I was able to jump aboard Grady’s new Fisherman 216 down at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. She is the latest iteration of the Fisherman 204, the Adventure 208 and the Fisherman 209 of yesteryear, replacing these venerable center consoles with a fourth generation platform that is bigger, better, more functional and even more seaworthy.

Taking a closer look at the Fisherman 216 CC’s singular charms, the new “swing-away” port and starboard jump seat backrests in the transom corners pivot out of the way for easy entry and exit via the extended combo swim/dockside boarding platforms. But it gets better…reversible self-stowing aft seat cushions flip over to reveal flat non-skid bottoms that transform the entire stern section into one gigantic swim platform when spending some quality family time at the beach. A neat comfort feature on this 21-footer is the oversized enclosed head compartment, complete with standard porta-pottie, indirect LED lighting and plenty of extra lockable storage for rods, tackle, beach gear or whatever…you typically don’t find this on most 21 center consoles. The bench seat set forward of the console features a cushioned backrest and bottom, with a handy 28-quart insulated beverage cooler down below.

She can fish like a pro with a quartet of flush-mount gunwale rodholders, horizontal racks under the covering boards, plus a pair of insulated 81-quart insulated fishboxes with overboard drains under the twin forward bench seats. The helm seating also enhances fishing functionality. A comfy lean bar with backrest, flip-up bolster, footrest, tackle trays, lockable storage and a four-rod vertical rocket launcher is standard. If you do a lot of live bait angling, the optional deluxe lean bar adds a 25-gallon recirculating livewell, in addition to lockable storage and a convenient tackle center. The console’s helm area offers easy access to systems and controls, with a generous dash panel that can house a 12-inch multi-function display and a conveniently located circuit breaker panel, plus a marine compass. The generous 25-inches of cockpit depth will allow you to battle the big ones with complete safety in a choppy seaway, with thigh high support for both angler and crew.

The standard outboard powerplant on the new Fisherman 216 CC is Yamaha’s very popular F200, which has developed an excellent track record for performance and reliability since its introduction a few years back. Spinning a 15-inch pitch Reliance SDS 3-blade stainless steel prop, this Grady will top out at 42.2-mph at wide open throttle, which should be around 5900rpm, depending on your load and sea conditions. Dropping the throttle back to four-grand, which is the typical sweet spot for most four-stroke outboards when properly propped, this 21-footer will hit 27.3-mph on the GPS navigator at 7.3-gallons per hour, for a net of 3.73-mpg. This is exceptional fuel economy for a beefy 21-footer with a wide beam and deep-vee running bottom. The factory tests indicated that this Fisherman 216 tipped the scales at a whopping 5,069-lbs with the crew, fuel, water and gear onboard for the sea trial, so this in-line four-cylinder has got some impressive push at the prop to make things happen and still drink petrol through a very thin straw. Bumping the single lever control up to fast lane cruising speeds, the 216 CC will turn 31.2-mph/3.55-mpg at 4500 revs and 35.5-mph/2.71 at 5000 rpm. The bottom line is that if you keep a judicious hand on the throttle in the 4000-4500 rpm bandwidth, you’ll get maximum range out of the standard 80-gallon fuel tank and go plenty fast enough for the majority of your travels.

Grady-White also offers a max performance power package for the Fisherman 216 CC in the form of Yamaha’s 4.2L F250 V-6, which will increase the top speed of this chariot up to 48.9-mph swinging a 17-inch pitch Saltwater Series 3-blade S/S prop, and provide extra power when carrying heavy passenger loads. Optimum cruising speeds for this proven four-stroke will range between 3500-4500 rpms, where she will generate 28.6-mph/3.4-mpg at 3500 revs, 32.9/2.86-mpg at four-grand and 37-mph/2.61-mpg at 4500 rpm.

The Fisherman 216’s impressive list of standard features includes 316-grade stainless steel hardware, tilt helm hydraulic steering, a marine stereo with Bluetooth and MP3 capability, flush-mount pop-up cleats and much more. The options list is off the charts with many dozens of useful items that allow owners to fully customize their ride.