Fishing super-skinny water is all well and good, but sometimes fly-fishermen need to venture out of the extreme shallows of the backcountry to take advantage of what a particular season offers in open water. For the summer months, Pathfinder’s new 2600 HPS Bay Crusher is the perfect vessel for chasing albies in the nearshore waters of the mid-Atlantic, fishing rolling swells for striped bass in the Northeast or motoring out from Florida’s beaches for tarpon. The Bay Crusher is the latest addition to the fully revamped Pathfinder model lineup. In short, the boat was designed to offer offshore running and fishing capabilities never before seen in a trolling-motor-compatible bay boat that boasts an impressive draft of only 15 inches. With that being said, anglers can still enjoy inshore opportunities but can easily head the bow into bigger water for a totally different fly-fishing experience.
One of the best aspects of the Bay Crusher is how much angling space is available. The snag-free front deck is plenty large enough for two casters to fish simultaneously without getting in each other’s way, and the same goes for the rear deck. In addition, the recessed deck and extended engine bracket prevent loose fly line from getting tangled or caught in the engine rigging.
Fly-anglers who fish offshore know the importance of keeping lots of live bait alive and kicking for chumming purposes — the boat comes standard with a 15-gallon bow and a 48-gallon stern livewell. Between the two, anglers can easily accommodate enough freebies to attract a variety of blue-water species for the entire day.
As far as storage goes, the under-gunwale fly rod racks are easily accessible and can comfortably accommodate multiple rods rigged and at the ready, so anglers are able to quickly adapt to changing conditions and situations. Also, the boat comes standard with a gelcoat-matched fiberglass cooler that doubles as a console seat, designated cast net and battery storage boxes in the floor, and five large dry-storage compartments for extra gear and tackle.
Pathfinder made a point of designing a hull that would boast high-performance running by accepting a single outboard — up to 350 hp — that would be mounted on a standard 6-inch jack plate. At rest, the 8-foot-10-inch beam and extended freeboard provide a very stable platform from which anglers can cast and fight fish without losing their footing, even in bumpy conditions. The 26-foot-2-inch length and double-step hull take big water extremely well, and flats anglers can select an outboard with more horsepower to cover a huge amount of water. Even though the Bay Crusher thrives in near and offshore waters, this boat is far from a one trick pony. Anglers who want the best of both worlds by being able to fish in big water but still have the option of the shallows will love it.
Fuel: 80 gal.
Max Horsepower: 350
Weight: 3,350 lb. w/ F300
Top Speed: 60 mph
Price: $71,875 w/ VF250
Pathfinder’s Bay Crusher comes standard with a Yamaha F300 but can take up to a 350. When trolling, the boat moves along great with a Minn Kota 36-volt, 101-pound-thrust i-Pilot.
Pathfinder Boat Co.
Fort Pierce, Florida