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Pathfinder 2300 HPS or Hydra-sports Bay Bolt 23

Old 02-05-2012, 07:16 PM
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Default Pathfinder 2300 HPS or Hydra-sports Bay Bolt 23

These are the two boats I have narrowed my decision down to. I looked at both of these at the New Orleans boat show yesterday and was impressed by both. Each of them are well thought out platforms. I do believe the fit and finish on the Pathfinder was a little nicer, but I would give a slight edge in layout to the HS. The show price was within about 1000 of each other. Neither had a t-top. The PF had a 250 SHO and the HS had a 300XCA with the command link plus gauge package. I will be doing a sea trial.... err, lake trial of each in the next couple of weeks. Anyone have any experience in comparing the two of these bay boats? Thanks in advance.
Old 02-06-2012, 12:03 PM
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110 views and no one has any experience with either of these?
Old 02-06-2012, 12:29 PM
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I also looked at both of those at the N.O. boat show.. I like both and asked the PF factory rep a very good question.. where are the insulated fish boxes? His reply was there are none. That 75 quart cooler in front of the console is it.. The leaning post/ livewell takes the spot of the other ice chest..

That said the bay bolt wasn't wired for a trolling motor ( or even designed for ). I didn't like the dash layout.

Did you check the Triton's that Tim's had there? How bout the BlackJack Metro had.. I won't even ask about the god awfull shearwater 25 they were displaying...

If I had to choose between the 2 you have listed it would be the PF HPS..

Or bite the bullet and get the Everglades 243 Bent had on sale for 95K.. what a steal marked down from 121K!


I'll take you for a ride in my BJ if you want.. no sales pressure..

Last edited by Bayou Thunder; 02-06-2012 at 12:49 PM.
Old 02-06-2012, 12:33 PM
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Never ridden on either but the path having a SHO means its a 20" transom and the bolt having the offshore motor means it has a 25" transom. Most of the time this means the bolt should ride beter.
Old 02-06-2012, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mebelcher View Post
These are the two boats I have narrowed my decision down to. I looked at both of these at the New Orleans boat show yesterday and was impressed by both. Each of them are well thought out platforms. I do believe the fit and finish on the Pathfinder was a little nicer, but I would give a slight edge in layout to the HS. The show price was within about 1000 of each other. Neither had a t-top. The PF had a 250 SHO and the HS had a 300XCA with the command link plus gauge package. I will be doing a sea trial.... err, lake trial of each in the next couple of weeks. Anyone have any experience in comparing the two of these bay boats? Thanks in advance.
What were the boat show prices?
Old 02-06-2012, 03:18 PM
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Also, the HS Bay Bolt didn't have a jackplate. The dealer swore I didn't need one. I didn't write the prices down, but I believe the HS was right at 53K and the PF was at about 55K. The PF rep and Tim's are working on a new quote for me for the PF 2300HPS the way I would want it. Honestly, my boat will be dry stacked, so I have no intention of using in deck fish boxes anyway. That being said, I do believe the port and starboard compartments that flank the live well on the aft casting deck are insulated. I would order it with the leaning post/ice chest combo instead of the leaning post live well. I would also order the gel coated ice box for the front of the console... I think he told me it would be close to 70 quarts.

I really spent a lot of time talking to both. The funny thing is, Boat Stuff used to be the PF dealer in the New Orleans area. The PF rep at the show had nothing but good things to say about that dealership... esp the service department. I got a pretty good vibe from Tim's as well. Both of them told me they could massage the price further once I was ready to talk turkey.

The Shearwater 25LTZ they had on display was a joke right? Do they design that boat for midgets or something? I'm a big guy, 6'2 275, but you would think there would be enough room for me to sit at the leaning post without my knees hitting the circuit breakers for the toggle switches.

The Blackjack is a really nice boat. In fact, I would rate it as number 3 in my search. Seeing as this is going to be my first boat purchase, I honestly don't think I could truly go wrong with any of them.

I really do like the "big boat" feel that the HS has. I also like the sleekness of the PF. If I were to pick a boat right now, it would be the Pathfinder, but yesterday it was the Hydra-sports :-)
Old 02-06-2012, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mebelcher View Post
Also, the HS Bay Bolt didn't have a jackplate. The dealer swore I didn't need one. I didn't write the prices down, but I believe the HS was right at 53K and the PF was at about 55K.
I wouldn't have a bay boat without a jack plate. Those prices are about right from what I remember..

Originally Posted by mebelcher View Post
I would also order the gel coated ice box for the front of the console... I think he told me it would be close to 70 quarts.
They told me the same thing.


Originally Posted by mebelcher View Post
The Shearwater 25LTZ they had on display was a joke right? Do they design that boat for midgets or something? I'm a big guy, 6'2 275, but you would think there would be enough room for me to sit at the leaning post without my knees hitting the circuit breakers for the toggle switches.
I'm 6'9 275 and that is reason number one I won't own one...

Originally Posted by mebelcher View Post
The Blackjack is a really nice boat. In fact, I would rate it as number 3 in my search. Seeing as this is going to be my first boat purchase, I honestly don't think I could truly go wrong with any of them.
Agreed. The BlackJack was the cheapest of the 3 @ 53K with a HDS 8 and 36V trolling motor plus a few other options. I bought mine from Metro and have nothing negative to say, they treated me fair.

Good luck in your decision making.
Old 02-06-2012, 04:25 PM
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Pathfinders are really nice, in fit and finish. Being on the Indian river Lagoon i have been on many [offshore and inshore]. You will be very surprised with the PF performance and the ride. The resale would also be better on the pathfinder. I have not been on the HS as many times, but i think by far the pathfinder is the way to go.
Old 02-06-2012, 05:15 PM
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Default No Comparison!

It's hard for me to believe that no one would talk about ride or displacement when comparing these two boats, there is no comparison. I fish often on a 23 Bay Bolt and have spent ample time on the new HPS, the Pathfinder's ride is close to pitiful when compared to the Hydra Sport. I guess if you're only fishing inside then maybe it doesn't matter too much. The 8' 10" beam on the H.S., compared to the 8' 4' beam on the Pathfinder 23, not to mention the weight difference. Sea trial both of them on a windy day, little doubt in my mind you would take a second look at the Pathfinder. Research THT, there is a current Pathfinder owner having fits with a brand new boat, quality control issues, you won't have issues that major with the H.S.

One thing I can say about the HPS that I like and I thought more bay boat builders would have recognized by now. The closed transom with the outboard off of a bracket makes for a nice uncluttered back deck. Not sure if this trend will catch on or whether it matters to many when buying a bay boat, all things being equal I sure would like to see more closed transoms.
Old 02-06-2012, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Holy-Mackerel View Post
It's hard for me to believe that no one would talk about ride or displacement when comparing these two boats, there is no comparison. I fish often on a 23 Bay Bolt and have spent ample time on the new HPS, the Pathfinder's ride is close to pitiful when compared to the Hydra Sport. I guess if you're only fishing inside then maybe it doesn't matter too much. The 8' 10" beam on the H.S., compared to the 8' 4' beam on the Pathfinder 23, not to mention the weight difference. Sea trial both of them on a windy day, little doubt in my mind you would take a second look at the Pathfinder. Research THT, there is a current Pathfinder owner having fits with a brand new boat, quality control issues, you won't have issues that major with the H.S.

One thing I can say about the HPS that I like and I thought more bay boat builders would have recognized by now. The closed transom with the outboard off of a bracket makes for a nice uncluttered back deck. Not sure if this trend will catch on or whether it matters to many when buying a bay boat, all things being equal I sure would like to see more closed transoms.
Totally agree I did not like the (lack of) weight on the PF. I don't like the thin deck lids - It's a light boat, a little more sleek as the OP mentioned, but that's not a good thing in any decent chop. I would favor a HS Bolt all day long, unless I was going to fish calm flat water only, and how likely is that? I like the HS Bolt, I went with a Ranger 2011 2410 bay after a lot of checking, but same principle - very heavy hull and build, closed transom with a standard 12" hyd. jack plate. Huge rear deack and built like a tank with an unsinkable hull and a 8'-6" beam. If you are between those two boats, it would take me a split second to go with the HS Bolt, but that's just me.
Old 02-06-2012, 06:19 PM
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FYI, the HPS can run either a 20 or 25" engine. You need the jack plate to run a 20" shaft thou. There are plenty of HPS out there with the new 4.2 liter 300 Yamaha hanging on the back.
Old 02-06-2012, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Holy-Mackerel View Post
It's hard for me to believe that no one would talk about ride or displacement when comparing these two boats, there is no comparison. I fish often on a 23 Bay Bolt and have spent ample time on the new HPS, the Pathfinder's ride is close to pitiful when compared to the Hydra Sport. I guess if you're only fishing inside then maybe it doesn't matter too much. The 8' 10" beam on the H.S., compared to the 8' 4' beam on the Pathfinder 23, not to mention the weight difference. Sea trial both of them on a windy day, little doubt in my mind you would take a second look at the Pathfinder. Research THT, there is a current Pathfinder owner having fits with a brand new boat, quality control issues, you won't have issues that major with the H.S.

One thing I can say about the HPS that I like and I thought more bay boat builders would have recognized by now. The closed transom with the outboard off of a bracket makes for a nice uncluttered back deck. Not sure if this trend will catch on or whether it matters to many when buying a bay boat, all things being equal I sure would like to see more closed transoms.
I agree. The closed transom on my skeeter was a huge selling point. Thats why i have always like the Skeeter/Rangers type bay boats the best. Ranger has been doing the no jackplate closed transom thing on their bass boats for many years.

Old 02-06-2012, 06:57 PM
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Holymackeral Thanks for the insight on ride between the 2 boats. The hydras sport bb does have higher sides and seems to have a bigger boat feel to it. The pathfinder does have a little nicer fit and finish in several places. Overall the ride quality is what I think the decision will come down to. And at the end of the day either boat will be great.
Old 02-07-2012, 02:23 AM
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Default Bay Bolt 23

Originally Posted by dave504 View Post
Holymackeral Thanks for the insight on ride between the 2 boats. The hydras sport bb does have higher sides and seems to have a bigger boat feel to it. The pathfinder does have a little nicer fit and finish in several places. Overall the ride quality is what I think the decision will come down to. And at the end of the day either boat will be great.
Since you live in the same area as I, you know how bad Lake Ponchartrain can get at times and that is where my closest friend has a camp and keeps his 23 Bay Bolt. Almost every time I am at his camp and that is very often, I run his Bay Bolt on some of the worst days I can find to see if his boat will hiccup, it won't. I've heard for years about the great ride of the Bay Bolt but I have also read articles that it has a stiff ride, I've never noticed that too much.

I get the boat to cruise around 34 m.p.h., I run it in a head on sea, cross sea, quartering sea and the Bay Bolt could care less, it's solid and doesn't get "squirrely" for lack of a better term. Fit and finish within reason are not my concern when comparing the Pathfinder and the H.S. Fishing the coastal areas we fish and the open bodies of water we have, the Pathfinder shouldn't be considered and isn't in the same class as the H.S when it comes to seakeeping abilities!
Old 02-07-2012, 03:45 AM
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I would get the HPS all day or the new 24 if your looking for more offshore capability. Hard to beat PF's new layouts.
Old 02-07-2012, 07:31 AM
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I'm in your neck of the woods. Have spent a couple days in the 23 Bay Bolts and was nothing but impressed by them. Out in the Breton Sound/Bay Eloi area in some decent seas, found it to just ride "big", much bigger than it actually is. And by "big" I mean safe, solid, smooth, etc. I'm impressed by the new 23 PF but think the Bay Bolt is more of a viable big water option. Just will depend on where you're looking to regularly fish.....breton sound, black bay, maybe a little offshore....Bay Bolt for sure. Either one should be OK in Lake P but the Bay Bolt would probably be a little more comfortable when it gets nasty. I grew up in Mandeville, I know that lake!!
Old 02-07-2012, 08:47 AM
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Holy-mackerel.... thanks for the insight. I've read some of your posts on la sportsman and certainly appreciate your feedback.

Darren... I'm in Baton Rouge too... maybe we are neighbors? My brother and I (dave504) presently fish out of Hopedale and get into Bay Eloi quite often. Haven't ventured too far out into Black Bay or Breton Sound but plan to with the addition of the new boat.

I'm so close to making a decision that it almost hurts. Should hear back from both dealers this week or next and will be setting up on water trials in the very near future.
Old 02-07-2012, 09:20 AM
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My vote would be the HS Bay Bolt. Not only does it have that big boat feel, but it also gets pretty skinny too.
Old 02-07-2012, 09:22 AM
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Default Bay Bolt 23

Originally Posted by mebelcher View Post
Holy-mackerel.... thanks for the insight. I've read some of your posts on la sportsman and certainly appreciate your feedback.

Darren... I'm in Baton Rouge too... maybe we are neighbors? My brother and I (dave504) presently fish out of Hopedale and get into Bay Eloi quite often. Haven't ventured too far out into Black Bay or Breton Sound but plan to with the addition of the new boat.

I'm so close to making a decision that it almost hurts. Should hear back from both dealers this week or next and will be setting up on water trials in the very near future.
Thank you for the comment and you're welcome! Now that I know where you intend to fish it is a no brainer, buy the Bay Bolt. Black Bay gets nasty sometimes during the summer, I fish out there often and I wouldn't mine being caught out there with that heavy, beamy Bay Bolt machine any day. The Pathfinder I've been caught in some nasty stuff too, as mentioned it's simply not the same caliber offshore boat. If I knew nothing of the two boats, on paper the weight alone would be enought to convince me to buy the Bay Bolt.
Old 02-07-2012, 12:12 PM
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I live in BR but my boats are both in mandeville. Venture down to Bay Eloi and beyond quite a bit in spring and summer. Was in the market this time last year but the 23' class boats were just more than I needed for what I was looking for. As for the Bay Bolt, there's a reason BigFish charters runs them nearly exclusively down there in those waters. Can't wait to hit the MRGO and rigs in spring. good luck in your purchase and keep in touch.

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