The new 334 CC, Mako’s largest model to date, is a dynamite center console bound to catch the eye of avid offshore anglers. Its sleek, high-performance hull design, superb fit and finish, and plethora of well-thought-out features do more than carry on the legendary brand’s tradition, they actually take it up a notch.
Revered as a builder of premium fishing machines in the ’70s and ’80s, Mako underwent many changes after it became part of Tracker Marine’s family of brands. But like the shark it is named after, the boatbuilder has been aggressive in its pursuit of excellence, and steady improvements in design and construction have led the resurgence that brought Mako boats back to the high echelon they occupied before many current competitors were in existence.
Recommendations from charter captains and pro anglers were instrumental in the 334’s design, which incorporates an aggressive deep-V, 24 degrees of deadrise, lifting strakes and a notched transom in a hull that planes in a flash, cuts through a chop with ease, and offers a comfortable ride with responsive and predictable handling that rivals that of a high-end sports car.
The one-piece molded stringer grid, chemically bonded hull and deck, and stainless-steel fasteners and hardware combine for maximum strength and durability, while 100-percent composite construction adds rigidity and minimizes weight, resulting in a rugged yet swift craft capable of taking on the rigors of bluewater fishing.
The 334 CC is loaded with standard features. At the bow, you find an anchor locker with through-hull anchor deployment and free-fall windlass and rode stowage, plus a cavernous 740-quart in-deck storage compartment with a drain. Midship, a pair of tilt-out lockers provides additional storage to port and starboard of the center console, which includes an 81-quart cooler under the forward seat, a spacious step-down head room complete with a sink, a full-width integrated footrest and a wide dash equipped with a pair of 12-inch Garmin multifunction displays, illuminated rocker switches, digital gauges, a VHF radio, Fusion stereo, Mercury Joystick piloting system and tilt steering.
An outrigger-ready hardtop with two integrated electronics boxes and LED lighting provides shade for both the console and the leaning post that serves as the helm and companion seats with flip-up bolsters and back- and armrests. The leaning post incorporates storage hatches on both sides, with tackle drawers and a rigging station with a freshwater sink in the back.
Stepping aft, a pair of 290-quart in-deck fish boxes with macerators and overboard discharge sit to port and starboard of the leaning post and extend backward into the cockpit. To port, a tuna door with a hinged gate helps to boat large fish and doubles as a dive door. Closer to the transom, twin lockable, tilt-out hatches on opposite covering boards keep essential tackle handy and provide holders for leaders, pliers, a Boga-Grip and a 12-inch fillet knife.
Conveniently located in the transom corners, identical 34-gallon oval livewells — both pressurized, with high-speed pickups and clear lids and finished in calming blue — hold a substantial number of liveys and enable anglers to isolate two different bait types. Between them, a long cutting board is cleverly positioned for chumming and chunking, and a fold-down bench adds seating for two and stashes away when fishing. Recessed grab rails, all-around coaming bolsters, a raw-water washdown, recessed trim tabs, rod racks and diffused LED lighting below the gunwales, and transom underwater lights also come standard.
Mako’s new 34-footer is available in two configurations: the Bluewater Family and Sportfish Special editions. The first adds elevated compartments to port and starboard on the bow, affording considerable extra dry storage and seating with stowable backrests on both sides, plus a bow filler with removable cushion that doubles as a table, and the deluxe hardtop, which includes a retractable shade that keeps the sun off the aft deck with the touch of a button.
I tested the Sportfish Special edition, which includes 11 flush-mounted rod holders along the gunwales and transom, a 292-quart coffin box with hydraulic lift above the center in-deck storage compartment up front, a set of Taco outriggers and an upper helm station with anti-fatigue pad and Mercury VesselView, a digital interface that displays boat and engine performance data and provides instant access to Mercury SmartCraft features, like cruise control, Smart Tow and troll control. With three Verado 350s in back, I expected serious acceleration. The first thing I did, after bracing myself, was time how long it took the Mako to go from 0 to 30 mph: a scant 7.5 seconds. Next came the slalom test, during which the boat zigzagged on command, earning high marks. Though negligible, the splash at cruising speed — 38 mph at 3,500 rpm while burning 27 gph proved most efficient — started just ahead of the console. And once we reached top-end speed — 66.1 mph at 6,300 rpm with a burn of 90.4 gph — the spray started behind the helm where even the stiff breeze couldn’t push it into the cockpit, no matter what direction I turned.
Reverse, at low and moderate speeds, was efficient. The cockpit didn’t flood, and the stern swung to port and starboard with every turn of the steering wheel, with prop torque affecting our retreat far less than anticipated. Mako has a definite winner in the new 334 CC. The boat is fast, soft-riding, roomy and pleasing to the eye. Furthermore, this center console comes rigged with just about everything a hardcore offshore angler would expect on a top ride.