Like many other admirers of the brand, I was hopeful Hydra-Sports would survive after its parent company shuttered the doors at the start of the recent economic downturn. Fortunately, others recognized its strong value too, and MasterCraft, the venerable water-sports builder, stepped in. The new Hydra-Sports 2500 center console is the result of that latest collaboration, and I’m happy to report the brand is back on center stage and better than ever.
Destin, Florida, was the logical place to test the hard-core fishing boat, and Hydra-Sports dealer Legendary Marine had a 2500 in stock for my sea trial earlier this summer. Their resident skipper, Jeremy Holcomb, and I started by checking the time to plane after exiting the no-wake zone in Choctawhatchee Bay. With twin Yamaha F150 four-strokes for power, the boat was up and cruising in four seconds. Hydra-Sports boats are known for their beefy construction, and the 2500 tips the scales at 5,474 pounds dry, so that’s impressive acceleration. And when the seas get nasty, those extra pounds are welcome.
With an aggressive bow entry and transom deadrise, this midsize center console is well-suited for offshore jaunts. Despite calm seas and light winds during our test, it didn’t take much to realize the boat’s potential. It punched through rolling wakes without hesitation. We tried to shake it loose in tight turns, but the stern stuck to the water like Velcro. I didn’t hear the slightest squeak throughout the test. Another sign of rock-solid construction? The heavy-duty fiberglass T-top, strikingly accented in pewter powder coat on the test boat, never budged an inch. No shakes, rattles or rolls with this model.
The 2500 is no speedster, although it has a very efficient hull design. We spun up to a respectable top end of 47 mph during our test. Dialing back to a miserly cruise, with just a little of the standard Lenco trim tabs deployed, we loped along at 27 mph at 3,900 rpm, sipping only 12 gallons of gas per hour in the process. That rate would put you well offshore without breaking the bank. Additional engine options include single outboards or twins up to Yamaha F250s.
Staying true to its angling heritage, the 2500 comes ready to fish. The aforementioned standard T-top has outrigger mounting plates (for the optional TACO Grand Slam set), an aft rocket launcher and side trolling-rod holders, plus an electronics box and ample lighting. Horizontal rod racks under the cockpit covering boards, along with four gunwale holders for trolling, will stow the day’s tackle. Convenient toe kicks and wraparound bolsters, which struck me perfectly just above the knees, are included.
There’s a 32-gallon livewell on the transom, plus you can add another 40 gallons of capacity when opting for the bait station with tackle storage and prep center. It’s integrated into the deluxe leaning post with flip-back bolsters. Two large insulated fish boxes straddle the bow. Drinks and sandwiches can be stashed in the Frigid Rigid console cooler seat facing forward. The folding aft bench will seat more crew while still providing quick access to the pumps and valves.
The oversize console panel is ready for the latest electronics. Raymarine and Garmin packages are offered factory-direct. A Sirius satellite-radio system and Clarion stereo are also available. With its Taylor Made tempered-glass windscreen, the helm has excellent visibility, and all the gauges and switches are arranged for easy access. The console opens to the spacious head compartment. At 6-feet-3-inches, I barely had to duck to stand upright down there. A portable toilet comes standard, which is always an appreciated feature with the ladies. For adding electronics components or servicing, the drop-down panel inside gives easy access.
Hydra-Sports boats have always been overbuilt, and the new regime didn’t change that philosophy. The rugged hull is hand-laid glass with Kevlar reinforcement. Biaxial and woven roving fabric is used, and the finish coat is vinylester gelcoat. All coring materials are composite. A bonded structural grid stringer system is behind that solid ride. All hardware is marine grade and built to last, including stainless-steel pop-up cleats and through-hulls. The fit and finish is also as before — quite nice.
If you’re looking for a well-executed fishing boat that will double for family outings, Hydra-Sports deserves a look.
Hydra-Sports 2500 CC
Base Price……$113,620 w/twin F150 Yamahas
Hydra-Sports: 423-252-1022 • www.hydra-sports.com_