The 246 Cayman is designed to be the best of what the increasingly popular bay boat arena has to offer. Taking the 206 and 226 Cayman as stepping stones into this market segment, the 246 Cayman is the culmination of everything Robalo has to offer in a boat that seamlessly crosses over from shallow water fishing to taking on rough water now and again.She has the same ability to fish among the weeds and skinny water with the rest of the flats boats and skiffs, but where this one shines is in her bow flare and Extended V-Plane hull, and 9' (2.74 m) beam that makes her more offshore-capable. But what really sets this boat apart in our book is the interior bow and stern treatment. Virtually all fishing boats these days are striving to be "family-friendly", and so is the 246 Cayman, but not in a pandering way. Rather, she is very much a hard-core fishing machine first, but drill down and her softer creature comforts can be found.
Historically, the bay boat market segment has been populated mostly by low-priced boats with quality, and fit-and-finish to match. However, the last couple of years a few up-market builders have gotten into the category to give consumers a choice, and Robalo is one of them. By offering a quality boat while still keeping the price in line with her peers, Robalo has broken the code, in our opinion.
Two, Large Casting Platforms.
A few boats have a decent bow casting platform, usually with the addition of an insert, but few if any have both a large flush deck forward and a large stern casting platform. Typically, the stern platform is heavily compromised. Not so on the Robalo 246 Cayman.
Innovative Hideaway Seating.
Not a new idea, but we've never seen it done better because the seat back is high and it does not take up the width of the boat.
9' (2.74 m) Beam.
That's right, not the normal 8'6" (2.6 m) or even less. More beam allows the boat to have wider side decks around the center console and wider casting decks. It also provides more stability.
Three 30 Gallon Livewells.
There are three 30-gallon (113.6L) livewells which include 18” (45.7 cm) drain tubes and aerators with thru-hull ball valves.
Kevlar Laminated into the Keel.
This is provided for hard grounding protection.
Pronounced Bow Flare.
This provides a dryer ride in light chop… a feature that some bay boat builders completely ignore and others don't take far enough.
Extended V-plane Hull.
This is Robalo's proprietary name for extending the hull abaft the point where the outboard is bolted to the transom. It provides more buoyancy aft where it is needed because of the engine weight and the casting platform. It also provides more running surface for improved performance.
Forward Entry Console Head.
This design has a lot of advantages over the traditional side-entry door, making it far easier to get into and out of the compartment. An optional 964 MSD Platinum Level Sani Pottie ($121) is available to go inside.
More Cockpit Deck Space.
On this type of boat there is often not much deck space behind the leaning post. Robalo has solved that problem on the 246 Cayman.
As bay boats go, the new 246 Cayman from Robalo seems destined to leave little to be desired, regardless of whether fishing fresh water or salt….a skinny bay or deep coastal work.
Little has changed in the helm layout from one model to the next and this is a classic example of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’’. Numerous molded setbacks and reliefs add style and good looks to what would otherwise be an average feature on other boats.A compass lies in the center of the upper panel with a pair of open storage bins to either side, both self-draining with bottoms lined with rubber pads. Competing panels simply add a flat recess to put a cell phone or glasses in and this is a much appreciated improvement. The bin to the left even has a 12V plug for cell phones or spotlights.
Dual electrical panels
to either side house the toggle switches controlling everything from lights to pumps. All switches are stainless steel and not subject to UV degradation as plastic ones are. To the center is open real estate for an optional Garmin 741xs. Digital engine gauges will be to the right and the specific version will be determined based upon the manufacturer of the power chosen, either Yamaha or Mercury. Robalo has changed the dash for 2016 to accommodate 12'' screens.The steering wheel is stainless steel (as is all hardware on the boat), with a steering knob for ease of use. Sea Star hydraulic steering with tilt is standard. The engine controls are mounted on a nearly vertical angle, which is not our favorite angle. Below are dual storage compartments, one open and one lockable. A molded footrest is recessed into the bottom of the console.
The leaning post is fabricated from aluminum tube framing, and powder coated for protection. Seating is made of multi-density foam secured to a composite base, all covered in a two-tone UV-resistant vinyl.Below is a 70-quart (66.2 L) cooler secured with both bungee cords and acrylic chocks. Padded bolsters surround the recessed cockpit.
To Top it Off…
An optional aluminum with fiberglass T-top can, and should, be ordered with the 246 Cayman ($5,119, or $5,744 powder coated). The optional fiberglass hardtop can be color-matched to the hull in either Deepwater Blue, Deepwater Black, Cool Gray, Ice Blue, Shark Grey, or Tan. Rails are powder-coated, and rocket launchers are across the back. Spreader lights will allow for fishing long after the sun dips below the horizon.
Innovative Bow Features
We love how all fishing boats worth their salt have forward casting decks, but Robalo made a significant improvement on the concept. Instead of having bow seats that serve double duty as a casting deck when the cushions are removed, it went with seating just behind the fixed casting deck.
Dedicated Casting Deck.
This eliminates the need to do a conversion on the fly and no longer do the cushions need to be moved to the truck before departing the dock. A slight rise in the deck 6’’ or so before the edge will alert any busy angler to be careful. Most importantly there is not a lip or step up to stumble over.There are two large hatches under foot -- one for the 20-gallon insulated fishbox. The other is a large anchor locker.
Plus Dedicated Bow Seating.
Because Robalo has created a genuine foredeck for casting, it has eliminated the typical "V"-shaped seating platforms that have been de rigueur on center consoles for 45 years. By moving the seating back, it has gotten ride of the "V"-shape and replaced it with more of a "U"-shape that is attractive and functional. This design allows the bow to be used as a dining area when lunch time comes.A side mount pedestal table ($412) sets the dining stage, and this table also lowers to form a bow sun pad making the 246 Cayman as attractive to families as she is to fishermen.
Under the seats is storage all around with rod tubes to the side compartments to hold 6 rods each secure. Both side compartments are lockable and are held open with 316-stainless gas struts able to support a 50 lb. (22.7 kg) load.
While the working end of the console remains the same throughout the three Cayman models, the inside makes an upgrade on both the 226 and here in the 246 with walk-in access and it’s significantly larger on this 246 Cayman. Of course, both upper models accommodate the addition of the optional Porta-Pottie head ($121).
To the stern is a second elevated casting platform which is remarkably large for this class of boat. It has some added functionality of its own. In the center is a flip-open triple-wide seat, again making the 246 Cayman attractive for the family, or the guys heading out to the fish. Under the seat is more storage. This is a detail not found on most boats with fold-away transom seats -- but of course this is not at the transom.
To the sides, a pair of 30-gallon (114 L) livewells are under hinged covers and both can be compartmentalized to separate bait from fish, or different types of live bait. Behind and to port is a 5-gallon (19 L) bucket in a molded holder and even this gets a hinged cover. To starboard is the covered, recessed reboarding ladder.
Aside from having the dual casting decks, offshore the recessed cockpit will also offer an attractive place for fishing from a more protected venue. Padded bolsters all around offer a more comfortable position to fight the catch aboard. Stainless toe rails under the gunwales offer a further level of protection and stability. Past experience testing the smaller 206 Cayman showed a natural tendency to lie beam-to the winds, and it stands to reason that the 246 will exhibit the same type of characteristic making her more appealing to drift fishing.
In this class of boat trailers are often extra, but a tandem-axle trailer is included in the price of the 246. It is aluminum with disc brakes, submersible LED lights, side guides and 14" tires with galvanized rims.
Robalo will power the 246 Cayman with engines from Yamaha. The Mercury Verado lineup is also available in only Canada and International markets. Maximum horsepower rating for the boat is and it is what powered our test boat. Of course since she’s designed for skinny water, Robalo will mount the engine to an adjustable jack plate ($1,356) controlled at the helm.
With the Yamaha 300 XCA turning a 19 x 15 ¼ prop we reached a top speed of 50.1 mph. At that speed we were burning 26.4 gph for a range of 128 miles. We recorded a best economy speed at 3000 RPM and 24.7 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 7 gph and increased the range to 240 miles. She was also quick to plane, doing so in only 3 seconds thanks to the Extended V-Plane hull. We reached 20 mph in 5.3 seconds and accelerated through 30 mph in 8.7 seconds.
Handling the 246 was a huge disappointment, but not because of the boat…because of the flat calm water we had on test day. When we tested the 206 Cayman we had snotty weather and really had a chance to kick the tar out of that boat and she took it surprisingly well. Therefore we have no reason to doubt that this same hull design will perform equally well. Perhaps even more so.
Pricing for the boat equipped with Yamaha engines was available from the builder: F200XB 25", mechanical, $50,295; F200XCA 25" with CLP $52,910; F250XA 25", mechanical, $54,875; F250XCA 25", CLP, $57,425; F300XCA 25", CLP, $58,905. Pricing was not available for Mercury outboards.
With the excitement we experienced from testing the 206 it’s understandable that we were seriously looking forward to our test of this new 246 Cayman. The fact that we didn’t get windy conditions was the only disappointment we had regarding this boat. She’s certainly got the capability to provide for both the serious angler all of the amenities needed, as well as keep the family happy.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Robalo 246 Cayman (2015-) is 53.8 mph (86.6 kph), burning 26.3 gallons per hour (gph) or 99.55 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Robalo 246 Cayman (2015-) is 30.9 mph (49.7 kph), and the boat gets 3.4 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.45 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 228 miles (366.93 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 300-hp Yamaha 300 XCA 4.2L V6 4-stroke.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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