The Century 22 bay skiff was in its time an excellent boat. But then EdgeWater bought the molds when parent-company Yamaha shut Century’s doors, redesigned just about every facet, employed much more advanced construction materials and technology, and has now issued a new bay skiff second to none!
My friend and Ponce Inlet, Florida, fishing guide Capt. Fred Robert came along this spring when I sea-trialed the new EdgeWater 220IS (for inshore). A series of fronts were roaring through and seas were building. By the time we reached the outer end of the jetty at what many consider one of the most dangerous inlets in Florida, the wind against the outgoing tide had generated four- to six-foot, close-together seas.
Amazingly, even with the low freeboard of this bay skiff, we didn’t stuff the bow once. Fishing in those conditions, the 220IS proved dry and stable, and left no doubt about its superb fish-raising ability. The same conditions made me appreciate the many well-placed handholds — a novelty on this style of boat.
Fishing small skiffs in rough conditions requires a hull that handles well, quickly and decisively, and this EdgeWater does. It turns well with little side-slide, and it planes in four seconds with no tabs, carrying three large men and a full fuel tank. The 250 hp Yamaha pushed us to a 51.5 mph top speed, burning 24.5 gph at 6,000 rpm. A more stately 35 mph at 3,800 rpm provided efficiency on the order of 10 gph, or an impressive 3.1 gph.
EdgeWater offers an optional tower with full controls, which I would definitely spring for, as it vastly improves visibility down into the water. You can operate trim tabs, shallow-water anchor, trolling motor, jack plate and everything else from both stations.
One other performance trait impressed me: While running fast, chopping the throttles doesn’t cause the wake to roll up over the transom.
I consider several of EdgeWater’s optional accessories and design features mandatory on a bay skiff.
- A shallow-water anchor allows you to stop and position the boat instantly and effortlessly with virtually no damage to bottom habitat.
- A trolling motor lets you silently glide through the shallows.
- Trim tabs adjust for weight distribution and sea direction.
- Pop-up cleats keep your fishing line or cast net from snagging.
- A livewell lid the same size as the well allows you to easily scoop those last, quick liveys without problem.
This 22 features tons of dry storage in the bow, three vertical rod holders on each console side, two rod holders on the optional tower’s seatback and four across the back of the optional hardtop to augment the standard two rod holders in the gunwales. EdgeWater also includes some nice tackle storage in the console front.
The 220IS provides lockable rod storage for 7½-foot sticks in the bulwarks on both sides. I also like the above-deck baitwell so I don’t have to constantly get down on hands and knees. In fact, this boat has three wells — 44, 35 and 12 gallons — each with a separate pickup so none will ever starve for water. You can also choose between 12-, 24-, or 36-volt systems for a trolling motor of your choice.
And finally, this boat has the best system I’ve seen for configuring a shallow-water anchor and swim-ladder mount: A transom handhold works with a twist-out, two-step ladder attached to the Atlas jack plate on one side of the engine, and the shallow-water anchor attaches to the jack plate on the other side — all in one neat, efficient package.
Design and Construction
EdgeWater’s advanced Single Piece Infusion hull (as opposed to hand-laid), comprising 108ounce stitched fiberglass with vinylester resins, makes for a laminate that is three times stronger than a standard fiberglass hull. All deck hatches are carbon fiber, and not one squeaked when I stepped on it.
I particularly liked the nonskid. It grips your feet well, but isn’t so aggressive that when you kneel on it in shorts, it tears your skin. It also doesn’t hold dirt.
Three separate selector switches handle engine, house and trolling-motor batteries. Batteries are stored in a sealed compartment inside the console so they stay dry, but they’re below the floor so they don’t take up valuable storage space. In fact, no water can get down into the bilges on this unsinkable, self-bailing boat.
Anyone considering the purchase of a new bay skiff would be remiss if they didn’t sea-trial the new EdgeWater 220IS.
BEAM......8 ft. 6 in.
DRAFT......1 ft. 1 in.
MAX POWER......250 hp OB
MSRP......$63,317 (w/ Yamaha 250 hp OB)
EdgeWater Power Boats / Edgewater, Florida / 386-426-5457 / www.ewboats.com