Many of you anglers already know why center console boats make such good fishing machines, but before we get into details of why the Crevalle Boats 26 Bay is one you might want to check out in specific, join us on the water for a quick review of the boat in video form.
The test: there are only a couple hours of daylight left after the workday is done so I throw the throttle down and blast off at 40 mph, heading for one of my favorite evening hotspots in the South River at REDACTED. Ten casts later with only one fish to show for it, we started running to the mouth of the West to hit the ALSO REDACTED, which had been holding good numbers of schoolies lately. After beating the water for several minutes with little to show for it I whipped out the gyro-binocs and scoped 360-degree around. There – I see ‘em. Birds working hard, over by Poplar Island. With the sun sinking fast on the horizon, on my own boat I wouldn’t even bother to head for the frenzy because it would be dark by the time I got there. Fortunately, this evening we’re on the Crevalle 26 Bay. So we hit the throttle yet again, reach the fish in a matter of minutes, and everyone onboard has a bent rod within moments of pulling off of plane. Can a faster boat help you catch more fish? Dang straight it can.
Wait a sec – speed only counts if you can utilize it when the wind’s blowing, as well as when it’s slick-calm. On this evening there was a minor-league breeze and a one-foot chop, which presented no challenge to the boat whatsoever regardless of speed or direction. We also made circles and hit our own wakes, as well as hitting other larger boat wakes – at full-tilt – and I feel comfortable saying that the Crevalle provides a thoroughly respectable ride. The 16-degree transom deadrise, combined with a beefy construction including touches like a foam-filled single-piece glass stringer system, didn’t compress my creaky old spine a single time. Nor did I feel any spray the entire afternoon. And there are some other construction touches we need to call out: tinned-copper wiring with its function printed on the insulation every foot; heat-shrink terminals and Deutsch plugs; 361-L stainless-steel fittings and grab rails; and an all-composite transom. You’ll find this stuff on some high-end boats, but there are also a few things rarely seen which are a clear indication of just how well the Crevalle is built. The fuel tank, for example, is coal tar epoxy-coated to ensure longevity. Vinyls on the upholstery have Syntec NBT antimicrobials to fight mold and mildew over the long term. And switches are backlighted, labeled, and have breakers rather than fuses. A final indication of construction quality can be found in the T-top pipework, which is not only powder-coated but is also then finished with a protective clear-coat. My one construction complaint? I have no construction complaints, which makes it seem like I’m not doing my job.
Still, no boat’s perfect, so there must be something that counts as a down-side, right? In this case, I’d point to do-dads like the lighted cupholders, Wet Sounds/Fusion stereo system, and Storm Cloud Grey gelcoat. Sure, this stuff adds a lot of bling and there’s no denying it’s a sharp-looking boat. But some anglers might prefer eschewing such niceties to get a lower bottom line. Crevalle, maybe you could come out with a bare-bones version… or maybe I’m just cheap. Then again, if this were my boat you can bet I’d pony up for at least one of the options: a crow’s nest and upper controls, as seen in the photo here. Our test boat had the standard hard top and when the cobia are running off Cape Charles… well, you know.
So far as layout goes, the boat has a standard southern flavor with elevated casting decks forward and aft, dual 28-gallon livewells in the aft deck and another forward of the console, a head in the console, a flip-up bench seat built into the aft deck, and a tackle station with stowage and a slide-out cooler behind the leaning post. But there are a couple of unusual stand-outs to be mentioned here, too. The forward deck stowage compartment under the port side goes through and connects with the center stowage compartment, to allow for larger items. Swing-down safety gear compartments are in the inwales on either side. And there’s an in-deck stowage compartment for a five-gallon bucket and your cast net.
This boat won't be the first pick of spring trophy stripers trollers who like to tow huge spreads, it won't be the pick for those of you who focus on tautog fishing in the open ocean in the middle of winter, and it certainly won't be the top pick if you feel you need a boat with a cabin. But for light tackle anglers who want to hit the Bay with speed and agility, the Crevalle 26 Bay is a model you'll want to check out.
LOA – 25’6”
Beam – 8’6”
Displacement – 4000 lbs.
Draft (hull) – 1’0”
Transom Deadrise – 16 degrees
Fuel Capacity – 83 gal.
Area Dealers – Tradewinds Marina, Middle River, MD, (410) 335-7000.
If you enjoyed the video we shot during our sea trial, be sure to check out our other fishboat reviews on the FishTalk Magazine YouTube channel.