NauticStar 265 XTS: 2018 Boat Buyers Guide

Born for the bay, the new NauticStar 265 XTS is at home offshore too.

NauticStar 265 XTS
LOA: 26'2" | Beam: 9' | Fuel Capacity: 74 gal. | Dry Weight: 4,200 lb. plus power | Max Horsepower: 350 | Seating / Weight Capacity: 10 persons / 1,800 lb.Courtesy of NauticStar

Those with experience in NauticStar boats know them as solid, comfortable, sea­worthy and safe platforms for fishing. The proof’s in our survey responses.

The company makes more than two dozen bay, deck and offshore boat models, 18 to 28 feet, for professional and recreational anglers, plus families and pleasure boaters, who all find the boats budget- friendly, well-appointed and comfortable.

The Mississippi-based company, which has been making boats for more than 25 years, is now part of the MasterCraft family. Hallmarks of a NauticStar boat remain its wood-free construction, limited lifetime hull warranty, durable vinylester barrier coat and one-piece molded, foam-filled stringer. Spaces between that stringer’s elements are foam-filled too, for flotation, sound-dampening and vibration reduction.

The fiberglass inner liner, like the hull, is molded as a single unit; the two are joined shoe-box-style with a stainless-steel fastener every 2 inches, and then sealed. Cockpits are self-bailing.

NauticStar makes its own upholstery, as well as fiberglass lids, finished on both sides and attached watertight. Deutsch connectors keep electrical connections bone-dry too.

Every NauticStar boat is water-tested before leaving the plant, adding proof to the company’s promise: “You won’t find a better ride than in a NauticStar.”

NAUTICSTAR 265 XTS

Born for the bay, the new NauticStar 265 XTS is at home offshore too. It’s the largest in NauticStar’s Extreme Tournament Series. The company proudly calls the 14-inch-draft boat “the ultimate fishing vessel.”

Maybe one of the 265 XTS’s biggest bragging points is what you don’t see: clutter. Big, open casting platforms forward and aft beckon. (A step makes reaching the forward platform easy.) Hidden away but handy is lockable storage for 10 rods, plus plenty of space for tackle.

A new leaning post features Llebroc seating with flip-up bolsters and armrests. The console panel has room for a pair of 12-inch screens. A novel windshield provides full coverage, folds to half-height or is removable to match weather and sea conditions and driver preference.

Three livewell/baitwells offer separate storage for bait types, easy reach for both forward and aft anglers, or both: a 13-gallon well beneath the forward console seat, a clear-topped 21-gallon tank within the leaning post and a massive 42-gallon livewell within the rear deck. The bow deck houses a 43-gallon fish box.

The 265 XTS’s air-assist chine, aft planing pods, Lenco trim tabs and 40-degree sharp-vee entry make for swift, smooth and dry travel. An Atlas jack plate is standard.