Captain's ReportA Big Fish>By Capt. Vince DanielloTest CaptainA long-time client called with an easy question: Would I take him yellowfin tuna fishing in the Bahamas? Well, it would have been an easy question, but he just sold his 45 Viking, and since he would be out of the country all summer, didn’t intend to replace it until fall at the time, his only boat was a 2001 World Cat 226 center console. I’ve been across the Gulf Stream hundreds of times and I know that what starts as a routine crossing in perfect weather can turn nasty with just one squall. With that in mind, I’ve crossed in center consoles but to date none smaller than 26 feet, and those were what I consider exceptional boats. A 22-footer is something I generally tow behind as a tender once we’re in the islands. So how did I respond to his proposed Bahamas trip? After a brief pause to consider my past experiences with the little World Cat, my reply was an enthusiastic, “Sure, when?” I’ve fished his boat off Palm Beach and the Keys many times, often in seas that kept larger monohulls at the dock. While a little longer LOA might make the ride more comfortable, I knew that little World Cat could handle any reasonable weather contingency. Without trepidation, four of us packed tackle, food, and overnight bags, and headed off into the sunrise.Fishability Given my experiences with the 226 World Cat, I jumped at the chance to test World Cat’s 330 Tournament Edition. With three or four anglers simultaneously hooked up on big fish, things can get a little tight on the 226; not so on the World Cat 330TE. A ten-and-a-half foot beam gives the 330 plenty of cockpit space and also provides wide decks around the center console. There’s ample room for multiple anglers, even when fishing lines cross and one fisherman has to pass in front of another. The wide side decks and long cockpit also mean an angler can step forward, up by the console, and the gaff man can come in behind the fishing line while still leaving room for the skipper to see the fish. Toe kicks around the cockpit aid in this process, making it easy for anglers and the gaff man to lean against the inside of the hull, with room for their toes to fit into the recesses along the deck. This may not seem important until you’ve experienced it on a big fish, but to get an idea what a difference it makes, stand at your kitchen sink and notice how far under the cabinets your toes actually go. The toe kicks also help the mate “lock in” when handling a big fish for increases safety. Exceptional RangeWhile fishability is important, so is getting to and from the fishing grounds. With two narrow hulls, a catamaran cuts through the waves for a smooth ride where a wide single monohull might pound. A catamaran also makes an exceptionally stable trolling platform, which can be achieved on a monohull but often at the expense of comfort running into a head sea. Also, because the tunnel between the hulls of a catamaran creates “reserve buoyancy,” it is very difficult to burry the bow in large seas. These characteristics are among the reasons I felt comfortable taking the little 22 foot World Cat to the Bahamas. Another important consideration for a Bahamas trip is range. Since pushing two narrow hulls through the water is easier than pushing one large hull, fuel efficiency is another advantage of a catamaran, and when combined with its 300 gallon fuel capacity, the 330TE has plenty of range to venture far offshore. With twin 225 Honda four-stroke outboards, the 330 topped out at 42.2 mph, averaging just over one mpg. Slowing to 29 mph the boat made 1.5 mpg for a 400 mile range (with 10% reserve fuel.) At just over 20 mph, economy near 2 mpg provided a 526 mile range, with a maximum range of 623 miles at 16.5 mph. This not only gives the 330TE “long legs” for offshore fishing, but allows filling up less often. Design and LayoutOne thing lacking on our yellowfin tuna adventure was storage. The 226 is fine for day trips, but wasn’t intended to carry food and luggage for four people. We simply packed everything in waterproof bags and lashed it to the bow casting platform, but this often got in the way. In terms of square footage, the 330 is nearly twice the size of the 226, and this really pays off in storage. The obvious addition is the 330’s cuddy cabin, which offers a double bed and marine toilet, and also provides dry storage for clothes, groceries, and extra fishing tackle. The 330TE is also loaded with tackle storage. Numerous plastic storage trays fit in the tackle center in the back of the helm seat, and more storage trays store in compartments recessed into both hull sides. There are also two large livewells in the transom, with a wide walkthrough between the livewells for swimming and diving or boating a big fish. If the fishing is really good, there are three large fish boxes to keep the catch cold. One box forms a seat in front of the console, and is particularly well insulated so it’s perfect for keeping clean ice. Big fish can go straight into the port and starboard boxes recessed beneath the deck just ahead of the console. Keeping the Catch FreshFrom a captain’s perspective, there are both advantages and disadvantages to having the fish boxes forward of the console. For big fish that need to go straight into the box, there is enough room for the angler to stand ahead of the open fishbox. This gives the captain an excellent view of the fish as it comes up, and if there are only two people aboard, allows the captain to step away from the helm at the last moment to gaff the fish. The disadvantage is the fish comes up alongside the boat, where it is easier to dart beneath the hull, whereas with a fish coming in astern, if it makes a quick turn it simply crosses the transom. Also, when there are spectators aboard, it’s nice to keep the fishing action at the stern, with everyone not involved in landing the fish out of the way in the bow, which is hard to do with the fish boxes forward. On the other hand, with the fish boxes forward the weight of full fuel tanks is carried well aft, where it won’t affect performance or seakindliness. TrailerableThe World Cat 330 has one other advantage over many similar boats; it is trailerable which greatly extends the fishing possibilities. The thought of loading up in Palm Beach one morning and fishing off North Carolina the next day is enticing, which has caused my tuna trip client to reconsider replacing his 45 Viking with another big boat, opting for the big World Cat instead. Would I venture 40 miles off Cape Hatteras for bluefin tuna or white marlin in a World Cat? Absolutely!
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the World Cat 330 TE (2005) is 42.2 mph (67.9 kph), burning 40.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 154.81 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the World Cat 330 TE (2005) is 20.6 mph (33.2 kph), and the boat gets 1.95 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.83 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 526 miles (846.51 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 225-hp Honda 4-stroke (outboards).
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
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