Carolina Skiff 23 Ultra Elite SS

The 23 Ultra Elite SS is ready for just about anything.

If you often find yourself torn between exploring shallow bays and slipping outside the inlet when weather allows, Carolina Skiff ’s new 23-foot Ultra Elite SS could be the boat for you.

With an insulated 20-gallon livewell and an aft tackle-tray system, it’s ready to fish hard; but the ultra elite is also perfectly within its element for a fun day of cruising. Look no further than its unique bow area.

Thoughtfully designed with comfortable wraparound seating and a large pedestal table, it’s the perfect place to enjoy lunch with the family. But remove the padded cushions and table, and the deck quickly transforms into an ideal fishing platform. I was particularly impressed with the height of this deck — high enough to work a top-water plug, yet low enough for secure footing in rough water.

The Ultra Elite is extremely stable at rest. I noticed very little list when moving about the gunwales of the boat. Under way, it glides beautifully across the water. The moderate V-hull (actually a hybrid between a traditional Carolina Skiff and a Sea Chaser design) cuts nicely into turns, with gentle slippage at speed, and provides adequate muscle for delivering both comfort and safety in seas up to three feet.

Step inside the console and find another surprise — an exceptionally roomy walk-in compartment with a portable head. The compartment is a full 60 inches tall, and I didn’t feel cramped in the least. I also noted a 12-volt light in the ceiling and neat, organized wiring from the helm instruments tucked carefully and securely behind a zippered compartment.

With the throttle down and engine trimmed, our tester hit a top speed of 47 mph and achieved an economical 3.89 mpg on the Suzuki Command System displays with the DF200 purring at 3,000 rpm.

Other standard features aboard the Ultra Elite include a large anchor locker that drains overboard, a transom sink with hideaway faucet and a nifty leaning post, outfitted with rod holders, cup holders and a 100-quart cooler.

Of course, if you really want to get serious, consider adding an optional T-top with rocket launcher and spreader lights ($3,245) like my tester had. So equipped, it’s ready for just about anything.

Comparable models: Nautic Star 210 Coastal