“That’s a gorgeous ride.” Though I was alone, I spoke that compliment aloud as the revamped Yellowfin 34 Offshore idled into harbor at the Centennial Park launch ramp in Sarasota, Florida. The gracefully sweeping sheer line and flaring bow, set off by the whisper-gray hullsides and three white Mercury 400R Verado outboards, made me long for a new boat such as this.
Snapping back to the business at hand, I shook off the new-boat envy, grabbed my gear, and hustled down the dock to meet Wylie Nagler, owner and president of Yellowfin, as he tied up the 34.
As Nagler welcomed me aboard on this warm, sunny late-summer morning, I reiterated my admiration for the boat’s sleek lines. “Just wait until you see how well it runs, then you’ll really be impressed,” Nagler said.
The new 34 retains the proven twin-step running surface of its predecessor model (aside from a few hull refinements here and there, Nagler noted), which was introduced in 2005. Yet, the interior has undergone recent revisions to enhance the all-important angling effectiveness, as well as add greater comfort on those days when catching fish might not be a priority.
As we made our way under the John Ringling Causeway and toward Big Sarasota Pass, Nagler explained that the console and helm seating have been shifted about 15 inches forward in this version. That creates a surprising amount of extra room when fishing from the aft cockpit, he pointed out.
Moving major interior components around is not as simple as it might seem. For one, it requires expensive new tooling for the deck mold. Second, when you move one thing, it affects everything else in the layout. Another consideration is maintaining the proper center of gravity.
However, all the adjustments were worthwhile in giving anglers extra room to work lines and battle fish, said Nagler, who serves as the chief designer for the Yellowfin line. The aft cockpit now measures 5¼ feet long by 8½ feet wide. Gunwale height is 26 inches in the stern quarters.
Adding to the fishability is the remarkable lateral stability of the 34, which sports a 10-foot beam and is engineered with a greater chine width than similarly sized center-console boats. “This creates a more stable platform,” Nagler said. He invited me to join him along the starboard side, then we walked together to port and back again as the boat sat at rest in a 2-foot cross-sea.
“To really demonstrate the stability, we need four adults moving side to side, but as you can see, the boat refuses to lean as we shift our weight from one gunwale to the other,” he added.
While you might expect a rougher ride with the chines set out so wide, that is not necessarily the case. “If the boat is designed correctly, there is no downside to a wider chine width,” he said.
I found that the 34 abounds with bait capacity, thanks to a 50-gallon central livewell in the transom and a 55-gallon well under the aft-facing bench seat behind the helm seating. Both are pressurized and sport clear-acrylic covers to seal the wells and prevent splashing while underway. There’s plenty of fish-hold capacity in the form of twin 60-quart insole lockers forward. An optional coffin box is available for the 34 that fits over the massive 460-quart central insole stowage locker in the bow.
Fast and Smooth
I loved running this boat. The hull lifts almost instantly with minimal bow rise out of the hole. The triple 400R Verados, swinging 20.5-inch-pitch Mercury Enertia Eco XB three-blade stainless-steel propellers, vaulted the 34 to plane in 4 seconds and reached 30 mph in 7 seconds.
With the twin steps helping to reduce hydrodynamic drag, the 34 reached an exhilarating top speed of 72.2 mph at 6,800 rpm, where the three 400R Verados burned 113 gallons per hour for 0.64 mpg.
We achieved peak efficiency at 3,000 rpm and 29 mph, where the Verados burned 17 gph for 1.7 mpg. That equates to a range of more than 700 miles based on the 419-gallon fuel capacity.
The 34 seemed to skim across the top of the 2- to 3-foot seas in the Gulf, knifing smoothly through the occasional steeper set. Handling proved precise and predictable, no matter how sharply I carved turns or what direction or speed I challenged the waves. Mercury’s standard power-steering system made cornering fingertip easy. Twin flush-mounted Simrad NSO evo3 19-inch multifunction displays helped guide us in and out of the pass.
My test boat also sported a softer side in the form of optional wraparound bow seating. Motorized backrests quickly convert the seating to a pair of inviting loungers, and you can order a filler cushion to transform this area into an expansive sun pad.
This is complemented by a forward console seat that lets you join others in the bow. The seat also hinges upward to reveal a step-down compartment where you can stash a marine head.
Yes, the Yellowfin 34 Offshore is a gorgeous fishing machine that inspires envy, even from afar. Once you’re aboard, out on the water, and punch the throttles, the envy grows even stronger.
- Wraparound bow seating w/ electric backrests ($5,450)
- Deluxe hardtop with rear supports ($8,300)