If you’ve ever looked at or researched center-console boats (especially those designed for fishing), you probably know that almost every manufacturer makes some pretty bold claims when it comes to rough-water performance. Well, let me tell you, as someone who reviews boats on a fairly regular basis, there’s a little bit of Pinocchio effect factored into some of those assertions. That is unless you’re talking about the Cape Fisherman 23, built by Jones Brothers Marine in Morehead City, NC.
My first ride on a Cape Fisherman 23 was with Capt. Sarah Gardner, a legendary Outer Banks light-tackle and fly fishing guide who with her husband Capt. Brian Horsley runs Outer Banks Fly Fishing. I was in Harkers Island, NC, for the famed false albacore run, and we’d be running out of Lookout Bight into the notoriously unpredictable waters south of Cape Lookout. This is a fishery where you go out pretty much no matter what... and that's the intent with which the Cape Fisherman 23 is built. While I was impressed by the smooth, fast ride on the way out, it was when we ran through some particularly nasty stuff off Cape Lookout that I knew I would someday have to own this boat.
The Cape Fisherman 23 is constructed in Morehead City, NC, using 100 percent composite materials in both the hull and decks—you won’t find a bit of wood used anywhere in its structure. The hull is hand-laid fiberglass with a closed-cell, foam-cored transom with an integral, one-piece stringer system. The deck is resin-infused and foam cored. The result is a boat that is not only rigid, but light as well, weighing in at only 2350 pounds. A close look at the build details reveals incredibly close attention to the small stuff, resulting in an amazingly well built boat.
When browsing the boat’s specifications, you might think there’s absolutely no way that a boat with only 12 degrees of transom deadrise can perform well offshore. Well, you’d be wrong. Most of the work on this boat is done at the bow, where an almost 50-degree entry cuts through even big chop as easily as Moses parted the Dead Sea. That’s the true joy in owning one of these boats—a dry, comfortable, and fast ride in even the snottiest of offshore weather.
Perhaps what I love most about this boat (and all of Jones Brothers Marine’s boats, quite honestly) is that the operation is small enough so that every Cape Fisherman 23 generally receives some level of individual attention as it is being built.
Read the full review of the Jones Brothers Marine Cape Fisherman 23.
See listings for Jones Brothers Marine boats.