If you want a fishing boat for Chesapeake Bay fishing with a cabin protecting the helm your choices are pretty limited in this day and age. And if you also want a boat small enough to be easily trailered or run single-handed, your choices are extremely limited. One model we saw at the Chesapeake Bay Boat Show this winter, however, caught our eyes: the Defiance 220 Admiral.

defiance admiral 22 fishing boat
The Defiance Admiral 22 will appeal to those looking for an all-weather fishing boat. Photo via Defiance Boats.

Defiance boats are built on the west coast, in Bremerton, WA. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they’re designed for all sorts of conditions, including cold-weather fishing. The protection at the helm is complete, with a full pilothouse cabin enclosed 360-degrees and a small V-berth (with a spot for a portable MSD underneath) forward of the helm. What will come as a surprise, however, is how Defiance manages to fit in seating for four people. There are helm and passenger’s seats, each with a center-facing seat behind it. Stowage compartments are built into the seat bases, and the boat we saw at the show was decked out with a set of Shockwave impact-absorbing suspension systems on the helm and passengers chairs.

cabin on defiance boat
The cabin in the Defiance Admiral 22 is surprisingly roomy, and includes seating for four. Photo via Defiance Boats.

Outside of the cabin, the boat’s all about open cockpit space. Forward against the cabin bulkhead there are stowage/drink boxes (cushioned so they can also serve as seats) and there’s a folding transom bench seat. The deck houses a pair of fishboxes, plus bilge access. Otherwise, it’s wide-open casting territory. Other fishing features on the model we saw included four flush-mount rodholders in the gunwales, and a brace of six rocket launchers across the back of the cabin top. A raw water washdown is one option we’d call a must-have for serious anglers.

The 220 Admiral comes in two flavors, the NT and the EX. NT versions have the outboard sitting on the transom, while EX models have a bracket-mounted outboard. Power choices range from 150 to 200 horses, and going the bracket-mounted option adds two and a half feet to the boat’s 22-foot LOA.

One natural downside to any cabin boat is that it can be tough to fish from the bow, but we like how Defiance keeps it easily accessible. The bowrail starts all the way back at the step up to the side-decks and is unusually high, plus there are grabrails along the cabin top on both sides.

You say you want to be able to go fishing and neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow will stop you? And you need a boat that’s small enough to prove affordable, easy to handle, and easy to trailer? The truth of the matter is that you won’t be boat shopping for very long, because you’ll survey the current market and discover that there aren’t many boats that fit the bill to choose from in the first place. But one that checks all of these boxes is the Defiance 220 Admiral — and it’ll surely end up on your list of models to check out.


Defiance 22 Admiral Specifications

  • LOA – 22’0”
  • Beam – 8’6”
  • Displacement – 3350 lbs
  • Draft (hull) – 2’0”
  • Transom Deadrise – 21 degrees
  • Fuel Capacity – 100 gal.
  • Max. Power – 200 hp
  • Area Dealers – Beacon Light Marina, Middle River, MD, (410) 335-6200.