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October 26, 2001

Champion Tunnel Champ

The Tunnel Champ, newest in the bay-boat lineup, runs in 8 inches of water at speeds in excess of 50 mph with the 225-hp outboard.

Champion started as a builder of quality bass boats. Today, it also targets salt water with superb bay skiffs and its line of flats boats recently acquired from Back Country Powerboats. The Tunnel Champ, newest in the bay-boat lineup, runs in 8 inches of water at speeds in excess of 50 mph with the 225-hp outboard. Built with a full liner rather than being a rolled-edge skiff, Champion uses a tunnel to allow the engine to be mounted higher on the transom for better shallow-water performance. At the same time, the tunnel prevents the transom from blocking sufficient water flow to the propeller. But, just so you don't get the impression that the Tunnel Champ is for calm water only, the sharp entry and deep-V hull handle rough bays and moderate days nearshore just as well as calm water.

Other standard equipment includes a 22-gallon livewell in the console as well as a second 15-gallon well in the aft deck, a large fish box and a spacious rod locker on each side amidships. Though only a 22-footer, the Tunnel Champ should be able to handle four anglers at once with its 22-square-foot foredeck and almost 20-square-foot aft deck. When it comes to shallow-water fishing, there are some things that translate from bass boats to salt water extremely well.