The Sea Pro 208 is one of a stable of six new fishing boats from Sea Pro released since the rebirth of the company last year. Two larger models, the 259 and the 309, the largest Sea Pro ever, are scheduled for January.
The 208 is a bay boat with the typical center-console layout, but a look at the fishing amenities quickly distinguishes her from all but the elite few; she's clearly designed by anglers for anglers. And it doesn't hurt that she's one of the more graceful offerings in the genre with lots of eye appeal both in styling and in the palate of eight hull colors.
About the Company
Sea Pro was one of many well-known names in the marine industry that suffered during the 2007-2010 recession -- owned then by Brunswick, the doors were closed in 2008. Jimmy Hancock, one of the original owners of Sea Pro, along with Tidewater Boats’ founder Preston Wrenn, decided in 2015 to relaunch the company, planning an all-new incarnation of the Sea Pro brand -- ‘The Next Wave’.
The new lineup is clearly a step up from the entry-level Sea Pro's of years past with many standard features that were once options, improved construction, and more eye appeal. Sea Pro’s new Newberry County, S.C. facility is a state of the art 200,000 sq. ft. building dedicated to the line.
The livewells say a lot about the fishing know-how of the designers of this boat -- there are two in the aft corners, both circular 16-gallon models with blue gel-coat interiors, LED lighted, and with the drain pipe protected by a plexi cover to keep baitfish and scales from getting into it and clogging the circulation.
This doesn't sound like much of a problem if you don't fish live sardines, menhaden, or similar baits -- if you do, you know what these drains are about.
Having two wells means anglers can keep shrimp in one, sardines or crabs in the other, and they're both located right next to the transom, so that there's no need to drag a castnet through the cockpit to drop bait into the wells -- these wells alone are likely to sell a fair number of 208's.
A full complement of rod holders and racks plus a locking rod box, a large, insulated and aerated fish box, and a trolling motor plug are also part of the standard features.
At the Bow
The big features up front are the two locking rod boxes in the bow-casting platform. While freshwater bass boats normally have this feature, it's missing on many bay boats. Having the boxes allows anglers to keep gear safe and out of sight for the ride to the ramp and back home, and can even allow keeping tackle aboard overnight at the docks. It also puts all but the "duty rods" out of the salt spray until they're needed, reducing maintenance and improving life span.
There are racks inside the boxes, as well as tubes to protect the tips -- a plus over most bayboats in this size range. Gas struts keep the hatch covers open for ease of access.
A trolling motor plug is standard at the bow peak, useful since these quiet electric motors have become virtually standard gear for sneaking up on fish on most bay boats. A tilt switch for the outboard is also found in this panel -- very useful when fishing.
There's also plenty of space on the gunwale to mount the troller, and the battery box in the deck just in front of the console has space for up to three big 12-volts. This is a big improvement over having the batteries in the aft bilge area like bass boats because it balances the boat so much better, allowing for quicker planing and less squat on takeoff. This means the boat can get up in shallower water.
She also will sit more level at rest, reducing the tendency to "kite" in strong winds when drifting a flat.
There's an anchor locker with hanger in the bow as well, and a total of four stainless steel cup holders, two on the back edge of the casting deck, two more adjacent the seat on the front of the console. The cleats here and aft are pop-ups, helping to keep them from snagging fishing lines.
The console seat bottom lifts to reveal an insulated cooler, while the seat back lifts to provide access to console storage and wiring. The upholstery is two-tone marine vinyl with piped edges.
The under-gunwale rod racks include a thoughtful extra, soft reel pads placed to prevent reels from banging against the fiberglass. It's a small touch, but one that shows the care the company put into getting this boat right for anglers. There's also the usual bungee to hold rods in place. There are hidden LED lights under the gunwales, as well, a big help for getting underway before daylight.
Three vertical rod holders are found on each side of the console. These are durable aluminum tubes, not the economy-mode composites, and they include liners to make it easy on the rod handles.
The non-slip here and throughout is sand finish, which offers easy washdown plus comfortable footing for the many coastal anglers who like to fish barefooted in the warmer months. More aggressive diamond-grid non-skids are less easy on the feet and can also be harder to keep clean.
At the Helm
The polished stainless steel wheel tilts to allow a standing skipper to operate it comfortably. Since many drivers of center consoles stand up most of the time when the boat is on plane, this is a big plus. The included spinner knob will make it easy to turn the motor rapidly in tight going at speed.
The standard compass is mounted directly in front of the driver, as it should be for ease of sight lines, rather than in the center for symmetry. Two stainless steel cup holders are found on the starboard side, and there's a small tray built into the top of the console to collect the usual assortment of pliers, sunglasses and sunscreen that collect there on any CC.
Electrical switches are stainless steel toggle-type mounted just under the gauges where their labels are easily visible. The angle of this mounting may cause water intrusion as the years go by on boats ordered without a t-top and stored without a console cover. Placing them vertically lower on the console under an overhang would avoid the potential issue -- but also would make them harder to read.
The plexi-glass windshield is unframed, but a stainless steel grabrail is provided on boats ordered without the optional fiberglass hardtop.
The aft casting platform includes two folding jumpseats, the backs of which sit flush with the deck to provide added fishing space. The hinges on these seats are below deck level, so they're not toe-catchers. The seats flip up to reveal storage underneath.
The two circular 16-gallon livewells sit at the corners of the casting deck, while the live well/fish box is in the center. All have LED lighting and pale blue gelcoat interiors. High-speed pickups assure water flow to bait even while on plane.
There are two trolling rod holders within reach, as well as a pair of pop-up cleats. Stainless steel drink-holders are at the front corners within reach of those seated on the jump seats.
The 208 is self bailing and that is assured by a pair of large drainholes in the aft center of the cockpit, covered by a stainless steel grate to prevent clogging with sea grass or other debris that comes aboard when cast-netting. The fact that she does not drain to the bilge will be a comfort to owners who leave her overnight at a dock in rainy weather, as well as adding to security should she be occasionally run out the inlets to fish along the beach.
The Sea Pro was powered by an Evinrude 150 E-TEC G2 H.O. The magneto pumps out 133 amps max, and it can run the motor with a dead battery, a safety feature particularly for boats used on big water. A 10-micron fuel filter/water separator built in is also a plus in these days of ethanol-blend fuel.
The prop was also worthy of note, an Evinrude RX4 15 x 18. This is a stainless steel four-blade prop, designed for exceptionally quick hole shots. Four blades are popular among flats specialists who want a boat to pop up on top in a short distance over the shallows.
Four-blade props also help keep a boat on plane at lower rpm, thus improving economy in the mid-ranges as well as making for a better ride in rough water. Most four-blades give up a bit of speed at maximum rpm as a trade-off -- top speed on the Sea Pro could be boosted somewhat with a switch to a three-blade with a similar or slightly higher pitch.
WOT. Top speed on the Sea Pro 208 with an Evinrude E-TEC turning a 15x18 four-blade RX4 stainless prop and carrying a full load of fuel was 42.5 mph at 5450 rpms. This appears to be a bit too much prop for the rig--she might reach the suggested redline of around 5800 with slightly less pitch or more likely a switch to a three-blade 18 or even a 20. This would add a bit to her top speed -- but if you want to make this a 50-mph boat, you'll need to move up to the 200-hp maximum engine.
Cruise. As is often the case in our test runs with Evinrude E-TEC's, fuel economy was impressive. The Sea Pro achieved best cruise numbers at 3000 rpms and 20.0 mph, which she used just 3.9 gph for a 5.13 mpg rating and a range of about 282 miles. The 60-plus gallon tank of this boat gives it unusual range with this motor, allowing most anglers to make a number of trips before refueling.
Acceleration. We did not record Time-to-Plane numbers for the Sea Pro 208, but her 0-30 times leave nothing to be desired, a tribute to the torque of the Evinrude 150 E-TEC G2, the four-blade prop's amazing traction, and the design of the hull.
We have no handling report on the Sea Pro 208 at this time, but her sharp chines and moderate 15-degree deadrise should make for predictable cornering. Like all shallow-vee bay boats, she's likely to encourage slowing down in rough water, but the trade-off is she can buzz over shallow bars that leave others hard aground.
She's a light boat for a 20-footer at just over 2200 lbs. without the outboard. This means quick planing, easy towing, and good top speeds without burning a lot of fuel.
All-composite construction including the stringer grids, and the transom promises long-term durability without concerns with water intrusion. All storage boxes have smooth gelcoat interiors and lids for easy cleaning and reduced mold issues, and floor hatches have rubber gaskets to prevent water intrusion. One quality touch easily seen from the outside: all the mounting screws on the stainless steel rub rail are set "north and south" that is with the Phillips head screws set straight up and down, a traditional boatbuilding mark of careful construction.
Pricing information was not available at press time.
- • Fiberglass T Top w/ radio box, rod holders and LED lights
- • Trim Tabs
- • Garmin Electronics
- • Cockpit Bolsters
- • Helm Pad
- • Rear Bench seat w/ back rest
- • Hull Color Options
- • Fresh Water tank w/ Pull out shower
- • Polk Audio system w/ 4 speakers
- • Hydraulic Jack plate
- • Bow and /or Stern casting chair
- • ½ Swim Platform
- • Bow Cushions
The 208 is a boat with a lot of touches that clearly move it out of the entry-level class which Sea Pro was once considered to be in previous iteration. All through-hulls are stainless steel, all cleats are pop-ups, most hatches have stainless steel locks and pneumatic assists and there are LED lights everywhere added light might be needed, including the larger storage boxes and the live wells. The locking rod storage box is a big plus in a bay boat.
She has a raked and flared bow that not only looks stylish, but should help her in keeping spray out of the cockpit. Her hard chines should assist in stability at rest as well as helping with the hole shot.
With a deadrise of just 15 degrees, she's probably not going to be the smoothest riding of bay boats, but the true mission of these boats is to be shallow-water capable, get on plane quickly, and get to the fish fast, all on the menu here. The 12-inch draft, drive up, is exceptional in a bay boat of this LOA, a big plus for poling or easing across the flats on a trolling motor.
Test Result Highlights
- • Top speed for the Sea Pro 208 (2017-) was 42.5 mph (68.4 kph), burning 12.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 45.4 liters per hour (lph).
- • Best cruise for the Sea Pro 208 (2017-) was 20.0 mph (32.2 kph), where she got 5.13 mpg (2.18 kpl), giving a range of about 282 statute miles (453 km), allowing a 10 percent reserve.
- • Tested power was 1 x 150-hp Evinrude E-TEC G2 H.O.
- • 10 Year Transferable Hull Warranty
- • Lifetime Hardware Warranty
- • 5 Year Bow To Stern Warranty
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Sea Pro 208 Bay DLX (2016-) is 42.5 mph (68.4 kph), burning 12.00 gallons per hour (gph) or 45.42 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Sea Pro 208 Bay DLX (2016-) is 20.0 mph (32.2 kph), and the boat gets 5.13 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.18 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 282 miles (453.84 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 150 H.O. Evinrude E-TEC G2 25" Shaft.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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