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Cobia 296 Review and Update Thread

Old 06-08-2019, 08:12 AM
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Default Cobia 296 Review and Update Thread

For those of you who asked and care I am going to write a little review with my opinions on our new to us 2012 296 Cobia. This boat has twin 300 Yamaha's and about 460 hrs on it. I bought it from Sportsman's Choice Marine outside of Myrtle Beach SC. It was a trade in from one of their well known customers on a 344. I will say that I rarely buy anything from a dealer but the customer service and buying experience was exceptional! If you are in that area and want to deal with a great guy, call and ask for Joseph.

So this all started with the sale of our Jupiter 31FS. We had no real intensions of selling the Jupiter, especially with an upcoming Islamorada vacation approaching. However, a friend from THT reached out to me about buying a 31 Jupiter and within a couple weeks he was taking ours home with him. This put me on a very stressful and time limited search for our next boat. As important was finding a boat that could handle our vacation and the large number of people coming with us.

I searched for a couple weeks with almost no luck. I had an offer on a 26 SP that's for sale here but the timing with us receiving funds on our boat and getting funds to him didn't work out. I then found a 29 SP and long story short the buyer backed out on me after he had an accident in his Sportfisher. I tried to buy my old SP back and after that didn't work out the Cobia popped up on Boattrader. I immediately called about it and that's when I started my research. I tell you all this to tell you that we have not owned a "production" boat in a long time. At least not for our offshore boat. I was very concerned about buying anything that wasn't a CV, SP, Reg, Contender, WW, etc. In the end I went to see the boat for the first time and just spent hours crawling around on it. I checked every inch of the boat. All the plumbing I could get to, all the wiring, checked for rusted bolts, cracks around the hardtop, floor, fishboxes, splash well, etc. I crawled under the boat and inspected the hull also. I can honestly say I didn't find a single stress mark on the boat. There was no rust coming off anything. All the cleats, hydraulic lids, etc worked smoothly after 7 years and 460hrs.

I then started talking to owners of the 296/ 301 Cobia here on THT. I heard nothing but great reviews. I talked to the guys at Maverick who were more than helpful! All this sounded great but I was still very nervous that the boat wouldn't perform the way I wanted it to. Only one thing to do so that I could judge for myself and that was to put it in the water and see. I asked Joseph if he could make this happen and he told me to be there Friday morning and we would do whatever I wanted. He was very confident in the boat as it has been their number one selling boat in the 30' class for years.

Yesterday I made the trip back up to Longs SC to go ride on the Cobia. I had it in the back of my mind that I was probably going to be disappointed. I had already talked myself into renting a large CC for our Keys trip and looking at the possibility of trying to buy a boat while traveling thru Miami and the Keys. There are some nice boats for sale down there but can you trust the dealers? Who knows.

The appeal of the boat exterior/ interior....
-Absolutely love the exterior lines of the boat. I love the look of it siting in the water. Nothing to complain about on the exterior for me.
-Love the interior of the boat. We needed something with seating, cup holders, lots of rod holders, a head. storage, cooler space, good live wells, etc.
-There is seating everywhere. With the seating up front it is a little cramped for a 30' boat but nothing that will bother me. The helm seating is nice and comfy. The helm layout is one of my favorites. The rear fold down bench is perfect for cruising or stowing away for fishing. There are three insulated drink coolers in the boat which is a huge plus. These could also double as a bait box. The twin live wells in the transom are perfect! All of the floor boxes and the forward seating storage have gaskets and are suppose to be water tight. We have had tons of rain and I can say there is no water in any of them. Huge plus for taking luggage and dry goods on a long weekend or Bahama's trip.
-The Hardtop is large and seems to be very well made. I like that it goes overhead and attaches behind the leaning post with tons of rod holders everywhere.
-The head is the largest I have seen on a boat this size. It has a lot of room for storage, opens to the front and has two opening portholes.
-Decent tackle storage
-Fresh and raw water washdowns in several places.
-Nice sized macerated fish boxes in the rear and a huge box between the forward seating

Things I don't like about the boat....
-The bilge access is kind of a pain being behind the transom seat. When opened it has plenty of room to get back in there and access pumps and valves.
-The batteries are in the bilge area on my year model. They are up high and have no chance of getting water on them unless you're sinking but I still don't like it. The newer models have them under the helm seat.
-The freeboard. It's deep inside which is good and bad. Good for having kids running around in the boat. Will be a little challenging grabbing a billfish or washing out a bucket, etc.
-Throwing a cast net out of the boat on a really choppy day will be a bit of a challenge. The front has an ok area to stand on and you can stand on the area around the live wells too but throwing off the side of the boat isn't happening.

The motors...
-This was one thing I was super excited about. I have yet to own a pair of Yamaha 300's and I get digital controls which I am very excited about.

The ride...
Now that everything else checked all the boxes it came down to the most important factor, how does she ride?

-We put in at the Intracoastal and headed out. What I really wanted to see was how stable the boat was, how it handled, what fuel mileage at slow and fast cruise would we get, how fast would it run WOT, did it have any weird leaning quirks, how did it handle a head sea and following sea and did it track straight or bow steer.
-We found some large boat wake first from a huge party boat and checked the box for stability. That boat was throwing some crazy wake off it. The Cobia sat very flat and handled it very well.
-The boat was topped off with fuel and we had two guys onboard. We saw 2.1-2.2mpg at 32mph, 1.6-1.7mpg at 40-42mph and a top speed of 60! Nice numbers, so far I was impressed.
-One thing I hate is a boat that porpoises and the Cobia had none of that. It ran very flat with no tab added in normal conditions.
-We didn't find anything crazy wave wise to run the boat in but we found enough boat wake and made some of our own so that I could get a feel for things. We ran across some big wake from head boats and smaller yachts and I didn't feel any slamming whatsoever. Nothing rattled, the boat ran through it very well. I didn't feel any "slicing" or bow steer when running in a following or quartering sea. We found enough chop and played in enough large wake that I was happy. Although we didn't get to run it in a sloppy ocean I can tell the boat will do great and I will report back this coming week as we will be doing a lot of offshore runs in the Keys.

I was impressed enough after spending a large portion of the day running the boat that I bought it on the spot. As part of the deal, I ordered a new custom Ameratrail triple axle trailer for the boat. The one in the pics is a loaner until ours comes in here in a few weeks.

Future upgrades...
-Simrad open array already on order
-Add to the existing JL Audio stereo
-Possible Marine Mat install
-Add a couple rod holders up front
-Really want to add a second station with controls

Here are a couple pics from when I picked it up yesterday. I will add more as we start upgrades and get better ones. Thanks for reading!


Old 06-08-2019, 08:23 AM
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Old 06-08-2019, 08:44 AM
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Nice. Enjoy!!
Old 06-08-2019, 08:52 AM
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Sweet ride! Thanks for the excellent write-up. This will no doubt help someone in the future.
Old 06-08-2019, 09:03 AM
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Great write up. Anything about the 31 Jupiter that you miss in comparison to the 296.
Old 06-08-2019, 09:09 AM
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I love their rocket launcher set up. I like to get as many rods as possible in the middle of the boat, for easy access and unobstructed gunwales. Cobia nailed it with that design.
Old 06-08-2019, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Molanabe View Post
Great write up. Anything about the 31 Jupiter that you miss in comparison to the 296.
The Jupiter just has amazing quality. I think the Cobia is built with great quality but it’s obviously not the same level. The Jupiter had tons of room everywhere where the Cobia is a little tighter inside. I actually like the Cobia helm/ seating area better and definitely like the livewell set ups better. I will have to spend more time in the Cobia to really know how to fairly compare the ride.
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Morningstar908 View Post
I love their rocket launcher set up. I like to get as many rods as possible in the middle of the boat, for easy access and unobstructed gunwales. Cobia nailed it with that design.
I agree. One of my favorites features.
Old 06-08-2019, 09:53 AM
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just bought our 262 from Joseph. was a pleasant experience
Old 06-08-2019, 10:01 AM
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Beautiful boat and thanks for the review... Cobia's seem generally under appreciated on THT. Will add to the list of "look-sees" next time 'round.
Old 06-08-2019, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Windham14 View Post
The Jupiter had tons of room everywhere where the Cobia is a little tighter inside.
I think this is an understatement. Fished both several times and no comparison. The Cobia is a nicely built boat, but all of their models seem to offer very little space inside for their advertised length. It is a very small feeling 30’ boat once inside. We are constantly dancing around each other on that boat when fishing it.

What was the reason to go from the Jupiter to the Cobia, just wanting something newer? Doensizing?
Old 06-08-2019, 01:07 PM
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A
Originally Posted by Smoke n Mirrors View Post


I think this is an understatement. Fished both several times and no comparison. The Cobia is a nicely built boat, but all of their models seem to offer very little space inside for their advertised length. It is a very small feeling 30’ boat once inside. We are constantly dancing around each other on that boat when fishing it.

What was the reason to go from the Jupiter to the Cobia, just wanting something newer? Doensizing?
The Cobia is smaller inside because it has a big console and leaning post set up. It by no means is small to where I can’t easily fish for anything I want with a several man crew. The more I’m on it looking around the more I love the layout. It’s a perfect blend of family and fishing IMHO.

The Jupiter was never for sale. A friend wanted to buy it and we just bought some deep water land that we are going to build on so I decided I would let it go and spend a little less on something else.
Old 06-08-2019, 01:12 PM
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A lot of people judge the quality of a boat by how it ages after a fair amount of time in the water. This boat has 7 years and 460hrs of use and it’s about as perfect as I’ve ever seen. From the plumbing to the wiring, all the cleats and grab rails, the nuts and bolts, hinges, vinyl, etc it looks pretty much new. Here are some pics and if you want to see anything else let me know.

Old 06-08-2019, 01:15 PM
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Last edited by Windham14; 06-08-2019 at 01:54 PM.
Old 06-10-2019, 08:24 AM
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Couple things to add to the list...
I miss having a gutter system in the floor. It's kind of silly but it makes it easier to wash crap off of the floor.

We took the boat out and spent a good amount of time on it this weekend. The wind was blowing and the harbor was a mess as usual. I am even more impressed with the ride now. The boat tracks dead straight in any sea. It's solid and dry so far. I have yet to experience anything I can complain about in the ride department. I can feel a bit of difference when I take good sized waves in a quartering sea but it's not anything that would change my opinion. The boat is solid.

Livewells are really good on the boat and the rear coolers behind the leaning post hold ice very well.

Loving the dual Simrads and thru hull ducer. Holds bottom at any speed and the screens are clear and fast.
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:16 AM
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Default 4 years owning a Cobia 296

I ran a 296 cobia for 4 seasons before my current Albemarle 36. The cobia in my opinion is underrated. I'm in NJ and took it offshore several times, furthest being the Hudson at 80 miles out. The Cobia handles 3-4' stacked seas surprisingly well for a CC, just as good as the competitors boats that I have been on. Back off throttle and hold on, but it will get you home safe. I still miss the speed going to the Albemarle 36, the Cobia 296 was a great boat. You get similar performance to Regulator for less cost, I ran back to back sea trials in the snot with a Regulator 31 and dare I say, I preferred the Cobia ..
Old 06-13-2019, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by tsunami 1983 View Post
I ran a 296 cobia for 4 seasons before my current Albemarle 36. The cobia in my opinion is underrated. I'm in NJ and took it offshore several times, furthest being the Hudson at 80 miles out. The Cobia handles 3-4' stacked seas surprisingly well for a CC, just as good as the competitors boats that I have been on. Back off throttle and hold on, but it will get you home safe. I still miss the speed going to the Albemarle 36, the Cobia 296 was a great boat. You get similar performance to Regulator for less cost, I ran back to back sea trials in the snot with a Regulator 31 and dare I say, I preferred the Cobia ..
Pretty awesome testament there! I know the 296 rides better than several boats that I have fished on but I do not wish to bring the rath of tht down on me.
Old 06-13-2019, 06:35 PM
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We have a 301. I had been looking at 277's and 296's for a couple of years. Started seeing them here a lot about three years ago. Loved the lines and the bow entry. I understand the comment about the boat feeling small for a 30' because I've felt the same way. It may be the size of the console contributing to that feeling. We looked at a couple of higher tier boats but the money and lead times didn't work for us, plus some of them were hardcore fishing boats and probably not the best for wife and family comfort. we were looking at a 16 296 at Marine Connection that we got close on but they made us a deal on the 301 that was hard to pass up. Windham, that boat is immaculate, I hope mine looks that good in 7 years.
Old 06-13-2019, 08:00 PM
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Great write up. My father's boatyard on Long Island is leaving Sailfish after 22 years to take on Cobia instead. Cant wait to see the new Cobia 35 with a pair of XTO'S!
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Old 06-25-2019, 04:01 PM
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Thanks for the compliments guys.

I won't say that this boat could ride as well as a 31 Reg but I can tell you after running it for 6 straight days in the Keys that it does ride very well. It is really good straight into a head sea and in a following sea. It is probably weakest in a quartering sea but it still does good. We found a couple days with true 3' seas and at 28mph the boat was extremely comfortable. I could have ran faster but that was a good speed with the family onboard. The boat is really good in a lot of ways

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