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.
Standards are many, with an obvious slant toward the angler. Expansive casting decks are found both at the bow and stern. Rod storage is abundant, from inwales to forward lockers to multiple rocket launchers. A generous 43-gallon fish box is centered at the bow. Ten Plano boxes are found below side-by-side hatches center and starboard; cast-net and bucket storage awaits to port. Three livewells/baitwells are standard-issue, split between a 13-gallon well below the forward console seat, a 21-gallon well with transparent lid behind the leaning post, and a 42-gallon tub aft. The 35-quart cooler located below yet another casting-deck hatch is a genuine Yeti.
Though much of the 265 seems devoted to fishy business, NauticStar hasn’t overlooked comfort. A trio of jump seats is hidden within the aft casting deck until their backrests are pivoted into view. Atop the console livewell is another favorite spot with a generously padded backrest. And then there’s the exceptional leaning post with its ergonomically correct Llebroc seating featuring flip-up bolsters, folding armrests and a pivot-down footrest bar.
* Powder-coated hardtop pipework stylishly integrates with the console; the windshield can remain in place, hinge down for ventilation, or be removed entirely.
* Helm boasts real estate for dual 12-inch displays. Standards include Yamaha digital gauges, lighted stainless-steel push-button switches, Infinity PRV350 stereo, and SeaDek-covered top with flush-mounted compass.
* In-console head compartment includes gelcoat-finished interior and acrylic console door.
Price: $111,685 (with test power)
How We Tested
Engine: 300 hp Yamaha F300
Prop: Yamaha Saltwater Series II 15 1/4″ x 19″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 74 gal.
Crew Weight: 355 lb.
NauticStar – Amory, Mississippi; 662-200-4664; nauticstarboats.com