Most of my Fish Trials start as early in the day as possible, but for this evaluation of Cobia’s new 277CC, Capt. Geoff Page suggested we meet at the ramp after lunch to target snook in Florida’s Sarasota Bay. As Page explained it, “That will give us a chance to see how this 27-foot-7-inch center-console handles the afternoon chop, and to judge its ability to fish relatively shallow water.” I found the prospect intriguing and agreed to the timing.
When I met Page at Sarasota’s Centennial Park boat launch in early June, he had already netted enough pilchards to fill the Cobia’s 42-gallon transom livewell. The oval-shaped cylindrical tank features a clear acrylic lid that lets you keep an eye on the liveys and prevents water from sloshing into the cockpit.
The Cobia 277CC is primarily an offshore machine. The hull handled 2- to 3-foot wind waves with smooth confidence thanks to 21 degrees of deadrise at the transom, a sharp entry, a sweeping sheer line and a bow flare that tosses seas aside for a super-dry ride. Yet many boating anglers do not live on blue water alone. How many times have you wanted to cut out of work early and shoot out to fish the bay? My Fish Trial of the 277CC proved that you don’t need a bay boat for such occasional jaunts.
Before we got to the great fishing, I discovered that Cobia has not forgotten the many anglers who also like to use its boats for cruising.
Along the full transom, I found a 54-inch-wide fold-out bench seat for entertaining or letting crew members rest when running between fishing spots. A backrest fits in the two transom rod holders. The bench seat folds away quickly into its own recess when it’s time to fish from the aft self-bailing cockpit, which measures 8 feet wide and 3 feet 9 inches in length. To access the bilge rigging, the entire interior wall of the transom bulkhead pivots upward on a motorized lift.
A transom gate in the port quarter leads to integral aft swim platforms and a covered stainless-steel telescoping boarding ladder on the port side.
Comforts take shape in the bow with snap-on cushions and two backrests that form a pair of forward-facing loungers. An insert between the two 18½-inch-tall bow platforms allows for wraparound seating.
An electrically operated table rises to create a forward sun pad at mid-elevation or a dining table when fully elevated. Take out the cushions and backrests and retract the table for fishing action.
Even hardcore anglers will appreciate the privacy offered by the head compartment inside the center console. It features a permanent electric marine toilet, a vanity and sink with a freshwater faucet, and a mirror. Accessible via a door on the forward face of the console, the step-down head compartment has a full fiberglass liner and portholes on both sides for light and ventilation. The console door includes a 62-quart insulated cooler built into the base.
At the Helm
Comfort levels extend to the helm, which features a pair of bucket seats with flip-up bolsters and fold-down armrests. As we made the 5-mile run to our fishing spot, I found the seats very supportive. An aluminum footrest folds out from the seating module, and there’s a built-in angled footrest below the helm. In a compartment at the base of the seat, I found three 31-series marine batteries. Abaft the module, Cobia installed a cabinet with slide-out racks for plastic tackle boxes, and two drawers for stowing items such as spools of line and tools.
The 39-inch-wide helm panel will accommodate a number of optional factory electronics packages from Garmin, including a pair of Garmin GPSMAP 7616xsv 16-inch multifunction displays. My tester came with Yamaha Command Link displays for monitoring the twin Yamaha F200 outboards. A panel of easy-to-reach marine toggle switches lets you control onboard systems.
SeaStar Solutions hydraulic steering offered superb control. A portside tilt-and-lock stainless-steel steering wheel with turning knob let me adjust the helm to the position I preferred. Lenco trim tabs allow for fine-tuning the running attitude. Below the helm is a cool glove box for stashing small items such as mobile phones and sunglasses. The top of the console features a wraparound clear acrylic windshield. A fiddle along the aft edge keeps small items from sliding off. My tester featured an optional two-tone (white top, dark blue underside) fiberglass hardtop with integral LED spreader lights (one fore and two aft), LED dome lights, four stereo speakers and a white powder-coated aluminum frame. In a unique design touch, Cobia created two overhead boxes — one in the conventional spot over the helm, and another that you have to turn around and face aft to open. It is a great storage cubby for paper charts and tide logs.
Page knew exactly where to find snook. We eased into the clear shallows off a rocky, wind-swept point. “There they are,” he said, pointing to clouds of fish cruising the sandy area next to the rocks. While our 277CC came equipped with a recessed anchor roller in the stem and an electric windlass, the captain decided to bring his own ground tackle rather than dirty the anchor and rode aboard a new boat graciously loaned to us by the local dealership, Ingman Marine in Sarasota.
I manned the wheel and motored slowly forward while Page stood ready at the bow. Once he felt we were in the correct position, he dropped the anchor and paid out scope as I reversed the 277CC toward the point. The Yamaha electronic throttle and shift made the job super easy for me.
As we settled back, Page hustled aft to the transom livewell, pinned on a pilchard, and cast toward the shore rocks. Within seconds, he was bit. A feisty snook went airborne, then burned line from the light spinning outfit. Page followed the fish across the transom, opened the transom gate, and landed the fish from the port swim platform.
If we had been fishing for meat, we would have had plenty of room to ice fish thanks to a pair of in-sole 47-gallon insulated fish boxes flanking the aft cockpit. We quickly took a few photos and released the snook.
Now it was my turn. I braced my thighs on the padded coaming bolsters along the gunwales and used the optional toe rails for additional security on the grit-style nonskid deck as I cast a live pilchard toward the rock-sand transition. Almost instantly the line snapped taut, and I reeled down to set the hook. The snook vaulted skyward, then ran down the edge of the oyster-encrusted rocks. I palmed the reel to slow its advance. The fish turned but continued to bore for bottom until finally tiring and sliding boat-side.
This was the kind of action Page and I enjoyed for the next hour. We released more than 20 snook, but then it was time to find out how the 277CC performed.
Swift and Efficient
We retreated to flat water in Sarasota Bay to gather performance data. Turning 14¼-inch-diameter-by-18-inch-pitch, three-blade stainless-steel PowerTech propellers, the twin F200s pushed the Cobia to plane in 3.8 seconds and reached 30 mph in 8 seconds. Top speed was 49.2 mph at 5,800 rpm, where the motors consumed 38.4 gallons per hour for 1.28 mpg.
Optimum cruising efficiency was a commendable 2.2 mpg at 27.2 mph (3,500 rpm), which equates to a maximum range of more than 415 miles, based on the 189-gallon fuel capacity.
Ultimately, the Cobia 277CC is all about flexibility, giving anglers the opportunity to either entertain in comfort or fish in earnest. Plus, this boat will fish well in a variety of saltwater situations. From blue water to bay fishing, the smooth-riding, capable and efficient 277CC can take you there and back in safety and comfort.