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July 15, 2013

Sea Born FX25

Sea Born’s FX25 represents the new breed of bay boats

Bay boats are evolving. Once used primarily with a trolling motor to fish shallower depths and cross open ­waterways, the latest generation is clearly multipurpose. From nearshore patch reefs, rigs and wrecks to working weed lines or drifting for swordfish in the Gulf Stream, anglers and builders alike are breaking the style’s traditional mold. Sea Born’s FX25 epitomizes the latest trend.

“Boat use has changed a lot in the past few years,” says Wally Bell, president of Sea Born Boats, based in ­Blackshear, Georgia. “We’re now seeing multigenerations buying a boat and sharing it. They want something affordable and easy to handle. On Saturday they might run out the inlet to troll for king mackerel before coming back in to fish live shrimp for trout when the tide turns. The next day the whole family loads up and goes to the beach for a picnic. We took all these factors into account when designing this model.”

With a modest bow flare, ­single-step hull and integrated engine bracket, the FX25 offers a sleek, clean profile, and is capable of deepwater ­performance. The wide beam and 22-inch cockpit freeboard ensures stability. Our test boat was rigged with a 300 hp Mercury Verado four-stroke mounted on an Atlas hydraulic jack plate. The boat accelerated quickly with very little bow rise, e­nsuring good operating visibility. Handling was smooth and r­esponsive, thanks to the Verado power steering. With the optional ­fiberglass hardtop and trolling-motor package (three Interstate batteries, charger and Minn Kota 101 iPilot), we registered a real-world speed of almost 51 mph. In factory tests with the 300 Verado, the FX25 hit 57.2 mph wide open while with the Mercury ­Verado ProXS 250, the wide-open-throttle speed was 56.4 mph while burning 28 gallons per hour.

Besides solid performance, the FX25 can be totally tricked out for multispecies fishing scenarios. Our test boat came with the optional Bravo layout, which includes a 66-gallon bow release well with LED lights and a thick acrylic hatch cover, insulated transom fish box with cutting board, and a fiberglass leaning post with 50-gallon recirculating livewell with an acrylic viewing panel. All wells are finished in light blue to keep the baits calm. Another 100-quart box in the forward console seat doubles as a drink cooler. An insulated center well in the bow transition step adds still more capacity, while an aft sea chest ensures a steady supply of water.

The outboard compartments in the transition step double as lockable rod-storage boxes, with room for four outfits per side. When you factor in the vertical console holders, the hardtop rocket launcher and the ­matching gunwale rod racks (which will hold 10-foot fly rods), there’s room for more than two dozen rods. Other ­angler-friendly features include a hidden compartment with four large Plano storage boxes behind the forward console backrest and a molded cast-net well in the forward sole. A raw-water washdown is standard, while fresh water can be added as a option. A cockpit toe rail and thick coaming bolsters provide comfort during lengthy battles. Inshore enthusiasts might consider adding an 8-foot PowerPole with remote.