I can hardly imagine a day less enticing for offshore fishing, when you know you probably should be someplace else and you’re the only boat visible. The waters off Jacksonville were sporty indeed, with a north wind at 20 mph pushing cold air to create a wind chill of 25 degrees. Seas 3 feet high and four seconds apart made for a good, if frigid, challenge.
I knew this Sea Pro 255 promised extraordinary performance when I decided to try it on just one engine. It got up on plane on the single engine faster than most other 25-footers get up with twins. And if you ever have to, you can run home that way at an amazing 33.9 mph. With both Evinrude Ficht 150 Ocean Pros running, time to plane – at a hair under two seconds – was the fastest of any boat I’ve ever been aboard.
In the agitated sea conditions, 3,500 rpm at 24 mph proved a very comfortable speed to take the waves head on. Top speed in calm water with a half-load of fuel was 49.9 mph at 5,500 rpm. I appreciated the substantial bow flare that kept the spray from curling up onto the windshield quite nicely – since wind chill has a way of feeling even colder when you’re wet.
Many boats capable of turning sharply toss passengers across the boat in the process and still take four or five boat-lengths to complete the turn. The 255 CC can reverse direction in an astonishing two boat-lengths by reacting very much like a jet boat. Turn the wheel hard over at speed and the rear end slides around – all perfectly controlled and efficient. This ability may be due to a modest 18-degree deadrise at the transom and the deepest lifting strakes terminating halfway back from the bow.
The 255 lands nicely stern-first after launching off waves at high speed. But I sensed the boat much preferred to take seas in non-airborne fashion.
I’m somewhat neurotic about keeping both engines running at the same rpm. These Ficht engines perform so quietly, especially heading into the wind, it’s virtually impossible to synchronize them. I’d love to see OMC come up with decent gauges with at least a synchro indicator as well as decent trim switches for the engines.
Quite honestly, I hated the idea of spending hours shivering while trying to catch fish. Heading farther offshore was unthinkable. Even slow-trolling the inlet mouth for smoker kings seemed unbearable. However, in the short time there, several fishing considerations did become immediately apparent. The steep angle of the rod storage on the back of the helm seat leaves the large cockpit uncluttered. A bar to lock your toes under runs along both sides and engenders a secure feeling when leaning overboard. And the freeboard allows a comfortable reach to the water. The transom fishing center with its sink, rigged-bait storage chest, live baitwell and molded-in tackle boxes along with near-at-hand storage for 14 rods allows the angler to perform every fishing function without ever having to move from standing square on centerline at the transom. Exceptional convenience.
Looking at this Sea Pro from outside the boat, you’d expect the half-height bow rail to be too tall to fish over. However, with a different perspective inside the boat, it’s quickly apparent that the sizable step up to the casting deck in the bow elevates the angler enough to make fishing over the rail a snap.
One engine in gear offers ideal live-bait speed. Drift fishermen will particularly appreciate the ability to steer the 255 down-sea in neutral, setting the boat at any point from one beam to the sea to the other.
This center-console with classic offshore shear lines provides all the features you’d expect from any quality fishing boat. Substantial fish boxes which drain overboard and an anchor locker with a molded anchor hanger fill out the bow area. Aft you’ll find in-transom hatches hiding tackle drawers and batteries. I particularly like the placement of the oil reservoir fills on the outboard side of the transom. I inevitably spill some when I’m filling the oil tanks and much prefer washing it off the swim platform than out of the bilge.
In addition to the in-console storage, the 255 comes with two coolers – fore and aft – as well as other storage compartments. I’d like to see an indentation on the console at floor level so the helmsman can have a bit more foot room. Otherwise, the boat works extremely well for even the largest people with big walkways past the console and a very spacious cockpit.
Sea Pro uses absolutely no wood in its boats. The transom consists of a solid, composite core while the deck laminates both solid and honeycomb coring. Foam-filled stringers bond to the deck with polyester putty, making the hull, stringers and deck virtually one piece. In fact, the only access point for any water in the bilge is via the anchor locker. Water that enters there runs through the foam-filled hull in a PVC channel, ending up in a small bilge pump space near the transom.
I look for balance in life wherever possible. This Sea Pro 255 CC offers excellent balance between price, quality, performance and aesthetics.