Soundings - - Classics - IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY JIM EWING — Steve Knauth

“Mako … you’ll find them where the fish are!”

In the early 1970s, Miami builder Mako Marine was mak­ing a big splash with small fish­ing boats — and that catchy slo­gan. One of its mod­els was a de­par­ture from the norm. The Mako 23 was a 23foot cen­ter con­sole with an in­board. In fact, the 225-hp power plant was avail­able in gas and diesel ver­sions that gave the boat a cruis­ing speed in the up­per 20s and a top end around 40 mph. (The boat also was of­fered with out­board and stern­drive set­ups.)

Mako was known for its ca­pa­ble fish­ing boats, which even­tu­ally in­cluded walka­rounds and ex­press mod­els, and the com­pany pub­li­cized its fleet by hold­ing tour­na­ments. The in­board Mako 23 was a hit with an­glers. The en­gine place­ment gave the boat a dif­fer­ent ride in rough wa­ter than an out­board-pow­ered hull. The cen­ter of grav­ity was far­ther for­ward and low, and the boat de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion for off­shore work.

The low-slung hull had a flared bow and was buoyed with foam flota­tion. The wide con­sole had a wood-trimmed helm and twin pedestal seats be­hind a big wind­shield. There was rod stowage on the con­sole, rod hold­ers along the gun­wales and a raised cast­ing plat­form for­ward.

The self-bail­ing cock­pit had a clean, un­clut­tered tran­som from which to fight fish, a built-in fish­box and teak cov­er­ing boards. Op­tions ran the gamut, from full can­vas to a por­ta­ble head.

To­day, the in­board Mako 23 is a clas­sic, one of the mod­els that helped pop­u­lar­ize the cen­ter con­sole de­sign — per­haps Amer­ica’s most pop­u­lar fish­ing boat.

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