Yellowfin is best known for building brawny offshore fishing machines, like the Yellowfin 36 center console. But they also build inshore fish-killers, and recently I had the chance to spend a day on one while prowling around the Florida Keys in search of productive fishing grounds. Productive, indeed—the 24 proved without a doubt that this builder knows how to design inshore bay boats as well as their offshore models, with two imperatives in mind: getting to those hotspots really, really fast, and then catching the heck out of the fish.
First, let’s talk about the “fast” part. Our boat was rigged with a 300-hp Mercury Verado, and we ripped across the bay at speeds in excess of 60-mph. When you’re passing the cars driving down the Overseas Highway, you know you’re making good time. You’d expect so, too, when you think about the fact that this is a 3,000 pound, 24’ 10” long boat with 300 horsepower on the transom. What you might not expect, however, is how fuel efficient it is. At a mellow 30-mph cruise the Yellowfin gets over four and a half miles to the gallon, and even at wide-open throttle, better than two miles to the gallon. Of course, when you’re on a boat like this it’s hard to be mellow – throwing down the throttle is so much more fun.
|Fuel capacity||72 gal.|
Now let’s get to the fish-catching part. The 24 comes with console rodracks, a pair of livewells, gobs of stowage in the foredeck, an eight-foot Power Pole, and a hydraulic jack plate. Our test boat also had a mini-tower with an upper station integrated into the top. Is it worth getting an upper station on a boat this small? You bet—standing at deck level I didn’t see a thing as we idled along a certain pair of bridge pilings the captain liked, but when I climbed up top and looked down with the height advantage, I easily spotted a brace of tarpon milling around in the current. Want to see how big a difference it makes for yourself? Just watch this short video, which gives you views from both the tower and deck level. (And don’t forget to hold on!)
|Test data courtesy of Mercury Marine.|
|Power||Single 300-hp Mercury Verado, swinging a 14-5/8″ x 23″ three-bladed stainless-steel prop.|
The tower is the most visually impressive part of the boat, but the livewell in the raised aft deck is even more of an eye-opener. Sure it’s rounded, and yes it has a potent flow. But you have to use it to find out what’s really unique; it has a lower lip section which sits an inch or two below deck level, and stays flooded when you leave the livewell lid open. This gives you a place to rest the bait net, and a shallow but wet spot to work with your baits when rigging up. But, won’t water spill out, if you leave the top open and get hit by a wave? Nope. As it sloshes back and forth it goes below the level of the lip, which then prevents slosh-out. Basically, it allows you to leave the well open the whole time you’re fishing—which makes grabbing baits faster and easier—without ever getting so much as a splash into the cockpit. Though I’m pretty sure it’s not the manufacturer’s recommended practice, we even ran with it open, with no ill-effects.
My favorite fishing feature, however, is the gigantic foredeck. Yes, 24’ is pretty big for a bay boat, but even so the casting deck seems huge. We had one guy working the trolling motor while two anglers casted from that deck, and there was still plenty of elbow room. If you like taking several friends along on your fishing trips, this one’s a winner.
So, what happened when we stepped up on that deck and started casting? We caught the heck out of the fish. We didn’t kill any—this was a catch-and-release trip and we all had flights to catch the next morning—but we did keep the rods bent most of the day. And then we went back to the dock. Really, really fast.
Other Choices: Another big bay boat with great livewells and gobs of casting deck space is the Pathfinder Bay Crusher 2600 HPS. If you’d rather down-size a bit, check out the Blue Wave 2200 Pure Bay. And if you want one that’s designed with slightly higher sides and a bit more freeboard, the Pioneer 220 Bay Sport will be of interest.
For more information, visit Yellowfin. For more info about bay boats in general, read Bay Boat Battles: What Makes One Better than Another.