The Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Super Show is the largest indoor show in America. I visited the show to see some new models and check out other boats that caught my attention.
2017 Sportsman Masters Series 267 – Family friendly fishing machines
In recent years, there has been a growing trend for saltwater boats that are more comfortable and convenient for family usage – not just hard core fishing. Such is the case with the Masters Series of Bay Boats from Sportsman.
A relatively new brand, Sportsman started building boats in 2012. For the 2017 model year, they added a new, larger size to their fleet with the 267. This boat has what it takes to please both the wife/kids and the die-hard angler alike, including…
- Padded front deck with reclining back supports.
- Comfortable and stylish leaning post seats with bolsters.
- Clean and attractive console.
- Plenty of storage compartments for tackle and other supplies.
- Multiple livewells and a 210 quart fishbox.
- “No wood” stringer construction and a 10 year hull warranty.
Additional details are available at the company website.
2017 Mako 334 CC
Another example of family friendly saltwater fishing boats is the new 334 CC. This boat actually comes in three varieties – the Standard, the Sportfish Edition and the Bluewater Family Edition. The latter features a huge, padded front bow area with backrests and raised table, and a 5’ auto-retractable aft sun shade
Other noteworthy features available in all models include:
- 100% composite construction for longer life.
- Multifunction digital displays.
- Easy access to switches/fuses.
- Joystick piloting to easily maneuver boat or hold a position.
- Freshwater head with sink.
- Tuna/dive door.
- Two rounded 34-gallon
- Large (290 qt) fishbox.
- Abundant storage throughout.
Packages start at around $250K, excluding trailer. However, this boat show model packaged with triple Mercury 350 HP Verados (with Joystick Piloting) was listed at $335K.
2017 Robalo R302
New for 2017, the R302 replaces the R300 and is the flagship in the Robalo center console line. Designed for both fishing and families, one unique feature of the
R302 is its enormous beam – 10’6”. The advantage of this is that it gives you more interior space and a more stable (less “tippy”) ride.
Other family friendly features include…
- Large padded bow area
- Table in the bow converts to a fishing platform
- Large head
- High freeboard for a drier, safer ride
- Five person rear bench that folds up and out of the way when angling.
- Toe rail along the sides for added stability when fighting fish
- Two rounded bait wells in the rear with LED lighting
Packaged with twin Yamaha 300s, the Robablo R302 carried a boat show price of $176K with trailer. Additional details can be found at the company website.
2017 SCB Recon – stylish and aggressive for serious shallow water anglers
According to the company website, SCB boats are “For the sportsman who is an expert judge of taste and performance who will not settle for the average bay boat”. One look at the new SCB Recon and you can see why. In terms of taste, the boat is striking and far from ordinary with its mint green color and jet black accents. And, the raised seats provide excellent visibility and appear to be high quality – similar to what you might see on a MasterCraft. But this boat has more than just good looks. The hull is actually a catamaran which, according to a local dealer representative, delivers a smooth and fast ride even in shallow water. Packaged with a Mercury 300 HP Verado, this boat is capable of hitting 65 mph.
For 2017, SCB boats have been upgraded with a “stronger lamination schedule”, additional foam floatation and are backed with a 10 year hull warranty.
The price ranges from $65 to $95K, depending on options. However, this particular model had a boat show price of $86K which included a tandem axel trailer and several other upgrades.
This boat is best suited for serious shallow water anglers in Texas and throughout the southeast. However, dealer distribution is currently only available in Texas (http://www.scbboats.com/ ).
2017 Legend V21i Intracoastal – for bass and bays
Introduced in 2016, the V21i is a sweet looking rig that is equally suitable for pulling lunker bass out of Lake Fork as it is catching Snook or Redfish from the Florida flats and bays.
Besides its striking looks, key features of the V21i include…
- Huge front casting deck.
- Fiberglass/non-skid surface throughout for easy maintenance.
- Stainless steel componentry.
- Beautiful upholstery.
Packaged with a Mercury 250 Pro XS and two 8’ Power Poles, the Legend 21Vi was boat show priced at $82K.
Additional details are available on the Legend website.
2017 Evinrude E-TEC G2 150, 175 and 200 – Improved 2-stroke performance
For 2017, Evinrude expanded its G2 line to include the smaller V6s. According to the company, these new engines, all using a 2.7L block design, deliver up to 30 percent more torque, up to 15% better fuel efficiency and up to 75% fewer total regulated emissions compared to “leading four-stroke outboard engines”. As an added bonus, they are also available in a variety of “flavors” (that is, colors).
The torque/acceleration benefit is particularly relevant to bass boats and flats/bay boaters who often need to get up on plane quickly in very shallow conditions.
While much of the market has shifted in favor of 4-strokes, Evinrude continues to invest and innovate in the 2-stroke outboard segment.
To see other highlights from the 2017 Show, click on the links below: