GRADY-WHITE CANYON 456
PPiloting Grady-White’s new flagship Canyon 456 is like driving a Platinum-package Ford F350 Power Stroke Diesel, like throttling the Orient Express, like flying a Learjet 85. At least that’s how I imagine it: The 456 is powerful and capacious while remaining sophisticated and plush.
I arrived in Morehead City, North Carolina, in late August to fish-trial the new Grady with a crew of eight, including two other boating writers. We had decided to try for daytime swordfish, based on a budding fishery that local captains have developed over the past two years.
We met pre-dawn at a nearby marina, where the 456 floated aglow, its LED cockpit and underwater lights bathing it in soothing blue. After stowing gear in the cavernous center-console cabin, we settled onto the aft-facing mezzanine bench (a misnomer since this flat expanse is wellcushioned) and into the four-across helm seats — all electrically adjustable fore and aft, and equipped with armrests, bolsters and footrests.
Our helmsman, Cameron Boltes, Grady’s property manager, idled us away from the dock using the Helm Master system tied into the quad Yamaha 425 XTO outboards. A light breeze cut
the humidity as we cruised through Bogue Sound, meeting up with our photo boat for the 60-mile offshore run.
The 2- to 4-foot seas seemed like child’s play for this lengthy platform as we loped along at a leisurely 30 mph, turning 4,000 rpm and burning 60 gph. Boltes turned on the AC at the helm, which also pipes to the back of the mezzanine bench — something we quickly coveted, especially as the sun rose. (The 456 comes with a 12 kW diesel generator.)
With the autopilot set, the boat ran on cruise control. At the helm, we swapped fishing stories and scanned the horizon for signs of life. Rainstorms with low ceilings jockeyed around us, but when the sky brightened, the 1,300-foot depths resonated a deep purple-blue.
As Boltes throttled back, he engaged the standard Seakeeper 6 gyro stabilizer. While the 456 settled into a gentle sway, we could see our photo boat still bobbing.
Capt. Patrick Shore, a local mate who has targeted these swordies, set up our one deep line, using a Shimano Tiagra 130 reel with a Hooker electric motor on a custom bent-butt rod to lower the strip bait and 10-pound sash weight. After studying the gauges, he calculated a 4½-knot current.
Shore says the first summer that captains found the swords, the fish were small — 60 to 100 pounds. Last summer, they caught a few in the 200to 400-pound range. Most times, he says, he gets four to five bites a trip.
Boltes oriented the 456 using the Helm Master joystick and the Lewmar bow thruster, which he says helps keep the proud bow of this big girl better aligned. Once Shore dropped the bait, we power-drifted between 1,300- and 1,800-foot depths before repeating the process. In the meantime, I studied this vessel stem to stern.
Right up front, let me apologize for lacking enough space to fully describe this luxury vessel and its exhaustive list of standard features. Instead, I’ll tell you what impressed me most.
The 456’s deck remains level throughout the vessel, except at the helm, where there’s a slight step up. This makes moving fore and aft with a fish or with an armload of gear so very easy. It also elevates the captain’s line of sight, something short anglers like me appreciate, and it adds height to the interior cabin space (I measured it at 6 feet, 6 inches).
Crew can access the sliding cabin door from the helm deck. The door lies just to port of the helm face. Positioning the entry there frees the passageways yet takes nothing away from the helm layout; my tester featured three (optional) 17-inch Garmin displays, a C-Zone head unit, Yamaha Command Link Plus display, Fusion stereo, toggle switches, and a Zipwake Dynamic Boat Trim Control System.
Coaming pads rim the entire inside
The Canyon 456 incorporates proven Grady-White technology and all-new features such as a transom electronics setup.
Top: The helm unit includes an aft-facing air-conditioned bench, tackle drawers, an electrically actuated footrest, grill, refrigerator drawer and more. Below: The four helm chairs each electrically adjust fore and aft, and come with bolsters and armrests.