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March 31, 2014

Boat Review: Pathfinder 2200 TE

Serious sportsmen and casual anglers alike will appreciate the Pathfinder 2200 TE's thoughtful and well-executed features, as well as its stellar performance.

Inshore tournament anglers are always looking to get a leg up on the competition. There are fewer secret spots and  more anglers, and their skills get sharper every day. Bay boats are becoming more specialized too, and Pathfinder, one of the leaders in this market, has again raised the bar with the recent introduction of its 2200 Tournament Edition. Serious sportsmen and casual anglers alike will appreciate this model’s thoughtful, functional and well-executed features, as well as its stellar performance.

A nasty, approaching squall line provided real-world conditions on our test day. The inland waters were lumpy and confused, but I stayed dry regardless of the heading, and the boat never slammed or pounded in launch mode. The TE, which shares the same hull design as the earlier ­22-foot TRS version, swallowed the chop and spit it out like discarded sunflower shells. Tipping the scales at 2,850 pounds and sporting a 15-degree deadrise, this beefy craft can take whatever Mother Ocean dishes out.

A higher freeboard in this most recent redesign provides an added sense of security, but the powerful 250-horse four-stroke on the transom quickly reminded me that it would get up and go. Top speed in the rough water was 60 mph, a welcome trait when you face the long, open-water runs often associated with tournament conditions. The TE is also available with other Yamaha-engine packages starting at 150 hp for buyers looking for less weight or greater economy.

The deck cap is what distinguishes the TE from its previous incarnation. The new layout features walk-around gunwales, a larger anchor locker, a lengthier deck and bigger cockpit, plus two in-deck wet lockers for cast nets or wading gear. The large console offers plenty of room for electronics, plus a forward tackle station with a removable hatch to quickly access the interior. Hydraulic steering, trim tabs and a hydraulic jack plate with a blinker switch and 6-inch water-pressure gauge are standard items. The standard multifunction engine gauges can be upgraded to the Yamaha Command Link package.

As you’d expect with a boat dedicated to competitive fishing, angling features highlight the TE’s standards list, starting with the livewell system. This boat boasts a total of 95 gallons of aerated capacity, making it one big floating livewell. A 15-gallon pitch well in the bow makes it easy to keep pilchards or sardines cast-ready. Two more cavernous wells in the aft casting deck (40 gallons each) increase the bait capacity, or serve as holding wells for live-release events. Pathfinder takes great pride in designing functional wells that fully exchange the water both top and bottom to eliminate dead zones, and those traits are showcased here. You should never say never, but I’d be hard-pressed to envision a scenario where you’d run out of bait on this hard-core fishing machine.

Most tournament anglers tend to carry more rather than fewer rods on board, and the TE doesn’t skimp in this department either. It offers dedicated storage for more than two dozen combos. The outboard compartments in the bow provide lockable storage for overnight layovers, while the folding rod racks swing out of the way if those spaces are needed for other items.

The bow is prewired for a 24-volt trolling motor with a laminated mounting plate. Full LED lighting illuminates the cockpit and all compartments. A saltwater washdown is standard, and a freshwater complement can be added. Independent battery switches for the cranking- and trolling-motor batteries ensure reliability. Other notable options include a fiberglass hardtop or T-top, powder coating, a lengthy list of hull colors, and a helm-seat tackle station. The professional package includes a choice of 8- or 10-foot Power Pole Signature Series anchors and a battery charger. Raymarine electronic bundles are also available add-ons.

Like all Pathfinders, the TE is solidly built and made to last. ­Foam-cored stringers and cored panels topped with premium resins, recessed heavy-duty deck hardware, and rugged rub rails with stainless-steel inserts are standard. So are stainless-steel through-hulls with seacocks below the waterline, nickel-tinned fused wiring harnesses, and waterproof switches with circuit breakers. Full closed-cell foam is injected for flotation throughout. Aggressive nonskid deck surfaces throughout provide sure traction in wet conditions.

Buying the 2200 TE obviously won’t guarantee a spot in the winner’s circle. However, the ability to make long runs comfortably and hold a showroom’s worth of tackle and wads of bait, plus that trophy redfish, does seem to offer an unfair competitive advantage. But all’s fair in love and war.

Pathfinder Boats  • 772-465-0631
pathfinderboats.com