Want a center console fishing boat that can scoot into skinny redfish-infested waters on day one, cross an open bay on day two, and poke through the inlet for oceanic forays on day three? Then a bay boat is exactly what you need. It can’t be too big or you lose backwater accessibility, and it can’t be too small or open waters become off-limits. So most multi-fishery bay boats end up in the 19 to 22 foot range. The Sea Hunt BX 24 BR, on the other hand, gives you the beef and spaciousness of a 24-footer without giving up on diverse fishability.
We were tempted to run the Sea Hunt in Biscayne Bay because it was rigged with the new Raymarine Dragonfly fish-finder, but after riding around the choppy waters, the boat proved it was worth a closer look on its own. The first surprise was how dry it was. Most bay boats catch a fair amount of spray in a chop, since they tend to have a low profile and a moderate V in order to maintain shallow-water capabilities. And this is true of the Sea Hunt, as well, which has a 15-degree transom deadrise. But the bow is flared far more than usual, and it sits atop a 50-degree entry deadrise that tapers down to 20-degrees amidships. Net result? Keep the bow trimmed down a bit as you run, and the sharp entry cleaves apart the chop as the flare keeps spray down and off to the sides.
Now combine this entry with 24 feet of LOA and 2,700 pounds of displacement, and it’s easy to understand how this boat has some enhanced big-water ability. When the weather provides a window of opportunity and tarpon are off the beach or king mackerel are slashing through schools of bunker, you won’t hesitate to run through the inlet. Will all that beef affect your shallow water fishability? Sure; with a 1’3” draft you’ll need two or three inches more water than some smaller, lighter bay boats. But for most multi-species anglers, this added open-water fishing flexibility more than makes up for the slightly deeper draft.
|Transom Deadrise||15 degrees|
|Fuel capacity||70 gal.|
Wherever you end up casting, the BX 24 BR has those features we die-hard anglers demand: There are fore and aft livewells (28 and 18 gallons), gunwale-mounted rodholders, under-gunwale rodracks, leaning post rocket launchers, vertical console rodracks, and a raw water washdown. An electric trolling motor doesn’t come standard, but a wiring harness is pre-installed so adding the motor is a piece of cake. I particularly liked the forward casting deck’s design. All of the hatches and hinges are flush-mounted, it’s ringed by a tall toe-kick, and there’s a center step-up. Naturally, the space below is utilized for dry stowage and fishboxes.
|Test conditions: 10 knot breeze, confused chop from heavy boat traffic, POB-2.
Performance figures gathered by Yamaha Outboards.
|Power||300-hp Yamaha F-300 four-stroke outboard|
|Prop||14.5” x 21” stainless-stee|
With a Yamaha F-300 on the transom, this boat’s performance is both eye-opening and neck-snapping. Hold on tight and warn the passengers before you nail the throttles because you’ll blast onto plane in under four seconds. Top speed is 57 mph, and at 4500 rpm you’ll cruise along at 42.9 mph. That cruising speed nets 2.9 miles to the gallon, which is pretty darn good for a boat with 300 ponies, but if you want to keep the fuel bill down just back off to 3500 rpm. With the throttle toned-down to this point, efficiency jumps to 3.7 mpg while speed drops back to 30.7, which is still plenty of zip, in most situations. And that’s a good thing, because “most situations” is exactly when you’ll want to be on this bay boat—whether you plan to hunt the shallow waters, run through bays and sounds, or head through the inlet.
For more information, visit Sea Hunt Boats.