Cobia’s SE series comprises five boats from 19’4” to 25’6” in length, all targeted primarily at fishermen and attractively priced. Base price of the 237 SE is $41,339 with a single Yamaha F225 outboard – plenty of power for this roughly 4,000-lb. boat. (Weight without power is 3,500 lbs.) Twin Yamaha F115Xs are optional, but why? More expensive, more maintenance, more weight, more fuel burn -- and modern OBs, especially Yamahas, are reliable enough that you don’t need to carry a spare unless you’re heading beyond Sea Tow range, in our opinion. The base price includes everything you need, even the T-top with rod holders. Saltwater washdown is standard, freshwater optional. A portable head is also an option; wonder where it goes? Finally, there’s a rear-seat option that perches atop the transom. And that’s it -- we’ve covered all the options, so if you’re short of time, you can stop reading here.
The Back Story
Cobia launched its first boat in 1959. Those were crazy days in the pleasure boat world, with all kinds of funky boats on the market. It was the age of the Tri-Hull: Several builders designed square-bowed arks that rode on three hulls – they were called “cathedral” hulls. They were stable but they could pound your spine into a lifetime annuity for your chiropractor. The theory was that at speed each outside hull would deflect water up between itself and the centre hull, creating a cushion of spray that made the boat ride nice and smooth. It was just different enough from the Boston Whaler hull not to incite legal action from that company, but did it work? Well, do you see many tri-hulls today? One of Cobia’s first boats was a tri-hull, but the company succeeded anyway, going on over the next half-century to build a ton of really nice boats, albeit with only one hull. For several summers during the Age of Aquarius, one of them, a 17-footer powered by a 55-hp three-cylinder Johnson OB, survived the youthful assaults of this writer and his friends – certainly a testament to any vessel.
Today Cobia is owned by the Maverick Boat Company (www.mbcboats.com), also builders of Maverick, Hewes and Pathfinder boats. Founded in 1984 by two fish-crazy brothers, Scott and Troy Deal, Maverick started out building flats boats. In five years, the Deals acquired another flats-boat builder, Hewes. Ask anybody who fishes with a fly rod in one hand and a boat pole in the other about Maverick or Hewes, and he’ll tell you they are the best flats boats around. But they’re not much good in a chop; for that, the Deals started building Pathfinder bay boats in 1998, adhering to the same standards of quality and durability of the earlier boats. Finally, in 2005, the brothers bought Cobia.
New World for Cobia
Rather than shoehorn the Cobia production lines into their existing plant, the Deals built a 39-acre facility in Marion, NC, to manufacture a redesigned and improved Cobia lineup. (Maverick’s original plant is in Ft. Pierce, FL.) Cobias, and all Maverick boats, are built to ABYC standards and are NMMA certified. Every boat is tank-tested in the factory to ensure all systems are go before it’s loaded on the truck. If you want to see for yourself how your Cobia is built, the factory runs tours every Friday at 2 p.m. Reservations are required; call (772) 465-0631.
At the Helm
The heart of any center-console fishboat is the helm. The Cobia 237 SE is set up with hydraulic steering and a set of analog gauges, all protected from the sun by a T-top. But serious fisherman will drool over what’s not there: Most of the helm area is plain fiberglass, lots of square inches begging to be filled with electronics. Installing a multifunction display combining plotter, fishfinder and radar would leave room for a VHF and maybe a second fishfinder, all flush-mounted. It’s nice to leave the multi unit set to plotter, or maybe split between plotter and radar on days of poor visibility, while watching the bottom on a standalone fishfinder that provides a more detailed picture of what’s happening under the boat. Antennas and scanner can be mounted on the T-top, which also includes a four-rig rocket launcher.
More rod holders live in the leaning-post backrest, which also creates an ersatz helm seat; we suspect most skippers will use the leaning post as a leaning post most of the time: It’s more comfortable when running offshore, even though the 237 SE’s 21.5 degrees of deadrise will produce a relatively soft ride. Nevertheless, a boat this size can be lively at 30 mph in a chop (top speed should be over 40 mph; note that we didn’t test this boat, so that’s only an estimate); standing will be the preferred position unless you have a spine of iron. There’s another seat on the forward side of the console, and a 72-qt. cooler inside.
Rod and Fish Stowage
The 237 SE includes under-gunwale rod stowage as standard. While you’re not using them to fish, your rigs have to live somewhere, and under the gunwale is a good spot: They’re out of the way, won’t get stepped on and are hidden from prying eyes of dockside scoundrels while you’re eating lunch at a waterfront dive. There are also four flush-mount rod holders in the gunwale, as you’d expect, for active rigs. The rocket launchers in the T-top and backrest together provide eight rod holders; add the under-gunwale stowage and you’ve got plenty of room for way more rigs than you probably need.Until it ends up on a hook, your bait can keep swimming in a 28-gallon live well, also standard. Should you get lucky, stow your catch in a pair of 40-gallon insulated fish boxes. When not fishing, they make excellent drink coolers. There’s more stowage for PFDs, tackle boxes and other necessaries in lockers under the bow seats, inside the console, etc. The anchor locker is shaped so the only thing that will fit in there is an anchor; it will be quick to deploy when needed.
All Cobias are built with first-quality resins and fabrics, hand-laid and finished with high-gloss gelcoat. No surprises there – fishing-boat builders tend to produce strong, durable hulls. But Cobia takes it a little further, with a strainer on the live-well intake and easy-to-replace pumps: They are accessible and wired with Deutsch waterproof connectors that snap apart; carry a spare pump and replacement takes just a few minutes. Cobia uses Deutsch waterproof connectors on all its wiring, and builds all wiring harnesses in-house. All through-hulls have ball valves and double-clamped hoses. Traditionalists might prefer proper seacocks, which can be disassembled for cleaning and lubrication, but a good quality ball valve built for marine use will do the trick, too. Smart owners operate all through-hull valves frequently to discover any incipient freeze-ups before the valve’s actually needed. And you know that every through-hull should have a tapered wooden plug wired to it for emergencies, don’t you?The leaning post and T-top are fastened with stainless-steel screws tapped into aluminum backing plates; ditto lid hinges and other highly stressed fittings. All hardware is stainless steel. Cobia even goes so far as to plumb drains from rod holders and pull-up cleats into the bilge, so you won’t have annoying water stains in the cockpit. Now that’s quality. Less may be more, but when it comes to details like that, more is really more. But one last question: Can anyone at Cobia write a decent poem?
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!