In the quest to build a boat to satisfy everyone’s tastes- no design has done a better job of accomplishing this goal better than the “Hybrid” style center console. NauticStar offers this configuration in three sizes with their 251 Hybrid as their flagship. Honestly, it’s hard to stand out in this field since they seem to be offered in so many different forms by numerous manufacturers but after a day on the water putting one through her paces, this NauticStar really had something for everyone and left us all significantly impressed.
At first glance due in part to all of the luxury trim, I was expecting a boat geared more toward cruising and relaxing trips to the sand bar than a fishing rig but that was not to be the case. This model comes ready to fish and as I was about to learn is also a runner in the chop. As we cruised through the St. Lucie jetties toward a nearshore wreck to begin the day, I observed another similar sized Bay Boat pacing along our side who seemed to be hanging on to the pipework pretty tightly and dodging every other wave trying to stay dry. I couldn’t help but notice how unaffected our boat was by the chop after having another similar boat struggling along across our beam while we all remained dry and comfortable in the 2-3’ chop. It also couldn’t be overlooked that we were seeing 3.3 MPG economy at 30 MPH cruising which are performance numbers many builders aspire to.
Locating a school of herring with the help of twin 12-inch Simrad Evo units mounted on a blacked out helm face, we parked over the wreck numbers and quickly loaded the wells, (one in the forward console seat and a second beneath the aft casting deck to starboard.) Following a few drops on the bait we did some wreck hopping and the boat shined from a fishability standpoint. Anglers negotiated the deck 360-degrees around each other without feeling crowded and were always secure in their footing on the elevated rear platform due to a stylish grid of SeaDek throughout.
Next, it was decided we would check our inshore spots both in the mangroves and along sea walls to cast livies on our way to the sand bar for lunch. This stop would offer us a chance to perform a closer inspection of the family features which were evidently going to be an integral component of the design scheme for this model.
Co-Host Lori Hargrave went to work scrutinizing the layout from the perspective of a woman and mother of two boys and while we broke for lunch she found herself listing activities that her family enjoyed during their annual Florida Keys trip. Snorkeling and spearfishing, inshore and offshore fishing, tow sports, relaxing on a sand bar throwing a Frisbee for their dog; at every turn the NauticStar 251 checked the box. From comfortable lounge seating forward complemented by a removable dining table to the large fold away bench in the cockpit there was ample room for her family to each relax. Beneath the forward seating to starboard, an insulated 172-quart compartment could be used to store gear or ice down your catch while to port; a similar sized space offered a rod locker and more dry storage. A console large enough to store a liberal supply of dry goods while retaining sufficient space for an electric head would also prove useful for the family.
The powder coated Hard Top featured D-channel tubing recessed within the outside dimension of the console creating extra space. Forward and aft boarding ladders and a “Swim-up” 40-quart drink cooler on the transom to port would make a relaxing swim and frosty beverage in the water more enjoyable. After reviewing the possibilities offered by the NauticStar 251 Hybrid, the serious anglers aboard and our family activities director each agreed this Hybrid model was worthy of serious consideration for an active outdoors family looking to do a little bit of everything.
NauticStar 251 Hybrid Specifications
Length: 25-feet 2-inches
Beam: 8-feet 6-inches
Deadrise: 40-degrees (entry) 16-degrees (transom)
Max HP: 350
Base price: $76,399