It doesn’t matter how hardcore an angler you are or desire to be, when family members are involved in the boat-purchasing decision, they are going to want amenities. Center-console builders have wised up to that, building serious fishing machines with actual places to sit, tan and socialize. The new Sea Chaser 22 HFC built by Carolina Skiff provides just such a platform — the HFC in the name stands for Hybrid Fish and Cruise.
For cruising, the family will like the bench that runs almost the entire length of the transom, save for the area to port where the 25-gallon livewell is installed. The bench features two separate cushions placed over hatches. The cushion to starboard lifts to reveal a built-in cooler. The larger hatch to center opens for access to the batteries and the ship’s systems. A removable backrest extends topside above the transom to provide more crew comfort.
The bow features snap-on cushions to easily convert the boat from fishing to chilling-out duty. Removable backrests slide in to create twin forward-facing loungers. There’s a pedestal base on the hatch opening to the insole 32-gallon fish box for a cockpit table. There’s another 52 gallons of storage capacity under the U-shaped seating. There’s also a removable 100-quart cooler under the helm leaning post. Cruising passengers can rest cold beverages in eight LED-lit cup holders placed throughout the boat, including two in the bow area.
Fishing features? Besides the aforementioned livewell and fish box, there’s rod storage built into each gunwale with room for three rods per side. There’s a raw-water washdown, plus four rod holders built into the topsides, four more in the leaning post and four on the T-top. The oval-shaped livewell has a blue interior and clear lid.
Underway, the boat climbed onto plane fairly quickly with no real squatting or loss of visibility at the helm. With the 200 hp Suzuki test power, it accelerated to 30 mph in about seven seconds on its way to a 44.7 mph top-end speed. The top of the transom corners dipped a little too low to the water during hardover turns at 30 mph, causing drag and throwing spray, but otherwise the boat performed well in a light bay chop.
*Coaming bolsters extend all the way to the bow seating area.
*Recessed safety rails in the bow make great handholds while cruising and won’t interfere with fishing.
*Seating in front of the console lifts up on gas struts for head access, which features a foldaway privacy curtain.
How We Tested
Engine: Single 200 hp Suzuki DF200
Drive/Prop: Outboard/16″ x 21.5″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 2.50:1
Fuel Load: 60 gal.
Crew Weight: 380 lb.
$33,923 (without power)
Sea Chaser by Carolina Skiff Waycross, Georgia; 800-422-7282; carolinaskiff.com