The Fish Trial**** of Pursuit’s new DC 325 in early June 2014 proved to be one of my most unusual boat tests in more ways than one. On a windless, sultry day, the Atlantic Ocean off Fort Pierce, Florida, laid peaceful — a welcome respite from the usual lumpy, wind-blown conditions I had experienced on all my previous boat tests this year.
This trip marked the first time I’d fished offshore from a dual-console boat. It was also a first for David Glenn, marketing director for S2 Yachts (parent company of Pursuit Boats), and his best friend, Sonny Hendrix, who joined us for a day of dolphin fishing.
Before heading offshore, we rendezvoused with a local bait boat near the Fort Pierce Marina to load the DC 325’s 25-gallon covered livewell — on the transom bulkhead’s port side — with 50 pilchards, in case we wanted to cast baits to dolphin or other fish.
The Pursuit cruised out at 32 mph, powered by a pair of counterrotating Yamaha F300 four-stroke outboards, which were turning 4,000 rpm. The DC 325 features an infused, fiberglass structural-grid -construction system, a factor I could sense in the quiet -confidence of the hull.
When not driving from the plush captain’s chair, my favorite seat was the aft portion of the lounger on the port side opposite the helm. It features fold-down armrests and a backrest that’s angled perfectly when facing forward.
I tried the wraparound bow loungers (each with fold-down armrests), the aft-facing cockpit seat on the port side, and the fold-out and one on the port side) in the cockpit. There’s not a bad seat on the boat.
How Does It Fish?
Let’s cut to the key question: How well does this dual-console fish? I learned that the DC 325 fishes every bit as well as an express sport-fisher of similar size.
Many anglers have tried to compare dual-console boats to center-console boats, quickly pointing out that you can’t fight a fish down the side. Yet, that’s not really a fair comparison.
A dual-console is more akin to an express sport-fisher but with an open bow. You can’t fight a fish down the side of most express models, but that has not dampened desire among anglers for that type of boat.
“This boat was designed for -families who want to do a lot of things on the water, including day cruising, diving, entertaining and, yes, fishing,” says Glenn.
Setting Out a Spread
We found a color break about 13 miles offshore in about 80 feet of water, so Glenn decided to put out a trolling spread, using the optional Rupp Revolution 18-foot outriggers built into the integral hardtop. He set a medium-length trolling line to starboard, and to port a “county line.” (“It’s so far back, it’s in the next county,” he explained with a chuckle.) He also ran two daisy-chain squid rigs as teasers ahead of rigged ballyhoo (which we kept in the covered bait compartment in the center of the transom).
The DC 325, which features a completely new running surface, laid down a relatively flat wake with clean trolling lanes at 1,400 rpm. One of the twin Raymarine e125 Hybrid-Touch multifunction displays indicated a speed over ground of 5 to 6 mph. The optional Raymarine electronics package includes a CP300 sounder module, 55 VHF radio and one e125 display. The second display, Raymarine 4 kW high-definition color radar with a dome antenna, and the autopilot on our boat were add-ons.
It didn’t take long to find fish; the county line got bit first. A dolphin went airborne. Hendrix slowed down slightly but kept the boat moving — a critical factor when fighting any sizable fish from a dual-console. I picked up the rod as Glenn cleared the lines and instructed me. “We’re going to keep the boat moving, and once the fish has tired, I want you to bring it along the starboard side of the cockpit where I can gaff it,” he said.
That’s exactly how it played out. After a few photos, we iced the 15-pound cow dolphin in the starboard in-sole fish locker — one of two 36-gallon insulated fish boxes under the cockpit deck. We cleaned up the diamond nonskid deck with the raw-water washdown system (there’s also a freshwater shower head in the cockpit on a retractable hose) and started fishing again.
Unique Transom Design
While re-deploying one of the teaser lines, I noted that the swim steps on either side of the integral outboard bracket extended farther aft than most — nearly to the back of the outboard cowlings.
This allows you to step farther back (via a transom door in the starboard corner) to wrangle a hooked fish around the outboards. For the future, Pursuit plans to equip the exterior transom bulkhead with a step-across so you can move easily from one platform to another. The starboard swim step also has a pull-out Garelick boarding adder for climbing back aboard after taking a dip.
The DC 325 comes standard with a rod holder in each gunwale, with an option for three more — one additional rod holder in each gunwale and one in the center of the transom. There is also an undergunwale horizontal rod rack on the starboard side. In addition, you’ll find lockable storage for four rods inside the port console.
Where you might expect to see rod holders along the aft edge of the hardtop, this boat features a retractable electric sunshade. Once deployed from inside the hardtop, it offers shade for the cockpit.
Within five minutes of resetting the lines, we were bit. This time, other dolphin followed as Hendrix fought the hooked fish to the boat. I grabbed a spinning rod, pinned on a pilchard from the transom livewell, and cast to a “shadow fish,” and we quickly had a double.
To keep the boat moving slowly forward while we dealt with the fish, we engaged the Raymarine autopilot, which was interfaced with the optional Yamaha Helm Master system.
The fact that we were able to fight and land two active dolphin from the cockpit of a dual-console serves as strong testament to the prowess of these boats as fishing machines. Adding to the comfort of the experience were coaming bolsters that rimmed the cockpit (except the transom door).
With a box full of iced mahi, we decided to pull in the lines and head farther offshore to look for wahoo. To shield the helm deck from wind blast, the DC 325’s -wraparound windshield reaches all the way to the hardtop. You can completely shield crew by closing the center section of the windshield, but it also has a visor you can open at the top for a bit of ventilation. There’s also a door to close off the walk-through.
We took advantage of the downtime to grab some cold drinks and deli sandwiches from the built-in cooler under the portside aft-facing seat in the cockpit. The seas were so flat, we could have used the galley on the starboard side abaft the captain’s chair, which featured an optional 120-volt electric grill, to cook up some burgers. It also has a small Isotherm refrigerator/freezer. To power both, our DC 325 was equipped with an optional 4.2 kW Fischer Panda diesel generator, as well as a standard shore-power system.
The DC 325 features a cozy berth within the port console. This is in addition to an enclosed head with a vacuum-flush toilet, shower, and vanity with a Corian countertop in the -starboard console. Our boat also featured two optional air-conditioning systems — one for the cabin areas inside the twin consoles and the other for the helm deck.
In an innovative touch, the -companionway to each console compartment features a dual-action doorway in which the overhead hatch slides out of the way as you swing open the door. No more banging your head if you forget to open the overhead hatch.
Speaking of innovation, I really like the windlass setup. Like many boats today, the anchor is deployed and retrieved through a slot in the stem below the forepeak. The windlass is a Lewmar Pro Series model, but with this system, the anchor line feeds under a special roller that maintains tension, helping the gypsy keep a secure bite.
Unfortunately, the wahoo proved scarce, so we reeled in the lines and took advantage of the calm sea conditions to gather performance data while offshore. Though carrying 250 gallons of gasoline, 30 gallons of fresh water, live bait, ice, drinks, food, fish and three adult males, the twin F300s pushed the DC 325 to an impressive top speed 49.4 mph. Our best mpg of 1.27 at 4,000 rpm and 32.4 mph means this boat offers a range of more than 380 miles with the 300-gallon fuel capacity.
That kind of range is sure to please anyone who takes delivery of the new Pursuit DC 325. With the comfort and versatility of this boat, most crews will want to stay out on the water for a long time, particularly after they learn how well this dual-console can fish.
POWER: Twin Yamaha F300 outboards
LOAD: 250 gallons of fuel, three adults, fishing gear, ice, full livewell, 30 gallons of fresh water
TOP SPEED: 49.4 mph* @ 5,800 rpm
TIME TO 30 MPH: 10.9 sec.*
BEST MPG 1.27 @ 32.4 mph (4,000 rpm)
* On Yamaha performance tests and with a lighter load, the DC 325 topped out at 51 mph and reached 30 mph in 9.6 seconds.
LOA: 34 ft. 6 in.
BEAM: 10 ft. 10 in.
DEADRISE: 20 deg.
WEIGHT: 11,775 lb. (dry w/ engines)
DRAFT: 32 in. (motors down); 22 in. (motors up)
FUE:L 300 gal.
MAX POWER: 600 hp
BASE MSRP $285,000*
*(with optional electronics and power as tested; add $76,595 for other options as tested)
Fort Pierce, Florida