On the Bayward Path Upgrades mark iconic 22-foot boat that first combined fishing, recreational perks

The 2200 TRS Pathfinder is a best seller at Palmetto Boat Sales. Robby Renken, sales associate, mans the bay boat.

Climb aboard the Pathfinder 2200 TRS, and folks can find places for two dozen fishing rods, access two live wells and make use of an optional T-top. They can water ski, dive off a board and top 50 mph on a moderate-sized vessel that seats seven.

“It’s a great do-all boat, very versatile,” said Robby Renken, sales associate at Palmetto Boat Sales in Charleston. The 22-foot bay boat, powered by a 150, 200 or 250 hp Yamaha engine, offers “creature comforts without giving up fishability,” he said.

Fort Pierce, Fla.-based Maverick Boat Co. unveiled the Pathfinder in 1998 as one of the early “bay boats,” which brought together attributes of flat bottom skiffs, such as balance and the ability to ride through shallow water, with the deep V center console that provides speed and a more angled hull to cut through waves. Pathfinder builds vessels from 22 to 26 feet.

Palmetto Boat Sales handles the entire Maverick lineup. The Maverick brand consists of technical poling skiffs, Hewes specializes in flat boats and Cobia offers deep V center consoles from 20 to 34 feet.

Priced from the high $40,000s to $70,000s, the Pathfinder 2200 TRS (Third Row Seating) provides ample features for a reasonable, although not inexpensive, price. “They are a top-of-the-line brand,” he said. Buyers pay a premium, Renken acknowledges, but they hold value in his opinion better than any bay boat.

The 2200 TRS model rolled out two changes in the past year or so. Long tubes, built into the gunnels, can hold up to 9-foot fly rods, Renken said. Also, Yamaha upgraded its multifunctional digital display to log fuel economy and offer warning signals such as when to change the oil.

Centrally located, the optional T-top frees up sides so that anglers can move around the boat more easily. The T-top can be powder coated and boasts a cushy vinyl material under the top. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) brighten the deck and are particularly noticeable at night.

On the center console, a compass is a new feature, and there’s a built in stereo. Steering wheel options include a high-end Edison brand with ball-shaped hand grip.

Palmetto Boat Sales encourages buyers to customize the electronic screen area. Even so, Garmin-brand electronics are available from the Pathfinder factory, he said.

A heavy-duty Engel cooler fits under the stern side leaning post chair, while am optional fiberglass cooler slides under the bow-facing seat. Fishing tackle trays are built in behind the front seat.

At the bow, rod boxes with racks can also be used for general storage, Renken said. Storage boxes form a triangle just in front of the bow and can be covered with cushions to provide more comfort for passengers.

Another nice feature is a fiberglass stern platform with three-step ladder so that swimmers can ease in and out of the water.

Renken said the Pathfinder boasts fishing perks such as the capacity to travel into narrow creeks and inlets to cast a line or net. “This boat will float in 11 inches of water,” he said. “It will get really skinny.”

At the same time, the boat can get fast, reaching its cruising speed of 27-28 mph at 3,300 revolutions per minute and a top speed of 50 mph with the 200 hp Yamaha engine.

“You can run around fishing inlets, the jetties and on the harbor,” Renken said. Then the boater “can pick up the family and pull the kids in a tube.”

In a 15 minute time at the helm, the Pathfinder 2200 TRS proved fun to handle and easy to maneuver in mild winds and low 60s temperature on Charleston Harbor.

The throttle boosted power steadily. Trim tabs — conveniently situated just ahead of the throttle — alter the boat’s pitch as it speds across the water or cuts through waves. Turning was easy and steady.

“They drive like a sports car,” Renken remarked.

The Pathfinder proves to be a top-notch boat for anglers and recreational users, available at a moderate price as vessels go.

Reach Jim Parker at 843-937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.