Many of today’s center console boats are so dang jam-packed with frou-frou features like reclining loungers and neon-lighted cupholders that they sacrifice some fishability for “luxury” features, and on top of that, cost an absolutely astronomical amount of money. If you want a no-nonsense center console that delivers on fishing, period, and doesn’t cost more than a three-bedroom house in Kansas (not that we’d ever condone living in Kansas), Bulls Bay has built the 230CC for you. Before we dig into any details, check out this short preview of the boat we shot at the Chesapeake Bay Boat Show.
What jumped out at us the most when we looked at the Bulls Bay 230CC was the jaw-droppingly low sticker price. Remember that in many cases boat pricing has been changing rapidly so you can’t take this number to the bank, but as of press time Bulls Bay was advertising an MSRP for the boat at under $60K with a 200-horse Suzuki DF200. That’s one heck of a lot less than most 23-foot center consoles are going for these days.
Wait a sec — is 200 horses enough for this rig? Just as long as you’re satisfied with a cruise in the low 30s and a top-end pushing the 50-mph mark. And if that isn’t fast enough for your taste, you can put up to 300 horses on the 230CC.
In the fishing department the 2300CC has all the basics including a 35-gallon livewell under the center transom seat, a roomy forward fishbox, a pair of flush gunwale holders, four rocket launchers on the leaning post, and seven more up top including a pair of outward-angled kingfish holders. The raw water washdown is one item we’d consider a must-have, which Bulls Bay lists as optional.
There are a couple of choices made in the boat’s design and outfitting which make it clear that the priority is on fishing, fishing, and fishing. Look in front of the console, and you’ll notice a fold-down seat rather than an integrated forward console seat with a cooler or livewell underneath. This arrangement means giving up one of the usual integrated compartments, but it also allows you to fold away the seat and expand the amount of available forward fishing space — a trade-off many diehard anglers will be happy to make. Another example will be noted when you walk by the console and realize how much pass-through room you have. Some builders bloat the console to make additional room for the head space and in doing so, give up a lot of deck space. The 230CC does have a compartment inside the console but it’s kept svelte, and as a result, you’ll have much more room when working a hot fish from bow to stern.
Will you find a wet bar on the Bulls Bay? Heck no. Is there a mister system in the T-top? Uh-uh. Will you dazzle your guests with a lightshow display every time they drop a beverage can into a cupholder? Forgedaboudit. Nor will you have to pay for all that stuff. If a no-nonsense fishing machine is the kind of boat that gets you excited, however, the 230CC should have a place on your short list.
Bulls Bay 230 CC Specifications
LOA – 22’8”
Beam – 8’6”
Displacement – 2450 lbs.
Draft (hull) – 1’5”
Transom Deadrise – 20 degrees
Fuel Capacity – 89 gal.
Max. Power – 300 hp
Area Dealers – Pasadena Boatworks, Pasadena, MD (443) 858-2400.