I'm pretty opinionated about fish boats and their layouts, as well as what's right and wrong with them. I don't consider dual-console or bowrider boats serious fishing boats - they are not. However, that doesn't mean you can't fish from them. It just means they are made not entirely for that purpose but instead to suit a wider audience, and perhaps better than a hard-core center console fish boat could. One boat cannot be all things to all people; that's why we have different designs and styles to suit different needs.
The dual-console EdgeWater 245 CX is a prime example of a boat built to cater to fishermen who are looking for more than a center console. The folks at EdgeWater know what they're doing - they build quality boats, and they know their customers. The 245 is a crossover boat that suits the needs of the many folks who take their fishing with a dose of Sunday afternoon sandbar socializing and tubing with the kids.
We tested the boat out of Marco Island, Florida, with the folks from Trapper Custom Marine, the local EdgeWater dealer. Rigged with a single 250 hp Yamaha four-stroke, the boat planed off quickly and efficiently and had plenty of get-up-and-go. EdgeWater has continually improved its hulls since its early boats, and the 245 CX rides nicely, with no bang or slam when it comes off a wave, and isn't noticeably wet.
We ran the boat out the cut at Marco and into the remnants of a winter front with chilly northwest winds, which left a swell to play in and really let us get a feel for the boat. I was impressed with its lateral stability while drifting in the trough; it bobbed like a cork up and over the swells instead of rolling with them, a great characteristic for bottomfishing and drift fishing.
The boat comes loaded with features that will please the family, including a large anchor locker with access from the forward deck - easy to work from, keeping anchoring a minimal chore. The spacious cushioned bow area offers seating with storage underneath, a recessed wraparound handrail, drink holders and a table that drops down into a filler piece. The 245 CX is unquestionably a very social boat.
Walk through the consoles and into the spacious cockpit, and you find a lot of fishing room. The wraparound windshield, with its swing-open center section, provides a great windscreen. It also marries to a door in the center section to close off the cockpit from the bow, reducing the wind blowing through the boat, a very nice feature for when you must close up the boat and leave it unattended.
The port console is remarkable because it houses a head compartment that you can actually get in - even big guys like me can use the head on this boat. It has a molded-in counter and sink, and the door has molded compartments for storage. It's a truly well-thought-out space that makes the boat very family-friendly. With this feature, you might even be able to talk your wife into fishing more often.
The port companion section has two seats, forward- and aft-facing, that drop into a lounge for optimal sunbathing. The helm console features a great dash with enough room for a 12-inch GPS/plotter/depth-finder screen, VHF and stereo, along with gauges. The helm seat has a flip-up bolster so you can use it as a leaning post instead, and visibility is good in either position.
A huge full-length ski locker in-deck between the consoles offers storage galore, with a nice big hatch for easy stowage and removal of gear. Behind the helm seat, our test boat had an optional tackle locker/cooler cabinet with a freshwater sink, a great option with usable features. The cockpit is plenty big for fishing and has four standard gunwale-mount rod holders, a 28-gallon recirculating livewell to port, and a walk-through door and dive ladder to starboard on the transom. A built-in transom seat features storage space below with easy access panels for the battery switch and some accessories.
With the solid construction practices used by EdgeWater, its commitment to quality and its customer support, the 245 CX may be more practical for some than a center console. If you're the type of fisherman whose family would use the boat more if it had some creature comforts, the 245 is definitely worth a look. You might just keep mama and the kids happy while you sneak a bit of fishing in.
EdgeWater 245 CX
Base Price......$97,080 with Yamaha F350
EdgeWater Boats: 386-426-5457 www.ewboats.com