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Yellowfin 24 Bay Boat

Here at Dream Catcher Charters we started fishing the 24 Yellowfin Bay boat in February of 2007. We have put more hours on Yellowfin Bay boats than anyone else on the planet with over 300 fishing charters per year on each of our boats. By Fall of 2016 I have owned 8 of these boats and keep 6 on staff full time.

Here is my review of the Yellowfin Bay boat as I see it here in operations in Key West, Florida.

Yellowfin Carbon Elite Bay boat 24. Powered by Mercury Racing 400r VeradoThere are many things a new boat owner feels when he takes delivery of a boat. One of the notable things I felt when I was trailering home my first 24 Yellowfin was confidence. Confidence that this boat was right for what we were looking for in a shallow water bay boat. Confidence that we could splash the boat and run it the day we get it. Confidence that the company that built the boat, should anything go wrong, would stand behind it. My feelings did not steer me wrong.

Yellowfin as a whole and more notably Wylie Nagler and Heath Dougherty have been great to work with. I am a particular person and they have always managed my needs professionally, timely and accurately. I am amazed at how much goes on in that facility building many different models for every sort of fishing enthusiast imaginable from a 17ft Flats boat to a 42 ft Behemoth offshore fish killer or Caribbean cruiser not to mention the projects not off the drawing board, one can definitely see a well oiled machine that is Yellowfin Yachts.

About the boat...

Bay Boats are a funny critter. Most of the different brands look pretty much the same. I have been in almost all of them. Each brand has its own features where it shines and some areas that they don't. This is true with every bay boat. A prospecting bay boat buyer has to weigh out what he feels is important in his purchase decision. In this article I will point out the areas that I have found to be the best about the Yellowfin 24 Bay Boat.

Rigging fit and finish

Yellowfin Bay Boat 24 2007. THis was our first Yellowfin. Orriginally powered by Mercury Racing 300XSMy first Yellowfin Bay Boat was a boat show queen for Miami International Boat show 07' so many would say, "your boat should be perfect." Well they are right. The rigging, fit and finish in my boat was "perfect." In fact the rigging resembled some of the finest offshore center consoles out there like Yellowfin. The same rigging detail in their big boats goes into the 24 as well. Wow, is what I hear most often when I lift the forward seat so you can see the total access to everything with out having to be a contortionist. Just to make a comparison I climbed into a customers boat that was being finished at the Yellowfin plant that day for pickup. That boat was perfect as well and could easily have been the Show Queen.

I would really like to bring some attention to the electronic control processor that Yellowfin puts in the 24 for the switch board circuitry. This thing was daunting to me as I had never worked with one before. I was almost upset that I would have to add extra switches to wire in some accessories such as the raw water pump (see Note A) as well as my underwater Ocean LED lights and my Furuno electronics (see Note B). I called the factory when I was playing Tim Tool Time and spoke to Kevin who then put me on with some kid named Hooper. Hooper walked me through the steps and overnighter the pieces to do it professionally and all was very easy and good. I was able to utilize that snazzy switch panel that Yellowfin Yachts is noted for to run my accessories. Very Cool.

Pumps and stuff

Yellowfin bay boat 24 Tower editionno sweat. The pumps are just under a little seat behind the rocket launcher. Here you can quick change a pump in a matter of a minute. (see Note C). There is this cool little box back there that has the pumps with this special little connector plugs right in. Bilge is super clean of rigging wires and hoses by the rigging tube that goes through to the engine. In the very back there is a removable inspection plate that is glued down you can get into if need be. Should be no need though.

Accessories

the boat comes with Power Pole standard (who does that?) with the XL with remote. Very functional piece of equipment. I was originally wanting the Power pole on the motor mount thing that Power Pole makes but there is no need as the transom install that Yellowfin does is tight and very strong. Works well.

Trim tabs are forbidden. Needed? Well, I am a firm believer that all boats over 20 ft should have them. However, this boat does not scream out, " I need tabs." I will not put them on my next boat as they would not offer this boat enough improvements to make up for the ugly they would create on the transom.

Overall finish

10 out of 10. On three passes I found nothing. The boat was perfect and so were two others I saw at the factory. Now, for those that know me you can take it to the bank, nothing, not even a smear mark from a buffer or a cut zip tie piece in the bilge could be found.

Ergonomics

Console -Console is very comfy, keep in mind I am 6' 6" and it fits me well (see Note D). I love the landscape on the dash, plenty of room for any overzealous gadget freak but not too wide. Rod holders not only look nice but work and drain out a tube...pretty neat. Lots of room inside the console. By lifting the forward seat I can get in there to do wiring, and I am sure that most guys' wives can get in there to use a bucket or small porta toilet without much issue. However, I would not say there is room for a head. Use your imagination and it will work. Front seat is awesome. My folks love to sit there while they are riding. In my other bay boats they like the back because it offers a smoother ride. In this boat it does not matter. Console is attached to the inner liner of the boat so I don't suspect there will ever be an issue here as I have seen in other boats coming out of the floor. Some folks would want the forward seat to be a critter tank, bait well or cooler. I have put a lot of thought into this and have decided I like the access and the very dry storage, not to mention a place to put my extras.

Yellowfin 24 bay boat powered by Mercury Racing 350 SCI. We called this boat Fin-Zilla. Leaning post - I changed mine for personal reasons (long legs). I know Yellowfin is coming out with a leaning post that has a storage box and typical flip seat which will be real nice. There is not a ton of room behind the leaning post to the back casting deck. I find this area in all boats to be dead space so it's really no issue. There is enough room for rear seated passengers to feel safe and hang on to the leaning post for a rail. Pretty cozy with 3 inch cushion and very safe.

Console to gunwale room - Fantastic! Not to mention the gunnels are wide enough for an elephant to walk down them. I am a huge fan of the gunnels; they are just high enough, definitely wide enough and very stylish adding to the interior lines of an already sexy boat. I would feel very comfortable using this boat as a mini tower boat. The framing of the tower is not an issue.

Forward Casting Deck HUGE! I have had 3 grown men up there casting away and not killing each other. I think it may be the largest in the industry. Nice big toe rail for fly fishermen and for those who don't see where the deck ends. Plenty of room for a 60" Motor guide trolling motor. everything is flush mounted as well. I love the deck space on this boat and it was a huge selling point for me.

Storage - How much do you need? This boat has a bunch of it. Either the console or the forward compartment you will have truly dry storage. Forward there are three hatches, one of them being quite large for access. I have put a 47 quart cooler up there and strapped it with bungees. Works really well and out of the way.

Yellowfin Bay Boat spider editionBattery Compartments - The main starting batteries are in the console nice and tidy. The trolling motor batteries are under the deck in the front storage compartment, VERY COOL. What an awesome way to put these batteries because they are not only out of the way but protected from the harsh environment and forward to help counter the weight of the motor.

Bait wells - The main center well on this boat is really well done; its in the very back of the boat. There is a clear lid that closes with a hatch on top. My baits love it in there, often throwing pool parties while they wait to be fed to hungry tarpon. The well is perfectly plumbed and fills up to the top creating a pressure out which is key in bait saving. Standard is the recirculation aerator which works great. I will say one thing, pin fish are smart, they know where to go to stay away from my net. The lid opens to the starboard portion of the well only leaving the little rascals to the port side to avoid me.

Release wells - I don't use them for release, but I find it to be a great place to keep crabs and bucket or other items for wet storage. Mine are plumbed and I am sure they work really well but have no reason to keep a fish alive any bigger than will fit in my bait well. All the wells look nice and are finished inside.

Deck - The non skid is great. Cleans nicely after a bloody day. Drains well once you are moving. However, while sitting still the scuppers are plugged up so whatever water you take on the deck will be at your feet until you move or slosh around. No issue here, just the means of design to keep water out of the boat while you are sitting. I have not had a wet foot yet.

Performance

Everyone asks me, "How Fast Is It?"

WOT with some fuel and two people

Mercury Verado 300 64 - 66 mph

Mercury Verado 350 71 - 74 mph

Mercury Optimax 300 XS 66 - 70 mph

Mercury Optimax 250 Pro XS 60 - 64 mph

The Yellowfin 24 Bay Carbon Version 2015 runs top end of 78mph with Mercury Racing 400r.

The Ride

The Yellowfin Bay Boat 24 rides flat! Flat as a board. And cuts like a knife. It planes in amazing time with very little bow lift and will do it in 2 feet of water without hurting a thing. If you are running a 24 Yellowfin and you feel the chop, go faster and it goes away. Wylie has taken offshore racing ideas and design to this boat; it runs like no other boat I have ever been in. Trim has little to do with ride after 3 degrees positive, your not going to yank the bow way up with any prop it runs the way it runs. Like any boat it has its bad spot, avoid it, change your angle or adjust your speed to fit. I am amazed every time I take it out especially in the wind about how this boat rides. My customers love it. They like my other boats too but this one seems to yield the most comments about its ability to eat chop with not effect. Nice work Yellowfin.

I will say the Verado boat rides a little better in a chop.

Fishing Performance

We all fish different ways so I will keep this simple. My Yellowfin is shallower than any other bay boat and easier to handle on the flats. It acts like a flats boat. Dead silent on the flat. I never thought I would ever try and fly fish for permit on the flats in anything but my flats skiff. This boat does it well and the fish did not even know we were there. I was truly amazed. Like I said when I started this section, we all fish different but I bet this boat will handle your needs very well whatever they are. In shallow water a whole new world has been opened to me.

As a bay boat guide I like to be able to offer my clients the ability to fish 4 persons. Fishing 4 persons is not my favorite thing but this boat will do it well.

On a side note, I really hate to compare boats but there is a definite difference in this boat to others. The others are boats that fish. This is a great fishing boat.

Durability

This boat is strong as all hell. I have beaten it across to the Marquesas in water that would have sent other boats home. If there is going to be a stress crack it would be there already and if something were going to break it would be broken or come lose by now. The best part is there are no rattles or washiness in the hull. You hit wave, wave leaves. I will stand by this boat with my reputation to say, that you cannot hurt it. I am looking forward to a long history with my first 24 as it has passed the test of the Ides of March here in Key West.

Update 8/1/2009 - We still have our red boat, the first of our Yellowfin 24 bay boats and it is holding up very well. Looks great runs great and all things have stayed together.. we have had very few issues after 2000 hours of operation..

Things I Would Change

This is always a tough category for me as there are so many things about boats that can be changed a little here and there to match what may be my perfect boat. This may not be the boat for someone else though and a company like Yellowfin builds a boat for the masses that fishes really well. So the things I don't like will be partially my personal little thing. This article would be incomplete without this section as there is no boat in the world that will ever make one person TOTALLY 150% happy.

The one thing that could make this boat better for the masses would be a console redesign option that allowed for a bathroom.

The latches that Yellowfin uses tend to lock themselves under vibration. Now, this could be a result from the vibration of the 300XS being a motor without soft motor mounts. The motor mounts on a 300 XS are solid and do create more vibration throughout the boat. Verado power will probably not have this issue.

The Jack Plate - I am not a huge fan of Bobs Machine jack plates and will change mine when I have the chance, maybe during re-power. I will note that there has been absolutely no failure with my current jack plate that was installed; however, it just doesn't seem as solid a piece of equipment as the Stainless Marine Jack Plates I am accustomed to using. Note- Stainless Marine Jacks are pricey but you get what you pay for.

Anchor locker - It needs to be made about 1 inch deeper in order to fit a decent holding anchor in it and close the lid. My anchor may be too large for what they were considering when drafting that compartment, however a smaller one just does not do the trick here in Key West, even with 8 ft of chain. To adjust for the issue I trimmed the wings or flanges back on my anchor to make it fit better and seem to have lost no performance. Boat is a touch faster due to less metal. JK.

All In All

The Yellowfin 24 bay boat is unique to itself. It does not look like any other product out there so it can not be called a knock off. You will find the people at Yellowfin to be friendly and professional. The boat will be done when they say it will and ready to be splashed at the nearest boat ramp. You will find the fit and finish impeccable and comparable to any super high end yacht works. The 24 bay will stay together for you for years to come and Yellowfin will stand behind their product. I think that this boat is about the sexiest thing I have ever seen. It is always nice when beauty comes with function.

If you are in the market for an awesome bay boat go to their web site and give them a call. www.yellowfinyachts.com Ask for Wylie or Heath.

Note A - Yellowfin has a surcharge for the raw water pump installation. I am not sure what it is exactly but the cost for my install ran about $350 and about 2 hrs labor for installation on my own. You may want to consider their installation as it will be professionally done.

Note B - Yellowfin charges $600 for flush mounted electronics. Well worth it in my opinion for them to install the transducers and what not's you may have.

Note C - Make sure you also get extra pump cartridges with plugs installed for quick release change bait pumps whatever the cost.

Note D - Get the recessed foot pad for the wall of the wheel side of the console. Very nice and well worth the $250 or so dollars for this option. Also a great place to mount Sub speakers.

Capt. Steven Lamp (DrCatcher)
Veteran Key West Fishing Guide, Boating enthusiast and Entrepreneur
Pro Staff - Mercury Marine - Yellowfin Yachts - Garmin Marine

My Personal Web Site - Key West Fishing Guide

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