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Personal watercraft have long been used for fishing, but the introduction of the Sea-Doo FISH PRO in 2019 clearly presented the PWC angler with a truly dedicated platform.
Engine: Three-cylinder, 1,630 cc
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gal.
Stowage Capacity: 26.1 gal.
Weight: 858 lbs
Seating Capacity: 3
MSRP: Starting at $15,599
Why a hardcore fish PWC? Potential. A lot of fishing enthusiasts are already fishing from the maneuverable craft, enjoying the ability to “run and gun” the minute they see activity on the water, or appreciating the ease of use, quick launching and loading and minimal storage requirements (and of course cost) of a personal watercraft versus a fishing boat. More serious anglers have also increasingly added features to their craft, like rodholders and fishfinders, to make them more equipped to handle an angler’s needs.
The Sea-Doo FISH PRO targets both of these crowds, enticing those fishing from shore, or maybe kayak, to explore a wider area while offering those not interested or tired of a full-size fishing boat an attractive alternative that positions the angler much closer to the action.
While it would be easy to simply toss a few “fishy” accessories its way, Sea-Doo obviously gave considerable thought to the amenities added to the FISH PRO. The core trio consist of an electronic fishfinder/navigation unit, an oversized cooler and a collection of rod holders that can be placed to rider preference.
Start with the fishfinder. Rather than a small unit, or even handheld, Sea-Doo chose to include a large, 7.6” Garmin EchoMap Plus 62cv, mounted on the starboard side of the console so that it is easily viewable both when seated in the saddle and standing. It clearly shows the bottom structure, with an internal transducer that shoots through the hull. The unit also quickly releases from its mount should you want to remove it to prevent theft when you’re not near the craft.
As to cooler and rodholders, they come as a combo. Like most Sea-Doo accessories of late, the cooler uses the integrated LinQ system (pop-up attachment cleats recessed into the deck) to easily secure to the broad aft platform. The stylish ice box is big (13.5 gallons), rivals a Yeti for keeping its contents well chilled and the top features a recessed tray with foam mat lining that’s perfect when working with lures or cleaning the day’s catch. Built into the cooler’s sides and back are parallel rails that four included portable rodholders can be clipped into. Squeeze a trigger on the holder to release, then just snap the holders into your positions of choice. The forward corners of the cooler feature additional, outwardly angled mounts should you want to troll with lines out away from the hull sides.
The idea may sound flimsy in theory but in use the holders are surprisingly rigid and secure. They can also be used for items like net or gaff. On the cooler’s forward side, facing a driver spun around or sitting sideways in the saddle, is a rubber-netted pocket perfect for tools and a tackle box. A cool optional addition is an extension that adds a separate upper compartment to keep things like food and drinks separate from fish. There’s also an additional, new-for-‘21 cupholder/rodholder on the console adjacent to the handlebars.
Less obvious fish-friendly features (say that three times fast) include an addition to the craft’s speed control dubbed Trolling Mode. It features a total of nine settings, the slowest only about one mile per hour, which keep the craft moving but don’t require a hand on the throttle. The normally bolstered saddle is also swapped out for a much flatter bench seat, designed to let riders sit comfortable sideways. Angled footrests are also added to the gunwale tops for riders sitting in this position.
Other features that enhance the fishing experience are standards consist with the platform the 2021 Sea-Doo FISH PRO is built upon, the flagship GTX. The large aft platform (now with an addition set of LinQ attachment points) makes for a pretty solid casting deck, with plenty of room and the exceptional stability that came with the hull’s 2018 makeover. In fact, most average-sized riders will even be able to stand in the footwells without tipping the craft. The same storage that came with that ’18 makeover also keeps tackle boxes or other gear close at hand, with the entire “lid” (handlebar console and all) lifting up directly in front of a seated driver, making it easy to just reach right in and grab an item and no longer requiring an awkward stretch over the handlebars.
Like any good fish story, the FISH PRO took on a new dimension for 2021. Realizing that some of the best fishing spots are often in shallow, weed-filled waters, Sea-Doo addressed the potential for clogged pumps with an innovative new clearance system which naturally gets a Sea-Doo-esque moniker — iDF, or Intelligent Debris Free pump system.
Though it’s job may seem simple, it’s actually a milestone in the evolution of a PWC driveline. Engineers introduced a set of gears that, for the first time, allow the driveshaft to actually spin in both directions.
In practice, it works like this. Drivers note a pump clog, typically weeds, a plastic bag or other debris, then shut down the engine. Next, they press and hold the iDF button mounted on the left handlebar control pad. The driveshaft then disengages and reengages to spin in the opposite direction. The driver is then prompted to restart the engine and apply throttle, for about 12 seconds. During this time flow is sent the opposite direction through the pump and inlet, pushing the debris out in the direction it entered and clearing the pump. After this brief running time, the engine automatically shuts down, the driveshaft is reengaged into forward and the user can then restart the engine.
In this case, a picture (or more appropriately video) is worth a thousand words. Check out iDF in action.
And of course, with the 2021 Sea-Doo FISH PRO you also get a pretty fun watercraft to play on when you’re not fishing. Essentially the GTX 155 decked out in a choice of two cool color combinations (the returning White & Night Green and new-for-’21 White & Gulfstream Blue), the FISH PRO features plenty of punch from the non-supercharged, more gas-mileage-friendly 170hp version of the Rotax 1,630cc four-stroke engine. Its hull is also a more-than-capable match for rough water conditions, handling ocean waves and lake glass with equal finesse while carving some pretty spirited turns.
Yes, even with the gear attached. It’s one of the first things I tested on the Sea-Doo FISH PRO and I can report that everything stays locked down, even when cranking in and out of corners. It’s also easy to remove the cooler, release the fish finder (if desired) and have a familiar, open design that’s ready to take a trio on a cruise or pull the kids on a tube, skis or wakeboard. The rear portion of the saddle is removable should you desire to lounge on the aft platform and all the classic Sea-Doo goodies are present and accounted for, including Intelligent Brake & Reverse, cruise control and no wake modes, and the option to add the BRP Audio-Premium Bluetooth sound system.
Looking for a competitive model? No other manufacturer takes it to this level but Yamaha’s FX HO does offer similar size and power, plus a flatter saddle. Fishing features come in the form of accessory add-ons, including a choice of Garmin GPS/fishfinders, the smaller of which can easily be mounted via cupholder RAM mounts.
For more dedicated anglers, however, the 2021 Sea-Doo FISH PRO is most compelling boat on the market. A true fish boat, in a PWC’s clothing.
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