Boat Buyer's Guide 2013
Author: Alan Jones
Most anglers know that the morning bite usually provides the best action of the day and things tail off as the sun gets higher, so then what? Head in? Keep casting for no apparent reason? If you have the Stardeck 226 Cruise-N-Fish, that’s not a problem; just shift into cruise-and-entertainment mode to keep your day rolling.
The fishing station in the stern gives anglers a pair of pedestal fishing chairs that can be removed to create room for hauling large items such as giant towable tubes, when the kids want to be dragged around. The aft section features a vinyl floor for easy hose-offs, and just in front of the outboard is a roomy bait prep table that has a pair of cupholders for angler refreshment. There are four vertical rod holders set into the table, so the right rod is quickly available. A livewell is within easy reach under the seat bottom of the cockpit L-lounge, which features a rearward recliner with the perfect amount of backrest angle.
Stepping forward, we transition from the vinyl floor to the luxury of optional 28-ounce Boca Raton carpeting (22-ounce is standard). At the helm station, there’s a sink with a raw-water spigot, which means anglers rinsing off fish slime have an endless supply — no need to ration. The captain sits on a well-padded helm seat, steers a thick sport wheel and lords over the JBL MP3 stereo, to make sure kids don’t wrest control of the tuneage. In front of the helm is another chaise lounge, and for more seating there’s an abbreviated sofa to port. Under all the seats are roto-molded storage bins that have rain gutters to channel water overboard.
Starcraft gives owners a wide choice of performance packages and engine options. Our test boat features twin 25-inch tubes and a Mercury 90 hp FourStroke on the bracket, which moved us along well. Out-of-the-hole performance was outstanding, considering the modest horsepower, with a time to plane of 2.8 seconds. We reached 20 mph in 6.4 seconds and hit a top speed of 27.7 mph. With twin tubes, you can bump up the power to 150 hp; with triple tubes, you can ramp up the excitement to 200 hp.