You may remember that Pro-Line has offered the public a 29-foot center console for some time. However, this totally new design boasts substantial changes over the previous 29-footer, making it longer and wider and including what the company's longest-running employee (38 years), founder Dan Atwood, refers to as "an exceedingly proud bow." One look will show you what that means.
We ran out of Crystal River on Florida's west coast on a sunny, flat-calm day. Any test of sea-keeping ability would depend upon wakes from other boats.
Without using any trim tabs, firewalling the throttles from a full stop brought the 29 onto plane in 3.5 seconds with just over one additional second to 30 mph. Top speed at 6,400 rpm, with the incredibly quiet Verados, touched 53.3 mph. Optimum cruise equated to 35.5 mph at 4,000 rpm.
This boat handles magnificently when asked for extreme maneuvers such as cranking the wheel hardover at cruising speed. It leans, it slides just enough to keep your passengers safely aboard, and it carves a 180 in just over two boatlengths. Trim the drives all the way, however, and you get fighter-jet responsiveness.
Trolling at 7 mph, the 29 Grand Sport offers an exceptionally clear wake with almost no surface turbulence noting the hull's passage. Subsurface propwash dissipates completely by the third wave. You'll have no problem running your baits or lures in clean water.
This 29 exhibits absolutely no unfortunate handling characteristics; it handles head-seas like a heavy boat. Two to 3-foot seas prove nonevents. Drifting beam-to-the-seas, the 29 rolls with a snappy transition and a moderate roll distance. Expect fairly substantial chine noise though.
Helm ergonomics meet the requirements for a wide range of sizes thanks to the 4-inch-high helm-console platform. The huge, hinged console lets you tilt the entire structure for access to the back of your electronics. The top also slants down toward the bow to keep anything you may toss atop the console from sliding off.
I'd like to see the factory rearrange the electrical switches on the dashboard though. Inevitably, builders place the horn switch on the end. However, as you drive along, you should really be able to reach down and turn your windshield wiper on and off without taking your eyes of the horizon. You use your wiper much more frequently than your horn.
Both the cockpit and the bow area provide loads of fishing room. However, I would suggest that Pro-Line engineer a high-low table between the forward seats to facilitate even better multitasking. Up, it could handle dinner and drinks for your cruising pleasure. Down, it could form a sizable casting deck between the seats.
Four in-gunwale rod holders, two more under each gunwale, four across the back of the standard hardtop and four more across the outside of the transom mean you can be ready for multiple species and fishing methods. Pop-up cleats all the way around prevent line snags, and the foldaway transom seat (the simplest and perhaps best design on the market today) lets you work right to the transom. The seat has no latches or locks. You simply pull it out and push it back.
A well-equipped helmseat module features a 50-gallon livewell as standard equipment. Other fishing amenities include huge in-deck fish boxes on both sides that literally take up half the length of the boat. A very large lazarette on centerline provides access to the bilge and all the pumps, filters and thru-hulls, as well as the ability to actually climb down into the bilge to work. Cockpit gunwales rise to a comfortable height for pumping a rod. At the bow, the recessed rail provides convenient handholds, and the coaming pads (for seatbacks) afford you a cushioned shin brace during a prolonged fish fight.
|LOA||29ft. 4 in.||BEAM||9ft. 8 in.|
|HULL DRAFT||1 ft. 9 in.||DEADRISE||22 deg.|
|WEIGHT||7,830 lb. (w/OB)||FUEL||320 gal.|
|MAX HP||T300-hp OB||MSRP||$126,224*|
Mercury 250-hp Verado Four-Stroke
|TYPE||Inline 6||DISPL.||158.5 cid|
|MAX RPM||6,400||HP/LB RATIO||0.39|
|FUEL SYS.||Supercharged EFI||GEAR RATIO||1.85:1|
Notable Standard Equipment
|50-gallon livewell||Integral swim ladder|
|Two large fish boxes||Pop-up chests|
|Great in-console headroom||Leaning-post module|
*with 250-hp four-stroke and T-top