Stingray’s 206CC combines the fishing chops of a center console design with the family friendliness of a deckboat.
It’s been a while since Stingray has produced an outboard-powered center console fishing boat, but for 2017, the South Carolina-based boat builder makes up for lost time with the 206CC. Center consoles not only make sense for fishing but provide a good recreational platform as well.
Stingray earned its reputation by delivering fast and sporty sterndrive-powered trailerable boats that don’t need a lot of horsepower to deliver outstanding performance. And now, its designers are breaking the mold to produce a center console fishing deckboat that doesn’t forget it’s a Stingray. Fish-and-ski models have been in its lineup for years, but the 206CC and its little brother, the 186CC, boast more fishing amenities and casting space than larger center consoles from builders that have been offering purpose-built fishing boats for decades.
This is clearly a boat designed by someone who has gone fishing and understands the need for rod holders — lots of rod holders. The 206CC is a mini-trolling machine with four holders set into the gunwales and two more at the transom. The capacity increases at the center console, with three vertical rod holders on each side. Then, under-gunwale storage for another four brings the total to 16. Live-bait anglers will be pleasantly surprised to find a 26-gallon livewell under the leaning post and the option to add another 18-gallon livewell by converting a built-in cooler under the forward jumpseat ($423). Both have lids with friction hinges that keep them open. One of my pet peeves is the dearth of cupholders on many hardcore fishing boats. Stingray solved that by setting four of them into the gunwales and transom, placing two up front and including two wire holders at the helm.
Powering our 206CC test boat was a Yamaha F200, which is the max. The boat jumped on plane in 2.5 seconds and hit 30 mph in 6.8 seconds. Its speed peaked at 53 mph. Stingray will rig the 206CC with a Yamaha, Mercury or Suzuki outboard, and buyers can go as low as 115 hp, but doing so would create the rarest of Stingrays: a waterborne pooch. I haven’t seen 206CC test data with 115 hp, but the closest model with test results is the 204LF, which is a much lighter bowrider hull (1,674 vs. 2,500 pounds), and it only reached 41.2 mph, according to Stingray tests. A 150 is my minimum suggested power, and the $5,026 price difference between Yamaha’s F150 and F200 is something to consider. For this model, going with a Suzuki DF200 seems to be the performance/price sweet spot; it costs $1,192 more than the Yamaha F150. The largest Mercury available on this model is the 150 hp FourStroke, which has a price that falls between the Suzuki DF150 and Yamaha F150. A performance test by Suzuki with the DF150 showed the 206CC reaching a top speed of 48.2 mph.
The destroyer-style stainless steel tilt wheel is a standard feature and has a spinner knob, which comes in handy for sharp, one-handed turns. The leaning post’s backrest has three positions, the middle of which delivers a secure and comfortable feel and puts the driver the correct distance away for standing and driving. Unlike most other leaning posts, the seat bottom doesn’t sit so high that it is uncomfortable for long hauls. An unexpected upgrade is a real glass windshield that is solidly braced. There’s a non-skid surface on the top of the dash, to prevent items from sliding around, and there’s enough space to install a 10-inch GPS/fishfinder display.
The 206CC’s turning ability was impressive. I was able to turn the wheel all the way to the stops without the prop losing traction. And boaters who live in coastal areas or on lakes with shallow spots will like that the outboard doesn’t mind if the prop is trimmed almost out of the water when going skinny at idle. The 206CC has 20 degrees of deadrise, which is more “V” than many other deckboats, so it’s designed to be more of a slicer than a banger over a chop. Its pleasing heft, 2,500 pounds (dry), made it feel substantial and gave it more of a Cadillac-like ride than lighter hulls.
Obviously, fishing is high on the 206CC’s list of doables, but its center console design also makes it ideal for other purposes. The tall helm houses a roomy head compartment that’s perfect for changing in and out of swimming suits. It can be made more useful by adding an optional portable toilet ($300). Waterskiing can be part of the picture with the addition of either a removable stern ski pylon ($492) or a wakeboard tower ($4,454). The center console includes plenty of room for ski storage.
The 206CC is rated for nine passengers, and there’s comfortable seating for everyone. Up front, two bowrider seats have backrests, although they are nearly vertical. In full-out fishing mode, removing the seat bottoms creates more casting deck space, adjacent to the large forward deck. A rather unusual design element are the twin sinks behind the bowrider backrests; curiously, however, neither has an option for a spigot. In back, a pair of flip-up jumpseats flank the stern bench seat. At the helm is a leaning post seat for two. I’ve seen center consoles that have leaning post backrests that flip, but this one has a lock that keeps it securely in position. The advantage to that is someone can stand behind the seat and hold the backrest for balance without jostling the driver every time the boat goes over a wave.
Our test boat’s upholstery had black onyx panels throughout. I was worried they would mimic the temperature of the sun, but even on a cloudless day, the black sections stayed within five degrees of the white upholstery thanks to Cool Touch technology. The vinyl is treated with Nano-Block, which makes it highly stain resistant.
The MSRP of the 206CC with a Yamaha F200 and the requisite Sea-Star hydraulic steering is $47,839, a price that includes the Convenience Package — 12 items valued at $2,429 — at no charge. A few of the items are ones buyers would expect — an aerated livewell and a boarding ladder — but most are items that would normally be options, including bow cushions, tilt steering, a 160-watt Marine Audio stereo and a 48-quart portable cooler. Years ago buyers could have a Stingray in any color, as long as it was white, but for a reasonable upcharge of $577, they can choose between five colors, including Abaco Green, which our test boat had.
A few other options will complete the package. The Bimini top supplies shade for $1,115. The bow pedestal seat ($354), trolling motor mount and harness ($346), and tournament-style recirculating pump for the main livewell ($323) will boost the boat’s fishing capabilities.