To some anglers dual console fishing boats won’t be the ultimate hard-core angling machines, but there’s no question that they’re an excellent choice for both fishing and family fun. You want to get your better half to say “yes”? You want to make sure the kids have a blast when the bite is slow but the water is cool? Then a dual console may be the best pick for you. And if this is the case, the Cobia 280 DC is a boat you need to know about. But before we dig deep beneath the gel coat, let's take a quick look at the 280 DC on video.
At first glance you can tell fishing accoutrements take center stage, since there are flush-mount rodholders gracing the transom as well as the gunwales. The hard-top supports provide another six holders, so you trollers who thought it would be impossible to get a trophy spread of 15 lines out on a dual console – fresh from the factory and un-modified – should be quite pleased. And when live-lining comes into season, the 25 gallon transom livewell will keep plenty of baitfish alive and frisky.
The best indication of serious fishing IQ we spotted on the Cobia 280 DC is found in the pair of 41-gallon fishboxes in the deck. The hatches are so well finished and fitted that they compress air as they swing closed. That means they always make a “swoosh” sound instead of a slam, and even when dropped, won’t create a loud fish-spooking noise. We’d swap out the fishbox macerator pump-outs for diaphragm pumps, which usually stand up to scales and bones better, but aside from that these fishboxes are ideal.
Also ideal is the fact that you can fold away all the deck-cluttering seating that will be appreciated for family jaunts out on the bay or entertaining, but get in the way when fishing. A transom fold-out comes standard, and the (large) side seats are optional. Get them if you must, but note that opting for the side seats mean eliminating a pair of gunwale rodholders. And truth be told there’s plenty of seating without them, including a port-side fore/aft seat with a swinging backrest that folds down flat to turn into a lounger.
The bow is similarly transformable, with flanking seats and an inset in the front that connects the two and turns the bow into a big U-seat. Unlock the insert, pull it, and leave it at home on fishing days to open up some forward casting space. You can also leave the bow cushions at home and use those forward seats as a raised casting deck. They have stowage underneath, and when those cushions are in place you’ll love the side-mounted pull-rings on the hatches. Since they’re not mounted on top of the hatch (as they are in 99-percent of the boats out there), you can quickly and easily access the stowage areas without shoving your hand under a cushion and feeling around blindly for the ring.
As expected the passenger’s console houses a head compartment (with a real fixed commode, not a portable MSD). There’s a huge stowage compartment in the helm console, an even bigger locker in the deck for water-toys, and a ski pylon is optional. Bathers will like the transom shower and fishers will like the fact that it’s plumbed to a hefty 25-gallon water tank, which means you have enough water onboard to give your gear a freshwater washdown on the way back to the dock. The other family feature you need to be aware of is the galley unit behind the helm. Yes *sigh* we’d rather have a rigging station and tackle drawers for serious fish trips, but if the galley helps get a spousal thumbs-up on a new 28-footer, we’re pretty sure we can live with it. It comes with a sink and cooler, and can be upgraded to include a grill and refrigerator.
With a pair of 200 hp Yamaha V-6 Offshore outboards, the 280 DC cruises at right around 35 mph and gets a hair over two miles to the gallon. Top-end breaks 47 mph. If you want to beat that magic 50 mph mark you can opt for up to 500 hp, total. Jumping up to the twin 250’s adds $12,723 to the listed MSRP for the boat, which is a hair under $160,000. But truth be told, how much better can you hope for than a mid-30’s cruise and better than two mpg in a 28-foot boat with a 9’8” beam? Check out the performance figures for similarly-sized competitors, and you’ll notice that few manage to get north of that mark. The Cobia does it with a rather traditional 21-degree transom deadrise hull with running strakes and reverse chines, which won’t throw any surprises at you when chopping though the seas to the fishing grounds nor when cranking the wheel over to sling-shot the tow-toys across your wake
So far as construction quality goes, you’re not likely to find much to knock. We’ve tested many Cobias through the years and have seen a steady march of improvements since the company was acquired by parent company MBG (which also builds Pathfinder and Maverick). Peek in the bilge and you’ll see plumbing that’s not only double-clamped, but also lined with sealant at the junctions. The aluminum fuel tanks are epoxy-coated to improve longevity. Wiring is all tinned-copper and the electrical system is bonded. Stringers are cored with closed-cell foam, and backing plates are laminated in. The list goes on and on.
So: you think the Cobia 280 DC might be the right boat for you and your family? Getting a “yes” from your spouse should be pretty darn easy. Just remind your better half that when the bite is slow you’ll be happy to focus on family fun, instead of fishing. Agree to buy a tow-rope and a tube to go with all those fishing rods. And then show your husband this article so he can read it, too.
LOA – 28’0”
Beam – 9’8”
Displacement – 5,680 lbs.
Draft (hull) – 1’11”
Transom Deadrise – 21
Fuel Capacity – 172