If you love bass fishing, bass boats are your natural choice. But what if your kids enjoy water sports like wakeboarding or water skiing? The solution to your problem is a boat like the Stratos 486SF, which is designed to function as a serious bass fishing machine yet still provide the ability to enjoy other forms of water-play.
Wait a sec—is it really possible to take a dedicated design like the bass boat and fit it out to do other things? Sure, and the 486SF is not like some middle-of-the-road Fish N Ski. Instead, it tilts much more towards fishing and the sacrifices are minor-league. Look at the foredeck casting platform, the premium fishing spot on any bass boat, for example. It’s rigged with a standard 12-V Minn Kota trolling motor, and has two large stowage compartments under a pair of forward-facing bow seats. What you give up is some of the casting deck standing space, but what you gain is a pair of lounge-style seats plus stowage.
|Fuel capacity||30 gal.|
At the aft deck, the trade-off is much the same. The deck is a hair smaller than usual, but in return you get more cockpit space which results in a second pair of bucket seats. Along with the passenger’s and helm seats, that means six people can ride in comfort. And when the kids are among those six, you’ll be happy for the extra protection they get. At 27″ the cockpit is much deeper than usual for a bass boat, and instead of the usual minimal windscreen and the console, the 486SF has a full-width wrap-around windshield with a fold-over middle pane. The design is clearly borrowed from the Fish N Ski sect, but Stratos’s bassing version is lower and sleeker.
A final nod to the family comes in the form of a ski locker in the sole, and an optional tow-eye. There’s also an integrated, insulated cooler, and we dare you to find a spot on this boat that isn’t within reach of a cup-holder—it simply can’t be done. And yes, of course the boat has an aerated livewell. There’s also a standard-issue Piranha Max 160 fishfinder, but serious anglers will probably want to upgrade from this basic black-and-white unit. Following the bass boat tradition, Stratos also includes a custom-matched trailer with this rig. It has oil-filled hubs, submersible lights, integrated tie-downs, a swing-away tongue, hydraulic surge brakes, chrome wheels, and Road Armor coating.
|Test conditions: Light winds, 2 POBTest data courtesy of Yamaha. See the full performance report for more info.|
|Power||Single Yamaha V150TLR, swinging a 14.5″ x 23″ three-bladed prop.|
This is an all-composite boat, with molded glass stringers and a composite transom riding on one an Alan Stinson racing hull, but it does carry a slightly lower horsepower rating than some other bass boats of this size, with a maximum of 150. Is that enough power? Rigged with a Yamaha V150TLR, this boat cruises in the mid 40’s and breaks 54-mph. That may not be enough juice for some off-the-hook tournament die-hards, but for the rest of us, it’s more than enough.
So—is the 486SF the right bass boat for you? Unless you’re at the far end of the bass fishing extreme, chances are you’ll feel it gets the job done well. And chances are your kids will also feel that way about the boat, on those occasions when you leave the fishing rods at home.
For more information, visit Stratos Boats.