Cabo’s 40 Express is a sweet-sheered monument to fishability. In addition to its refined cockpit and lengthy equipment list, my test proved that the 40 Express is one of the fastest, longest-ranging, most maneuverable fish boats to ever work a weed line.
Attention to detail is oft touted but often hard to see. There’s no missing it aboard the 40 Express. In the cockpit I found everything, from tackle lockers to under-gunwale stowage, under a lid or behind a hatch so blood spatter and salt spray wouldn’t soil gear. The cockpit is crowned and graced with large scuppers for drainage. To test its bailing ability, I backed the 40 Express down hard, covering the nonskid with a foot of water. It drained quickly, and the boat carried the tonnage without a hitch. When I opened the transom door and peered below the waterline, I noted a safety feature rarely seen factory-installed, but one that the ABYC recommends: a boarding step mounted on the transom to allow for solo reboarding. There’s room for a chair in the pit and a backing plate to secure it, and, with 100 square feet of cockpit space, there’s room to swing the chair and allow the wireman space between the footrest and the 48-gallon transom livewell. Leaning against the cockpit bolsters, I felt the firm resistance of high-density foam rather than the squishy softness of pads better suited to calm waters. Two insulated fish boxes, an icebox and a tackle center complete the kit.
It’s three steps up to the helm deck, where an L-shaped settee seats eight to port. Served by a table, this area is perfect for long runs to the fish or simply for enjoying a sundowner dockside. The centerline helm affords a commanding view of the cockpit and, but for a momentary loss of visibility while getting on plane, a great view all around the boat. (Unfortunately, the helm is white: a darker color would reduce reflected glare.) I could find every switch at a glance while running the 40 Express.