With the fall boat show season in full swing, anglers looking for a new ride have plenty of opportunities to check out what’s on tap for 2011, particularly in the center console market. Several new models made their debut at the recent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. While it’s known more as a show for megayachts, anglers who walked the convention center had a firsthand look at some new fishing machines, the best of which are highlighted right here. Here’s a rundown on what’s new in the fishing fleet from Mako, Regulator, Edgewater, and Hydra-Sports.
Mako 284 CC Offshore
The original Mako 284 is one of the more popular center consoles ever built, so the company didn’t want to mess too much with success. The hullform is the same as the old models, with a V bottom tapering to 21 degrees of deadrise at the transom. So what changed? A lot.
“We heard the voice of the customer from feedback reports,” said Kevin O’Connor, the senior project manager for product development within Tracker Marine, Mako’s parent company. “We took them seriously and said, let’s figure out how to give the customers what they want.”
Start with the construction. The new 284 is all-composite, featuring foam coring to reduce the total dry weight of the boat to around 6,000 pounds. All hatches are now close-molded so they’re finished on both sides. In the cockpit, Mako added gutters that drain to two 2” scuppers per side to improve the self-bailing process; water quickly funnels outboard.
Other notable changes included the new single-piece 50-gallon pressurized baitwell in the leaning post that reduces sloshing, with blue gel coat and a clear lid to keep an eye on the bait. Mako also added a stainless-steel insert to the rubrail for a cleaner look.
Changes you won’t notice until maintenance time include the piping on the T-top, which is now a 45-degree angle to make it easier to snake wiring from the electronics box to the console. All wiring is clearly labeled every six inches for its intended component, so if you have to service the baitwell pump, just look for that on the wire.
Regulator 28 FS
Regulator Marine is putting out another premium center console that will have hardcore anglers drooling. Like its sisters in the fleet, the new 28 FS was designed by Lou Codega, one of the most respected naval architects in the business. At 27’8” with a 9’5” beam, the new 28 FS has a lot of interior volume. With a sharp entry and 24-degrees of deadrise at the transom, the 28 FS should follow in the footsteps of older Regulators that are known for their seakeeping abilities.
From internal testing reports, the twin 300-hp Yamaha F300s, mounted on an external transom bracket, pushed the 28FS over 60 mph. According to the Yamaha performance bulletin, the most economical cruise speed fell in at 34.5 mph burning 18.5 gph for 1.87 mpg, giving it an estimated 395 mile range.
The FS stands for “Forward Seater” meaning that instead of having a single-level bow area, this model incorporates a u-shaped bow seating area to make the 28 FS more family-friendly. But it’s still got all the fish features, including three insulated forward fishboxes, four stainless-steel rodholders, locking rod storage, a full-length transom fishbox, and more.
Edgewater 220 IS
The new Edgewater 220 IS represents the company’s foray into bay boats, using molds acquired from the old Century Boats and building to its specifications. The new 220 has an all-composite hull done with Edgewater’s SPI (Single Piece Infusion) technique, which infuses vinylester resin into the interior grid system at the same time the hull laminate is laid. The boat cures into a single piece with a single bond. The technique allows for a lighter build with a greater strength-to-weight ratio.
The 22’ by 8’6” hull weighs in at 2,400 pounds and, with the outboard drive trimmed up draws 13 inches of water. To get skinny, the 220 IS comes with a standard hydraulic jackplate to raise the engine as needed. The boat has 67 square feet of cockpit space for anglers to work with, and has fishy features such as a 35-gallon recirculating baitwell, a tackle drawer system in the console, inwale rodracks, and two stainless-steel gunwale-mounted rodholders. A Minn Kota trolling motor, Power Pole, additional rodholders, Garmin electronics, and electric trim tabs are all options to consider.
Hydra-Sports New Lineup
In other news from the boat show, the legendary ski boat builders MasterCraft formally announced the revamped lineup for recently purchased Hydra-Sports. Now built in Vonore, Tennessee under MasterCraft’s team, the new Hydra-Sport models feature an edgier look more in line with their wakeboarding cousins. Some of the bigger models on display at Ft. Lauderdale included the 4200 SF, 3400CC and 3000 CC, all sporting new gel coat and custom upholstery as well as powder-coated T-tops and more. The 4200 showed off a serious display of power with four Yamaha F350s hanging off the transom. Keeping with wakeboard boat tradition, all Hydra-Sports will be more customizable to suit the owners’ tastes, but will still contain all the hardcore fishy features and Kevlar-reinforced hulls of the old models.
Pete McDonald writes for Boating, Yachting, and other marine and fishing publications. In the past, he has written for Power & Motoryacht and Salt Water Sportsman, and spent 11 years on staff as a technical editor at Boating. All things considered, at any given moment he would prefer to be fishing.