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September 21, 2007

SeaCraft 32 Master Angler

When you first lay eyes on the new 32 Master Angler, you might be overwhelmed at the sheer size of the thing. The 32 has a massive bow area with a pronounced flare, wide gunwales, and enough room forward of the console to hold a respectable square dance or half-court basketball game. But after you get over your initial awe, you begin to realize just how much fishing room you've got.

You want space? SeaCraft has space for you, your friends, and your family. This is the quintessential boat for the claustrophobic fisherman. There's no way you're going to feel hemmed-in aboard this beauty. But even though it's obviously a spacious fishing platform, how does it actually perform in the real world? I got a chance to find out when SeaCraft invited us along for a few days of fishing at Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas. After crawling all over the 32 at the winter boat shows, I was eager to test it in the open ocean.

Bahamas-Tested

Over the five days we spent in the islands, we fished and ran the boat hard in everything from glass-calm to eight-foot seas, and the ride was exemplary in every situation. This boat runs through rough stuff without hesitation, and only gets you wet in the worst quartering seas. Its length really helps, as does the variable-deadrise hull. We cruised easily at just over 28 knots at 4000 rpm in virtually any sea we met. The 32 was oblivious to the waves. Wide open, it hits 41.2 knots at 5700 rpm. The twin 250-hp Mercury EFI outboards got the big hull up on plane quickly with minimal bow rise.

The design team at SeaCraft decided early on that the 32 would be a notched-transom boat, so that every inch of space could be utilized by the angler. You can walk right up to the outboards, and current models have an engine-shroud option for a clean look and even quieter operation. SeaCraft's Product Manager, Karl Anderson, says of the boat, "We're very excited about the impact the 32 has had. This boat isn't for everybody, but if you want to seriously fish offshore, this is the one for you."

Seacraft 32 Master Angler specificationsAnderson wanted a large live well for serious live-baiters, so there's a huge in-deck well just forward of the transom that holds around 80 gallons. A second, smaller live well is located in the forward half of the optional "coffin box" at the bow, or you can have SeaCraft build the box as one large fishbox.

Also in the cockpit sole, forward of the in-deck live well, the lazarette/ pump room holds all of the boat's pumps and through-hulls. This big-boat feature is indicative of the way SeaCraft approached the 32. Components such as the pump room, upscale push/pull electrical switches, and premium rod holders set this boat apart. The company spared no expense in installing the best hardware.

The optional rocket launcher/leaning post on our test boat held a full tackle center with more pull-out drawers than are found on many 50-footers, and also had two striking rod holders on the sides for trolling outfits. The console has a cavernous space forward of the helm that will accommodate lots of electronics, and the forward console seat raises on gas-assisted rams to reveal a huge head compartment or storage area. Take your pick.

Serious Fishing Features

Another major feature is found in the deck forward of the console - an insulated brine tank. Once again, this box is oversized and meant to hold lots of fish in a brine solution. You only find these kinds of things on serious fishing boats.

Which brings us back to the coffin box. It's an option, of course, but once you've seen the boat both with and without one, you'll want it. SeaCraft designed the box with a rounded front, and it's truly the best-looking above-deck box on the market. You can get it with an electric ram to raise the top, and there's another monstrous storage space below the box, beneath the deck.

SeaCraft mounts enough rod holders in the gunwales to make a party-boat captain happy, and also uses flush-mount hardware wherever possible to eliminate potential fly fishing snags. It's one of the many touches that tell you this boat was designed by fishermen.

If you like to fish far offshore in an open, fast boat, you need to see the big, new SeaCraft. It really isn't for everyone, but if you're a demanding offshore fishing junkie, it may be just the ticket.

SeaCraft, Miami, FL; (800) 745-5464; www.seacraftboats.com.