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January 28, 2009

Fountain 38 Sportfish Cruiser

Fountain's 38 Sportfish Cruiser with outboard power is a stylish multitasker.

As Kirby deftly held us in place next to the metal structure, Dawson and I dropped sabiki rigs down to catch live hardtails for bait. Small grouper, jacks and snapper readily pounced on the tiny gold quill hooks instead. Repositioning, our "bait" turned into pompano. After 15 were welcomed aboard, a hardtail and bluefish were finally bridled and deployed on flat lines.

Slow trolling around the rig gave me the opportunity to go over the boat thoroughly. Dawson and I had already enjoyed the roominess of the cockpit during several double hookups. But the large cockpit is not the only angling attribute of this craft. For starters, a 70-gallon livewell/bait center is conveniently located on the transom centerline, close to the action. A backup well holding 35 more gallons is in the forward starboard corner behind the helm. Both are plumbed for maximum aeration to keep baits hearty.

The cockpit sole has a pair of 250-quart fish boxes equipped with diaphragm pumps. Wraparound coaming pads offer thigh relief during protracted fights, and the deck's aggressive nonskid provides sure traction even when wet or slimy. Opposite the secondary well is a spacious storage compartment. Both are convenient vantage points for keeping an eye on the spread. In addition to lockable horizontal racks under the gunwales, rod storage is plentiful in the covering boards, across the transom and in the top's rocket launcher.

The raised bridge deck on the SFC is distinguished by the center helm. The operator has good visibility with this position even with the enclosed bow. The soft canvas top has full curtains, including a roll-up aft door that offers shade and protection from the elements. A companion helm chair to starboard comes standard.