Bay boats are evolving. Once used primarily with a trolling motor to fish shallower depths and cross open waterways, the latest generation is clearly multipurpose. From nearshore patch reefs, rigs and wrecks to working weed lines or drifting for swordfish in the Gulf Stream, anglers and builders alike are breaking the style’s traditional mold. Sea Born’s FX25 epitomizes the latest trend.
“Boat use has changed a lot in the past few years,” says Wally Bell, president of Sea Born Boats, based in Blackshear, Georgia. “We’re now seeing multigenerations buying a boat and sharing it. They want something affordable and easy to handle. On Saturday they might run out the inlet to troll for king mackerel before coming back in to fish live shrimp for trout when the tide turns. The next day the whole family loads up and goes to the beach for a picnic. We took all these factors into account when designing this model.”
With a modest bow flare, single-step hull and integrated engine bracket, the FX25 offers a sleek, clean profile, and is capable of deepwater performance. The wide beam and 22-inch cockpit freeboard ensures stability. Our test boat was rigged with a 300 hp Mercury Verado four-stroke mounted on an Atlas hydraulic jack plate. The boat accelerated quickly with very little bow rise, ensuring good operating visibility. Handling was smooth and responsive, thanks to the Verado power steering. With the optional fiberglass hardtop and trolling-motor package (three Interstate batteries, charger and Minn Kota 101 iPilot), we registered a real-world speed of almost 51 mph. In factory tests with the 300 Verado, the FX25 hit 57.2 mph wide open while with the Mercury Verado ProXS 250, the wide-open-throttle speed was 56.4 mph while burning 28 gallons per hour.
Besides solid performance, the FX25 can be totally tricked out for multispecies fishing scenarios. Our test boat came with the optional Bravo layout, which includes a 66-gallon bow release well with LED lights and a thick acrylic hatch cover, insulated transom fish box with cutting board, and a fiberglass leaning post with 50-gallon recirculating livewell with an acrylic viewing panel. All wells are finished in light blue to keep the baits calm. Another 100-quart box in the forward console seat doubles as a drink cooler. An insulated center well in the bow transition step adds still more capacity, while an aft sea chest ensures a steady supply of water.
The outboard compartments in the transition step double as lockable rod-storage boxes, with room for four outfits per side. When you factor in the vertical console holders, the hardtop rocket launcher and the matching gunwale rod racks (which will hold 10-foot fly rods), there’s room for more than two dozen rods. Other angler-friendly features include a hidden compartment with four large Plano storage boxes behind the forward console backrest and a molded cast-net well in the forward sole. A raw-water washdown is standard, while fresh water can be added as a option. A cockpit toe rail and thick coaming bolsters provide comfort during lengthy battles. Inshore enthusiasts might consider adding an 8-foot PowerPole with remote.
There’s no shortage of creature comforts either. Both the operator and companion will enjoy the ride at the console leaning post, and a bow coaming and cushion package is available for those lazy summer days with the family. The optional rugged folding transom bench seat stows easily, yet can be quickly removed to gain access to pumps and the bilge. For night fishing or dinner at a waterfront restaurant, LED deck lights add illumination. Extra gear will stow with room to spare in the large bow compartment, while the massive anchor locker can hold a Danforth anchor, rode and dock lines to match any anchoring challenge.
The just-the-right-size console offers plenty of room for the largest displays without being an obstacle. Garmin electronics packages can be factory installed. A convenient glove box with an iPod jack and quick access to the trim tabs, gauges, and electrical switches make operating this boat easy.
Like its predecessors, the FX25 is solidly built with hand-laid biaxial fiberglass. The hull sides are cored to reduce weight without sacrificing strength. All hatches are compression molded with a smooth interior finish, and quality components are used throughout, such as bronze seacocks, cast stainless-steel hardware and resettable circuit breakers. Wiring harnesses and plumbing are neatly organized and labeled, always a sure sign of attention to detail. Our test boat was smartly finished in black gelcoat with matching hardtop, with several other hull colors and combinations also available.
If you’re unfamiliar with Sea Born, get ready to be pleasantly surprised by the brand’s quality, value and overall fishability. And if you also happen to be shopping for a multifaceted fishing machine, give the FX25 a long look. After all, it’s much more than just a bay boat.
Transom deadrise: 17 degrees
Fuel: 75 gal.
Weight: 2,600 lb.
Max hp: 300
Base price: $66,107 with hardtop and 300 hp Mercury Verado
Sea Born Boats: 912-449-0033 • seabornboats.com