Sport Fishing - - FISH TRIALS -

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.”

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