This September I met up with Tideline* owners George Stronach and Michael Collins, who had trailered one of their 190 CC power catamarans to Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, from company headquarters in Wilson, North Carolina.
After running the 190 through the choppy waters of the bay, I was impressed. As promised, the hull delivered a very smooth, dry ride, typical of a cat design. Stability at rest was another notable quality. From a fisherman’s perspective, I loved the clean layout and large casting decks, as well as the ample rod storage, pull-up cleats and lights, trolling-motor setup and 20-gallon live well on the transom. These are but a few of the features on the 190. To learn more, watch the accompanying video and read the full test report below.
(*Note: Tideline is a BoatingLocal sponsor)
Let me start by saying that I’m a big fan of bay boats. These shallow-draft center console skiffs are ideal for fishing inshore waters, serving as a cross between flats boats and deeper-vee center consoles. They are fast, light, easy to trailer and sport a clean, wide-open layout that makes them perfect platforms for fly and light-tackle fishing.
Another plus is that most bay boats, given their low freeboard, can be rigged with a bow-mounted trolling motor, which opens up new worlds of fishing access, especially if you like to fish around shallow flats and rock piles.
Tideline 190: New Cat on the Block
The majority of bay boats currently on the market are monohulls, so when North Carolina-based Tideline Boats (a BoatingLocal sponsor) introduced its 190—a 19’ skiff based on a stylish catamaran hull—I was intrigued. Having experienced the smooth ride and stability of larger cats, I was sure that the Tideline creators were onto something, and I couldn’t wait to see one of their boats in action.
I got my chance a few weeks ago, when Tideline owners George Stronach and Michael Collins trailered a 190 from Wilson, North Carolina, to Massachusetts for a series of on-water demos. Being the lazy fellow that I am, I convinced George and Michael to launch in my homeport of Mattapoisett.
Truth be told, Mattapoisett Harbor is an ideal spot for sea trials, as there is a short no-wake zone and quick access to the often lumpy waters of Buzzards Bay, which didn’t disappoint on our test day (for more information on launching and fishing out of Mattapoisett, visit our destination page BoatingLocal: Focus on Mattapoisett.)
Winds were north at 15 knots against the incoming tide, kicking up a steep chop, which Stronach was happy about, as he was eager to show off the 190’s ability to handle sloppy seas.
Tideline 190’s Rough-Water Performance
True to its billing, the 190 sliced through the Buzzards Bay chop with hardly a shudder, thanks to the sharp entry of the twin sponsons. I was impressed by how solid the boat felt when running at various angles to the sea, although the handling of the cat hull did take some getting used to. Like most boats, the 190 benefits from trim tabs, and a set of Lencos are standard. I found that running downsea was a bit trickier than on some monohull skiffs of the same size, as the hull doesn’t “surf” like a monohull; however, intelligent use of speed will let you dial in a comfortable ride.
Running into the seas is a whole other experience, and is really where the 190 shines. As on all cats, the tunnel between the 190’s sponsons creates a cushioned pocket of air upon which the boat rides when running through chop. The hull bottom also features a molded-in keel that runs along the aft third of the centerline and channels a clean flow of water to the prop, allowing it to perform well with a single outboard.
Handling is outstanding, as the boat carves very tight turns. I found that maneuverability, even when backing down, was similar to a single-engine monohull.
Speed and economy are other benefits of the cat design. Rigged with a 150-hp 4-stroke Yamaha, the 190 tops out at around 40 mph and cruises at 26 mph while burning 4.8 mpg. Max horsepower is 175, which bumps the top end to 45 mph.
Tideline 190’s Good Looks:
Aside from its excellent rough-water performance, another thing that sets the Tideline apart from other cats is its lines. If you view the 190 from the side, you’d swear she was a monohull. That’s not by accident, as Stronach and Collins sought to make the boat more stylish than other cat hulls on the market. “One of the biggest knocks against cats is that they are boxy, so we gave the 190 a flared, rounded bow,” explains Stronach. Of course, the flare also helps to deflect spray, as do the wide double chines along the outer sponson edges.
Of course, the 190 is an ideal fishing platform. It is beyond stable, even with 4 people ganged up on one side of the boat. And if you are looking for wide-open fishing space, the 190 has it in spades, thanks to its 8’ 4” beam. In fact, it’s easy to forget that the boat is only 19’ long.
I was also impressed with the amount of thought that went into the 190’s interior layout. For example, access to the bilge, gained by removing the storage containers under the aft jumpseats, is wide open, making it easy to reach the pumps and through-hulls. Similarly, a large hatch in the front of the console makes it easy to service the batteries and wiring. This sub-console area can also be used for storage. Tideline also made sure the fuel tanks could be accessed via the 2 large removable hatches on either side of the console.
Tideline 190 Standard Features
The 190 is tricked out with a 20-gallon bait well with clear plexi lid on the transom, flanked by 2 large jumpseats. The seat backs fold down to turn the transom into a flush casting area. The boat comes with lighted under-gunwale rod racks and a leaning post (with rocket launcher) that taps into aluminum plates molded into the deck. Pull-up cleats and a pop-up bow light are standard, making the boat ideal for fly fishing.
The console features 2 stainless cup holders and a large dash for flush-mounted electronics. The wheel is located in the center of the helm, with the throttle to starboard. A teak steering pedestal is an option.
A large dry-storage compartment is located in front of the console, and there’s another roomy compartment under the bow. About the only negative was the lack of a dedicated anchor locker. The bow is also pre-wired for a trolling motor, with battery storage inside the console.
Overall, I feel that the 190 is an impressive little fishing boat, and a pretty good bargain at the $39,000 base price ($41,500 with trailer). As Stronach and Collins loaded the boat onto its trailer and headed north to their next demo location, I was sorry to see them go, especially since fish were busting outside the harbor throughout our test! The 190 may be built in North Carolina, but the company clearly understands the needs of New England coastal anglers.
Currently the company is selling the 190 direct from the factory, and a certain level of customization is available.
- Beam: 8’ 4”
- Weight: 2,600 lbs.
- Fuel: 48 gals.
- Draft: 12”
- Base price w/ 150-hp Yamaha or Suzuki outboard: $38,999
- Price with trailer: $41,499
- Tideline Boats
- 3109 Airport Dr., Unit E
- Wilson, NC 27896