seats via the leaning post, plus three additional from the triple-wide aft bench. Tidewater is also launching a new 380CC twin stepped hull.
Launched last season, SeaPro’s 320 DLX Offshore is the flagship for this South Carolina based boat builder and it’s a real bluewater beast. Measuring 32 feet in length with a 10-foot, 4-inch beam, she’s got some bulk, tipping the scales at 8,500 pounds dry. Her no-nonsense 24.5-degree aft deadrise translates to a serious deep-vee running bottom that can do some damage to a tight chop when it’s time to travel in the fast lane. Her 207-gallon tank will provide 50-fathom range, especially when maxed out with a pair of Merc’s new lightweight V10 400s on the transom.
Key standard features on the 320 DLX Offshore include a pair of Simrad NSO19 EVO3 multi-function displays, with a Chirp transducer; a Simrad RS40 VHF w/mount and antenna; a porcelain pump-out head w/overboard discharge; deluxe helm seats w/electric slides; raw water washdown pair of pressurized 30-gallon livewells, fed by a stainless steel sea chest with bait sentry pumps; an E-Z anchor drum windlass; an electric hi-low bow table; port and starboard macerated fish boxes under the cockpit sole; a convenient side entry door, along with a rear telescoping entry ladder; GG Schmitt rear bench seat; 80-liter Sea Pro cooler with slide; a deluxe fiberglass leaning post with tackle storage, fresh water sink and tournament bait prep station; flood lights and spreader lights; electric outlets for downriggers and electric reels; DLX trim tabs w/dual actuators and LED indicator strips; remote battery switch key fobs with ACR and DLX distribution panel; an integrated T-Top windshield with wiper; 11 stainless steel flush mount rodholders; an XL forward console seat; twin Rule 1500 GPH bilge pumps; and more. She’s backed by a 10-year transferrable hull warranty.
For 2023, Wellcraft is offering a six-pack of center console models that includes the 202, 222, 242, 262, 302 and 352 Fisherman series coastal sportfishers. They are all available in a number of trim packages, including the fully tricked out Scarab edition that’s designed for diehard anglers. The 352 is the flagship of the Fisherman center consoles and she can be totally customized, based on how you plan to use her. It all starts out with her no-nonsense, classic deep-vee running bottom, which features a razor sharp entry angle forward that tapers back to an aggressive 23-degrees of deadrise at the transom.
The lineage of this latest Wellcraft running bottom can be traced back to the research done by the Scarab racing team and indeed, this sheep is available in that wolf’s clothing. You can rig her up with a trio of four-stroke outboards on the transom up to 1275 horsepower, so this enables you to get her with either triple Merc V10 400HP Verados or a trio of Yamaha’s 425 XTOs. The 376-gallon fuel tank should give you and the crew true bluewater range with this sportfisher and you’ll definitely get to the best spots ahead of the fleet. With a displacement that’s north of 13,500 pounds, the combination of hull design and heft should provide a soft and dry ride offshore and back.