Those of us who went to the new Chesapeake Bay Boat Show in Timonium, MD, this winter enjoyed a number of pleasant surprises: tons of new boats to check out, lots of happy boaters looking for a new ride, awesome how-to fishing seminars, plus free and easy parking. But one of the best surprises one could enjoy was meeting the Aquasport 224 Bay. Immediately after stepping aboard, you’re hit with where’s-my-rod urges and need-to-cast desires. Before we dive into the details, take a quick look:
Deck layout is going to be the big attraction for light tackle anglers. Most of the boat forward of the console is dedicated to the forward elevated casting deck, which has room for multiple anglers to swing their rods without hooking each other in the ear. No doubt the 224 Bay benefits greatly in this regard from its 8’6” beam, which is several inches wider than many competitors in this class and makes for noticeably more deck space. Stowage compartments in the wings have integrated lighted rod lockers with locking hatches, there’s an integrated mounting flat for your trolling motor, and the center compartment is dedicated to an insulated fishbox that’s got more than enough room to house a pair of keeper cobia. Added bonus: there’s a forward livewell under the console seat.
The stern incorporates an elevated casting deck as well, which is laid out more or less like many bay boats with fold-down jump seats on either side of a lighted 20-gallon livewell, plus stowage compartments aft. A detail about both of those livewells that shouldn’t go unnoticed: Aquasport adds a plexi cap under the hatch to prevent slosh-out, a nice touch that many builders don’t bother with.
Speaking of nice touches, the leaning post has four rocket launchers across the back, there are four flush-mount stainless-steel rodholders on either side of the console, pop-up cleats and a stainless-steel rubrail are standard fare, and even blue underwater LED lighting is on the standard features list. The one cost-adding option we’d call a must-have is the raw water washdown.
As far as construction goes the 224 Bay is built like other Aquasports, with a layer of Kevlar reinforcement in the hull, stainless-steel hardware, and a urethane-foam injected stringer grid. While poking through the boat we noted that hatches dogged down securely, large ones came up on twin gas-assist struts or friction hinges, and none flexed or creaked when walked on. Note that the Aquasport comes with a limited lifetime hull warranty.
What about on-the-water performance? Well shucks, we just can’t speak to it since we saw the boat on dry land, but if we get a ride in the future we’ll be sure to post a sea trial update. In the meantime, the best way to assess just how well the 224 Bay runs and rides is to take one for a spin for yourself — which is exactly what we’d suggest in any case, if a 22-foot bay boat designed to maximize light tackle fishability is what you’re hunting for.
Aquasport 224 Bay Specifications
LOA – 22’4”
Beam – 8’6”
Displacement – 2450 lbs.
Draft (hull) – 11”
Transom Deadrise – 20 degrees
Fuel Capacity – 60 gal.
Max. Power – 250 hp
Area Dealers – Tradewinds Marina, Middle River, MD (410) 335-7000.