Sea-Doo FishPro: Team CC and AMDS
Story by Troy A Buzalsky
Alaska has more than forty percent of the nation’s surface-water resources, which includes over 12,000 rivers, three million lakes, and countless creeks, ponds, and waterways. Alaska is also blessed with numerous islands, bays, fjords, and open-ocean shores, with nearly 44,000 miles of tidal shoreline. Bordered by Canada’s vast provinces of Yukon and British Columbia, the 49th state is bordered by the Arctic and Pacific Oceans; the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas; and the Gulf of Alaska. In other words, Alaska is an endless playground for the outdoor water-going enthusiast with never-ending exploration opportunities.
Prince William Sound and a Sea-Doo FishPro…picture perfect. © Paul Solis
According to the state of Alaska, there are more than 48,000 registered boats statewide, which include powerboats, non-powerboats with auxiliary power units, and boats used by sportfishing guides. According to the most recent census, the State of Alaska has a population of 733,391. This translates to 1 in 15 people in the Last Frontier are registered boat owners.
The personal watercraft (PWC) industry dates back to 1968, when Clayton Jacobson II, working for Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), invented the sit-down-style Sea-Doo. He later pioneered the Kawasaki stand-up Jet Ski which launched in 1972 and which dominated the PWC industry for a decade. In 1988, BRP re-introduced the Sea-Doo, and today’s PWCs are a far cry from their predecessors, with excellent on-the-water capabilities and fire-breathing performance.
Can you say fish tacos? You can from the Sea-Doo FishPro! © Audra Brousseau
I still own my first Jet Ski, a 1979 JS440. At the time it was purchased as a water toy, but it didn’t take long for me to look for new opportunities for use. One day my buddy said, “Too bad it’s not made of aluminum. We could take it upriver and fish.” My answer was naively simple: “We can run the river. We just don’t want to hit any rocks.” And yes, we ran the river, beached the ‘Ski, and fished from a few select gravel bars. It gave us access, but it was entirely inconvenient, and I never again used it as a fishing platform.
It’s been a couple decades since those early PWC-fishing trials and tribulations and I quite honestly had not given it much thought. With that said, I did own a Mokai powered kayak and built a 14-foot mini jet to fill my smallish jet-boat cravings, but neither fit my fishing needs perfectly.
This might have just changed after I learned of the new line of Sea-Doo personal watercraft appropriately named the FishPro Sportfishing series. This Boats column is going to dive deep into this unique personal watercraft and share how the Sea-Doo might just be that perfect fishing companion.
With Whittier in the background, Paul Solis’s Sea-Doo FishPro is geared up and ready for some Prince William Sound action! © Paul Solis
Being a pioneer in the PWC industry, it’s not surprising that Sea-Doo introduced the first-ever purpose-built fishing PWC. Fifty-one years since the name Sea-Doo was adopted, in 2019 Sea-Doo launched the FishPro personal watercraft, and three years later it’s better than ever, being offered in the FishPro Scout, Sport, and Trophy models.
A sit-down-type PWC offers many advantages over the stand-up Jet Ski of my past. They are more stable on the water, they feature a larger footprint which allows you to carry more gear, stay drier, and carry up to three persons. Additionally, the new-generation power plants are nothing short of spectacular. But the typical sit-down PWC still falls short of being a true sportfishing machine.
The reality is, a fishing PWC should have features that include a specifically engineered hull design, full electronics (GPS and sonar), cargo space and storage galore, rod holders, a livewell/fish box, braking and reverse functions, on-the-water intake-cleaning capability, and an easy-to-deploy and functional anchor system. It’s also essential that the watercraft is easy to fish from, including being able to sit and stand with stability. A swivel seat would be optimum. Add to the list a trolling feature that will allow for precise trolling speeds for various fishing situations. While you’re filling out your wish list, Alaskan anglers might just request hand warmers. Well, guess what? The Sea-Doo FishPro has all these features and more.
Fishing as a two-man team, Paul Solis’s fishing partner, John Moucheron, works for their fourth halibut aboard their Sea-Doo FishPro. © Paul Solis
The foundation of every boat and PWC starts at its hull, and the Sea-Doo FishPro Sport and Trophy models have a hybrid hull design made specifically for chasing your piscatorial pursuits. Starting with the award winning 2008 RXP-X and the S3 hull, the new hybrid ST3 hull features a 22° bow entry that runs to midship before flattening out. The hull incorporates a hard-chine profile and includes a second set of chines to the aft hull with an additional inch of width. The boat’s transom on the Sport and Trophy models also features a unique, raised, rear-deck extension. Collectively these features create a water-slicing launch, fast planing performance, great stability when sitting and standing, and excellent performance when on the troll or while operating at full throttle.
The FishPro Scout’s hull mimics its predecessor, the GTI, designed and engineered from the Sea-Doo Polytec Gen 2 plastic, making it lighter and tougher than the fiberglass models, and a great choice for those rocky and shallow-water situations. The Scout does not come from the factory with the rear-deck extension, but the rear-deck extension with LinQ is an available option for 2022, adding 11.5 inches of platform space to the rear of the watercraft. All three Sea-Doo FishPro models feature a rear deck designed perfectly for the Sea-Doo LinQ series 13.5-gallon cooler/livewell/fishbox. The LinQ accessory line will be highlighted below.
One of many nice halibut that have come over the gunnel in Paul Solis’s Sea-Doo FishPro while fishing Prince William Sound. © Paul Solis
To make for a more fishing-friendly platform, the seat of the FishPro took some serious attention. Unlike other PWCs, the FishPro seat is made to allow the angler to easily pivot from port to starboard position. The redesigned gunnels are flat for increased standing surface, and padded for comfort. The FishPro Trophy also features a full-swivel modular seat with backrest that transforms from a typical saddle seat to a pedestal seat in seconds and allows 360° rotation—ideal for fighting that big king salmon that’s running circles around the boat. Both the pedestal and backrest stow cleverly away when not in use. The more you peel back the skin, the more obvious it is that the FishPro hull was designed by those who eat, sleep and breathe fishing.
Because the Sea-Doo FishPro is jet propelled, it can navigate in ultra-low water levels, often times getting the angler into areas others cannot travel. Its lightweight design also allows for easy beaching and launching. The FishPro Scout incorporates the Rotax 1630 ACE 130 HP powerplant, while the Sport and Trophy feature the Rotax 1630 ACE 170 HP engine. All engines are naturally aspirated, fuel injected and come with a self-draining, closed cooling system that keeps saltwater and contaminates out, and safeguards against freezing.
The Achilles’ heel of any jet-propulsion system is the possibility of the intake getting plugged with debris, but “Fear No Kelp,” the Sea-Doo FishPro is equipped with an Intelligent Debris-Free Pump System (iDF), that, with a push of a button, back-flushes a plugged jet intake. This is a true game changer, saving valuable ride time, keeping the rider dry, and adding a layer of safety and confidence.
Light rain will not keep this Sea-Doo FishPro dockside for long. © Audra Brousseau
Navigation has never been easier with the Sea-Doo FishPro. Each Sea-Doo is equipped with a Garmin ECHOMAP combination fishfinder/GPS. The Scout and Sport models come with the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 62cv with a 6-inch screen and in-hull, flush-mount transducer. The Trophy features the upgraded 7-inch touch screen Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 72sv GPS with CHIRP technology. All units also include regional maps.
Although the FishPro models are not designed to be like some of their fire-breathing brethren, they are full of performance. In fact, the 170 HP Sport will launch from 0- to 30 mph in less than 3 seconds, be on plane in just over a second, and has a top speed in excess of 55 mph. The FishPros are also equipped with Sport- or Eco-mode fuel-mapping systems designed to maximize performance and efficiency. The Scout features a 15.9-gallon fuel cell whereas the Sport and Trophy have 18.5 gallons of capacity. And, with the LinQ Stackable Fuel Caddy, an angler can add additional four-gallon fuel tanks to help extend the range.
If you’re like me, I take the kitchen sink when it comes to tackle and gear on my daily fishing adventures, and Sea-Doo makes this easy. The FishPro hull incorporates a huge front cargo space that is easily accessed from the front seat and is splash resistant. The compartment is ideal for backpacks and gear bags and includes a front-compartment storage organizer. Because of the popularity of cell phones and electronics, the FishPro also features a watertight phone compartment and is available with an optional USB charging port.
The LinQ system, as mentioned earlier, is Sea-Doo’s exclusive storage accessory system. From cargo bags to fuel caddies, to refreshment/livewell/fishboxes/coolers, the LinQ accessories are stackable and easily attached and detached. For example, you can mount a 13.5-gallon cooler on the rear deck. Using LinQ’s innovative mounting system, you can then stack and secure a cooler extension (ideal bait box), a four-gallon fuel caddy, and a 14-liter cooler bag. From there you can add a storage-bin organizer or even a 25-liter dry bag to really gain storage capacity. With the LinQ system you’ll be able to pack more, ride further, keep your food, beverages and bait fresher, and most importantly, you’ll be able to enjoy your day to the fullest. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
The Sea-Doo FishPro is smaller than your average boat, fits into small garages, and can be launched with a sportscar of your choosing. © Audra Brousseau
When it comes to creature comforts, the FishPro really shines. The Sport and Trophy models have a 12-foot, 3-inch hull length and weigh just under 900 pounds. Complete with Sea-Doo’s exclusive Intelligent Brake and Reverse System (iBR), users can control braking, reverse and slow-water transitions effortlessly. The handlebar-mounted iBR lever is ergonomic in design and allows the rider to keep their eyes on the water, not searching for the brake lever. For easy in-water access, the FishPro is also available with an easy-access boarding ladder. For those who have never tried to board a boat or watercraft from the water, this is more important than you think.
With a name like FishPro, the fishing features really separate this PWC from its competition. We’ve already mentioned the ST3 hull that cuts through chop effortlessly yet is stable in slow or still operations, including the Sea-Doo-exclusive troll mode that offers nine pre-set trolling speeds. Rod holders can be mounted just in front of the handlebars on each side, and additional rod holders can be mounted to the LinQ cooler. Form follows function with the FishPro anchoring system that neatly stows and is easily reached for deployment. The FishPro Trophy is also set up with an integrated pump that can be used to convert your LinQ cooler into a livewell or used as a washdown pump to help clean up after your catch. And again, the Trophy has that sexy and user-friendly 360° swivel seat…a feature that’s turning heads, literally!
The Sea-Doo FishPro can be equipped with the waterproof (fully submersible) 50-watt BRP Audio-Premium System or the handlebar mounted BRP Audio-Portable System. With a simple Bluetooth interface an angler can now rock out to their favorite playlist or get up-to-date weather reports via a smartphone app like the NOAA Weather Radio. The FishPro Trophy also features the Advanced Battery System that includes dual batteries and a 650-watt voltage generator to meet the needs of the most demanding electrical systems.
Versatility is a hallmark of the Sea-Doo PWC and has proved to be an invaluable asset to Dr. Michelle Oakley, a veterinarian who hails from Haines, Alaska, and stars in Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet on National Geographic Wild TV. Dr. Oakley uses her Sea-Doo to help service neighboring villages while fully immersing herself in the Alaska lifestyle, which includes a healthy dose of fishing from her Sea-Doo.
The FishPro can also be set up with a ski pylon for family fun, and for those cold and frigid waters, Sea-Doo offers heated grips. For added security and as a theft-deterrent system, they also come standard with a Digitally Encoded Security System (DESS) radio frequency (RF) key.
Dealer support is always a huge consideration when looking at your next boat or power toy and Alaska has you covered, including Alaska Mining and Diving Supply in Anchorage and Team CC in Eagle River and Wasilla.
Alaska Mining and Diving Supply’s Nick Olzenak is a big fan of the Sea-Doo FishPro. “Man, these things are the cat’s meow. Seriously, we can’t stop talking about this model here,” exclaims Nick. “For anyone who ever wanted to own a boat to fish or explore but the cost or storage requirement was prohibitive, this is the answer.” Nick points to the Trophy model and says, “We love the 360-degree angling seat and the LinQ modular accessories are awesome. You can bet you will find me out in Prince William Sound on this incredibly well-equipped cruiser this summer!” If I were a betting man, I’ll wager it will be before that.
Alaskan Paul Solis sprawls out on a dock in Whittier posing with his and his fishing partner’s catch of the day from his Sea-Doo FishPro. © Paul Solis
Team CC has proudly sold and serviced Sea-Doo personal watercraft in Alaska for 32 years! Owner/Operators Korey Cronquist and Barbara Harris have both personally enjoyed many Sea-Doo Alaskan adventures including playing on lakes, exploring Prince William Sound, clam digging Jakolof Bay, and fishing out of Resurrection Bay. Harris shares, “Sea-Doo is a brand known for performance, safety features, and a focus on being environmentally friendly, and the Sea-Doo FishPro is ideal for Alaskans and Alaska waters.” Team CC is dedicated to providing customers adventures on Sea-Doo, and now with the three Fish-Pro models it’s even easier to fit them onto the rivers, oceans, and lakes. Harris eagerly explains that at Team CC, “We live the Sea-Doo life. We love the Sea-Doo life. And Team CC would love to get you into the Sea-Doo life.” To learn more, go to TeamCC.com.
The Sea-Doo FishPro is a true game changer for the sportfishing industry, and it’s not just for tropical climates. In fact, in many ways it’s made for Alaska! I can easily see myself loaded with a half-dozen rods and reels, the front tote stuffed with tackle, and my lunch packed for the day enjoying all of Alaska while trolling for kings or silvers, drifting for halibut or lingcod, or jigging up some rockfish. For more information go to sea-doo.com, and to see how others are enjoying their Sea-Doo FishPros, visit the Sea-Doo FISHPRO Owners and DIY Group page on Facebook.
Troy Buzalsky is the Boats columnist for Fish Alaska magazine, and when not writing about boats he can likely be found chasing fish in the Pacific Northwest and the 49th state and writing about those adventures. Troy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.