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The Blackfin brand has been luring anglers for 50 years thanks to its spacious, well-equipped cockpits, ample livewells, strong performance, seakeeping abilities and comfort. Wait, Comfort? Fishing boats are supposed to be all business, no frills, right?
Wrong. The industry has looked at anglers and their motivations to buy and found fishing is like the circus barker at the door of the tent. Sure thing, fishing is the draw, but the deal closer is family fun, and that’s where comfort comes into play. The Blackfin 302 DC meets all of these requirements, and then some.
Anglers want livewells that can keep bait healthy, even in heavy seas. The 302 DC’s 30-gallon pressurized livewell is fed by a 1,500 gph pump that can replace the water 50 times in an hour. When the acrylic hatch is open, the excess water spills over the transom via a clever gutter design.
Four shotgun rod holders and four cup holders/rod holders ensure plenty of places for your sticks. Six more rocket launchers are in the hardtop. For rigging bait, use the underside of the livewell lid or move to the galley and flip over the solid surface top and use the built-in cutting board feature on the other side.
For bottomfishing, the forward seating can be removed to create a large casting deck complete with two combo rod holders. A portside boarding door and a transom door add both boarding and fish-landing options to the 302—a feature we don’t find on many comparable boats.
You’ve got to have plenty of power to manage rough seas with confidence. And you need a hull that can cleave waves and ride up over them without bone-jarring reentry. That’s where this boat’s signature tall stem and wide flare come in. Blackfin’s performance also comes from blending hull design and construction techniques. The running surface is a patented Michael Peters double-stepped hull with a shallow notch in the hull halfway up to the chines from the keel and beginning just behind the second step. This notch gives the hull superb control in turns. The sheer runs high to handle the rough seas serious anglers might encounter, keeping the crew safe and comfortable for the ride home. The 302 DC’s construction includes a hybrid blend of E-glass with carbon fiber to increase strength. The hull layup begins only after the factory closes and the last speck of dust is filtered from the air. Gelcoat is sprayed in, and the next morning, technicians add a skin coat to eliminate print-through and produce a mirrorlike finish.
Twin 300 hp Mercury V-8 outboards notched nearly 55 mph on the GPS and registered 1.45 mpg at 38 mph. In fact, the vessel is nearly as economical at 44 as it is at 30 mph—a feature you’ll appreciate when conserving fuel and time on a long trip. Even at 5,000 rpm and 44 mph, it’s making 1.43 mpg. In port, our tester docked sweetly with a combination of joystick steering and a bow thruster—features we appreciated in the narrow confines of Florida’s Sarasota Hyatt Marina.
What is bolted onto the hull is as important in a boat’s fit-and-finish as the hull and deck. Blackfin uses highly polished stainless-steel hinges. The same goes for durable, sleek but massive pull-up cleats for secure docking. A pair at the bow, a pair at the transom, two at the rear of the cockpit and a pair on the gunwales near the cockpit give ample options for tying off. The hatches are compression-molded with a gleaming inner surface and a crisp diamond nonskid surface on the deck.
Ultrafabric with a thick, supple color layer over a durable fabric weave covers the seats. It stretches over multidensity foam, with crisp seams stitched in, accent ribbing and diamond-tufted surfaces. At the helm, a wide double seat offers space for two, and a comparable seat accommodates guests to port.
At the transom, a pullout lounge converts an open deck with a wraparound bolster into a conversation area facing the lounge to starboard and a cockpit galley to port. Each seating position has a good balance between firm and soft to provide a comfortable ride, stand up to hard use, and look good for years.
The cockpit galley features a sink, an optional stowaway electric grill, an electric fridge, and one of two Yeti 45 coolers on deck that retract from the galley and starboard lounge. Dedicate both to refreshments or one for frozen bait.
In this complicated world, anglers are thinking, “If not now, when?” Blackfin has eased that decision process by providing all the fishing features they want wrapped in luxury. The buy is also simplified with an exhaustive list of standard features, including a windlass, bow thruster, hardtop and side boarding door. You just have to decide on the optional joystick.
- Weather: Sunny and warm
- Location: Sarasota, Florida
- Wind: 8 to 12 mph steady
- Sea State: Light chop
- Test Load: Two adults, 130 gallons of fuel
|Draft:||2’9″ (engines down)|
|Price:||$392,620 (base w/ test power)|
Blackfin – blackfinboats.com