Captain's Report by Capt. Steve
You have to give Wellcraft credit for calling it as it is. The mission statement of this boat is clearly written in the model name "Fisherman". With this boat it's about fishing and fishermen and building a strong vessel to get you out to the fight and back.
Let’s take a look at some of the features that separate the 232 Fishermen from others in class.
Her 3573 lbs (1620 kg) definitely puts this boat in the heavyweight category, where others range between 2700 lb. (1224 kg)-3500 lb. (1497 kg). That additional weight will translate directly to the operational capabilities of this boat, meaning more stability when the going gets rough, a more comfortable ride, and less of a chance of mal de mer. The downside, of course, is the boat won’t have the same top end speed as a lightweight with the same power. Take your pick. •
Sure there are a few that include this as a standard feature, but so few do it that when we see it, we certainly count it as a distinguishing feature. Yes, it is canvas and not fiberglass, but I like canvas for a couple of reasons: first, it is lighter and keeps the boat's CG lower; second, it is easy to add rod holders and riggers onto the side supports; third, it saves a lot of money.
Good standard equipment package.
Because there are so many different brands of center console on the market, price competition is keen. Of course, the easiest way to create a lower price is put a lot of needed stuff on the options list. Wellcraft has not done that and I find the 232 very well equipped with all of the fishy stuff needed such as livewells, pumps, lights, instruments, raw water washdown, etc. as well as most other equipment needed. An exception to this are the two coolers which are optional.
Let’s start where it matters, at the console itself. You're certainly not going to find a lot of complications with this console. Two digital multi-function gauges are over to the left-hand side of the panel and an optional stereo is mounted to the right-hand side.
Real estate for screens.
I measured 23” (58.4 cm) of space for mounting your choice of electronics, but certainly that could be expanded if the optional stereo were mounted at the bottom of the panel. If you feel the need for a display larger than the optional 8.4” unit offered by Wellcraft, then go for it in the aftermarket, you have plenty of room. The only other thing occupying the panel space is the trim tab rocker switch panel, which is correctly placed right at your fingertips when you move the throttle forward. The stainless steel wheel is on a tilt base and there's a recessed cubby between the wheel and the engine controls for your handheld electronics and a convenient 12 V power supply is right above. A row of switches resides in an aluminum strip just above the wheel.
Anybody who has read my reports knows that I have a beef with builders only making boats for tall captains. Not so with Wellcraft -- in the seated position I had my feet solidly planted on the footrest, which is also a full-length door covering a storage area. I also like the fact that below this footrest is a recessed area to tuck your feet into when standing. This is a small detail that I've seen lacking in so many other boats, and it allows you to get just a little bit closer to the wheel. And if you’d like to tuck your feet underneath, there’s another footrest in the seat base.
The helm seating is composed of a double-wide bench seat with an optional removable backrest. The backrest’s mounts slide into recessed rod holders at both sides of the leaning post, and I'd like to see the arms of the seatback swivel so that the unit can be stowed easier. There's a retractable bench seat at the stern that I found very easy to deploy and stow, and it’s also in close proximity to the leaning post so you can brace yourself and hold on during the trip out to the fishing grounds. A 72-quart (68.1 L) cooler seat is offered as an option for just ahead of the console.
There’s certainly no shortage of rod holders on the 232 Fishermen. In addition to the four rocket launchers and two leaning post rod holders that I already mentioned, there are four more rod holders flush mounted into the caprail. And of course there's the usual under-gunwale rod storage.
In the transom, there's a 21-quart (19.9 L) livewell with overboard drain connected to a 700 gph pump. There are two 155-quart (146.7 L) fishboxes at the bow, both with overboard drains. These fishboxes also serve as V seating and the lids have a non-skid surface to serve double-duty as an elevated casting deck. You can add a pair of optional taco grand slam outriggers with 15’ (4.6 m) poles. In the bulwarks to both sides of the console are recessed tackle storage boxes with two trays in each.
Clearly Wellcraft has hit a sweet spot for sport fishing with this 232. She’s well built, good-looking, and strong enough to keep you safe when the going gets rough. Her standard features serve to make the base boat a functional platform right out of the showroom floor, but there’s still room for customizing to dial in the boat of your desires.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|