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April 22, 2013

Pathfinder 2600 HPS

Pathfinder’s new 2600 HPS comes ready for action in a lot of situations.

Two hatches outboard of the fish box conceal dry storage with rod racks built in along the hullsides. Forward and on the centerline lies a shallow dry-storage box, which sits over the subdeck fish box, and an oval ­15-gallon ­livewell is found ­forward of that. A hanging anchor locker holds a vertically stored Danforth anchor, and a ­pop-up bow cleat sits at the forepeak.

The boat’s raised gunwale is wide enough to mount a large trolling motor; our test boat came with a ­MinnKota 102-inch 36-volt iPilot unit, which most anglers are certain to opt for. Like all Pathfinders, the 2600 comes ­prewired for a trolling motor.

Pathfinder now molds its own coolers, utilizing gelcoat colors that match the boat’s hull. These optional ­coolers make a great complement to the boat, and do double duty both as a rugged cooler capable of serious ice ­retention and as forward passenger seating. There’s also a ­tilt-out tackle bin on the forward side of the console.

The centered helm features an ample surface above for mounting electronics. The boat’s gauges and switches are arranged to port with the throttle binnacle to starboard. A glove box on the aft side of the console contains the boat’s breaker panel, and a molded footrest below makes driving the boat a more comfortable affair.

The test boat sported an optional powder-coated T-top — a heavy-duty unit with built-in LED lights — two ­storage compartments fore and aft, recessed speaker-mounting modules, and six rod holders mounted on the aft end of the top. There’s even a pad built in for a small radar, should a buyer desire one.

Helm seating came in the form of a bench seat with folding armrests perched atop a molded fiberglass box ­containing two storage drawers to the left and tackle trays to the right. The boat’s trolling-motor batteries sit beneath the deck just aft of the leaning post, and the main batteries are in the post. ­Battery switches sit behind a panel on the port side of the leaning post, where they’re easy to access.

The aft casting deck comes complete with a standard 48-gallon livewell on the centerline, and you can optionally plumb a large storage box, which lies aft and to port as a release well. A similar compartment to starboard does duty as dry storage, and a large hatch aft and to center provides inner-hull access for servicing pumps and reaching through-hulls. The big V-8 Yamaha came mounted on a jackplate, and the boat’s Power Pole came mounted to an offset bracket that attaches to the jackplate. A swim platform mounted to port lets you get in and out of the boat with ease.

Pathfinder has once again upped the ante with the 2600, creating a boat that will offer tremendous versatility and value for the fisherman who needs one boat to handle a wide variety of fishing tasks. If that sounds like you, be sure to check out this boat. It might be just what you’ve been looking for in an all-around fishing machine.