Peruse the pages of our Fishboat Reviews (or for that matter, look at boats anywhere you like) and the biggest problem with buying a hot new fishboat these days quickly becomes apparent: it costs an arm and a leg. This is no secret, and it’s also a significant impediment to many would-be boat-owning anglers. But there are a few boats out there that maintain a quality build and good fishability, without breaking the bank. Case in point: the Bulls Bay 2000 and 200CC. We had the chance to crawl all over a 200CC at the Baltimore Boat Show, so we'll deliver this part of the review to you via video:
So, what about the 2000, which is the Bulls Bay bay-boat model of the same LOA? Like the 200CC the boat is fairly simple and yes, you will find a few signs of cost-cutting. But this one comes in at around $30,000 ready to fish, with a 140 horse Suzuki (which nets a cruise in the low 30s and a top-end over 40) and a single-axel trailer. That under-cuts the vast majority of the competition out there, and when you start crawling all over the 2000 you’ll find a lot of nice touches you might not expect from such a reasonably priced boat.
One of the biggest surprises is that you get a real aluminum leaning post with four rocket launchers and a backrest, rather than the usual low-cost (and less comfortable) swing-back cooler seat. That backrest plugs into two of the four rocket launchers, and you can pull it out and slide it in behind the seat on the aft casting deck. Flip that aft seat up, and you’ll find one of the two livewells on the Bulls Bay; the second one is located under the forward console seat. There’s another nice surprise lining the console: the six flush-mount vertical rodholders (three per side) are stainless-steel. On most price-conscious boats you’ll see plastic console rodholders, which are practically guaranteed to eventually break.
So if the seating and fittings are above par, where did we see those cost-cutting measures? There are spring struts where gas-assist struts would be preferable (guests who don’t understand how to close spring struts regularly bend them out of shape trying to force a hatch closed), and the undersides of the hatches aren’t flawlessly finished. I also noted a somewhat wimpy strap on the forward livewell hatch. Still, this is all pretty minor stuff – the struts and straps can be replaced, and if you want perfect vacuum-molded hatch bottoms, just remember that they don’t add to the boat’s utility but they certainly do add to the boat’s cost.
Meanwhile, light tackle and fly guys are going to love the way the Bulls Bay is set up. The foredeck is ideal, with a snag-free elevated casting platform with a raised edge (and bulk stowage underneath). The aft deck is also raised for casters, and has linered, draining stowage compartments under either side. And all of the cleats are pop-ups that you can push down flush so they won’t grab any lines. The boat’s also wired and plugged to accept a bow-mounted trolling motor, for fine-tuning your stealthy approach to fish in the shallows.
If your main boat-buying goal is to impress your friends and neighbors or to get a fishing boat with lots of bling, your time will be better spent looking elsewhere. But if you want a relatively small, easy to handle, reasonably priced light tackle fishing boat that’s built with a healthy dose of common sense, it might be time to take the Bulls Bay 2000 for a sea trial.
Bulls Bay 2000 Specifications:
LOA – 19’6”
Beam – 8’0”
Displacement – 1900 lbs.
Draft (hull) – 1’0”
Transom Deadrise – 15 degrees
Fuel Capacity – 50 gal.
Max. Power – 150 hp
Area Dealers – Pasadena Boatworks, Pasadena MD, (443) 858-2400.