The 1900 Center Console from Polar debuted last season to rave reviews from anglers. In fact, the demand for this sprightly 19-footer has been so high that we had a tough time finding one to test, but late last summer we managed to rendezvous with a 1900 at Boats Unlimited in Cape Coral, Florida.
Joining us was Denise Oyler, marketing director for Polar. Oyler also happens to have been chartering and fishing redfish tournaments in a Polar for the past several years, so we got a good, close look at the fishing features packed into this boat.
Our test boat was powered by a Yamaha 130-hp four-stroke outboard, although the hull is rated for power up to 150 hp. The 130 pushed the hull along nicely, topping out at 45 mph, and provided an excellent power-to-weight balance. It got us where we needed to go comfortably and quickly, yet still floated high when we drifted the grass flats to cast along the shorelines. The hull's 17-degree variable deadrise provides both shallow-water access and enough of an entry to comfortably hit the reefs and wrecks offshore.
The high hull sides provide a good margin of security, and the padded bolsters make it comfortable to lean against the rail when fishing. The raised bow platform puts the gunwale just below knee level, and provides better visibility and casting distance. It's a handy feature when fishing inshore waters.
The bow holds an anchor locker with a notched hatch for the rode. On the inboard bulkhead of the anchor locker is a trolling-motor power socket and a tilt switch for the outboard. The outboard can be raised completely out of the water for shallow drifting, or it can be lowered to assist in tracking when running on a front-mount trolling motor. The angler never has to leave the front casting platform to make the adjustment. Recessed cleats and a low-profile bow rail make for trouble-free fishing. The hatch in the bow platform leads to a large compartment that holds a ton of odd-sized gear. Since it drains overboard, it can also be used as a fishbox, with enough room to ice down kingfish or dolphin.
The 1900 is surprisingly well equipped to haul a lot of tackle. The standard setup easily accommodates 16 rigged outfits. The under-gunwale racks hold a total of four rods, two per side. There are four flush-mounted holders at the stern and two more amidships. Three more holders per side are molded into the console. The console is equipped with a molded-in front seat that conceals a release well with anti-slosh collar to keep the water where it belongs. It's big enough to hold a couple of legal-size redfish. The backrest cushion on the front of the console drops down on a hinge to reveal a three-tray tackle locker.
The console is lag-bolted into the stringer system, and sits above the cockpit sole to provide extra toe room. The same inset conceals a string of cockpit lights that provide even and indirect illumination for night fishing. A hatch on the aft console wall opens to a large storage area. The control panel with waterproof switches for bait wells, pumps, lights, raw-water washdown and accessories is mounted on the inside of the hatch. The helm seat is a padded, 96-quart cooler that sits in a bracket. The bracket has a tilting backrest for forward or rear-facing seating.
A compartment in the starboard transom corner provides access to the batteries, which sit above the cockpit sole - and the waterline. In the port corner, a jumpseat doubles as a second bait well for holding shrimp or crabs. A center hatch leading to the bilge makes it easy to reach and service the pumps and plumbing.
The transom cut-out is flared slightly outward, providing just a little more cockpit space. This flare is part of the Hydra Lift transom, designed to rise on following seas and provide lift to the stern when backing down. A 72-gallon gas tank is standard.
After our look at the 1900, we find it no surprise that dealers are having a tough time keeping it in stock. It's a solid, versatile package, and there's no shortage of features aimed at making this a top-notch fishing boat.
Godfrey Marine, Elkhart, IN; (574) 522-8381;