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September 21, 2007

Everglades 211 CC

With the Everglades 211 CC, anglers have the flexibility to fish nearshore hot spots or head into the mangroves.

The Everglades 211 Center Console may be a bay boat by association, but that description is somewhat misleading. Typical bay boat designs offer minimal draft to fish inshore estuaries and tidal creeks, with just enough keel and freeboard to head offshore whenever Mother Nature cooperates. The 211 is a bit different. With its heavier displacement, aggressive keel and rugged construction, it's better suited for deeper water although it can run relatively shallow when the need arises. Either way, this is a tough fishing machine.

I had the chance to test the 211's capabilities during a recent outing on Florida's Apalachicola Bay, thanks to help from Wefing's Marine in Eastpoint. A passing front chopped the water into a chocolate froth, but we ran past oystermen collecting the bay's famous bivalves with hardly a mist. Our test boat was powered by a 150-hp Honda four-stroke outboard, and while it provided a modest 38.8 mph speed at wide-open throttle, the hole shot was sluggish. That minor complaint would be easily corrected with a larger engine, closer to the maximum 225-horsepower rating.

I certainly couldn't fault the soft, dry ride, however. There wasn't any pounding and the sharp bow entry parted the waves like an oyster knife opening a shell. Visibility from the helm was excellent. The coolest feature, literally, was the adjustable sliding front windshield with wraparound sides. Built with Lexan polycarbonate and stainless-steel hardware, the windshield can be locked in any position between all the way up or down to allow refreshing breezes on sultry summer days or protection from wind-blown spray.

The optional hardtop features precision welded tubing and a crisp, white powder-coated finish. The hardtop package includes red LED lighting, spreader lights, speakers, an electronics box and 10 rod holders - four across the top and three each in vertical racks with overhead cutouts to protect rod tips.

SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 20' 9"
Beam 8' 2"
Draft 1' 3"
Weight 2,225 lbs.
Deadrise 21 ¿
Fuel 66 gals.
Max. Hp 225
Price (w/ test power) $42,346

Besides the hardtop rod storage, the 211 comes standard with dual horizontal racks under the gunwales and four stainless-steel rod holders in the covering boards. Other angler-friendly features include 71 square feet of cockpit space, a 35-gallon in-deck fish box with macerator pump, stainless-steel toe rails and thickly padded cockpit bolsters for maximum fish-fighting comfort. If you do plan on plugging the shallows, two factory options you might want to consider are the hydraulic jack plate with companion water pressure gauge and the trolling-motor charging system.

Standard seating for the 211 includes a combination helm/leaning post with an integral 30-gallon livewell aft. The livewell lid is clear acrylic to keep an eye on the bait. A 94-quart cushioned cooler seat is located in front of the console, while twin built-in stern seats straddle the motor well. The seats fold forward to convert into casting platforms. Like all Everglades models, the 211 is built using the unique RAMCAP manufacturing process. The Rapid Molded Core Assembly Process entails sandwiching the hull and deck around a structural foam core using a vacuum to bond the glass to the foam. The result is a tough, one-piece design with precise fit and finish. Everglades Boats come with a 10-year transferable hull warranty.

For coastal anglers who spend the majority of their time beyond the beach with occasional forays in close, the Everglades 211 CC deserves a serious look. Better yet, take it out for a spin - but be sure to go when the bay is choppy for the full effect. Everglades Boats, Edgewater, FL; (386) 409-2202; www.evergladesboats.com