Fishing Boat Review: Striper 220 Center Console

A family fish boat that’s big on features and easy on the budget

Completely new for 2014, this 22-foot center console from Larson Boat Group is a departure from those that came before. Its refined look with a taller, wider bow and broken sheer suggests Carolina styling and some surprising standard fishing features, plus a long list of options allow adding amenities to suit any taste.

The new V-Trac hull has a length of 21 feet 7 inches and an 8-foot-6-inch beam, and features an aggressive entry and flare, 20-degree deadrise at the transom, and 6 inches of chine to effectively reduce roll. Two raised compartments with ­overboard drains in the bow double as forward seating. A pair of convenient flush-mount rod holders sit aft of each hatch, and an optional insert fits flush between the compartments, making the entire bow a casting platform, and doubling as a table when raised. Two recessed grab rails offer a handhold, and a deck hatch opens for easy access to a pair of batteries and the oil tank for the two-stroke Evinrude E-Tec outboard.

The soft, radiused lines of the console and a forward-facing door provide easy access to the large storage area inside, which can also house an optional head. Ample protection fromconwind and spray without impeding the operator’s view through the molded windscreen. The roomy helm holds two flush-mount 10-inch displays, the engine gauge cluster, VHF radio and stereo, along with the switch panel and trim-tab controls. Our test boat had an optional T-top nicely done in a white powdercoat finish with a black ­canvas cover, radio box, four rod holders and mounting plates for outriggers. A ­fiberglass hardtop is also available.


The leaning post includes two ­comfortably upholstered seats at the perfect height to sit while running the boat, with a drop-down footrest forward and four more rod holders across the back. You can opt for a leaning post with a second above-deck livewell. The drop transom incorporates a motor well for single outboard applications up to 250 hp, and did a nice job of ­keeping the self-bailing cockpit dry while ­backing down into a chop. In addition to the two gunwale-mounted flush rod holders on each side, two more sit on the forward edge of the motor well. Insulated fish boxes in the deck just aft of the ­leaning post come standard with the macerator pumpout. The livewell and raw-water washdown are on the port side of the transom, and removable jump seats sit on either side of the motor well. A hatch on the starboard side of the transom provides access to dual battery switches, breakers and the fuel filter. ­Molded-in ­undergunwale rod holders carry two rods on each side, and also offer toe rails for secure footing while fishing.

We ran the 220CC out of Port Jeff Harbor into Long Island Sound as the wind was kicked up at a sustained 20 knots and better. From a stop, the 200 E-Tec pushed the boat on plane quickly with minimal bow rise. Trimming up the engine raised the hull on the strakes, and the steering lightened considerably. The farther offshore we ran, the taller the chop, topping off at a very tight 2 to 3 feet. Taking it head-on, the boat easily ran the bow high and skipped across it, only falling off when we crossed the wake of an arriving ferry, but even then the re-entry was soft, the waves pushed down by the bow flare. Quartering in the chop, the wind forced the spray over the port gunwale until I tabbed down to starboard to counteract it, but to be honest, the wind was gusting so hard that few boats could have remained totally dry. The Striper was most comfortable and efficient cruising around 4,200 rpm at 30 mph, even with four adults and 100 gallons of fuel on board. We were able to hit 38 mph wide open with that load. The boat is stable, the handling predictable, and the ride soft enough for even Grandma to enjoy.

The Striper 220CC has all the ­makings of a fun family fishing boat that can take Dad and a couple of buddies out for more-serious game. Back at the dock, with the optional cushions in place, it’s a great place to picnic and lounge for the whole family.

Additional storage, or ample room for additional creature comforts, lies in the step-down console compartment.
The roomy helm is sized for a pair of 10-inch MFDs, and convenient placement of controls, gauges and accessories.
Bow configuration converts a seating-over-storage setup into a full casting platform or a sun pad.
Removable jump seats, rod holders and raw-water washdown combine for a versatile, well-appointed cockpit layout.
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