I have a bay boat. Whenever I show up to tape a TV show with a guide, he always tells me, "It's too big, not shallow enough, too heavy to pole, blah, blah, blah." By the end of the day, he inevitably wants to know if I can get him a deal on one.
Why? Because when it comes to pure inshore functionality, a bay boat is da bomb.
To fish shallow waters, you need a boat with a shallow static draft as well as running draft. In other words, the Pathfinder draws 11 inches in neutral but can actually traverse water as shallow as 7 inches when running. Of course, when running in water that shallow, you don't dare stop or the 11-inch draft takes precedence. Better to trim the engine up and jam the throttle forward.
Where this Pathfinder shines is in a nasty, close-together chop like what you frequently find in inlets and across open bays. Run through that in a flats skiff, and you'll be inches shorter at the end of the day, thanks to spinal compression. The Pathfinder runs through it smoothly - the higher topsides, more-pronounced bow flare and deeper deadrise make it a better ride.
LOA 20 ft.
The 150 runs this boat beautifully. You could get by with a 115-hp but may not get up and go as quickly - a serious consideration in shallow waters.
Notable Standard Equipment
The Pathfinder navigates tight turns in serpentine channels with great agility, though if you crank the wheel too hard, the aft end slides enough to keep anglers in the boat.
Another consideration in any shallow-water boat is how quickly it planes and how flat it stays in the process. Trim the tabs down and the 2000-V jumps up in three seconds with a rather flat attitude.
Our test day in Fort Pierce, Florida, was flat-calm, and we fished tarpon along the beach. But with a 300-mile range, we could easily have made it to the Bahamas for lunch.
You already know the Pathfinder can make it into relatively shallow backwaters. For fishing, a boat must be stable enough for two to walk along the gunwales, quiet enough not to spook fish when little wavelets slap against the hull, and spacious enough for multiple anglers to be able to spin cast and at least two fly-fishermen to throw loops simultaneously. The Pathfinder 2000-V fulfills all these requirements. Additionally, it boasts loads of dry storage space, livewells, fish boxes, a reasonable anchor locker and storage for eight rods alongside the console. Two locking rod boxes forward also come as standard equipment. The pop-up cleats and bow light all work to prevent line snags.
Surprisingly, though, higher than a flats skiff's topsides, the 2000-V's gunwales still sit close enough to the surface to handle a large tarpon without having to lift it out of the water.
Design and Construction
Like other Pathfinders, the 2000-V is built using a Vacuum-Assisted Resin Infusion System. This closed-mold process lays all the material into the mold under a vacuum bag. A closely controlled quantity of resin then gets drawn through the fiberglass material, resulting in lighter weight, no-laminate voids and an environmentally friendly construction process. All-vinylester resins mean greater resistance to osmotic blistering as well.
Pathfinder glasses-in aluminum backing plates under the trolling motor mount and cleats and other such places. All the hatches are guttered and gasketed, and even the insides of hatches have a smooth, glossy finish for easy maintenance.
I have more fingers than Pathfinder has options for the 2000-V bay boat. And thankfully, none qualify as items you desperately need rather than things it "would be nice to have." You get a turnkey operation when your dealer delivers one of the 19- through 24-footers to you.
If you're considering the purchase of a bay boat, check out the Pathfinders. Even if you don't buy one, at least you'll have a benchmark by which to judge all the others.