I admit to being somewhat biased against tunnel hulls. Sure, they can run in barely more than high humidity, but when it comes to turning, they always seem to suffer. So I can't tell you how awestruck I was when Nicky Savoie, guide for the Cajun Resort in Golden Meadow, Louisiana, and former star tight end for LSU and the New Orleans Saints took me on a wild ride through the 10,000 acres of marshland leased by the resort. At planing speeds, Savoie snaked his way through shallow channels barely as wide as the boat - with absolute and total control. I honestly believe that this boat represents a dramatic and revolutionary change in tunnel-hull performance.
Although rated for up to 250 horses, we ran a Yamaha 225 hp four-stroke with a new 20-inch shaft, which lifted us up in about three seconds and topped out at 48.7 mph, burning 19.7 gph at 6,000 rpm. While a 350 hp Yamaha would weigh considerably more than the 225, I bet it would be a scalded-dog package. At more common cruising speeds, I found the 2202 ran 40 mph at 5,000 rpm, using 13.5 gph; an even more moderate 35 mph at 4,200 rpm translated to 10.7 gph. Yes, it was very responsive, but I felt the hydraulic steering was a bit stiff and wished for power-assist.
Amazingly, trim tabs come as an option on this boat. I suggest it should be standard, and you shouldn't ever get any bay or flats skiff without tabs. No, it doesn't need them for a good running attitude. However, when working shallow water, they come in very handy as they also do when you want to lift the upwind side crossing a rough bay.
I'd also be sure to purchase an aftermarket Power-Pole for the transom. It sure is easier than anchoring.
In a sharp turn, this boat shows an amazing blend of slide and grip. It will do anything you ask it to with grace and style. This isn't just hyperbole, either. We ran through channels in water less than a foot deep with impunity.
I'm not sure why this tunnel performs so much better than others, but the company attributes it to its new "step" design that moves the deepest part of the keel slightly forward, making the steering more responsive while still allowing it to run well in very shallow water.
As I said, you can run this boat in very shallow water even without the jack plate, but the latter gives you even greater latitude. I'd certainly add a water-pressure gauge, however, to prevent engine overheating.
Once you get to your chosen fishing spot, the 8 1/2-foot beam provides an amazingly stable platform for even three NFL-linemen-size anglers to stand on one side. Century also blends cockpit space with casting deck in a very pleasing ratio.
Unlike so many such skiffs, this Century features numerous livewells instead of just one so you needn't walk all over to refresh your bait. It also provides considerable, tightly sealed, gasketed fish boxes - all with gas-cylinder lifting rams. Each livewell boasts its own independent pump (plus high-speed pickups) separate from the raw-water washdown.
Perhaps most importantly, you can actually store fly rods in a lockable box. Additionally, the console sports eight vertical rod holders. Whether you mount a trolling motor or not, every 2202 comes pre-wired for a bow-mounted motor. I've seen a number of these boats with custom raised consoles, and if you truly want to see fish where you've never seen them before, go that route. You'll be amazed what a few extra feet of elevation does for finding fish.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Century's helm provides plenty of room to flush-mount 12-inch or larger displays. The company offers a factory-installed electronics package from Raymarine, which can make your life much easier, and the equipment is first-rate. I also particularly like that Century mounts a swim ladder deployable from the water on every hull it builds - no excuses, no compromise.
Century's "V-Tech" hull system uses multidirectional fiberglass and transverse bracing for stiffness. Foam injection helps make it a quiet ride. The company also uses high-quality Cook Composites Armorcoat gelcoat and a urethane-composite transom. All this allows Century to offer a 10-year, 100-percent transferable warranty on the hull and deck of every boat. I simply can't imagine anyone who wants/needs a skiff like this being disappointed by this boat. To run it is to love it!
BEAM......8 ft. 6 in.
HULL DRAFT......1 ft. 1 in. (static)
WEIGHT......2,100 lb. (w/o power)
MAX HP......250 hp OB
MSRP......$47,880 (w/225 hp Yamaha OB)
Century Boats / Panama City, Florida / 850-769-0311 / www.centuryboats.com