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Engine: Three-cylinder, 1,494 cc
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gal.
Stowage Capacity: 40.6 gal.
Weight: 856 lbs
Seating Capacity: 3
I held off on my review of the 2019 Sea-Doo Fish Pro until I could do one thing – actually fish from the craft. Yes, I’ve ridden what is the basis of the model, a GTX with the naturally aspirated, 155hp Rotax engine. But until I could actually cast a line from the craft and ultimately reel in a fish, I wouldn’t know if this was just some marketing guy’s pipe dream or a legitimate fish boat.
Well, a day fishing Florida’s Sebastian Inlet has answered all my questions. The Fish Pro is legit, whether you’re a seasoned angler…or just a buyer who wants one of Sea-Doo’s most versatile models.
The Boat Within a Boat
As already mentioned, the 2019 Sea-Doo Fish Pro starts life as a GTX, in this case equipped with the 155hp, non-supercharged version of the familiar Rotax 1,498cc engine. To quickly summarize that platform, it got super stable after a 2018 makeover, unveiled a radical new take on storage with a compartment that opens directly in front of the driver and allows them to dig within while still seated, enjoyed newfound agility thanks to a new hull design and lower center of gravity, and received all sorts of Transformer-esque tweaks. The aft section of the saddle can now be completely removed to reveal a large deck, and multiple accessories – including fuel caddy, cooler, and storage bag – can now all be taken for the ride thanks to Sea-Doo’s innovate LinQ accessory system.
Some of those features obviously also work for fishing. That expandable aft deck area makes the perfect casting deck. That newfound stability lets you actually stand up there and cast, as well as work a fish around the perimeter of the boat without feeling like you’re going to tip and join your prey. Storage also works well, as you’re able to get at things you might need…all from a seated position; no stretching over the handlebars for items buried deep in the bow.
Fish Tales, Part One
So now that the background is out of the way, let’s get to the fish tale. My first impression of the 2019 Sea-Doo Fish Pro is that the accessories that make it a fish-oriented model are, as I said in the intro, legit. The oversized 13.5-gallon cooler mounts solidly to the aft platform via the LinQ system and is more than ready to keep your catch on ice (or bring drinks and food along for the ride). On top, a recessed work area covered in traction mat material proved valuable whether readying lures or cleaning your catch. A series of attachment points spread around the entire back and sides offered multiple positions to place one of the four standard rod holders. An angled holder at each forward corner positioned lines away from the hull sides for trolling. Holders were also used for a net and gaff. Repositioning them simply requires you squeeze a trigger to release. Once in place they proved consistent with all LinQ accessories I’ve tried; surprisingly solid and rattle-free.
Facing the driver on the back of the cooler is a handy rubber netting. It was the perfect spot to place a clear tackle box as well as clip on tools like scissors, pliers, etc.
Getting underway, I again noticed how solid everything felt. Our test day featured strong winds, a fact that made the Indian River, Sebastian Inlet and the Atlantic extremely choppy. In fact, the ocean was downright big, with large intimidating swells. Nevertheless, I put the Fish Pro threw a series of tight S-turns, powered it across the wave tops, and even launched off a few ocean waves, all with cooler attached and rods in holders. To my amazement, everything stayed tight and secure. In fact, at times I almost didn’t realize the extras were there. I also noted more than once that I felt more comfortable in these conditions atop a watercraft than I would have in a boat. The reason? With a boat, it would have been easy to stick the bow in a wave as you descended into the trough. On the Sea-Doo, I simply rode up and over.
Fish Tales, Part Two
Ready to catch something besides air, we ran just behind the opening to Sebastian Inlet to get out of the wind and search for bait along the river’s numerous mangrove islands. Sea-Doo’s PR guru Tim McKercher did the honors with the cast net, eventually tossing some mullet into one of the coolers he had converted into a livewell. From there, we headed out into the Atlantic, rigged to troll through the inlet with the live bait, and engaged trolling mode to work our way back inshore with the incoming tide.
I didn’t expect much from “trolling mode” on the 2019 Sea-Doo Fish Pro, but I was wrong. Essentially it lets you select one of nine speeds, the slowest as low as 1 mile per hour. This lets you concentrate on fishing rather than speed control. When we moved against the powerful tide we increased the speed to match the conditions. When we traveled with the tide, we slowed it way down. The amount of fine tuning available – and the ability to go far lower than the standard no-wake speed – really shined in these conditions. So, too, did an actual Garmin EchoMap Plus 62cv GPS/Fishfinder. Rather than a small screen, it’s 7.6” display rivaled what you would see on many actual fish boats. The transducer shoots through the hull, allowing it to stay protected rather than exposed.
The morning began painfully slow, but things heated up considerably when the tide changed and began to rip out of the inlet. That’s when the mullet and Jack Crevalle started boiling on the surface. Almost immediately I had a Jack on the line, a fish that is extra fun given the fight it puts up. The Fish Pro, which features a hull extension for added stability, proved stable as the fish peeled off line, dove for the bottom, and occasionally crossed in front or behind the boat, making me dart about atop the craft. Sea-Doo wisely chose to make the saddle more of a bench, with only a subtle bolster, to allow for such movement. Angled gunwale-top footrests also add more leverage, comfort and traction than the normal curved, slippery gunwale would provide.
After several minutes of fighting, I brought the Jack aboard. My fellow PWC anglers soon followed, with almost everyone suddenly getting a fish on the line. Mine was probably about five-to-seven pounds, but this is a fish story so I’m claiming eight. What the heck, make it 10.
Final verdict? Like I said, the 2019 Sea-Doo Fish Pro is legit, a “battlewagon” in boating parlance. It excelled at the ability to “run and gun” as we spotted fish on the surface. Punch the throttle and you’re quickly in the middle of the action and casting your line. Yes, for this reason I wish the throttle and iBR lever could be switched via software. I’m right-handed, so was forced to cast lefty or crossover with my left hand to control the throttle on occasion. But the Fish Pro gets you there faster than you could on any other type of fish boat. That’s a fun way to fish.
The 2019 Sea-Doo Fish Pro is also much easier to clean up at the end of the day, puts you in closer proximity to the action as you’re not contained within a cockpit, costs less to run, and is easier to tow and stow than a fish boat. It’s also affordable. At $14,799, it’s thousands less than the average fish boat in the 14’-21’ range.
And lest we not forget, it’s also arguably more fun and versatile. Nearly all those fishing accessories quickly remove should you want to tour, tow a skier, boarder or tube, or even carve up the water with some performance-minded friends.
That’s an advantage a true angler — and a true PWC enthusiast — can appreciate.
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