When it comes to fishing boats designed for inshore shallow water angling, a bay boat is tough to beat. And one of the few stand-out vessels we used as an example of the ideal in Best Center Consoles for Inshore Fishing was the Sportsman 267OE. This bay boat was a top pick because it offers as much or more fishing deck space as any bay boat on the planet, yet still maintains a high level of comfort and family-friendly features. Would it be possible to shrink the boat by around 10-percent, and still maintain those traits? Sportsman said yes—and the Masters 247OE was born.
Fishing the Sportsman Masters 247OE
The first critical feature, of course, is that the boat still had to stand out among its peers as a fishing machine. And while some space naturally gets lost in the smaller version of the boat, the 247OE has an elevated aft casting deck and a two-level foredeck. The edge of the upper deck is ringed by a toe-rail, and the hardware on access hatches for the anchor locker and the 15-gallon bow livewell is flush so they don’t create tripping points.
Speaking of livewells: the pair of aft 25-gallon livewells (flanking a flip-up bench seat) add a serious level of sizzle to the boat. They’re aquarium-style wells with full-size viewing ports in the front, so you and the kids can watch the critters swimming around in there. Added bonus: they’re insulated, so when you aren’t planning to use live bait they can do double duty as coolers.
The leaning post and T-top arrangements are also fishing highlights. The post sports four rocket launchers and two tackle stowage boxes, with a slide-out cooler underneath. The T-top, meanwhile, has a brace of five rocket launchers plus “kingfish” style angled holders for trolling on either side. And, while these aren’t exactly fishing features, there’s a lot more to this T-top than most: spreader and courtesy lights are integrated, as are stereo speakers and an electronics flat for your VHF radio. Plus, the extruded D-tube structure is integrated with the console itself and has a three-sided tempered glass windshield with an opening window.
Sportsman Masters 247OE Family Features
The signature feature that makes the boat the “OE” version is the extended chaise lounge where one would normally find a forward console seat. And, the family is going to love it—it’s wide enough for two people to stretch out, has fold-down arm rests, grab rails on either side, and the front swings open to access a 67.5-gallon insulated fishbox that can also serve as bulk stowage. The hatch is fully finished on both sides so there are no rough edges to watch out for, and opens on a gas-assist strut. Sure, you sacrifice a bit of deck space to have it (and Sportsman offers the Masters 247 Bay Boat if you’d rather do without the chaise lounge), but that’s a trade-off most of us — and especially family anglers — will be happy to make.
Along with that lounge Sportsman gives the 247OE a number of other family-friendly, comfort-boosting features. Yes, there’s a big head compartment inside the console. There’s also a 13-gallon freshwater system (along with a raw water washdown, of course), a JL Audio sound system with eight speakers, USB/12-V receptacles at the helm, and all the seating is upholstered in Sileather Marine silicon fabrics. If the kids enjoy trading in the fishing rods for a wakeboard now and then, there’s also an option for a ski tow bar.
Sportsman Masters 247OE Performance
The 247OE is available with a selection of single 4.2L V6 Yamaha outboards, in 250- and 300-hp. One of the options includes the F300XSB, which features integrated digital steering. And performance with 300 horses is plenty spiffy. With a relatively light boat you’ll get north of 50-mph at top-end, while breaking a plane in 3.5 seconds. Cruising speed at 4500 rpm is right around 40 mph, while getting about 2.7 miles to the gallon. If (and this is a big if) you can force yourself to go slow and set a cruise of around 22-mph, the boat can get a rather spectacular best-cruise fuel economy of 3.7 miles to the gallon.
Bay boats are fantastic fishing machines, and many also offer excellent performance. But those that come with the family features everyone from the kids to the grandparents will enjoy are few and far between. If that’s what you have your sights set on, the Sportsman Masters 247OE will be a must-see.
Sportsman Masters 247OE Specifications
- Length (LOA): 24’4”
- Beam: 8’5”
- Weight: 2,825 pounds
- Draft (minimum): 1’2”
- Deadrise (at transom): 15 degrees
- Max HP: 350
- Fuel Capacity: 71 gallons
- Water Capacity: 13 gallons
See Sportsman Masters 247OE boats for sale on Boat Trader.