Most fishing boats are just that, a fishing boat. They are built solely for the use of fishing and many have bare bone features only such as a live well and rod holders and the usual electronics packages. In recent years we’ve seen a new generation of fishing boats evolve with an increased focus on providing more amenities such as very comfortable seating and cooling spritzers that spray a water mist on a hot day. These improved fishing machines come with elaborate bait stations, rod and equipment storage and other details that make the day’s fishing more enjoyable and productive. Boats like Yellowfin and Contender have done a good job in this area and succeeded in pushing the bar up in the past 10 years.
However, too many times we overlook one of the founding fathers of offshore boats which is a Boston Whaler. While many other manufacturers were building boats with limited size and feature range, the folks at Boston Whaler were offering recreational fisherman multiple options. For years you couldn’t swing a dead fish without hitting a small Boston Whaler Montauk buzzing down the waterway or pass a Dauntless going out the inlet. They have created a wide range of boats for varied uses with one being offshore fishing. It’s my opinion that this expanse of great boat options has many times resulted in fisherman overlooking the Boston Whaler as a key player in the offshore fishing segment. This is best seen in the Boston Whaler 330 Outrage. I recently took a ride on one to see what this great looking boat was all about.
As I was walking down the dock to board the 330 Outrage, it was easy to tell that it was a Boston Whaler. Having the familiar lines of a Whaler, it also had the look of a serious offshore fishing boat. The swept back hard top and windshield system made it look both solid and fast. This boat offers doors for easy boarding and loading on both sides. On my initial walkaround, I took notice that it was spacious and practical which more that stratified the needs of a fisherman. To add, there were other features that set the 330 Outrage apart from most other offshore fishing boats, such as the pull-down trolling jump seats both starboard and port. These seats were located beside the large console which it made it available for the crew to monitor the trolling activity from the comfort and shade of the console hardtop. I took note that the rod holders lined the gunwale from the stern to the bow unlike most boats that stop at the midship. The large fish boxes were complete with macerators and within easy reach. There are many features I had never seen on other fishing boats. This one is equipped with a built in gas grill located behind the helm seating area. Along side the grill was a sink complete with running water and located in the helm station seating on the starboard side was a refrigerator with easy access, and without taking up deck space. There was more than ample seating in the bow with a removable teak table for the days when this boat was enjoying a more relaxed role. The seating includes recessed hand rails that allowed the passengers to enjoy a more secure ride. In front of the console I there is a massive padded lounger that could easily hold 2-3 people on the ride in. At the transom there’s a fold down bench which added seating capability. The console is equipped with a stepdown head with an entry access big enough for the largest angler. A selling point that I was particularly impressed with.
The helm station was large with gracious enough room for the biggest electronics package while still providing great visibility. Particularly impressive were features like the auto adjusting trim tabs that trimmed the tabs depends on your changes in your planning needs. Coming out of the hole, the tabs would automatically adjust to bring the bow down. The “Skyhook” joystick feature was fantastic. It not only allows joystick docking and maneuvering, it also acts as a position control. When engaged it allows you to position the boat in a specific spot and remain there. The GPS controlled feature keeps the boat’s position by working with the engines to respond to factors such as current and wind. It’s great for hoovering over fishing structures.
Driving the boat in and out of Wrightsville Beach’s inlet I found the boat to be dry. Even with a less than calm day we had no water on the windshield or deck and reached speeds of 40 + mph. Crossing the wakes of other boats was barely felt. While the Outrage 330 has a number of Mercury engine options, the twin Verado 350’s pushed the boat with quiet ease well over 40 mph. The boat’s handling was responsive and easy, what you expect from a Boston Whaler.
On my final walk-around on the boat I looked at the fit and finish as well as the practical design and became even more impressed. Thing’s like easy access to storage and utility panels and stainless screws recessed and sealed with caulk showed the detail given. One practical feature that I quickly notice was the back-up hand crank for the anchor windless. Having worked nearly 15 years in the marine towing business, I know things can break and having an alternative is a great thing. This is yet another small detail that the folks at Boston Whaler considered. Another highlight I couldn’t help but notice was that this vessel was fitted with a swim ladder not only on the stern by also at the side entry door. These ladders were overbuilt and folded nicely under the gunwale, out of the way. It was complimented by the multiple shower stations both at the stern and starboard entry door. Again, great attention to detail.
When leaving the boat, I realized that the Boston Whaler 330 Outrage had captured the marketing that many boat builders had tried and failed to penetrate. They had truly created an offshore boat for the fishing purest by providing them with a well designed, well equipped fishing machine that would endure rough conditions, at the same time aiding in a strong sense of comfort and convenience. Rather than less fishing features than other leading offshore boats, the 330 Outrage offers more. This is seen in the “Skyhook” joystick system, trolling jump seats and side entry doors for ease of landing the bigger fish. Along with the boats fishability, creature comforts are added, proving that great fishing boats can be enjoyable and comfortable without getting in the way of fishing. Best of all, the Boston Whaler 330 Outrage is competitively priced when compared to the Yellowfins and similar boats. This combined with great resale value of a Whaler means money well spent. This boat is an alternative that is many times overlooked but shouldn’t be. For the fishability, features and comforts this is a great deal.
Contributed By: Captain Tim Wilson, Editor and Chief