With sufficient live bait on board, we ran across the waters of Charlotte Harbor toward Stump Pass to cast to a rock jetty for redfish and snook. Powered by a Yamaha F300 outboard on a SeaStar Solutions jack plate, the 26 Open traversed the shallows with ease once we left the main channel. At rest, draft is just 12 inches with the motor up. With 16 degrees of deadrise and Lenco electric trim tabs, the boat offers a smooth ride in choppy water.
Once in position, Austin deployed the optional 10-foot Power-Pole. We immediately caught fish, but not the target species. The rocks were alive with small mangrove snapper. As crew members moved about the deck, I was amazed at the stability of the 26 Open. Even with four of us lined up on one side, the boat barely listed.
After catching and releasing a bunch of “mangoes,” we headed off to a new spot. As I took the wheel, I enjoyed the SeaStar Solutions hydraulic steering with a tilt-and-lock helm and Yamaha electronic throttle and shift. A SeaStar ProTrim turn-signal-style switch let me adjust the jack-plate height with the touch of a finger. An optional flush-mounted Simrad NSS12 evo2 multifunction display guided the way. The dark-gray gelcoat color of the dash helped cut glare from the morning sun.
The hardtop frame melded nicely with the console, and it featured a dark metallic-gray powder-coat finish that complemented the two-tone gray highlights in the upholstery scheme. The helm’s leaning post proved comfortable
whether seated or when standing and using the flip-up bolsters. A two-tiered footrest at the base of the console let me brace myself in rough water.
Above: The powder-coat finish of the aluminum frame for the hardtop complements the upholstery color scheme. Left: A handy step leads to the forepeak.
Above: Chad Jaros battles a feisty mangrove snapper on light tackle. Twenty-five-inchhigh gunwales at the bow offer plenty of security. Right: Capt. Austin Kopp shows off the dental work of a nice “mango.”