If you enjoy a boat with copious light-tackle casting deck space, a surprisingly smooth ride for a 21-footer, and neck-snapping acceleration and performance, then you’ll enjoy fishing from a Key West 219FS. Wait a sec – this model isn’t exactly brand new, so why are we talking about it in Hot New Fishboats? Because we’ve now had the chance to give this model long-term testing over a three-year period, thanks to friend and fishing buddy Vadim, who bought one. We’ve had it out on the Bay for dozens of fishing trips in all sorts of weather. We’ve caught everything from spot to stripers aboard the 219FS. We’ve dodged storms, blasted across the Bay with the sun sinking low on the horizon, and cruised it as far north as the Bridges and as far south as Chesapeake Beach. The bottom line: this boat offers pleasant surprises on just about every trip.
The most significant take-away after all this fishing is that the hull performs and rides a lot better than you’d expect for a 21-footer. A 175 on the transom will propel the 219FS along at a cruise in the upper 30s and to a top-end in the mid-40s (real-world, fully-loaded numbers), and from a stand-still it takes off like a bat outta you-know-where. Is it possible to launch and slam in big seas? Sure, especially considering how much juice this rig has. But if you use the throttle judiciously enough to keep the boat in the water, the uber-aggressive entry and stepped 19/24-degree transom deadrise proves shockingly smooth (and dry as well) in a stiff Bay chop. This is one of the few 21-foot boats around which an aching old back doesn’t mind zinging around on.
So far as fishing goes, the boat’s laid out as one would expect: there are plenty of rodholders, a livewell in transom seat, a cooler under the leaning post, and stowage compartments that can double as fishboxes under the forward console seat and bow seats. The bow seats do have the PITA removable backrests which you’ll want stowed and out of the way when fishing, but Vadim assures me that the wife and kids really like having them when they’re tooling around on the water. There’s also a head compartment in the console, but Key West keeps the console itself relatively svelte, and there’s plenty of deck space to comfortably stand to either side of the console and lean against it while casting.
You want a nice surprise? Take a ride on a Key West 219FS. Just make sure you hold on tight, when Vadim hits the throttle.
LOA – 21’9”
Beam – 8’6”
Displacement – 2250 lbs.
Draft (hull) – 1’2”
Transom Deadrise – 19/24 degrees
Fuel Capacity – 80 gal
Max HP – 250
Area Dealers – Anchor Boats, North East, MD (410) 287-8280
See fishing action on the 219FS in our Late Fall Light Tackle Jigging for Stripers video.