Fishing is big. In fact, it ranks as the second-most-popular recreational activity in the world. Across the globe, over 700 million people partake in recreational fishing annually. In the U.S. alone, there are currently over 49 million holders of fishing licenses.
And that’s no fish tale.
Also no fish tale is that a growing number of those enthusiasts do that fishing via something other than a conventional boat. Kayak-fishing has grown immensely popular. Others choose personal watercraft. Get ready for that latter number to grow exponentially as Sea-Doo introduces the first personal watercraft specifically designed for the task: the FISH PRO.
Based on the brand’s ultra-stable GTX 155, the FISH PRO is the first production PWC specifically designed for a fishing audience. It’s not just a PWC dressed up in a token color scheme and graphics. Rather, it’s the end result of careful research into just how users fish from such a unique platform…and what extras can truly enhance the activity.
The GTX itself is an ideal starting point. Arguably the most rock-solid platform currently on the market, the versatile craft features a lowered center of gravity and exceptional stability at rest, enough so that a potential angler can stand in either footwell and not tip the craft. In stock trim, the oversize aft platform is also sizable enough to use as a casting deck. Storage? Sea-Doo’s unique, direct-access front-storage design opens directly in front of the driver, allowing users to access contents without standing, leaning awkwardly over the handlebars or risking water intrusion.
Those features alone make the GTX 155 ideal for the casual fisherman, but the FISH PRO seeks to also satisfy the hardcore angler. At the controls, a Garmin EchoMap Plus 62cv GPS/fish finder with sunlight-viewable 6-inch display is cleanly integrated into the design. That’s the same, easy-to-see display you’d find on many full-size fish boats. Rather than protrude from the sleek hull, the EchoMap’s transducer is mounted internally to prevent damage. A clever “trolling mode” has also been added to the existing cruise and no-wake controls. A total of nine trolling speeds are available, starting as low as 1 mile per hour.
Sea-Doo’s innovative LinQ accessory system is used to secure a 13.5-gallon cooler to the rear platform, which is now even larger thanks to a hull extension that adds both additional buoyancy and yet another set of LinQ attachment points. Offering excellent all-day insulation, the cooler/fish box features a recessed, EVA-foam-covered lid to prepare your bait or tie a lure. Built into its perimeter are numerous mounting locations for four included rod holders, which lock into place via a simple yet secure trigger release. Additional angled rod-holder locations on the cooler’s forward corners prove ideal for spreading out trolling lines, reducing tangles. Rod holders easily secure a net or gaff. Looking for tackle-box storage or a place to keep tools readily at hand? The forward side of the cooler features a rubbery exterior pocket to satisfy both needs.
Other features further enhance the craft’s practicality for the angler. The saddle is flattened into more of a bench, both to facilitate easily working a fish around the perimeter as well as to provide comfort and stability during long hours sitting sideways at rest. Angled gunwale footrests are also added to increase side-sitting comfort, as well as provide added leverage when fighting a sizable catch.
Try the FISH PRO and you’ll—pardon the pun—likely be hooked. Fishing from a personal watercraft is a far more intimate experience, bringing the angler much closer to the water. The craft’s openness and size also make every catch more of a thrill. And then there’s a PWC’s many practical benefits. A personal watercraft like this is far lower in cost than most fishing boats with comparable features, and its size and weight make it much simpler to trailer, launch and store. A PWC with a modern and clean four-stroke engine will also prove quiet on the water and very affordable at the gas pump.
Finally, consider the craft’s wide-ranging fun factor. PWC anglers are able to run-and-gun, speeding toward fish the moment they see activity on the surface. Try to react that quickly on a full-size boat. And when not fishing, the craft are still more than capable of doing what PWC do best: delivering a thrilling ride, towing your favorite water toy, or heading off into the sunset on a leisurely cruise or long-distance touring ride.