A stiff autumn wind painted Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway with white streaks of foam on the morning I met Timo Turkki at the Bryant Park launch ramp in West Palm Beach. Turkki, general manager of the Marine Connection, the local Cobia dealer, had the new Cobia 301CC in tow.
“Nice weather,” he said with a wry smile as we shook hands.
“Actually, pretty good for a boat test but bad for fishing,” I replied.
With a forecast for gale-force winds and offshore seas to 9 feet, we scrubbed our fishing plans. But we still launched the boat and put it through its paces.
The 301CC replaces the 296CC in the Cobia family, utilizing the same proven running surface but with refinements to the interior that maximize cockpit space, enhance fishability and add comfort.
Perched in one of the two Llebroc helm seats, I pegged the throttles for the twin Yamaha F300s and headed north on the ICW. Each seat is adjustable fore and aft, and features fold‑down armrests and flip-up bolsters.
As we slowed down to idle through a manatee zone, Turkki took the wheel while I inspected the covered rigging/bait-prep station behind the seating module. I found a sink with a pullout freshwater hose and insulated cooler. Below are drawers for tackle stowage. The module occupies a more compact footprint than the one on the 296CC, adding 8 inches to the length of the aft cockpit.
The new console integrates the hardtop frame, and that creates more-spacious walkways compared with the 296CC. I found access on the front of the console to a step-down, fully lined head compartment. Inside was a permanent marine toilet and molded-in vanity with a sink, freshwater faucet (that pulls out to become a shower nozzle) and two drawers for toiletries. The front of the console door features upholstered seating with an insulated cooler underneath.
Back at the helm, the 35-inch-wide dash panel accommodates a pair of Garmin 16-inch multifunction displays. In keeping with one of Cobia’s trademarks, there are two overhead boxes — one facing aft and another facing forward. Other nifty elements include a glove compartment and a cubby (perfect for stashing sunscreen) just above the footrest.
Tackling Big Seas
We picked up the pace and soon came to a bend in the channel leading to Lake Worth Inlet and a menacing caldron of steep, tightly packed 5-foot rollers. “Here we go,” said Turkki as the deep-V met the seas head-on. The 301CC rode smoothly up the face of each wave, landing softly on the backside to greet the next.
The optional SeaStar Solutions Optimus power-assist hydraulic steering and Yamaha electronic throttle and shift eased the task of negotiating the rough water, especially when coming about. In the down-sea run, the power of the twin 300s kept the boat ahead of the waves.
Once back in the relative calm of the Intracoastal, I checked out the fishing features, which include a pair of 28-gallon pressurized transom livewells with latching clear acrylic covers. Five rod holders line the aft edge of the hardtop with optional, angled kingfish rod holders on each side. Trolling rod holders line the gunwales and transom, and I found racks for horizontal rod stowage for three sticks under each gunwale.
Bring ‘Em Aboard
For boating big fish, the 301CC features an inward-opening tuna door on the starboard side that doubles as a convenient way to step aboard or go diving. If you plan to keep fish, this Cobia will oblige with twin overboard-draining fish lockers under the forward seating modules and another pair of macerated lockers under the aft deck.
There’s a softer side to this fishing machine as well. You can create twin bow loungers with optional swing-out backrests and seat cushions, and expand it to a full sun pad by raising the motorized table (which recesses in the deck when retracted) halfway and adding a center cushion. Or you can remove the center cushion and elevate the table all the way, then sit down, relax, socialize, and enjoy some snacks and cold drinks.
There’s even more seating in the stern, thanks to a foldout transom bench. Access to rigging and pumps belowdecks is easy thanks to a motorized transom hatch.
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I was more than pleased with the performance of the 301CC. The boat popped on plane in 3 seconds and reached 30 mph in 6 seconds. It achieved a top speed of 59 mph at 5,800 rpm, where the twin Yamaha 300s burned 53 gallons per hour for 1.1 mpg. The most efficient speed occurred at 3,500 rpm and 33.5 mpg, where the outboards consumed 18.1 gph for 1.85 mpg. That equates to a cruising range of more than 400 miles based on the 230-gallon fuel capacity.
If you’re looking for a center console in the 30-foot range that offers beaucoup fishing features, plus top performance and creature comforts, take a close look at the Cobia 301CC.
Power: Twin Yamaha F300s
Load: 95 gal. fuel, two crew
Top Speed: 59 mph @ 5,800 rpm
Time to 30 MPH: 6 sec.
Best MPG: 1.85 @ 33.5 mph (3,500 rpm)
LOA: 29 ft. 7 in.
Beam: 10 ft.
Deadrise: 21.5 deg.
Dry Weight: 5,915 lb. (w/o engines)
Draft: 1 ft. 9 in.
Fuel: 230 gal.
Max Power: 600 hp
MSRP: $168,006 (base w/ twin Yamaha F300s)
• SeaStar Solutions Optimus electric steering ($3,855)
• Deluxe windlass, chain, rope, anchor and stem chafe guard ($2,141)
• Forward-facing bow backrests ($684)
Fort Pierce, Florida