NauticStar calls the 265 XTS a beast of a bay boat, ready to take the most-ardent anglers to the action in safety, style and comfort. We say it’s ready for waters inshore and off — and most especially perfect for those whose fishing takes them across large, open expanses of water en route to shallow, protected honey-hole hot spots. For anglers fishing the shallows, the 265 XTS’s 14-inch draft is ready to chase game fish into skinny water. When it comes time to run back home, the planing pods and air-assist chines incorporated into the hull of this 4,200-pound boat promises the quick acceleration we experienced during our test. Heading outside the inlet? Forty degrees of deadrise at the entry neatly splits chop, and the boat’s beefy displacement provides stability and a confident feel. The latter was proven on test day as high winds and 3- to 4-foot waves made for absolutely snotty conditions. Still, the NauticStar 265 XTS shined, in our opinion, slicing through a head sea with finesse and delivering a surprisingly soft re-entry. With a 300 hp Yamaha outboard mounted to the standard 6-inch Atlas hydraulic jack plate (an option aboard many boats), we could really dial in the ride for performance. The 265 XTS planed in a quick 3.8 seconds and rocketed to a top speed that peaked at 52.8 mph.