Trophy has come such a long way that it should win a most-improved award. From a saltwater-fishing perspective, the company has had its share of problems understanding what the boat owner/angler wanted and needed. I am here to tell you that they've figured that out in spades. Trophy employs more design and mechanical engineers than any other, and both the materials used and the construction methods qualify as advanced state-of-the-art.
So before any know-it-all chat-room experts call this a Bayliner, I suggest that they visit the factory. I'll put Trophy quality up against that of any production boat in America today.
A northeast wind flayed Fort Lauderdale, Florida, whipping seas into a 4-foot froth with occasional higher waves. With the twin Mercury 150-hp Optimax outboards idling along at 4 mph and 800 rpm, the 2503 stayed dry as dust through the inlet.
Running into head seas that came pretty close together, I made it to 25 mph before the boat launched out of the water, landing slightly stern first and without slamming. The ride up-sea proved much more comfortable at 20 mph, when the boat stayed in the water. Running beam-to the seas, cruising at 35 mph presented no problem. Heading down-sea, the bow didn't shear to one side or the other when it encountered the back of the next wave. In addition, throughout all my radical maneuvers, the 2503 blew spray down and out perfectly, landing nary a drop on the tempered-glass windshield. Overall, this Trophy handles like a dream.
A 7-mph trolling speed displayed some subsurface turbulence from the props. Other than that, the wake appeared totally clear.
Drift fishing resulted in a remarkably short roll moment with gentle transitions, making for an amazingly stable platform.
In the short space between big seas and the manatee zone, I managed to get up on plane in three seconds, and then wind up the 2503 to 44 mph at 5,700 rpm, burning 32 gph total. Given more space, I might have gotten another mile or two per hour out of her. Cruising speed turned out to be a very respectable 36.3 mph, burning 18.6 gph for a range of about 280 miles.
The Lenco electric trim tabs in recessed pockets handled both side-to-side and fore-and-aft trim perfectly. This particular boat had tachometers, a speedometer, a voltmeter and a fuel gauge. I would install oil- and water-pressure gauges as well.
Trophy boats have been hard-core fishing machines from day one. Nothing has changed there.
The cockpit works really well with a small, insulated bait box and cutting board in the starboard corner, a molded sink with freshwater shower hose in the port corner, raw-water washdown close at hand and the 30-gallon livewell just behind you in the leaning post when you're standing at the transom. Whether you're trolling dead bait, fishing live bait or bottomfishing using cut bait and chum, the transom work area fits the bill. Trophy provides two rod holders under the gunwales and two more flush-mounts, plus another single rocket launcher on centerline on the outside of the transom. The gunwales are designed to accept additional DIY rod holders. As has become the norm on center consoles today, the 2503 sports a fold-down transom seat for a more comfortable ride out to the fishing grounds.
Design and Construction
Trophy provides a large, interesting dry-storage space under the leaning post. Accessed by lifting the seat bottom, the floorboards of the compartment lift out, revealing ship's batteries. Generally, I like the design of the leaning post, though I would prefer the seat back to be bolted to the frame rather than attached with suction cups. It pulls off very easily, leaving the metal frame. If Trophy engineers want it to be removable, they need to remove the frame as well as the seat back.
A built-in swim ladder adds safety offshore and makes climbing into the boat at the ramp much easier.
|BEAM||8 ft. 6 in.|
|HULL DRAFT||1 ft. 9 in.|
Trophy mounts a stainless anchor roller on the rounded bow, complete with fixed centerline cleat. The accompanying large anchor locker drains directly overboard.
Though this Trophy provides bench seating forward with insulated fish boxes within each, they've made them even more utilitarian. A hi-lo table with its own removable cushion lowers and combines with the seat cushions to convert the entire area to a sun deck. To match that leisure-time attitude, you'll find loads of drink holders throughout the boat.
I particularly liked Trophy's molded fiberglass T-top with integral wiring tunnels. The company even powder-coated the windshield frame.
From an aesthetic standpoint, I don't think Trophy has ever built a boat with more attractive lines.