Pathfinder 2300 HPS
The Pathfinder 2300 High Performance Step represents something of a departure from the norm for this division of the Maverick Boat Co., as it’s the first stepped-hull boat the company has produced. I’ve spent a lot of time on non-stepped Pathfinders and eagerly looked forward to seeing just how different this new model might be.
I got my chance at a Yamaha event at the Hawks Cay Resort, in Marathon, Florida. Skip Lyshon of Maverick spent the afternoon with me, putting the boat through its paces, and the difference between this hull and the standard hull found on previous Pathfinder models became apparent immediately.
When you nail the throttle on this boat, it comes on plane with almost no bow rise and accelerates very quickly. The F250 Yamaha on our test boat provided what seemed like the ideal combination of speed and efficiency, and once we reached adequate speed to allow the step to do its thing and ventilate the hull, the boat really took off.
At 4,500 rpm, we made just under 50 mph, a remarkable cruise speed that will get you just about anywhere you need to be in a hurry. Depending on water conditions, you can choose any cruise from 3,000 rpm on up to just under wide-open throttle (63.7 mph), and the boat will handle just fine. The step in the hull obviously creates new levels of performance unattainable in previous models.
The step doesn’t introduce any bad handling habits either, something not every stepped-hull boat can claim. We spent considerable time carving tight turns at high speed to see how the boat would react, but it handled everything we could throw at it predictably and safely.
From a layout standpoint, the 2300 HPS looks much like other Pathfinders, with tons of dry storage space, wide casting decks and plentiful livewell capacity. Pathfinder has had this part right for years, so there’s no need to tamper with a successful design. My impression was that the freeboard on this boat seemed slightly higher than on non-stepped models, but not enough to create any issues when fishing.
The boat comes standard with a jack plate on the transom — forward of that in the aft casting deck, there’s a large hatch for easy inner-hull rigging access, and outboard on each side lie two large lockable dry-storage boxes, which will hold lots of loose gear or tackle. A 35-gallon livewell with bottom-to-top drainage and a hidden standpipe sits on the centerline in the aft deck.
In the cockpit sole just aft of the leaning post, there’s another large storage box, and yet another in the sole forward of the console. Suffice it to say that you can carry a lot of gear with you on this boat. A leaning post with four rod holders comes standard, but you can opt for several upgrades, including a leaning post containing a second livewell.
The ergonomically designed console provides plenty of space for mounting today’s big-screen electronics, and the Yamaha instruments are clearly visible and easy to read. The boat drives easily from either a standing or seated position. A 48-quart cooler that doubles as seating forward of the console comes standard too.
The spacious casting platform in the bow contains even more storage, including port and starboard lockable rod-storage boxes capable of racking rods up to 9 feet long. A huge storage box on the centerline will likely hold PFDs and other loose gear, and there’s a dedicated anchor locker that drains overboard all the way at the bow. The casting platform is recessed slightly beneath the gunwales, creating a toe kick, which will ensure solid footing when you’re casting to passing fish in choppy conditions, and of course, both casting decks and the entire sole come covered in a sturdy nonskid finish.
The 2300 HPS comes with Pathfinder’s usual lengthy standard equipment list, including the jack plate and hydraulic steering, an aluminum backing plate and wiring for trolling motor installation, recessed hardware for snag-free fishing, stainless-steel through-hulls, and Pathfinder’s no-wood construction, which utilizes top-quality resins and composite coring materials. For power, you can order Yamaha’s F200, F250 or F300.
Pathfinder has produced a boat combining the company’s proven and thoroughly field-tested fishing design with a new hull that takes the boat’s performance to an entirely new level, and perhaps that makes this the best Pathfinder yet.
Pathfinder 2300 HPS**
Fuel: 60 gals.
Max hp: 300
Weight: 3,000 lbs. approx. with a F250
Base price: $58,521 with a Yamaha F250
Pathfinder Boats: 888-742-5569 • www.pathfinderboats.com_