After spending two full wind-whipped days on the Grady-White Canyon 336, I've learned one thing: When my kids hit their rebellious, strife-ridden teenage years, I'll need to get a Grady-White. What does one thing have to do with the other? Here's the deal: Wind-driven waves build in height more quickly than in wavelength. When the wind's fetch is limited by land as it is in the Albemarle Sound, where we were testing-the waves are unable to fully mature. They build in height quickly, but don't have the space necessary to build in length. This is one reason why sounds and bays see a tight, steep, pound-your-brains-out style of chop. Another reason is depth. Shallow water reduces length even more, which makes for more steepness and tightness. If the height-to-length ratio exceeds 1:7, which it certainly did during our test, the waves will begin to collapse at the crests and create whitewater breakers. Put all of these factors together, and you get immature waves that have grown too big for their britches. They're wild, rowdy, out-of-control teenagers. And to handle them properly, you'll need that Grady-White.
Despite the wind-blasted 4' to 6' adolescent froth, we made a solid 30 mph while running into a quartering head sea. We stayed a lot drier than I would have supposed, and with two extraordinarily potent 350-hp Yamaha four-strokes on the transom, head-on collisions with near-vertical water didn't slow us down. It gave me the confidence to know that in this boat I could cast off the lines and point the bow for the fish, wherever the hell they were, in anything short of small-craft warning conditions.
Cast and Blast
While the seakeeping abilities of the Canyon 336 are up to my high Grady-White expectations, the diverse fishing abilities of the boat are a surprise. Ever seen a 33' boat that's cast-net friendly? Me neither, but when we decided to target bull reds with fresh bunker for bait, we needed to sneak up on a school of bait and throw the net. The Canyon 336's clean bow with a recessed grabrail and center seating insert, which locks in place between the forward seats and turns the area into a large, raised, flush casting deck, made it a piece of cake. One more trick feature in the bow: Remove that center insert and you'll find a large hatch in the forward bulkhead. It provides full access to the anchor locker beneath the windlass, a feature overlooked on many windlass-equipped boats.
One good throw of the net, and we had six dozen 6" live bunker. Wait a sec-you can't possibly keep this many bunker alive, can you? No problem. We split the load between the 45-gallon insulated, lighted, full-column inlet livewell, and the secondary 26-gallon livewell-this one can be a cooler, if you prefer-both located behind the leaning post. Four dozen of the baits swam in the 45-gallon well overnight, and in the morning, they were still swimming. The ones in the other well were doing fine until I accidentally drained-my bad-but lucky for me, we were able to keep them fresh. Credit for this feat goes to the aft fishbox, which is actually a digitally controlled refrigerator/freezer. The coils are laminated into the sides of the box so they won't corrode or get beaten up, and all I had to do was push a button to bring the fishbox temperature down to a chilly 36 degrees.
Naturally, with six gunwale-mounted rodholders, five hardtop rocket launchers, and six leaning post vertical rodholders, this boat's ready for action, be it inshore or offshore. If you want to keep the gold safe, instead of using these holders put your rigs into the console rodracks. Down below, there's room for six rigs to be stowed vertically and locked away. Now-ready to rig up some baits? The back of the leaning post holds all your gear, with four slide-out tackleboxes, knife/pliers/rig holders, and a bulk stowage area. When you strike the gaff, you'll have your choice of using that trick transom box or one of the two 165-quart insulated fishboxes on either side.