FISH TRIAL

GRADY-WHITE CANYON 456

Sport Fishing - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

OFF­SHORE RUN

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.

LONG LIST

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.

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