How Do They Know?
Typically, a boat like the Pro-Line 26 Super Sport comes with everything necessary for piscatorial pursuits, except rods and bait. How do builders like Pro-Line know what their customers want? We think it's generally because all fishermen want basically the same things -- bait wells, fishboxes and rod holders, and a way to get to the fish – and specifically because Pro-Line has been building serious fishboats since 1968, when Dan Atwood and his father, Ray, sold their first Pro-Line, a 24-footer, to Florida fishing guide Capt. Sam Pecorino. (In 1997, Pro-Line traded a new boat for Capt. Pecorino's dual-console; it's now in the company museum.)
One thing fishermen don't want is maintenance problems, so Pro-Line builds the 26 SS to be as trouble-free as possible. She's built with F.I.S.T. – Fiberglass Integrated Structural Technology, which replaces the wood components of traditional fiberglass boats, e.g., stringer and transom cores, with fiberglass and high-density foam. (Many companies today build wood-free, but Pro-Line has been doing it since 1994.) Pro-Line says F.I.S.T. creates a lighter boat, which in turn requires less power to achieve her desired speed; less power means less fuel burn, and lower operating costs. And, although some builders contest the bad rap others put on structural wood, there's no disputing that foam doesn't rot or soak up water and get soft.
What's in the Box?
Pro-Line loads the 26 Super Sport with plenty of standard equipment: two bilge pumps; a bow pulpit with anchor roller; a Porta-Potti in the console (dockside pumpout is optional); seven stainless steel cleats, most of them flush-mount; and a cockpit shower (it's cold-water only). There are under-gunwale racks for eight rods, two rod holders in each gunwale and three more in the leaning post, which also comes with a permanent backrest – many builders offer a backrest that slides into the rod holders, rendering them useless. A cooler fits under the leaning-post legs. There's more seating ahead of the console and on a folding bench seat aft and plenty of stowage in the console and under the casting deck.
The 26 SS options list includes mostly comfort and convenience items, other than the T-top, which many fishermen will want, and electronics. Pro-Line installs Garmin fishfinders and navigators, and Icom VHFs. Both are good brands, but many fishermen have their favorites and will custom-built their electronics packages after taking delivery. We would add the optional battery switch for dual batteries, maybe cockpit lights and an anchor windlass. Otherwise the standard boat has what we need.
On their options list, Pro-Line offers single and twin outboards from Evinrude, Mercury and Suzuki – don't ask us why all the pictures they provide of the 26 SS show her with Hondas on the transom. We suspect the company will install the engines you want. In any case, a single 250-hp, the least power we'd recommend, will push the boat into the low-40-mph range, according to Pro-Line, while max power, twin 225s, will rocket her to nearly 60 (96.5 kph). We'd take the middle ground, with a single 300-hp engine which would leave more room on the platform. Modern outboards are reliable, so we'd be confident going offshore with a single, and a SeaTow membership.
Pro-Line doesn't have the snob appeal of super-high-end fishboats, but the 26 Super Sport will take you anywhere any boat of its size, from any builder, will. You won't have to spend a fortune above MSRP on options, the boats are well-built, reliable and easy to maintain. Serious fishermen have been buying and enjoying Pro-Lines for 42+ years, and with good reason. We think if you're hankering for a new fishing boat, you should check out the Pro-Line 26 Super Sport. We know we would.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!