Striper introduced the 200 Dual Console and the 200 Center Console last year, filling in the smaller segment in their line-up of fishing boats. This year they’re working in the opposite direction, closing the gap between their 22 and 29 footers with all-new 270 models. And they’re wasting no time. Instead of introducing a center console this year and a walkaround version later on, they rolled out both at the same time. Could I resist hopping on a plane and zipping down to Florida to run ‘em both? Of course not.
While each of these boats has its own distinct merits, I’d be hard-pressed to pick between the two. I love the complete protection afforded by the hard top and enclosure on the 270 Walkaround, though in all fairness this boat seems as much like a pilothouse model as a walkaround, to my eyes. Yes, there’s a recessed sidedeck around the cabin. But the enclosure is far more substantial than you’ll usually find on a walkaround model.
The cabin is also a lot larger than you’d expect, with enough room for a stand-up head, a V-berth, and a mini-galley with a one-burner alcohol stove and a sink. A refrigerator and microwave are optional. The one thing I wasn’t thrilled about was the pedestal-mounted cockpit table, which wiggled around when you put any pressure on it.
On the other hand, the center console version of the boat has a heck of a lot more fishing room, since you get that bow cockpit instead of a cabin. Trollers may not care, but for drift fishing or light tackle casting, it means you can get at least another pair of anglers in on the action. Added cruising bonus: you also get bow seating, along with fold-out backrests.
Both models share the same basic transom design, which includes a pair of lighted, circulating livewells on either side. They’re relatively small at 12 gallons each, but between the two you should be able to haul plenty of livies. In the center there’s a flip-down bench, and the entire transom can be folded down and out of the way. There’s a raw water washdown on the starboard inwale, which is good, but could be improved if they moved it to just below the under-gunwale rodracks (so you could lay your self-coiling hose behind the stainless-steel toe-rail). Both models also have a pair of fishboxes integrated into the deck, which are surprisingly large at 34 gallons each—you’ll have to get pretty darn lucky to catch a fish too big to fit in there.
One other thing these boats share: exceptionally high cockpit gunwales. They don’t just hit you thigh-high, they’re at waist level. This is both good and bad news, depending on who you are. Captains with kids tend to love unusually high sides because they keep the children safely corralled inside, and make your occupants feel safe. But high sides also increase windage and raise the boat’s center of gravity.
I ran the Striper 270 with a pair of 200 HP Evinrude ETEC G2 outboards, and performance was nothing short of stellar. At wide-open we ticked up to the 52 MPH mark, and at a 4000 RPM cruise, got two miles to the gallon while doing 35 MPH. Acceleration is head-snapping, and handling is excellent. It was calm on test day so I didn't have any solid conclusions as far as seakeeping goes, but I never saw any spray fly and at least with the Walkaround model, it should be about as dry a fishing boat as you can find.
As has been true of Striper models in the past, the 270 CC and the 270 Walkaround offer middle-of-the-road pricing. They aren't the least nor the most expensive boats around; the starting point (as of their introduction) is below the $150,000 mark, even with those potent ETEC G2's on the transom.
So what’ll be sitting in your slip next, a center console or a walkaround? You’ll have to make that decision on your own—I have another flight to catch.
Other Choices: If you lean towards the fully-protected helm and cabin combined with a fishy attitude, the Beneteau Baracuda 9 might be of interest. If you’re not afraid to spend a bit more cash, check out the Boston Whaler Conquest 285. Center console lovers will shop this boat against competitors like the Dusky 278, or the Cobia 277.
|Test conditions: calm seas, winds 5 knots, 4 POB.|
|Power||Twin 200 HP Evinrude ETEC G2 two-stroke outboards, swinging 15" X 18" stainless-steel props.|
|Fuel capacity||188 gal.|