It’s easy to be a fan of Robalo boats, especially because they deliver a great bang for the buck, and this has always been particularly true of their Cayman line. When we spent a day aboard the Cayman 246 on the South River, we discovered that the boat did a great job zipping over the chop and keeping us dry at the same time. That 246, however, simply won’t be big enough for some folks. So we were quite psyched to see their newest 2022 center console bay boat introduction, the Cayman 266.
At 26 feet, six-inches long with a nine-foot, four-inch beam, this is one bodacious bay boat. Transom deadrise is increased from the 16 degrees found on the 246 to 18 degrees, and hull draft rises from a foot to a foot and a half. Still, that’s going to get you into very skinny waters. And the difference in how much casting space you’ll enjoy is huge. The two-tiered forward casting deck (we’re assuming here that you left the bow seating cushions and backrests at home in favor of maximizing fishability) has room for two to sling lures without anyone errantly hooking an ear on every other cast, there’s room at cockpit deck level to cast from forward of the console, there’s more room to cast in the rear cockpit, and there’s an elevated aft casting deck as well. You’d like to haul a half-dozen anglers? On this rig it’s possible.
Fishing features are right there with the best of ‘em: twin 30-gallon insulated, lighted livewells with dividers and adjustable flow valves in the aft deck plus a 20-gallon well in the foredeck; twin compartments with five-gallon bucket stowage; under-gunwale racks; coaming bolsters all around; four gunwale flush-mount rodholders; a 45-gallon insulated fishbox; an enclosed rod box with racks; and a raw water washdown. Even some big-ticket items that most manufacturers consider cost-adding options are included, like the hard top with four rocket launchers, integrated stereo speakers, forward and aft spreader lights, and an electronics box. Oh, and the hydraulic jack plate? Yeah, that’s a standard feature, too.
Aside from the long list of standard features included on the stock boat, you can get a real feel for that bang-for-buck delivery we were talking about earlier by opening up the forward seating stowage compartments. The hatches secure closed with lift-and-lock latches, swing up and are held open on gas-assist struts. Gaskets on the fully-finished undersides of the hatch meet raised lips surrounded by drainage gutters, and hardware is flush-mounted. They’re a case study in hatches done right, the type you generally see only on top-tier boats.
A nifty and unique optional perk can be found behind the helm, where Robalo developed a new “multifunction” leaning post. This gets you a post with flip-up bolsters, a 70-quart cooler underneath, and rocket launchers. But what’s really interesting is the backrest, which flips down to create an aft-facing bench seat. Wait a sec—doesn’t that arrangement preclude the much-needed tackle station? Yes, but Robalo plugs that gap by adding a swing-out pocket into the inwales near the front of the console, which house a pair of standard tackleboxes.
You say you’re a Robalo fan and you’ve been thinking a bay boat would be the right pick for your style of fishing, but the Caymans available through the 2021 model year simply weren’t big enough to fit the bill? Those days are over—it’s time to take a peek at the Cayman 266.
Robalo Cayman 266 Specifications
LOA – 26’6”
Beam – 9’4”
Displacement – 4500 lbs.
Draft (hull) – 1’6”
Transom Deadrise – 18 degrees
Fuel Capacity – 110 gal.
Max. Power – 425 hp
Area Dealers – Waterfront Marine, Edgewater, MD (443) 949-9041.