While pounding our way back up the line on an offshore tuna run my boat partner Neil Barbour and my conversation often included how nice it would be to do this in a bigger boat. We had fished countless days, covered countless miles, and taken countless “buckets to the face” while fishing Neils previous 19-foot center console. There had been lots of talk. What would we pick, how big, how much bait, new or used, fishabilty, comfort, range, budget; there is so much goes into a boat purchase.
Our Key Elements
- Need for a dry & stable platform.
- Large enough to fish offshore tuna and marlin, yet not too much boat for local afternoon runs or bay bass trips.
- Must have speed and lots of room to cast a jig while running and gunning on spots of yellows.
- A Boat that doesn’t require hours of clean up after a day of fishing.
A boat that had always been high on our list was the South Carolina built Parker Boats.
The Parker offered so many attributes that we were looking for. A proven commercial grade platform, beamy layouts, Yamaha power plants, easy maintenance and upkeep, fuel efficient hulls, a dry solid ride, and most importantly and often very overlooked is the dependable local dealer support of West Coast Marine. Some of my good buddies and customers have bought exotic east coast center consoles and brought them back to the west, only to have nightmares when even the slightest gremlins arose. Things as simple as hatch covers, and broken latches can be very difficult when trying to preform warranty work if your closest dealer is 3,000 miles away. With all of these things in mind we had decided to purchase a new Parker from Kevin Kelly at West Coast Marine.
Parker Boats From West Coast Marine
The Parker 2520 (or Parker pilot house) is one of the most popular fishing boats in the Southern California bight for good reasons. They are roomy, dry, and have an ample cockpit which make for a great offshore boat. Although this model and the similar 2510 which is the walk around cuddy option both offer the enclosed driving areas, and a place to catch some sleep on the trip to the tuna grounds or an overnight on the anchor while fishing sea bass.
We chose the less-popular, but in our minds perfect Parker 2501 or 25-foot Center Console. This boat has the same hull as the pilot house, but in a center console option with insane fishing room. We can put 4 anglers on the bow casting jigs and poppers to yellows and tuna, have room for a massive center cockpit bait tank, nothing to obstruct your view while looking for fish, and with the driving position further to the aft, a fantastic ride. Inside the large console area is a head, and plenty of storage. The wide open deck layout allows for unparraled room for fish storage, and fishing options. Another attractive befit was the power plant. To be clear, I would never dis the safety and handling advantages of having twin outboards. However we were drawn to the simplicity, quietness, weight, maintenance and cost of a single outboard. Upon reviewing all the Yamaha power spec. sheets we decided to power the boat with a single 300-HP Yamaha outboard.
Once we came to a decision on the boat and motor options, it was time to take the plunge. We contacted Kevin and the team at West Coast Marine and they were amazing. I hear cliche’ stories all the time in regards purchasing experiences, but i can honestly tell you, Kevin was fantastic! He was super upfront with everything, went over every option that Parker offered, and how he thought each would help or hinder our plan to use our boat. He also went over a multitude of custom West Coast Marine options that they have developed over the years, while tricking out hundreds of West Coast fish killers! Metal fabrication, custom bait tanks, custom doors, electronics packages, and more. Kevin brought up so many points we had never considered. Once the options were nailed down, we signed on the dotted line, and our boat was officially ordered. Kevin sent us pictures, messages, and gave updates every step of the way. He tracked our progress from build to completion, to shipping out to the West Coast. Final rigging was completed in there convenient Costa Mesa location and before we knew it, we were the owners of a dream boat.
The outfitting process went smooth, and the first step was a custom tank. For my money you can not beat the quality of a Pacific Edge bait tank. We picked the Pacific Edge PE80SDI, which is an 80-gallon, single tank, with dual inlets for increased flow. This tank, in conjunction with the secondary bait tank built into the transom gave us a large bait capacity for a boat of our size.
Because our Parker came factory rigged with two bait pump thru hulls, Mark Wisch rigged us a killer manifold two-pump system that that allows us to use either pump to push water to either tank with just the twist of a valve. The added benefit of this redundant system is if a pump goes down while offshore, a valve change and flip of a switch puts us right back into the game.
Next came Electronics. After much debate, research, and polling all our fishing buddies, we pulled the trigger on a full Simrad electronics package. The Simrad products are very user-friendly, clean, affordable, and a perfect fit for our project. Our package included (2) NSS EVO2 touch screen multi function units (a 12” & a 9”) an airmar 1KW B164 transducer, a 4G Broad band radar, a RS35 VHF radio, and the AP24 auto pilot. everything is networked and works flawlessly.
We could not be happier!
Bellow the decks we added 2 additional house batteries and switches, as well as a 30-amp shore power plug, and an 1800-watt battery charger/inverter combo. This gave us a standard outlet inside the console, as well as a microwave!!! It was a lot of cash, but the ability to heat up a breakfast burrito on the fishing grounds is priceless!
From start to finish this entire process has been an blast. I still pinch myself every time i walk down the ramp at the marina and see our 25 parker Easy Access.
Its truly my dream boat!
Now that we are one year in and have 900 hours under our belt we have seen many successful fishing trips. Wahoo, cow tuna, marlin and tons of surface iron yellows have come over her rail. Like many boat owners we still have a wish list of projects and add ons that we plan to do. Some of the few include a small tower to glass from, a Sea Deck install, satellite communications, and more.
But in the meantime we are going to keep fishing and having fun in our Parker from West Coast Marine.
Learn more about Parker Boats and West Coast Marine on BD.