When it comes to bay boats, Pathfinder has been at the forefront in design and innovation from the get-go. So it comes as no surprise that the 2600 TRS, its latest addition, offers a number of nifty features in a smart layout tailored to the needs of serious anglers who value not just performance, but also creature comforts for the family.
Weather: Partly cloudy
Location: Stuart, Florida
Wind: 14 knots
Sea State: Light chop
Test Load: Two adults, 16 gallons of fuel
Built on the tried-and-true double-stepped hull of the 2600 HPS, the new TRS is fast and dry on the run and stable adrift or at anchor. At just over 26 feet with nearly 9 feet of beam, this Pathfinder offers lots of room to move about, as well as substantial casting decks and seating options fore and aft.
Up front, twin forward seats with integrated flip-up backrests are part of the spacious lounging area, where optional cushions stretch over three significant lockable compartments beneath the casting deck. Another option, a removable table that fastens to the front bulkhead, makes this an ideal spot to share lunch or drinks.
The 2600 TRS holds a larger console than previous models. It houses a 105-quart built-in cooler under the forward seat, a head compartment below and more dash to accommodate a pair of large multifunction displays, along with the panel of lighted switches, binnacle control and mahogany-accent steering wheel with power knob. A spacious glove box conceals the circuit breakers and a 12-volt accessory plug. Below, an integrated foot rest enables the skipper to brace for comfort when crossing open water in choppy conditions.
A two-position double-bolstered helm seat with fold-down foot- and armrests serves as a leaning post. In back, a tackle drawer slides out above a pair of hatches that provides access to the batteries.
At the stern, an integrated flip-up bench bookended by similar single seats rests atop sizable dry storage. When fishing, they all fold down for a clean rear casting deck and direct access to the livewell.
The Pathfinder comes equipped with a hydraulic jack plate, so neither cruising over shallow areas nor getting on plane when the tide drops are major concerns. Wiring for a 36-volt trolling motor on the bow is also standard.
Other standard features include low-profile bow rails, a cast-net compartment with drain, LED lighting in all compartments, four flush-mount rod holders on the gunwales, raw-water washdown and a 36-gallon livewell in the rear to port.
The optional hardtop on the test boat kept the console and helm seats in the shade. LED lights on it illuminate the cockpit, and a rod rack on the frame holds four outfits.
A Garmin electronics package, Fusion stereo, Porta-Potty, trim tabs, single or twin 10-foot Power-Pole setup, MotorGuide Xi5 trolling motor, freshwater washdown, underwater lights and a second helm station are among the available options.
High winds from passing squalls kicked up a decent chop just in time for our test ride. Hole shot was first on the checklist, and the Yamaha F300 got the TRS up on plane in a quick 5.3 seconds with virtually no bow lift. The 1- to 2-foot waves were no match for the stepped hull, which during a series of maneuvers proved both fast and responsive. Tight turns, even at high speed, were a breeze. And despite altering course repeatedly so the stiff wind would address the boat from every quadrant, spray remained inconsequential at idle and planing speed.
Overall, the 2600 TRS offers a fun and comfortable ride with plenty of fishing room, storage and seating. In this case, the label of “bay boat” may be too limiting, as I would not hesitate to take this Pathfinder offshore in anything short of inclement weather. Notwithstanding the family-friendly layout, the boat’s angling roots are still evident, and the high-performance hull design, especially when pushed by the maximum 350 horses, is certain to scratch some skippers’ itch for speed.