Pathfinder 2600 HPS

Pathfinder’s new 2600 HPS comes ready for action in a lot of situations.

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The 2600 handled the short chop with ease, and we stayed dry even when pushing the boat hard in turns, and running in beam seas or at quartering angles.

Specifications

LOA: 26'2" • Beam: 8'10" • Deadrise: 18 degrees

Fuel: 80 gallons • Max Power: 350 hp • Weight: (with F300) 3,350 pounds

Base price: $71,875 with Yamaha F250

Pathfinder Boats: 772-465-0631 • pathfinderboats.com

Performance with a single F350 Yamaha outboard

RPM MPH GPH |**** RPM MPH GPH

4,000 38.7 12.9 | 5,500 55.0 26.7

4,500 44.7 17.0 | 6,050 61.9 33.7

5,000 49.5 21.6

It might not be entirely accurate to call the Pathfinder 2600 HPS a bay boat, because this all-new offering from the company that helped popularize the bay-boat design in the first place is capable of so much more. The 2600 is a large boat, with a relatively high freeboard (27 inches amidships), so while it can certainly do a great job in bay waters, it will also serve capably in light to moderate offshore duty.

We got a chance to run the new boat at Caribee Boat Sales and Marina, the Florida Keys Pathfinder dealer in Islamorada. A stiff northerly breeze had Florida Bay waters churned up nicely for our test, and the 2600 did not disappoint. Powered by a single Yamaha F350 outboard, the boat jumps on plane effortlessly, with almost no bow rise at all.

Twin steps designed into the hull create excellent efficiency, and with that much power, the 2600 cruises nicely at just under 45 mph at 4,500 rpm, while burning only 17 gph. The 2600 handled the short chop with ease, and we stayed dry even when pushing the boat hard in turns, and running in beam seas or at quartering angles. Suffice it to say, the 2600 exhibited exemplary sea manners, and the steps showed no tendency to blow out in hard turns.

Like all previous Pathfinder models before it, the new 2600 features a serious fishing design that hard-core ­fishermen will appreciate. For example, the bow area features a multilevel design with a step up in the center. The step lid opens to reveal a huge, 80-gallon fish box that’s insulated and has a macerator option; it runs forward beneath the casting deck and can hold some truly large fish, or a whole bunch of smaller ones.

Two hatches outboard of the fish box conceal dry storage with rod racks built in along the hullsides. Forward and on the centerline lies a shallow dry-storage box, which sits over the subdeck fish box, and an oval ­15-gallon ­livewell is found ­forward of that. A hanging anchor locker holds a vertically stored Danforth anchor, and a ­pop-up bow cleat sits at the forepeak.

The boat’s raised gunwale is wide enough to mount a large trolling motor; our test boat came with a ­MinnKota 102-inch 36-volt iPilot unit, which most anglers are certain to opt for. Like all Pathfinders, the 2600 comes ­prewired for a trolling motor.

Pathfinder now molds its own coolers, utilizing gelcoat colors that match the boat’s hull. These optional ­coolers make a great complement to the boat, and do double duty both as a rugged cooler capable of serious ice ­retention and as forward passenger seating. There’s also a ­tilt-out tackle bin on the forward side of the console.

The centered helm features an ample surface above for mounting electronics. The boat’s gauges and switches are arranged to port with the throttle binnacle to starboard. A glove box on the aft side of the console contains the boat’s breaker panel, and a molded footrest below makes driving the boat a more comfortable affair.

The test boat sported an optional powder-coated T-top — a heavy-duty unit with built-in LED lights — two ­storage compartments fore and aft, recessed speaker-mounting modules, and six rod holders mounted on the aft end of the top. There’s even a pad built in for a small radar, should a buyer desire one.

Helm seating came in the form of a bench seat with folding armrests perched atop a molded fiberglass box ­containing two storage drawers to the left and tackle trays to the right. The boat’s trolling-motor batteries sit beneath the deck just aft of the leaning post, and the main batteries are in the post. ­Battery switches sit behind a panel on the port side of the leaning post, where they’re easy to access.

The aft casting deck comes complete with a standard 48-gallon livewell on the centerline, and you can optionally plumb a large storage box, which lies aft and to port as a release well. A similar compartment to starboard does duty as dry storage, and a large hatch aft and to center provides inner-hull access for servicing pumps and reaching through-hulls. The big V-8 Yamaha came mounted on a jackplate, and the boat’s Power Pole came mounted to an offset bracket that attaches to the jackplate. A swim platform mounted to port lets you get in and out of the boat with ease.

Pathfinder has once again upped the ante with the 2600, creating a boat that will offer tremendous versatility and value for the fisherman who needs one boat to handle a wide variety of fishing tasks. If that sounds like you, be sure to check out this boat. It might be just what you’ve been looking for in an all-around fishing machine.

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The 2600 handled the short chop with ease, and we stayed dry even when pushing the boat hard in turns, and running in beam seas or at quartering angles.
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