Do today’s anglers need a new bay boat brand? As I circled this gleaming model with its flawless gelcoat and stainless-steel hardware, I did ask myself that very question. Would a test run show the Masters 227 to be as good as it looked?
As I pressed the throttle down, the Sportsman jumped up on plane in only 2.8 seconds with such a gradual, sweet rise to the bow that the moment of planing was hard to pin down. Time to 30 miles per hour was fast too — just 5.8 seconds. Pretty solid for 150 hp, but top speed was just around 45 mph, an easily beaten number. What wasn’t so easily beaten was the terrific fuel economy we achieved — an opportunity you’d lose with a 225. I put the helm over hard, looking for skidding or chine tripping: The 15-degree deadrise hull held its course port and starboard.
The 227 boasts three standard livewells. Two on the aft deck (25 gallons each) and one under the forward console seat (12 gallons) ensure adequate bait for a full day of chumming. All were fed by Piranha pumps with easy-to-change cartridges, should one fail. Each was mounted on a bronze through-hull with a seacock. The aft livewells shared a pump, and the second pump ran the forward livewell — all in all, a strong installation to make anglers happy.
Spacious rod lockers on the bow came as no surprise, but dedicated rod-tip tubes and butt holders at this price point certainly did. Anglers will appreciate the cooler beneath the step to the deck as well.
At $42,300, the 227 is a good value, but what I expected to see missing in a value boat was actually there. A substantial convenience is the aft jump seat that pops out of the stern casting platform. Beneath, there’s a 10-micron, fuel/water-separator filter, and plenty of room around it for an easy inspection and replacement — something many mechanics now recommend on a 30-day basis, thanks to ethanol. And, yes, I want those handy cup holders on my fish boat — almost everybody does. They’re a small enough convenience.
The Sportsman 227 is simply a full-featured, versatile boat that will need no apologies at tournaments or sandbar outings, and will make plenty of market space for itself on the boat-show floor.
Comparable model: NauticStar 2200 Tournament