If you’ve ever wondered about the genesis of today’s uber-popular bay boat segment, you need not look any further than Pathfinder Boats. It was around 30 years ago when Maverick Boat Group founder Scott Deal conceived the first Pathfinder on the back of an envelope. The resulting 21-foot bay boat combined the skinny-water capabilities of a technical poling skiff with the open-water capabilities of a center console.
Today, the Fort Pierce, Florida, builder has nine boats in its range, including a new model that is almost an entirely new species unto itself—the Pathfinder 2700 Open. A fishing machine that incorporates the best aspects of bay boat and center console designs, it’s for anglers who fish a wide variety of water—skinny, coastal and offshore on good weather days.
The 2700 Open’s twin-stepped, resin- infused hull was designed from the get-go for a single Yamaha 425-hp XF425 4-stroke outboard. A 300-hp Yamaha F300 4-stroke is an option. Mounted on a jack plate, the XF425 is good for a top end of around 52 knots, according to Yamaha. Most owners will cruise the 2700 Open at about 3500 rpm, which provides an economical cruise at 27 knots burning 10.8 gph. The boat comes with a 90-gallon fuel tank. An additional 37-gallon tank can be ordered to extend range.
Forward, in the bow, is the bay boat end of things. Most notably, the area features a casting platform that stretches from gunwale to gunwale. Underneath the caster’s feet are an anchor locker and a substantial gear stowage area. The step leading up to the casting deck houses an insulated cooler for drinks and snacks. A pre-installed backing plate can be fitted with an optional 36-volt trolling motor.
The deep, secure-feeling aft cockpit is where the 2700 Open shows off its center console genetics. The area is large enough to work a trolling spread or fly a couple of kites, and it has an optional 42-gallon livewell abaft a Llebroc helm bench and a 22-gallon transom livewell, both with side windows—a live-bait angler’s dream. Under-gunwale rod stowage can accommodate 9-foot fly rods, and a five-rod rocket launcher can be added to the back of the helm seat. Flush-mount rodholders are in the cockpit, and six rods can be stowed in a rocket launcher on the optional hardtop.
The slender console is spacious enough for control switches, a VHF radio and 16-inch Garmin MFD. A destroyer-style, stainless-steel wheel has an integrated, turn-signal-style jack plate control. Breaker panels are situated under the console, where there’s room for an optional porta-potti.
Pathfinder did its homework when designing the 2700 Open. This new hybrid has a near-perfect blend of the best of both bay boat and center console features. You’ll just need to figure out which species to hunt.
This article originally appeared in the September 2020 issue.