Not everyone who likes to fish wants to fish all the time. Really! Saner individuals also enjoy cruising trips with the family and water sports such as skiing and tubing. Such thinking spawned a class of boats the industry calls sport-utility vessels. That term has "soccer mom" written all over it, and it represents a great family trend for the industry. But Pro-Line's latest SUV - the 23 Dual Console - also flashes a neon sign that reads FISH ME!
For Pro-Line this 23 also represents a return to the company's roots: In 1968, founders Ray and Dan Atwood built and sold their first boat - a 24-foot dual console.
The run from Crystal River, Florida, to the Gulf of Mexico involves a few no-wake zones - a perfect time to experience this vessel's great cruising attitude and inshore fishability. Drawing a moderate 17 inches, the 23 DC can navigate to the edge of most flats and do so quietly.
On open water, this Pro-Line tips over to plane in 4 1/2 seconds, powered by a 225 hp Honda outboard and carrying 45 gallons of fuel and three people. At a pleasant cruising speed of 28 mph at 4,000 rpm, we burned a mere 7.6 gph. Pushing the throttles to a top-end of 6,000 rpm, we tapped 43.5 mph and burned 21.4 gph.
The vessel can handle 300 hp, and Pro-Line offers this DC with multiple engine options, including twin outboards. Boaters can customize this 23 for virtually any hole shot or top-end speed they may want - within physical parameters, of course.
The 23 turns tightly, but speed bleeds off quickly enough to keep riders stable - a good combination. Backing down, the vessel turns easily in both directions with only minor splashing as waves challenge the transom.
In a 2-foot self-created chop, the vessel felt light as it landed and stayed quite dry. At idle, it exhibited a fairly quick roll moment.
Spinning up from idle, the 23 rode higher turning left than right, and while you'd never really need to spin-up this kind of vessel, it happens by accident at times.
On the way back to port, I needed a little help from the optional tabs to adjust the attitude of the vessel. The tabs proved very responsive when passengers shifted their seating.
Pro-Line builds many popular styles of fishing boats, so it's no surprise that this DC comes with all the angling bells and whistles, including a lighted, 18-gallon D-shaped livewell and raw-water washdown in the port aft corner, a pair of vertical rod holders (more if you order the optional wakeboard arch or the convenience package), horizontal rod storage, two 60-gallon fish boxes, transom door and anchor locker.
At the bow, the forward bench seating provides an ample platform for tossing a cast net, deploying the anchor or working a fish around the bow. Simply leave the windshield open and walk forward with the rod.
An aft bench seat folds down for passengers as you run to the fishing grounds but lifts flush to allow easy access to the corner livewell and broad swim platform.
Stow gear or fish in the twin, in-deck 60-gallon fish boxes. Use the port console to stash tackle or leave it as a changing room complete with the standard Porta Potti.
Coaming pads lining the 25-inch-deep cockpit offer creature comfort to anglers fighting fish on deck. The only concession you'll make between this dual console and a center console is working around the windshield and helm seating. But that's a small price to pay for versatility.
Design and Construction
Pro-Line offers a variety of seating options for the dual-console, including captain's chairs, back-to-back seats that fold down, and a port or starboard lounge atop a cooler. Forward, select optional bow cushions and bolsters. Each combination changes the cockpit layout so customers can design this vessel to suit their family's needs.
Those with more strict angling interests may choose captain's chairs port and starboard to further open up the already ample 65 square feet of cockpit space. Those with skiers and tubers in the family may want the back-to-back seating for an aft-facing observer.
Beneath the deck, Pro-Line builds its hulls with woven roving and chopped strands stitched together and bonded with a blend of ISO and GP resins. The company laminates the fiberglass foam-filled stringer system into the hull bottom and integrates it with the composite transom.
The composite-core deck is bonded to the stringers with polyester bonding putting, using a calibrated gun that premixes putty and catalyst. The hull and deck fasten at the gunwale with stainless-steel screws every 6 to 8 inches and a stainless cap.
Pro-Line carries National Marine Manufacturers Association certification and offers a 10-year transferable warranty on its hulls. Now that's a better guarantee than you'll get on your other SUV.
BEAM......8 ft. 6 in.
HULL DRAFT......1 ft. 5 in.
WEIGHT......3,920 lb. (w/o engine)
MAX HP......300 hp OB
MSRP......$61,292 (as tested w/ 225 Honda OB)
Pro-Line Boats / Crystal River, Florida / 800-344-1281 / www.prolineboats.com