We could stay in on the reef and fish for snapper, cruise to the dropoff and try to tempt a sailfish, or head out 20 miles to where the dolphin are running. Then I remembered that Pro-Line’s new 26 Walk is narrow enough to trailer; the redfish and tarpon inhabiting an inlet half a state south of us were also within reach. If you, too, like variety in your fishing locale, then consider the 26 Walk for your next boat.
The first thing that hit me as we cruised to blue water – we opted for the mahi-mahi – was how nicely the 26 Walk handles a two-to-three-foot tight inshore chop. Credit for the vibration-free ride goes to construction methods like foam coring in the hullsides, deck, and hardtop; microballoon putty in the strakes (it has tiny particles mixed in, for extra beef); and through-bolted hinges with aircraft locking nuts. The bottom’s 19-degree deadrise comfortably splits wakes at an efficient cruise of 29 mph at 4500 rpm, burning 1.5 mpg, without sacrificing stability on the troll. In fact, while weaving through the weed lines in search of fish, I stood up and rigged baits; on most 26′ boats in two-to-three-foot seas, I’d have been crouched down on my knees, wedged into a corner.
One decision you won’t have to make with the 26 Walk is how to outfit it. Out of the box, two pairs of gunwale-mounted rodholders, six under-gunwale rodracks, dual insulated fishboxes with macerators, dual built-in tackleboxes, and a transom door are included. However, plan to spring for an additional $665 for the “Fish Package” to have the standard insulated baitwell plumbed to circulate and for a raw-water washdown – both are musts for the hardcore angler.
Compare the 26 Walk to Robalo’s 2640 ($58,395 with a single 225-hp Mercury EFI outboard), which also comes with a comprehensive list of standards. At 8’11”, the 2640 is slightly wider than the 26 Walk, so it may feel a tad roomier, but in most states that extra 5″ of beam will keep you off the highway. One more important factor to consider when looking at the 26 Walk: It has a 170-gallon fuel tank, which, when combined with the single 225-hp Optimax, even makes it possible to fish the canyons 80 miles out.
LAST WORD. Inshore, offshore, take your pick – nowhere is out of bounds on the 26 Walk.
LOA……….27’0″ ** **
Beam……….8’6″ ** **
Draft……….1’5″ ** **
Displacement (lbs., approx.) ……….4,250 ** **
Transom deadrise ……….19° ** **
Bridge clearance ……….6’11” ****
Minimum cockpit depth…….2’4″ ****
Max. cabin headroom ……….5’11” ****
Fuel capacity (gal.) ……….170 ****
Water capacity (gal.) ……….15 ****
Price (w/o power) ……….$56,984 ****
Price (w/test power) ……….$60,530 ****
STANDARD POWER: Single 225-hp Mercury EFI V-6 outboard.
OPTIONAL POWER: Twin outboards to 400 hp total.
TEST BOAT POWER: Single 225-hp Mercury Optimax V-6 outboard with 185 cid, 3.63″ bore x 3.00″ stroke, swinging a 15 1/4″ x 22″ three-bladed ss prop through a 1.75:1 reduction. ****
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (major items): Battery switch; accessory bus bar; bow pulpit w/anchor roller; compass; freshwater cockpit shower; fuel/water separators; Porta Potti; insulated fishboxes w/macerator; 4 gunwale-mounted rodholders; 6 under-gunwale rodracks; 2 integrated tackleboxes; transom door; 18-gal. livewell; cockpit bolsters; trim tabs; hydraulic steering.