We originally told you about the Caymas 26 HB when it was launched last year in Caymas 26 HB Center Console Bay Boat: Altered Reality, and at that time we said we’d report back after having the chance to spend some time fishing aboard one. That opportunity arose this fall, when pods of marauding stripers were hunting peanut bunker in the Chester River.
Lesson Number One: The Caymas 26 gets you where you’re going so fast that it seems to warp time. The first spot we ran to was 22.6 miles from the dock in Lake Ogleton, and we arrived there in under half an hour. That. Is. Sick.
True, the seas were calm and we were able to run at a fast cruise the entire way. But when we encountered boat wakes throughout the day, we found that this hull blasts right through them without thumping or bumping. More impressive was when we ran in the wake of a Caymas 34 to get some boat-to-boat video. As you probably already know, overtaking a larger boat 20 yards away and going through its wake at the steepest point is likely to result in some rather violent pitching and rolling. But this is when we learned that the nine-foot beam and 18.5-degree transom deadrise work together to provide tremendous stability. In fact, slewing across the bigger boat’s wakes the Caymas remained shockingly steady. Added bonus: zero spray made it over the bow.
Time for some light-tackle casting: with three people aboard the boat seems empty, and when four anglers start slinging jigs everyone still has plenty of room. The bowdeck’s plenty wide to cast from an elevated position, same goes for the aft deck, and the cockpit is roomy enough to cast from either side of the console. When we began fishing the jocular Captain Tom Weaver was at the helm of the 26, the crew from North Point Yacht Sales was casting, and I was fishing aboard the 34. So naturally, the 34 out-fished the 26 at first (ahem).
When I switched boats I noted a couple of fishing-specific items to relay, beyond the natural up-tick in the catch. First off, the console rodracks have enough clearance from the hard-top to use for 6’6” rods, which isn’t always the case. Secondly, there are enough rodholders ringing the boat to set down your rod pretty much wherever and whenever you’d like. (You slacker — get that rod back in your hands and start casting!) Third, the pull-up cleats are located on the sloped sides of the gunwales, where they don’t create a tripping or snagging point. Fly anglers in particular will love fishing out of this boat, with its uber-clean fore and aft casting decks. Fourth, the position of the leaning post makes it possible to lean back against the side as you fish and you have plenty of space aft to cock back and throw from this position, which is a nice comfort perk during a long day of fishing. Fifth, the twin 35-gallon livewells in the aft deck are thoroughly insulated and do a great job as fishboxes; drop in a pair of 26-inch striped bass and a bag of ice and you’ve barely dented the capacity.
We need to note one downside of our test rig, in that it didn’t have a bow-mount trolling motor (which is considered optional equipment). And yes, we did miss it. Drifting down a ledge there were several times when we went past the fish and then had to pull up the lines and reposition. Had we been able to Spot-Lock in place and let the electric motor and its GPS pin us in position, we could have stayed right on top of the fish until they moved. If you’re a Chesapeake Bay light tackle angler, quite frankly you’re nuts if you don’t get the optional 36-volt Minn Kota RT Ulterra with iPilot.
Other impressions? Spend a few hours aboard and you won’t question the Caymas’s construction, which is beefy through and through. Flexing hatches, rattling pieces-parts, and cheap fittings are issues for lesser boats. You’ll want to remember to leave the bow seating cushions at home on serious fishing trips lest you step on them on your way up to the bow casting platform; you’ll find that anywhere you lean against the gunwales coaming bolsters will provide padding; and you’ll find the flip-up bolster leaning post seats with flip-down arm rests thoroughly comfy.
Will the Caymas 26 HB be the ideal boat for you? That’s not our call, but if you’re looking for a large bay-boat-style rig that offers top-of-the-line construction and design plus blazing performance, this boat should certainly be on your shortlist. And if a larger fishing machine more suited to offshore canyon runs is what you’re looking, for stay tuned — we’ll be back with in-depth info from our fish-test on the 341 CC soon.
Caymas 26 HB Specifications
LOA – 25’7”
Beam – 9’0”
Displacement – 4100 lbs.
Draft (hull) – 1’4”
Transom Deadrise – 18.5 degrees
Fuel Capacity – 90 gal.
Max. Power – 400 hp
Area Dealers – North Point Yacht Sales, Annapolis MD, (410) 280-2038; Gloucester Point, VA, (804) 885-4090.