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July 27, 2011

EdgeWater 220IS

The EdgeWater 220IS does everything a bay skiff is supposed to and does it all flawlessly.

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!

Performance
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.