Take a look at the new Sea Ox 24, and you may be struck by the same thought that hit us upon first glance: if you're sick and tired of all those zillion-dollar, uber-gentrified, flowery-looking “fishing” boats, and you wish you could rip out all those poofy sunpads, luxurious loungers, icemaker-equipped wet-bars, and concert-worthy stereo systems, then the Sea Ox might be your next boat. If what you’re looking for is a serious fish-slaying machine and you want a boat that’s designed and built for this one specific mission, period, it’s time to check this one out.
Wait a sec – Sea Ox? Didn’t they stop building them years ago? Yup. But Sea Ox has been revived and is once again being built, now in Washington, NC. We had the chance to spend an afternoon on one early this spring, and what we saw was a no-nonsense fishboat that reminded us of the days before boats became bi-curious.
Start your tour of the Sea Ox 24 as we did, by jumping down onto the deck from the dock. But slam your feet down and make it as hard an impact as you possibly can. You’ll land on a rock-solid deck, and you won’t hear any vibrations or rattling. If you could look through that deck you’d see hand-laid glass, composite coring (yes, the boat is wood-free), and stringers and bulkheads that are properly mated to the deck. Now go grab the back of the T-top, and do some chin-ups. It won’t bend, sway, or otherwise move one bit. Next try stomping on a hatch, and note that there’s zero flexing. Construction-wise, this boat is in fact an ox.
One other thing you’ll notice as you romp around on the Sea Ox is that it’s about as stable a boat as they come, as we demonstrated in the video when a full-grown man steps from one gunwale to the deck, walks across the boat, and steps up on the other gunwale. The boat doesn’t move. A big part of this awesome stability is due to the fact that it has a 14-degree transom deadrise, which is relatively flat compared to many 24-footers. The boat’s husky 4500-pound displacement and relatively low center of gravity also make a contribution to stability.
The down-side to reduced deadrise is usually a reduced ability to slice open waves, but when we took the boat out into the open Chesapeake it had no problem dealing with the chop nor boat wakes. The boat’s relatively hefty weight helps – to some degree is simply shoves waves out of its way rather than trying to sail over them – as does the motor bracket, which not only means you get the protection of a full transom but also puts the thrust farther aft, and helps the boat maintain a level running attitude. Thus, it’s the sharp forefoot of the bow that first meets the waves, rather than cleaving them open closer to amidships. Net result? With a hull of this design you can almost always find a comfortable running speed in just about every sea condition – just so long as you don’t apply so much juice that you go flying off of waves and land the boat on its semi-V aft end.
Another up-side to that 14-degree deadrise/bracket combination is the ability to get on and hold a plane at very slow speeds, while requiring very little draft. Shallow water anglers will love the fact that despite the boat’s size it can sneak up on the fish in as little as one foot, two inches of water. Fast speeds are no problem, either. With the single 300 hp Suzuki on the back the boat has plenty of oomph. We came within a mph or two of breaking through the 50 mph barrier at wide-open throttle, and at a 4500 rpm cruise, ran at right around 32 mph.
Once you arrive at the fishing grounds, you’ll be treated to plenty of wide-open fishing territory. The console is slim enough to allow room to cast, much less walk, while standing right next to it. The fore and aft decks are wide open, and the transom houses a 44-gallon livewell with a clear lid, a baby-blue interior, and a hefty gasket around the rim. There’s room for a pair of nine-inch displays at the helm, or a single 12-incher plus a dedicated engine monitor. Also note that with this boat you get a hard top with a built-in electronics box and four rocket launchers (there are four more on the back of the leaning post) as opposed to a canvass top.
Be forewarned: there is no sunlounge on the Sea Ox 24. There aren’t air-conditioning vents at the helm, nor is there a blender for your daiquiris. You will not discover an onboard air compressor for blowing up tow-tubes, and you will not find a berth inside the console. This boat is not confused about what it is – it’s a 100-percent fishing boat, pure and simple.
LOA – 24’0” (28’8” incl. bracket)
Beam – 8’6”
Displacement – 4500 lbs.
Draft (hull) – 1’2”
Transom Deadrise – 14
Fuel Capacity – 111 gal.
Max. Power – 350 hp
Area Dealers – Buras Marine, Tracys Landing, MD, (410) 220-0504 or burasmarine.com.