Yellowfin Yachts 36 Offshore Review

A legendary fishing machine receives fresh refinements

Yellowfin 36 Offshore running on water
The Yellowfin 36’s stepped hull offers outstanding performance and fuel efficiency when powered by three Mercury 350 Verados.Courtesy Simrad / Jason Stemple

The Yellowfin Yachts 36 Offshore first hit the market in 2003. Designed to provide the seaworthiness, performance and range needed by serious offshore-tournament anglers, this model — with its classic, swoopy sheer and proud bow — soon gained a loyal following of anglers that has elevated the 36 to one of the most sought-after center console boats in the country.

Since its debut, the 36 has also undergone periodic tweaks and tuneups, including a set of ­refinements for 2017. That was all the excuse I needed to jump aboard veteran tournament captain Mark Maus’ Yellowfin 36 on a sunny but breezy February afternoon in the middle Florida Keys.

The crew for this Fish Trial included Mark's wife, Jennifer, Capt. Chris Trosset and Sport Fishing videographer Stevan Llewelyn. Both Maus and Trosset serve as pro anglers for Yellowfin Yachts, as well as for Simrad marine electronics.

"We're going to try to catch some blackfin tuna, but first we have to catch some bait," Maus said, as we iced down the boat in the marina. "It's going to take a lot of live chum to get those blackfin to bite."

fishing for blackfin tuna
The Yellowfin 36 Offshore offers copious live-bait capacity, which helps immensely when chumming with live bait for species such as blackfin tuna.Jim Hendricks / Sport Fishing

Livewell Space On Board

Maus’ plan included filling both the 55-gallon transom livewell as well as the 80-gallon well under the seats behind the leaning post with pilchards before heading out into the Atlantic Ocean.

As we cleared the harbor, Maus punched the throttles on the triple Mercury 350 Verado outboards, and the twin-stepped hull seemed to leap out of the hole, accelerating to 45.6 mph at 4,500 rpm. At that midrange speed, it did not take long to get to the flats outside Duck Key, where Maus and Trosset planned to net bait.

Yellowfin 36 Offshore stern
Recessed cleats and bow rails minimize snag when cast-netting from the bow. Nonskid texture atop the rail caps and deck helps ensure traction.Jim Hendricks / Sport Fishing

As we ventured out of the ­channel, Trosset stepped up on the deck of the forepeak with the cast net to scan the shallows for schools of pilchards while Maus piloted the boat. With a few throws, the livewells brimmed with wriggling pilchards.

Using his new flush-mounted Simrad NSS evo3 display, Maus set a course for a spot known as the West Hump, about 25 miles south. The confident handling of the 36 made it easy to dodge the numerous crab-pot buoys dotting the inner waters.

Yellowfin 36 Offshore electronics helm
The dash panel offers plenty of room to flush-mount a pair of 16-inch Simrad NSS evo3 multifunction displays.Jim Hendricks / Sport Fishing

Handling the Waves and Electronics Suite

Once offshore, a stiff breeze ­pushing against the Gulf Stream turned the ocean lumpy and menacing. Yet, the 36 rode with pleasing smoothness in the confused, closely spaced 4- to 5-foot seas at speeds in the 30 mph range. The healthy bow flare tossed aside spray.

A clear polycarbonate windshield extended from the console to the underside of the hardtop to protect the helm area. A helm bench for two also serves as a leaning post when standing. An angled footrest at the base of the console lets you brace yourself when seated.

The whitecapping waves built to 6 feet at 5-second intervals on the West Hump, where Maus began to search with the NSS evo3’s built-in two‑channel chirp fish finder for the sonar marks of blackfin tuna.

Yellowfin 36 Offshore
Yellowfin has moved the console forward slightly to open up the aft cockpit in the 36, one of the significant changes to the model.Jim Hendricks / Sport Fishing

Improvements with New Model

One of the improvements to the hull of the 36 includes a molded-in pocket forward of the steps for a larger multichannel transducer such as the Airmar CM599LHW.

Inside the boat, Yellowfin has moved the console forward slightly to open up the aft cockpit, giving crew additional elbow room when loading bait, working lines and fighting fish.

A new optional leaning-post ­module incorporates a rigging station and cabinets for tackle stowage in place of an aft-facing seat/livewell abaft the leaning post. Yellowfin has also replaced the traditional stainless-steel cleats and through-hull fittings with ultra-strong and lightweight titanium versions on new 36s.

Within the center console now resides a full stand-up head compartment. This not only offers more personal space, but it also provides greater room for stowage of items such as fishing kites. In addition, the 36 now offers backrests that convert the forward seating area to a pair of ­forward-facing loungers.

Yellowfin 36 Offshore electronics helm
An overhead electronics box on the 36 offers a convenient location for installing a VHF radio and a small multifunction display.Jim Hendricks / Sport Fishing

Plenty of Stowage

As I continued to inspect features on Maus’ 36 in the rough seas, I appreciated the grit-style nonskid sole. The same texture adorns the rail caps for traction when stepping aboard.

Stowage abounds with a trio of ­lockers below the foredeck, plus a coffin box that tilts for additional storage beneath. We iced our drinks and sandwiches in a roomy cooler under the forward console seat. A pair of fish lockers flanks a hatch, offering access to the bilge compartment in the aft cockpit.

Tuna marks appeared on the sonar about 200 yards up-current of the high spot. Pulling back the throttles to idle while leaving them in forward gear kept the bow into the 3 to 4 mph current and slowed our drift to about 2 mph. Trosset manned the wheel as Maus began to liberally chum the surface with the live baits.

It did not take long for the ­blackfins to rise from the depths to attack the chum, but unfortunately they were very small tuna. We made several drifts while chumming, hoping that bigger fish lurked underneath, but caught only a few of the “peanuts.” As the bait supply dwindled, so did our hopes for a better grade of fish.

Yellowfin 36 Offshore on water
Optimum cruising speed was 31.4 mph where the 36 achieved 1.4 miles per gallon. That equates to more than 600 miles of cruising range based on the 477-gallon fuel capacity.Courtesy Simrad / Jason Stemple

Speed Running on the Water

Our bait running low and seas mounting higher, we called it day and headed in. Once inside the bay waters, we gathered performance data. While carrying 267 gallons of fuel and five crew members, the 36 jumped on plane in 4 seconds and reached 30 mph in 9 seconds.

Turning Revolution 4 21-inch-pitch, four-blade stainless-steel ­propellers, the triple 350 Verados propelled the twin-stepped hull to a top speed of 62 mph at 6,000 rpm, where the outboards burned 79.5 gallons per hour for 0.78 mpg.

Optimum cruising speed was achieved at 3,500 rpm and 31.4 mph with the engines burning 22.4 gph for 1.4 mpg. That equates to well over 600 miles of cruising range based on the 477-gallon fuel capacity.

The Yellowfin 36 is a boat that deserves a spot on anyone’s short list of all-time favorites. With the latest round of refinements, this vaunted fishing machine edges even closer to the top.

Yellowfin 36 Offshore livewell
The Yellowfin features an 80-gallon livewell under the aft-facing seats, in addition to a 55-gallon transom lwell.Jim Hendricks / Sport Fishing

Specifications

Yellowfin 36 Offshore Performance

Power: Triple Mercury 350 Verados
Load: 267 gal. fuel, 30 gal. water, five crew
Top Speed: 62 mph @ 6,000 rpm
Time to 30 mph: 9 sec.
Best mpg: 1.4 @ 31.4 mph (3,500 rpm)

Yellowfin 36 Offshore Hull

LOA: 36 ft. 8 in
Beam: 10 ft.
Deadrise: 24 deg.
Dry Weight: 9,500 lb.
Draft: 1 ft. 6 in.
Fuel: 477 gal.
Max Power: 1,250 hp

MSRP: $340,500 (as tested)

Yellowfin Yachts
Bradenton, Florida
941-753-7828

To read more about the Yellowfin Yachts 36 model, click the link below to the gallery of today's classic center consoles.