Grady-White always seems to pack a lot of big boat attitude into their smaller models, and this is never truer than with the new Fisherman 209 center console. When I first checked this boat out I expected to see plenty of standard features, because Grady always outfits their boats well. And they didn’t disappoint, with items like a battery switch, cockpit courtesy lighting, four gunwale rodholders, under-gunwale rodracks for six rigs, a compass, and a removable cooler seat. But they did surprise me with a couple of items no one would expect to be included in the list cost, like a vertical console rodrack, and a pair of aft jump seats.

The Grady-White Fisherman 209 packa a lot of boat into a 20'4" long package.
The Grady-White Fisherman 209 packs a lot of boat into a 20'4" long package.
Of course, all of these goodies don’t do you a bit of good when you can’t use them, and when your LOA is a mere 20’4”, there will be plenty of days when the wind and weather conspire to keep you off the water. There will be fewer, however, with this boat than there would be with most other 20-footers. Like all Grady-Whites the 209 rides on a C. Raymond Hunt and Associates designed variable-degree deadrise hull, which has proven itself to be one of the most capable and soft-riding designs on the water today. Stout construction backs up the design, with hand-laid glass over marine ply cored stringers, which gives the boat a solid feeling when it strikes the waves. Instead of the hollow drumming sound created by so many hulls, this one will land with a solid ker-chunk.

OK: so we know it’s a well-built (Grady is a regular winner of the JD Powers and consumer satisfaction awards), well-outfitted 20 foot center console. Big deal—you could have figured that out all by yourself. What really separates the 209 from other boats in this class, and truly gives it the feeling of a bigger boat? For the answer, you’ll have to first check out one of Grady-White’s bigger boats—the Fisherman 230 center console, which came out last year. Grady outfitted this boat with a couple of unique items which it has integrated on the 209, as well. First and most important to anglers is the foredeck arrangement: it consists of a pair of raised, overboard-draining, 88 quart insulated fishboxes. Drop in an insert and lock it in place, however, and you can turn those fishboxes into a raised bowdeck casting platform, a rare find on a deep-V boat of this size. You want to haul the day’s catch home without making a mess? Then toss those fish into the forward console seat/cooler, because it’s a removable model that can be un-hitched from the console and carried home. Now look in the console compartment, and you’ll discover a head that’s as roomy as those found on boats with two or three more LOA. There’s a down-side to the big console compartment in that you sacrifice some deck space, but the 209 has a 58 square foot cockpit so there’s still plenty of fishing room. That means everyone will be happy—including Mom, when she checks out that head.