Just what the heck is a family-friendly fishing boat? Usually, it's a fishing-family failure that fits neither bill well. But Hydra-Sports new 202 DC scores high in both departments-it has the potential to make everyone from hardcore kingfishers to spike-haired kneeboarders happy.
The dual consoles and tall safety-glass windshields are a plus for families who don't like riding in the wind and spray. The port console's enclosed head may be a tight fit for big guys, but its 3'6" of headroom easily accommodates women and kids. The bow platform sports good elevation for fish spotting as well as an insulated fishbox big enough to handle a catch most anglers only dream of bragging about. This area also comes with upholstery pads that turn it from fish-slaying territory into a conversation pit, complete with padded backrests.
The transom fulfills a dual mission: The 36-gallon oval livewell in the center makes anglers happy while an integrated swim platform with a flip-down stainless-steel boarding ladder is useful to waterskiers and swimmers. Skis and kneeboards-or tackleboxes and gaffs-fit neatly into an 8'-long, 1 3/4'-deep locker in the center of the sole. On either side of the motor well are padded jump seats and drinkholders, more amenities that will be appreciated by all.
Of course, both anglers and families need a strong boat: All hatches on the 202 DC are a composite of fiberglass and foam, and all are secured with piano-type hinges. Stringers and the transom are rot-proof composites, and the boat's running surfaces are reinforced with Kevlar. All hoses are double clamped and all through-hulls are bronze, not the less expensive and less durable plastic variety.
Performance with our test boat's 200-hp Johnson outboard was credible but not ideal for the water toy lovers, producing a 42-mph top end and a relatively slow holeshot. Though such numbers may be tough on the knees of the waterskiers in the family, this rig's 2.9 mpg at a 3500-rpm cruise (26 mph) is exceptional for a traditional two-stroke. Handling was also good; the boat spins on a dime and is controlled in tight maneuvers. It took seas as well as any monohull in this size range, a feature of importance to both fishers and frolickers.
Compare the 202 DC to Edgewater's 200 DC. The Hydra-Sports enjoys a 3" beam advantage, but the $21,265 Edgewater's 18-degree deadrise should get on plane quicker and may be more stable on the troll.
LAST WORD. A crowd-pleasing combo platter.
Displacement (lbs., approx.)...2,175
Minimum cockpit depth.......1'10"
Fuel capacity (gal.).......104
Price (w/o power)......$17,900
Price (w/test power)......$26,995
STANDARD POWER: None.
OPTIONAL POWER: Single outboard to 250 hp.
TEST BOAT POWER: Single 200-hp Johnson V-6 outboard with 183 cid, 3.69" bore x 2.86" stroke, swinging a 15" x 17" three-bladed aluminum prop through a 1.86:1 reduction.
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (major items): Integrated swim platform w/ss ladder; 36-gal. aerated livewell; Bimini top; cockpit coaming bolsters; bow cushions; fishbox; jump seats; compass; enclosed head; hydraulic steering.