We had a float plan set for the Hump on our trial date. It’s actually one of several seamounts rising from a few hundred feet to over a thousand feet in the Atlantic about 30 miles east of Duck Key, Florida. There is usually an upwelling there, and, of late, it was swarming with blackfin tuna. You can call us chicken for opting to chase tarpon instead as NOAA called for 7-plus-foot seas. But we had a big crew of nine with photographers and gear.
Turned out, we were wise: Seas built to over 12 feet that afternoon, and we still battled ocean-worthy chop pounding in on us from all directions. Tightly packed 6-foot rollers squished through the stone archways of the old Overseas Highway Bridge. This was a madhouse of confused chop doing its best to knock us all off our feet.
But it did not.
Once anchored, Brandon Simmons, our skipper, stood at the transom, deftly spinning Bimini twists and tying in 50-pound leader with 5/0 circle hooks. He cast a suspicious eye at my spider hitch and tugged just as doubtfully at my leader connection and improved clinch knot to the circle hook. I’m nobody’s fool at fishing, but as he said, “I don’t know you.”
We didn’t know the Blackfin 272 CC either, and that’s why we were there. This outboard prototype is a continuation of a long and storied brand of rugged, highly respected sport-fishers. In our tests at wide-open throttle (the dual 300 hp Verados pushed us to over 61 mph), we could tell this 272 CC was every bit as tough as its legend demanded. A full composite stringer grid is bonded into the hull, and carbon-fiber reinforcing makes it so rigid, no hatches rattled, and even the rugged custom hardtop shuddered not a bit.
Mason Cummings was on board, one of the engineers responsible for the design, and he identified some fine points for us. The livewell, for instance. Thirty gallons fed by an 800 gph pump seemed light at first glance until we looked inside. Gemlux drains and valves, all completely adjustable from within the well, let us adjust the flow at the top and bottom drains and regulate inflow. For our choppy water, we nearly closed both drains and let the overflow squeeze out the gasketed lid and drain overboard via a smart gutter in the transom. Though there is no sea chest, the tank filled to the top and pressurized the well.
Eight rod holders on the gunwales and six underneath kept gear ready. Rocket launchers in the hardtop were in easy reach of most of our crew. A clear acrylic livewell window lets crew monitor bait.
The helm is enclosed in glass, but an electric vent at the top provides fresh air. The dual helm seat is bolstered and sports armrests. Blackfin is custom-designing the stainless-steel hardware. It cut the hinges for the extra-wide transom seat too, and the backrest is a real seat back ideally slanted for comfort, unlike most vertical, rigid transom bolsters. It pulls out quickly with one hand and slaps back in place one-handed too.
The family comforts are carried forward with two smart inserts in the coaming bolsters that slip out of their sockets and fit to create forward-facing backrests.
We had a large crew, yet Blackfin’s engineers created amazingly wide walkways between the gunwales and the generous helm station; two could pass by at once. The console door opens only inches into the starboard walkway on custom hinges that let the door swing more forward than outward. Anglers or the gaff man can work freely there even if the door is open.
Comparable in size to the Blackfin 272 is Grady-White’s Canyon 271 FS ($211,600 base with Yamaha 300s). It also boasts convertible forward lounges and a foldaway transom seat. The Grady’s console is all business without the upholstered brow, and it has a manifold livewell and rigging station more hardcore than Blackfin’s prototype. But we’ve heard Cummings is already sketching out updates to those.
When you choose a boat like the Blackfin, it’s not enough to buy the fishability, pleasure and performance this one exhibited. You want lasting good looks too, accomplished here by multitextured, drum-tight vinyl and knifelike corners. Blackfin-embossed pull-up cleats, and custom hinges and hatches are glistening polished stainless steel. The black gelcoated sides are smooth enough to read a paper in their reflection, and the glossy hardtop supports sport two durable black-powder-coating treatments and two clear topcoats for durability.
This was Blackfin’s first sea trial and a pretty solid “get to know you” by all of us. Our test clearly revealed the 272 CC as a solid competitor in the sport-fishing market, and that it has the added enticements to pamper families. But Blackfin is just getting started; it’s already got a 32 center console in the wings.
* Large fish boxes are served by macerater pumps for quick drainage.
* Clear acrylic livewell window lets crew monitor the health of baitfish within.
* Cooler under the rigging station rolls out smoothly and easily stows away.
* It is a stretch to wire a fish over the tall gunwale, but possible.
* Adding an access hatch in the console would ease service of the electrical and electronics.
* We would like to have seen a larger livewell but were impressed with the lively bait this one kept.
Price: Unavailable (at press time)
Available Power: Outboard
How We Tested
Engines: Dual Mercury Verado 300 outboards
Drive/Prop: Mercury Revolution 20-inch-pitch 4-blade
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 180 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Blackfin Boats – Williston, Florida; 352-528-2628; blackfinboats.com