Last week I had the chance to spend a couple of hours running new offerings from Maverick/Hewes/Pathfinder at their press introduction. The 24 Pathfinder, rigged with a 250-hp Yamaha four-stroke, was a boat that I've been itching to run since it was introduced at the Miami Boat Show. The crew at Pathfinder totally reengineered this boat to take the heavier, larger-horsepower four-stroke engines that dominate the marine power market. And they hit a home run with it. Through a combination of taller transom and redistributing weight through rigging, they've made a great crossover fishing platform that is going to be a hit, whether you fish on the striper and inshore tuna grounds in the Northeast; off Stuart and Jupiter for inlet snook, summertime sails and dolphin; or along the Gulf Coast for redfish and tarpon. The company also modified its rigging protocols for the Maverick and Hewes lines (although they didn't increase transom height) to accommodate for the heavier engines. By moving the cranking- and trolling-motor batteries forward, as well as several other subtle nuances, MHP has made it possible to bring quiet, reliable four-stroke technology to the shallow-water masses in a usable form. Yamaha 350 4-stroke The company also had several of its new Cobia line, and we had the chance to run one of the smaller (the 274 Center Console) rigged with the new 350-hp Yamaha four-stroke. The engine is a big development in outboard technology - in more ways than one! The 5.3-litre V8 tips the scales at 804 pounds and provides 45 percent more thrust than other 250-class outboards. Using CommandLink digital controls, the engine has eight trolling settings, allowing anglers to adjust their speed in 50 rpm increments. A 50-amp alternator should provide ample nourishment for even the most power-hungry accessories. For more information on the new 350 or other engines in the Yamaha line, visit www.yamaha-motor.com Check out the whole family of Maverick/Hewes/Pathfinder vessels at www.maverickboats.com.