Review: Robalo Cayman 206


We water test and rate the Robalo Cayman 206, a finalist in the fibreglass fishing boats category at the 2016 Australia’s Greatest Boats awards.

Robalo Cayman 206
Club Marine logo

Robalo has been a household name among American fishos for 45 years and is part of the huge Chaparral Boats stable. The Robalo Cayman 206 is 21ft of angling utopia, an ideal package for travelling long distances to remote strongholds. She makes a succulent squidder, a bountiful bream buster, a trophy trout hunter, a great goodoo gatherer and is quite capable of limited offshore sambo sojourns and hoodlum haunts.

Robalo Boats has met the challenge to make a soft-riding hull with the ability to travel to extreme fishing lairs through big and small waters, sweetwater and salt. The hull is a wonderful mixture of a soft and quiet 15-degree Hydro Lift Extended V-Plane bottom, with extremely good buoyancy and stability. She draws only 25.4cm for shallow waters and easily carries a number of fully equipped anglers, as well as the optional Minn Kota electric troll motor up front.

Our Robalo Cayman 206 was fitted with a Honda BF135 four-stroke outboard motor, a very pleasing combination. Speed demons can fit up to a maximum 200hp for competition demands, yet the smooth, quiet efficiency of the 135hp Honda provides excellent power and range from the 189lt fuel tank. It is fun to drive and we hit nearly 40kts!

The convertible inclusions are endless. Up front is an ideal fishing platform with a demountable casting seat and a ton of storage, including rod lockers and one of three plumbed livebait tanks. Also supplied are removable platform cushions; a nice touch for a less serious day out on the water.

Robalo Cayman 206 photo galley

There’s a ton of room around the Robalo Cayman 206 console with a 2.44m beam which is well under restricted towing width. The console dashboard is well-equipped and comfy with footrests, glove box and a nice stainless steel spoked steering wheel, twin switch panels, cupholders and even a grabrail for the passenger. The twin upholstered leaning post (read seat) also provides a mounting position for a removable cooler underneath – very practical.

Out back of the Robalo Cayman 206 we find another large, unobstructed casting deck with a pair of convertible rear seats, as well as another plumbed livebait tank and a telescopic rear ladder concealed under a flip-up lid. We all loved the innovative, yet simple inclusion of an enclosure moulded for a removable plasterer’s bucket. It’s a simple act of brilliance. Even the optional bimini shows innovation in its easy ball mount quick release fittings.

This high-quality, very fishy machine has a blend of Kevlar and Hydropel vinylester resin, foam filling and encapsulated floatation, premium gelcoats and a limited 10 year hull warranty for peace of mind. Our judges called it "The ultimate crossover bass/bay boat", "a lure fisho’s dream boat" with "quantity and quality combined". Now there’s a winner!

Casting platform on Robalo Cayman 206

Robalo Cayman 206 specs

Robalo Cayman 206 price: $74,999

Price as tested

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Hydraulic steering, Deepwater black gelcoat to hull, bow fishing chair, bow cushions, stereo, electric bow motor, bimini, tandem alloy trailer

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Fibreglass

TYPE Monohull

LENGTH 6.25m

BEAM 2.44m

WEIGHT 1700kg BMT (dry)

PEOPLE 8

FUEL 189lt

ENGINE 135hp Honda BF135 outboard motor

 

MORE INFORMATION

Chaparral Australia

Phone (03) 9397 6977

Email info@aussieboatsales.com.au

Web robaloaustralia.com.au

 

More on Australia's greatest Boats 2016

Fibreglass fishing boat

Fibreglass fishing boats

 

Aluminium fishing boat

Aluminium fishing boats

 

 

 

 

 

Robalo Cayman 206 rating

Robalo Cayman 206 rating

 

What the judges said

Fishing suitability

The Robalo Cayman 206 is an ultimate Bass/Bay boat AND lure fishing combo. As a bay boat, it’s above average in terms of finish and fitout. It could also be a 'limo-style' bass boat for people who want a touch of luxury. Triple live bait tanks says it all, yet these don’t take up too much room and make for a weapon of a bay fishing boat

The ultimate crossover vessel? A really interesting crossover bay boat that would be equally at home in a bass comp or chasing flathead in the estuary, or also blasting across Hervey Bay to fish inside Fraser Island. It's a full-on fishing boat with storage options aplenty in a bass-boat layout. Fishes three with ease with space on the casting decks front and rear.

 

Innovation

Storage everywhere on the Robalo Cayman 206! Folding rear seats convert to a platform and full composite construction — no wood. In Australia, the very concept of this boat [or at least the application of that concept] can itself be regarded as innovative.

Planing plank under the stern helps lift the boat onto the plane and keeps the draft at a crazy 220-odd-millimetres.  Great for moving quickly around the bay chasing your prey… Has a deep freeboard for a bay boat, giving it a bit more offshore credibility. Ability to run lower horsepower due to hull design is impressive for the Robalo.

 

Design and layout

Smart design and use of space on the Robalo Cayman 206 allows for more than average storage and features. It’s low profile, sleek and loaded to suit serious lure anglers.

Hard to fault in terms of its suitability as a fishing platform — a good access-all-areas layout and very stylish too. Low freeboard could scare a few but to others it makes the boat better again. Clean lines look fast on and off the water.

The Robalo Cayman 206 is extremely appealing visually, although I think the folding canopy lets it down a little. Low profile with a sporty look. Rear console maximises space with seating for 6.  Good bimini designed to cover the boat, but stores unobtrusively.

 

Quality of finish

High finish to gel coat, CE certified, but the bimini does rattle. Generally superb, except for the bimini. Fixtures and fittings are of the high standard we expect of Robalo boats. Well moulded. I love the use of tension hinges everywhere to reduce rattles and make life easier.  All well above average for this class of vessel. Well-appointed and refined throughout.

 

Handling and ride

Fitted with a 135hp Honda four-stroke outboard motor, it’s a good performer. If speed is the go, then up it to a 150hp-plus outboard.

Unusually soft in the chop, but wouldn’t want to take it out in a big sea. Also very dry for a boat with this hull setup. Drier than expected for a boat its size. Well balanced with movement around the boat, even on and off the bow platform. A big surprise! Much better and drier than I'd expect when looking at this boat. Surprisingly dry for the low freeboard. Soft landing over swell and in the chop. Turns are sporty…

 

Stability at rest

Stability both at rest and underway is close to exceptional. Three passengers stacked on one side made little impression. Very good at rest and at speed. The low sides do bring the water close when all the boys head to one side. Sits flat and stable at rest, as you'd expect for a bay boat. Surprisingly the Robalo Cayman 206 sports a 2.44m beam and has top of the class stability at rest and underway.

 

Ergonomics

Nice and wide console for added protection from the winds. Storage and live wells amazing. The helm layout is very user-friendly and the dual seat well-positioned. Visibility was excellent, but apart from the windscreen, there's not much protection without the optional bimini.

Great helm layout with room for two blokes at the comfy helm seat. Love the rear seats that fold flat to give a second stern casting deck. Very good in every dept. A lot of wasted space in that voluminous console — could be better utilised for tackle storage systems, etc. Easy to move around the helm. Good rear quarter seating and the helm controls are good, while the wheel position is moveable.

 

Standard equipment

CE certified, foam-filled hull, lockable rod lockers, three livewells and a self-draining deck. Icebox included. The fit-out for bow mounted trolling motor is great.

Good to see brass used throughout and well-placed grab rails. Pretty well fitted-out as standard for its intended applications. Above average storage with quality fittings and accessories throughout — the Robalo Cayman 206 is a lure fisho’s dream boat.

 

Value for money

It’s an adaptable boat that can get out on a bay, or even onto the ocean on a good day, and easily up into the creeks as it only draws twelve or so inches of water.

For somebody that’s looking for a boat that fills all those categories, they are going to find it's good value...

 

X-factor

Fun to drive and we hit nearly 40kts. Zooms along with no fuss in total confidence. Super cool and versatile. The Wow in this boat comes from the water the first time you hit a decent wave at 28kts and come out the other side dry and unbruised! The shallow draft and ease-to-plane make the 206 easy to pilot in and around shallows.

It’s safe and stable but immensely useable in the bay. The Wow factor here is in the overall finish — the Robalo Cayman 206 has  lots of quality stainless fittings and high-quality fibreglass work. A stylish boat that stands out from the crowd in this market sector. Robalo is for sure the ideal fresh water / ocean crossover lure/fly fishing centre console - quantity and quality combined. 

 

How the boats are rated 

Judges at Australia's Greatest Boats Boat judges  
Meet the judging panel

The rating criteria 
explained
 

 


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