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October 26, 2001

Angler 29

Angler's new 29-footer runs smoothly and keeps you dry in a nasty sea.

Trolling plastics for sails and dolphin at around 8 mph, the 29 rolled when beam to the seas, but very comfortably -- not too fast and not too far.

With no rocket launchers on the back of the leaning post, the cockpit is a real treat to work. There's tons of room for several anglers, with no conflict. However, the console seems too big. When combined with the seating forward, it takes up too much of the bow space. In fact, the console is so large enough that I had a devil of a time retrieving the "catch-all" items I tossed atop it up by the windshield.

Back in the cockpit, nothing you need is more than a single step away -- from the 45-gallon baitwell and rigging station, to three under-gunwale rod holders on each side, to the three in-gunwale holders and the rocket launchers atop the T-top. Add to those the rod storage in lockable in-deck boxes, and you have the ability to carry an armory full of fishing weapons.

Factory captain Wayne Johnson informed me that, although not listed in the specs, Angler offers a terrific tackle box that bolts between the legs of the leaning post. In all, Angler has put great thought and execution into the cockpit.

Trolling speed showed modest surface turbulence from the hull sides and subsurface white water from the props on centerline. However, the prop wash extended back only about three waves, so it didn't seem to affect the trolling pattern.

I'd have to say the best design feature of the Angler 29 is its smooth, dry-riding bottom. An all-wood-free construction matches a solid fiberglass bottom with composite-cored stringers, deck and transom. I like the futuristic lift-up electronics box too, though it needs a second support/lift arm to keep the box from vibrating and wobbling.

You've probably surmised that with the massive size of the console, its interior provides more than enough standing and sitting room for a head.

The Angler's design also takes into account offshore safety, along with fishability. The full transom prevents waves from coming into the cockpit, but at the same time, the integral transom bracket is short enough to make extending a rod tip out over the engines relatively easy. Waterproof rocker switches for all circuitry hide under the console lip. And while I like the Armstrong ladders clipped on the outer side of the transom on many boats, from a safety standpoint, Angler's idea of a ladder recessed into the molded platform is much better. If you're by yourself, having the ladder up out of reach from in the water doesn't help.

Another excellent design feature places the batteries above deck in the bottom of the console -- right at the helmsman's shin level. Should there ever be a high-bilge-water problem, the batteries will be protected from immersion for a longer period of time.

Several fine-tuning suggestions I hope Angler considers: Replace the simple pull pins on all the seat hatches and anchor locker with posi-lock latches that prevent the lids from opening when dropping off a wave and slamming shut when landing; place rubber stripping around all hatches, including instrument box; and add a drink holder or two to the helm console.

Getting back to the better-than-average design features, all storage boxes (except the fish boxes with their macerators) drain into one central holding tank, which then gets pumped overboard. This eliminates smelly bilge water stagnating throughout the length of the boat.

Other Anglers I've run have shown themselves to be superb offshore fishing boats. This new 29, with a few minor refinements, should outshine them all.