by Dom Wiseman

Cobia is an American manufacturer of centre console and dual console family and fishing boats that you may not have heard a lot about in Australia. There is only a smattering of boats here at this time but that is set to change with the formation of Cobia Boats Australia that will look after Australian distribution.

It’s a very competitive market, in particular the centre console segment, they are entering. There is already a host of American competitors and a handful of Australian manufacturers operating in this space. The reason there are so many centre consoles here is that they suit our fishing style perfectly. All around the coast anglers love the versatility of tangling with Snapper and other reef species in close with the option of charging wide to chase game fish if conditions allow. The Cobia 201CC will accomplish both easily.

The Cobia 201CC is a large boat with a wide beam and great finish. The boat comes packaged with Yamaha or Mercury power depending on your preference.

WHAT YOU GET

Without doubt, the Cobia 201CC is a boat for the keen fisherman. It’s designed and set up so that fishing will be the main activity. That said, it doesn’t go without some comforts. The beam is massive and allows a wide console that doesn’t impede on the internal space. In fact the walk around is wide and will allow for two people to pass one another rather than having to chase one another merry-go-round like around the boat until you get to your desired location as you do in some boats.
cobia 201cc-1
cobia-201cc-3There is a bow seating area with a ‘U’ shaped lounge with a removable infill in the centre allowing you to fish right up to the bow. It also allows easy access to the bow anchor locker that is large enough to store plenty of rope as well as sturdy anchor. The anchor holder will also save the fibreglass from being damaged by an anchor as it bounces about in the well. The locker is covered by a sturdy fibreglass hatch.

The U-lounge design at the bow differs slightly from many other centre consoles where you find a casting platform taking up the front two-thirds of the bow space. I like this arrangement better as it keeps you safe and secure within a deep freeboard while going about your business. No standing up on a platform putting you closer to falling in with a sudden movement of the boat. The cushions (optional two tone on the boat we tested) are plush and comfortable to sit on. There is also a very neat foldaway twin bench seat right at the stern. It does impede the location of a bait prep station here but a savvy person could design and fit a removable system that can be stowed when not in use. The recessed grab rail running from the bow is a nice touch, doesn’t impact on usability yet offers a safe place to hold on should you have to.

The other comfort and often an issue on these boats for the other half is a portable toilet. On the Cobia 201CC it is located in the console. The test boat also had a holding tank. There is a small window that makes it feel a little less claustrophobic when inside but while it is a handy addition it is a bit of a tight space.

The rest of the boat is all fishing space with a deep freeboard all round the cockpit. This certainly makes the boat suitable for offshore fishing and safe for younger anglers. The floor is uncovered making it easy to keep the durable fibreglass finish nice and clean. On most occasions a quick squirt with the hose will suffice. The floor also has a non-slip finish (it seems like sand has been added to the top coat but is not abrasive on bare feet) while elsewhere the finish on the gelcoat is fantastic. The sides run down to the floor which means there is no toe hold recess down low but the design and height of the gunwales still ensure a comfortable place to fish. The three rod holders in the gunwale either side offer protection for rods and guides as they slide up into the void between the outer and inner skin. There is an additional five rod holders in the bench style helm seat.
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cobia 201cc-10There is an esky built into the front on the console which doubles as a seat when underway. It’s actually very comfortable and the esky is a nice touch where other boats may offer a cheesy portable unit, often not in keeping with the quality of the rest of the package. Down the back the twin bench, with fold down backrest, takes up the centre of the transom with a walkway to starboard and a large, deep live bait tank with a sturdy, lined perspex lid, to port.

The console is certainly big enough to hide behind and comes with a compass mounted on the dash. One gripe I always have is that the top of these consoles, a great place to put used lures and equipment, never has a large enough lip or non-slip finish. You could remedy this with some aftermarket non-slip matting held in place with a few dabs of silicone. There is storage under the console behind a large sturdy hatch while the bench seat also has storage underneath. We didn’t have the optional backrest and I didn’t miss it either.

Inside the console there is a large area for equipment while the forward bench also has storage underneath. I felt the door was a little thin and there was no obvious fastening system to keep the door open when in use. Over the entire console is an optional T-top with bracing for outriggers. It’s a very strong design and is handy to hold onto while underway. It has four rod holders along the rear edge. The soft cover on the test boat provided ample sun protection. You also can opt for hardtop, which also creates additional above head storage above with the addition of a separate unit that can be fixed to the underside of the roof.cobia 201cc-12

cobia-201cc-6There is plenty of space on the dashboard for electronics. My preferred option would be two nine-inch units, although you could fit a single 12. You’d be hard pressed to squeeze two here. There will also be plenty of space for other electronics. The boat also had optional raw water and fresh water wash down.

POWER

The test boat was powered by a Yamaha 150hp four-stroke, the highest horsepower Cobia recommends for this hull. It produced a good but hardly exhilarating performance. In reality a top speed of 38 knots (70km/h) is quick enough for most users. The engine was extremely quiet at low speeds but at close to full revs sounded throaty and loud. It could be simply the fact that it was brand new.

The F150 is an inline four-cylinder unit with through the prop exhaust. It comes with a 3 year limited warranty for recreational use. The alternator output is 35 amps.

At 3600rpm it had the Cobia 201CC cruising at 20 knots (37km/h) and using 20.6 litres of fuel per hour. At Wide Open Throttle the engine was spinning at 5800rpm and we extracted 39knots (72km/h) with a fuel burn of 63.2L/h.cobia 201cc-18

cobia-201cc-21ON THE WATER

The Cobia 201CC is very nice to drive with a great driving position sheltered behind the console. The seat is comfortable to brace against or you can just as easily stand if you prefer. The steering wheel is adjustable and the throttle within easy reach.

The hull didn’t leap onto the plane when I pushed the throttle down hard but rose up predictably with minimal bow lift. The test boat didn’t have any trim tabs fitted and didn’t need them. But for those times when you are carry loads of fishing gear or have a few passengers onboard they could be useful. I would mount the controls directly above the ignition slightly to the right of the steering wheel.

When cornering the boat beds in well and turns in a safe manner without digging in, even when turning hard corner with some throttle applied mid turn. I did cavitate a little in a hard corner with the engine trimmed up slightly. But given this was its first water test, some playing around with the engine set up is expected.

The Cobia 201CC is a wide boat and one could be excused for expecting some banging over waves and chop. But turning across the wake from a 45ft cruiser and driving sensibly the hull rode up and over the wake with nary a bang and it split the water well. Elsewhere I felt the hull seemed a little light but the 227-litre fuel tank was less than a third full and we had no gear (except for safety equipment) and no water in the optional freshwater tank.

Without doubt the hull was at its best at cruising speed, splitting the water with ease and providing an extremely comfortable ride. The stability at rest is also exceptional courtesy of some aggressive reverse chines in the hull.cobia 201cc-19

cobia 201cc-8OVERVIEW

The Cobia 201CC is a fantastic looking boat, which adds to its appeal. You also get a fair bit for your money. Compared to some of its competitors you get an extra two feet (609mm) of space for the same price. The ride is sure and safe and the deep freeboard and slightly different bow design will appeal to many. My favourite part though is the bow design. It’s perfect for offshore use and is much more user friendly than other designs we’ve seen in this size bracket.

Test boat supplied By Cobia Boats Australia, The Quays Marina, 1856 Pittwater Road Church Point NSW. Ph: 0414 722 552

POSITIVEScobia 201cc-4

Solid finish
Heaps of Space
Versatility

NEGATIVES

No bowsprit
Back seat blocks baitboard

NUMBERS THAT MATTER

Price: (from) $78,707 (as tested) $97,553
Options Fitted: Hydraulic tilt steering upgrade, T-top with Weblon, Cushion bow 6 piece two tone set, freshwater washdown, raw water wasdown, white rub rail w/stainless insert, anchor hanger, head w/pump out and deck fitting and port window, tray and wiring for second battery.
Capacity: 8 persons
Construction: Fibreglass
Length Overall: 6.09m
Beam: 2.60m
Dry Weight: 1245kgs
Engine: Yamaha 150 hp four-stroke
Fuel Capacity: 227 litres

 

 

 

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