Pop Quiz: How do you get the entire family excited about getting the bay- and ocean-capable center console fishing boat you’ve always wanted? The answer is simple: take them to see a Cobia 301 CC. You won’t find anything lacking in the angling department whether you plan to sling jigs for rockfish or troll for tunas, yet you will find plenty of comfort-inducing attributes that will make those spouses and siblings smile. Ready to jump aboard? Check out this video boat review:
The cockpit setup is a great starting point to begin going through this boat. The aft seat folds completely flush with the transom (which has four flush-mount rodholders), so you can have a 100-percent fishing zone. Just as important, the integrated angling features are better than most boats of this size and type deliver. A particularly strong example can be seen in the back of the leaning post, which incorporates a rigging station with a sink and cooler/bait compartment, two bulk stowage drawers, and a tacklebox with four pull-out trays. Then consider the livewells. There are two in the transom at 28 gallons each, which are oval, lighted, blue inside, and have clear gasketed lids. Next check out the in-deck fishboxes. They’re insulated, evacuate overboard via macerators, and they have a whopping 80 gallons of capacity with two aft and two more forward.
You say it’s time for a post-fishing pleasure cruise with the fam? Fishy though it may be they’ll like the cockpit too, thanks to the freshwater shower by the transom for rinsing off after a dip, the comfortable-leaning coaming bolsters, and the side entry door. When we tested this model we noted that the transom seat was easy to manipulate open and closed and simple to figure out, unlike some of the Rube Goldberg folding seat designs you’ll run across (and gaining bilge access under it is button-press-easy as the entire structure rises on an electric lifter). The cocktail-cruising epicenter of the boat, however, will surely be the bow. Cobia utilizes a U-shaped seating arrangement with the sides extended and swing-out backrests to provide full-length loungers. We give Cobia bonus points for utilizing swinging backrests that stow flat against the inwales. And more bonus points are awarded for the electric cocktail table which rises off the deck, and can be set at the same height as the flanking loungers for use as a full-sized casting deck.
Bonus Perk: Rather than trying to shoehorn in a berth Cobia dedicates the entire console compartment to a head area with a forward entry door. As a result, you get a massive entry and gobs of elbow room — this is one console head nobody’s ever going to feel cramped inside of.
The anglers and non-anglers in the family may be smiling aboard the 301 CC, but will they still be smiling when the seas kick up? An extra measure of insurance is delivered via Cobia’s VARIS construction method, a version of vacuum-infusion where the hull, stringers, transom, and core materials are all infused with resin in one fell swoop. This creates a single unit, rather than laminating the different pieces-parts together. You get the best strength-to-weight ratio and a stiffer structure, translating into fewer vibrations and less noise on wave impacts. We felt the ride was noticeably better than that of many competitors when we ran the boat in the lower Chester River. In the interest of full disclosure we should note that the seas were calm, but there were plenty of boat wakes to cut through and even at top-end speeds the hull sliced ‘em open as smooth as a Dexter goes through a sea trout fillet. Still, this is a subjective assessment so we don’t expect anyone to merely take our word for it — while we could blather on about ride quality all day, the fact of the matter is that you should schedule a sea trial, point the bow at the waves, nail the throttles, and then make your own judgement call.
Speaking of nailing the throttles… tell everyone to hold on tight. Our test platform had a pair of F300 Yamaha outboards on the transom, and we shot up to a low- to mid-40s cruise at 4500 rpm. Opened all the way up we touched 57.1 mph. And here’s another area where that VARIS construction shines. Remember the part about minimizing weight? That translates into better fuel economy, and you can cruise along in the mid-30s while getting around two mpg.
The bottom line? Lots of center consoles claim to be both fishy and family friendly, but most force some serious concessions. If you don’t want to “settle” in one direction nor the other, check out the Cobia 301 CC.
Cobia 301 CC Specifications
- LOA – 29’7”
- Beam – 10’0”
- Displacement – 7230 lbs.
- Draft (hull) – 1’9”
- Transom Deadrise – 21.5 degrees
- Fuel Capacity – 267 gal.
- Max. Power – 600 hp
Bosun’s Marine, Grasonville, MD, (443) 347-6314
Rt 113 Boat Sales, Selbyville, DE, (302) 436-1737