The Blackjack 224 is one heck of an unusual bay boat. Start with its looks: it has tumblehome at the transom, a widely-flared bow, and a hard chine that swoops up to the bow. Then check out the features list. It’s a mile long, and includes such big-ticket items as an aluminum leaning post with four rocket launchers, twin livewells, and hydraulic-tilt steering with a stainless-steel wheel. Then consider construction. The boat is hand-laid and has a beefy feel underfoot, but it weighs in at under 2,000 pounds, which means that with a single Yamaha F300 outboard on the transom it can break the 65 MPH mark. Yowza—unusual is certainly the right description for this bay boat. We came across one at the Palm Beach International Boat Show, so naturally, we had to jump aboard and take a closer look.
Though we weren’t able to run the Blackjack at the show we do have previous on-the-water experience with it, and can vouch for its ability to handle rough seas. We can also confirm excellent fuel economy at cruise, burning a mere seven gallons per hour at 3000 RPM while zipping along at just over 30 MPH. That nets close to five MPG. Cranked up to a 4500 RPM cruise of just over 50 MPH, the boat still gets about three MPG. You’re going to have a very difficult time finding a bay boat in this class that can beat those numbers.
Blackjack also has a new entry hitting the water, the slightly larger 256. It has a look and feel much like the 224 but can handle 250 horses on the transom, which gives it a top-end of 66 MPH. With the extra foot and a half of LOA and three inches more beam, it also has a bit more beef for runs through the inlet or snotty bay crossings.
Be aware that these are serious fishing machines, designed for serious anglers. You won’t find wet bars, tanning pads, or even a head in the console (the 256 has enough space for a portable MSD but just barely; actually using it would be a stretch). But if what you’re after is a hard-core bay fishing machine that offers one-of-a-kind looks, awesome performance, and a smooth ride for its size, Blackjack builds some boats you’re going to want to check out.
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