My Fish Trial of the Everglades new 435cc began at Mangrove Marina in Tavernier in the Florida Keys, where I met captains Ruben Diaz and James Wise. Both were raring to go as I walked down the dock just before sunrise. As soon as I stepped aboard, Diaz lit the four Yamaha F350 outboards — the maximum power package for the 435cc.
I wondered how tough it would be to extract this boat — at a length of 45 feet with outboards — from its slip and pivot in the tight alley. The answer came quickly. Diaz employed the Yamaha Helm Master joystick control, which made low-speed maneuvers a walk in the park.
Once clear of the no-wake zone, the quad F350s vaulted us to plane, and we cruised along the glassy waters on the Gulf of Mexico side of the Keys and out Snake Creek Pass into the Atlantic at 5,800 rpm and around 57 mph, according to the Yamaha Command Link Plus display. Handling proved superb as we wound our way along the circuitous channel. The Helm Master power steering made easy work of controlling the quad 350s.
We angled northeast toward the Key Largo Fisheries Marina to pick up live goggle-eyes, which one of Wise’s fishing buddies had waiting for us at his dock. As we scooped out two-dozen gogs from the holding pen, I realized that the 435cc delivers big-time live-bait capacity. There are two 60-gallon transom livewells, though we used only the starboard well on this day. There’s a locker in between that we used for stowing fenders.
We headed back out with the idea of targeting dolphin in 300 feet of water off Key Largo. Though the skies looked threatening, the wind was just 5 knots out of the west and seas less than a foot. “I’ve already had this boat in 8- to 10-foot seas, and it handled the conditions well,” says Diaz, “It’s always nice to have a big boat under you, but especially in those kind of waves.”
The calm conditions on test day gave me a chance to sample the abundant seating, which includes three units across the helm. The middle seat is reserved for the helmsman (as the 435cc features a central helm at the big console) with the outer seats for crew. With great lumbar and thigh support, fold-out armrests and an angled footrest at the console base, these seats are as comfortable as they come. Individual flip-up bolsters let you turn each seat into a leaning post.
The 435cc features a second module with a 4-foot, 5-inch-wide fold-out, forward-facing “backseat,” so to speak, for up to three crew members. “You have first-class up front and coach seating here,” Wise joked, as he folded out the bench seat.
A fold-down foot bar gives you a place to stretch your legs. A Yeti 110-quart cooler also slides on rails from under the forward module, so you can grab a snack or beverage while in the backseat. One of the cool little details I liked were special trays behind the backrest for stashing cellphones.
Another bench seat, suitable for just one person, folds out from the back of the aft module, and yet a third 4-foot-wide bench folds out from the transom. All of the bench seats quickly stow when fishing action heats up.
The backside of the aft seating module also features a covered rigging/tackle station with a sink, freshwater faucet, raw-water washdown and cutting boards. The underside of the hinged cover comes with racks for knives, pliers and leader material. Below are 10 tackle drawers
I found a great place to relax in front of the center console: a padded lounger with an angled back and armrests that, at 5 feet wide and nearly 4 feet long, comfortably accommodates two. Underneath the lounge is cavernous dry storage — a place I found handy for stowing my camera case and foul-weather gear. The foredeck features elevated pods on both sides with more dry storage. Snap-on pads turn these into additional places to stretch out.
We employed the 435cc’s three flat-mounted Garmin GPSMAP 7215 15-inch displays en route to the offshore grounds, using one as a chart plotter, one as a fish finder, and the third to control and enjoy the Fusion eight-speaker sound system. The boat was also equipped with a Garmin GMR 24 xHD open-array radar, GPH 20 autopilot and GSD 26 sounder with dual CHIRP transducers.
Everglades’ patented closed-molded RAMCAP construction technology results in a superstrong hull, as evidenced by nary a creak or rattle as we blasted offshore. Integral foam flotation results in an unsinkable hull. With the 435cc, Everglades has eschewed the popular trend toward stepped hulls for offshore center-console fishing machines, instead offering a variable-deadrise deep-V design with 25 degrees at the transom.
The center console and hardtop are constructed as a single integrated unit, with the footing for the powder-coated-aluminum hardtop frame anchored to the stringers below deck. The hardtop extends well aft to also shade the aft seating module. To stow rods while not fishing, we used the horizontal rack under the hardtop, which can handle up to six sticks. The top also features six dome lights, two aft-facing LED floodlights and one facing forward.
This boat also had a telescoping SureShade canopy to provide shade for the expansive 200-square-foot aft cockpit. Three angled rod holders at each aft corner of the hardtop are placed so they will not interfere with the canopy function.
In an Everglades’ trademark feature, the hydraulically operated tempered-glass windshield retracts downward — something we used to get a refreshing breeze while idling in to get bait. Yet we slid it up to protect the helm while running at speed to the fishing grounds.
Tower of Power
Once we arrived, Diaz ascended to the 435cc’s elevated second helm station, using the integral steps on the aft uprights of the hardtop frame to climb atop the covered rigging station. He then employed the central ladder and access hatch in the hardtop. With the overcast skies, spotting weed lines proved a bit easier from on high.
Wise and I slow-trolling bridled goggle-eyes. I found that the 435cc trolls down to 4.5 mph with all four F350s at dead idle. You can turn off two of the engines to troll down even slower. Eleven stainless-steel gunwale rod holders give you a number of choices for rod placement, whether trolling, drifting or kite-fishing.
As I manned the rods, I admired the diamond nonskid sole. The same pattern covers the gunwale tops. In the splashwell, a tread pattern offers a nonskid surface. Large scuppers in the aft corners drain water out the sides of the boat. Polished stainless-steel grates can be removed to clean underneath. An inward-opening side-utility door on the port side of the cockpit makes boarding from a floating dock easy, and also lets you pull aboard monster fish.
A number of handy compartments are built into the inwales of the 435cc, including locking storage for up to four rods on each side. This is in addition to four-tier horizontal racks for rods, gaffs and deck brushes on each side. A toe rail amidships offers secure footing while gaffing a fish. You’ll also find spigots for freshwater and raw-water washdown hoses under the gunwales, as well as two 30-amp power ports for electric kite reels.
In another example of going big, the 435cc has a 225-gallon insole fish locker under the foredeck and a 45-gallon bait fridge/freezer/fish box under the aft deck. A cavernous anchor locker holding 375 feet of anchor line and 16 feet of chain features a concealed windlass to deploy and retrieve the standard 35-pound stainless-steel plow anchor through the in-stem roller.
The 435cc has one of those voluminous center consoles you can live in. With 6½ feet of headroom, this console cabin features a padded berth measuring 6 feet, 8 inches long and 4 feet, 9 inches wide. At the touch of a button, it electrically converts to an aft-facing couch seat.
The interior also features a -microwave, sink with a freshwater faucet, faux-granite countertop, vanity mirror, shower, hot-water heater, 10,000 BTU air conditioner, 110-volt AC power, and a china-bowl marine toilet with a 30-gallon holding tank. A lighted etched-glass partition adds a final touch of class.
Release the Horses
We fished hard for four hours with little to show for our effort, likely the result of a steady west wind in the days preceding our trip, according to Wise, who guides regularly in the upper Keys. We did get two bites, one of which missed the hook and the other clipped the 40-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. “Probably a king mackerel,” said Wise.
With the morning behind us, we decided see how the 435cc would perform carrying 342 gallons of fuel, 75 gallons of fresh water, and 120 gallons of seawater in the livewells, in addition to the crew and our gear. Using the sync function on the Yamaha electronic throttle and shift lever, I poured the coals to the quartet of V-8s.
Spinning 21-inch-pitch propellers on the inside two F350s and 19-inch-pitch props on the outside two, we reached 30 mph in 8.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 58.2 mph at 6,000 rpm, where the engines burned 133 gallons per hour for 0.44 mpg. The best mpg came at 4,000 rpm and 37.3 mph, with a burn rate of 54.4 gph for 0.68 mpg and 387.6 miles of range with the 570-gallon fuel capacity. Earlier testing by Yamaha Outboards resulted in a top speed of 59.7 mph at 6,250 rpm.
Ultimately, I walked away impressed from my day of fishing aboard the 435cc. Everglades has blended strong performance, high quality, superb comfort and copious features in a big‑time fishing machine.