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March 05, 2004

Trophy 2502 WA

Trophy, with economies of volume production, can build a quality, no-excuses-needed, offshore fishing boat that the average Joe can afford.

I ran this boat on a beautiful, sunny, calm day out of Sanibel on Florida's southwest coast in an area that has no speed limits. Consequently, muscle boats, 60-foot sportfishermen, deck boats and every other type of craft passing by in this very busy waterway throw a wake at you, making it one of the roughest spots you can imagine. I have to hand it to Trophy. The company's engineering has improved, and its boats in recent years enjoy superb-quality construction and good design.

Performance
The standard power package on this boat consists of a single 225 Mercury EFI outboard. Our test boat's pair of 135-hp Merc EFIs met the halfway mark between standard package and the max-power rating of twin 200-hp OptiMax engines. The 135s managed a top speed of 42 mph at 5,500 rpm, burning about 26 gph total. Optimal cruising speed proved to be around 30 mph at 4,000 rpm, sipping a more modest 13 gph total. Time to plane took five seconds.

Trophy obviously wants customers to be comfortable when they go below into the cabin. And yes, it has plenty of room. But that room results in compromise when it comes to head-sea performance. Not making it bad, mind you. You simply need to adjust your speed to the conditions more than you would with a sharper entry like those found on go-fast boats. With that said, the high bow and pronounced flare make for a remarkably dry ride in rough conditions. At trolling speed with seas abeam and down-sea, the 2502 performed really well. In fact, this is an exceptional down-sea boat with lots of buoyancy forward and arrow-straight tracking.

I like the way this boat turned, too: very responsive to quick, small course adjustments like you'd make to avoid an obstacle, and gently leaning into hard-over turns without moving occupants to the outboard rail unexpectedly.

Fishing
I found the spacious anchor locker could hold enough rode to satisfy most nearshore-anglers' needs. The walkaround was as tight as you'd expect on a 25-footer, but with sufficient, well-placed handholds to make carrying a fish-laden rod to the bow a secure operation. When fishing from the cockpit, three anglers can maneuver around each other with ease, and the optional padded gunwales and stainless toe rails make pumping or releasing equally comfortable. The rigging station provides draining storage, a freshwater sink, cutting board and integrated space for a 25-quart cooler. You'll never have a bait cooler sliding around the cockpit again! Also near at hand is the 30-gallon live well. Other cockpit storage includes a 50-gallon fish box, 12- and 25-gallon insulated boxes, and two rod holders in each gunwale, as well as additional storage for two rods under each gunwale. Trophy does a particularly nice job here by putting fairings in the liner to guide the rod tip into the storage tube without snagging guides.

Another fishing option finds tackle-box storage beneath the companion seat.

And finally, Trophy boasts of its Drainage Response System. Obviously an engineering-inspired title, it means that if you get water on deck or in the cockpit, it disappears really quickly.

Design and Construction
Trophy can afford to design, engineer and build truly fine boats. After all, the largest recreational boatbuilder in the world owns the company. Consequently, Trophy uses all the latest and greatest technology without going overboard. For example, a vinylester resin skin coat prevents osmotic blistering problems years down the channel. A monolithic, foam-filled fiberglass grid system gets bonded into each hull for structural strength. And you're sure to appreciate the aggressive nonskid as long as you don't have to kneel on it in shorts. And in case you've tired of a standard white hull, you can opt for sea mist or hunter green.

It amazed me that I could almost stand erect belowdecks. An average 6-footer will have no problem standing or reclining in the V-berth with drop-table insert. Trophy also provides a stainless-steel galley cabinet with a single-burner stove, a portable head, and a comfortable dinette to seat four. Quite an accomplishment on a 25-footer.

So if you're looking for a handsome, seaworthy cabin boat with a good bow flare, high freeboard, durable construction, agreeable price and admirable performance, Trophy wins the ... uh, award.

Specifications
LOA 25 ft.
BEAM 8 ft. 6 in.
DEADRISE 21 deg.
DRAFT 1 ft. 9 in.
WEIGHT 4,364 lb. (w/o power)
FUEL 163 gal.
MAX POWER T200-hp OB
MSRP $44,985 (w/225 EFI OB)

Notable Standard equipment

  • Integral transom ladder
  • Walk-through transom
  • Large cabin overhead hatch
  • Cockpit toe rails
  • Integral bait cooler
  • 40-gallon livewell

Impressions
I appreciate that Trophy, with economies of volume production, can build a quality, no-excuses-needed, offshore fishing boat that the average Joe can afford.

Trophy Sportfishing Boats
Knoxville, Tennessee
800-544-6220
www.trophyfishing.com

Mercury 135-hp OptiMax Saltwater
TYPE 60-degree V6
DISPL. 153 cid
MAX RPM 5,500
HP/LB RATIO 0.31
FUEL SYSTEM DFI
GEAR RATIO 2:1
WEIGHT 431 lb.
ALT. OUTPUT 60 amps
MSRP $10,890

It's hard to imagine, but the smaller-horsepower OptiMax engines run even quieter than their big brothers.