A New Breed of Bay Boat – The Robalo 206 Cayman
Bay boats, sometimes referred to as flats boats, have been around for quite a few years. They are designed to operate in saltwater environments that may be as shallow as 2’. They are an open platform which allow fishing from the bow and stern from “casting platforms.” Bay boats tend to have deeper hulls and higher sides than flats boats to provide a better ride and security in rough water. The Robalo 206 Cayman is a bay boat, and Robalo has taken this design to a new level to appeal to more buyers.
The All New Robalo Cayman 206
The Cayman 206 is a relatively new model for Robalo, and this boat is an industry leader for many reason. Robalo has packed this boat with great features, but quality is of high importance in bay boats, and Robalo leads the pack in that department as well. The fit and finish is top of the line. The hull construction with Kevlar makes this boat rock solid. The vinyl and hardware on the boat is built to handle the toughest of salt-water environments. The cockpit is self bailing, which means any water that enters the cockpit of the boat will drain directly overboard without the need of bilge pumps.
Robalo has designed the 206 Cayman with one of the most innovative hull designs in the entire industry. First of all, the boat has their award-winning Extended V-Plane Hull. This design essentially takes the point where the motor mounts on the transom and extends the hull further back on each side. This keeps the bow down on takeoff, keeps the boat on plane at lower speeds, improves fuel economy and provides a smoother ride. Although the hull sides are higher which provides greater security in rough water, the draft up is only 10”. The Robalo 206 Cayman also features a flared bow which keeps the interior of the boat dry in the roughest of conditions.
The Robalo 206 Cayman is equipped with great fishing features everywhere you turn. The boat comes standard with 3 livewells. The rear and center livewells come standard in blue with LED Lighting and rounded corners. The forward livewell is insulated and doubles as a fishbox. There is a storage compartment under the aft fishing platform for a 5-gallon bucket which always seems to come in handy. Robalo also offers a raw-water washdown at the aft platform.
Bow Casting Platform
The bow casting platform in the Robalo 206 Cayman features quite a few innovative features as well. You will find 4 compartments in this platform, all of which are covered in non-skid. The mid-center compartment is the livewell/fishbox. On the sides of this compartment are the rod storage lockers. They open forward for easy access for anywhere on the boat, and they are lockable as well. These are great storage compartments for rods and lifevests, but they are self-draining so they can also be used as fish boxes. The forward-center compartment is a self-draining anchor locker.
The center console on the Robalo 206 Cayman is one of the best designs we have seen in a boat of this size. On top of the dash you will find dual storage pans with drains and mats. There is also a 12-volt outlet on the port side. This is a great spot to set your cell phone or other items you don’t want sliding around. In the center is a compass.
If equipped with a Yamaha, you will get dual Command Link digital gauges and you can add a factory GPS or leave the helm blank and add your own. The toggle switches are stainless steel. We really like the optional stainless steel steering wheel with control knob. And below you will find a storage door with the battery switch. The windscreen comes fixed in the standard setup with a rock-solid stainless steel frame which works as a grab handle. You can also add the optional folding windscreen if you would like to store the boat in your garage or a low clearance area.
The Robalo 206 Cayman is rated for 8 passengers, and it has plenty of seating those guests. It comes standard with a leaning post, dual rear flip-up jump seats, and seating in front of the console as well. The leaning post can be upgraded to a dual flip-up bolster setup. We feel this is a must-have option on this boat. This will also include a 54-qt. cooler under the leaning post held in place with brackets and bungees.
A Dual Purpose Boat?
Robalo has taken note of a recent trend. Families want to have a fishing boat which can be used for recreational activities as well. To accommodate this buyer, Robalo offers quite a few additional options. These features make the 206 Cayman a great family boat as well.
For seating, you can equip the Robalo 206 Cayman with the optional bow seating and backrests. This gives you bow cushions which snap in place over the forward casting platform along with backrests which are removable and lock in place for the bow seats. Although the freeboard is low in the bow, our testing in Tampa Bay proved these seats to give a very secure feeling for passengers when in relatively calm water. This is probably due to the deep-v in front as well as the flared bow. Additionally, Robalo offers a ski tow bar and bimini top option which provides everything your family needs for a day of tubing and cruising.
The Robalo 206 Cayman is available with engine sizes ranging from 115hp-200hp. Yamaha had previously been the only engine brand offered on Robalo. They are now offering Mercury and Evinrude as well. All 3 engine sizes perform well on the Robalo 206 Cayman. We find the 150hp to be the best bang-for-the-buck though.
Robalo seems to have thought of everything with the 206 Cayman, and the trailer is no exception. The Robalo 206 Cayman comes standard with a tandem-axle aluminum trailer. This comes standard with a folding tongue & submersible LED Lights. We like the aluminum wheel upgrade, spare tire and load guide options as well
The Robalo 206 Cayman is a home-run when it comes to bay boats. The designs are cutting edge, the construction is top of the line, and the fit and finish are second to none. Robalo is already one of the top selling boats in the bay boat market. At their current pace, Robalo will be the top selling center console brand in the entire industry before long. If you are in the market for a bay boat, the Robalo 206 Cayman should be at the top of your list. For more info on the 206 Cayman, check out Robalo’s website. If you would like more info on center consoles, check out our intro to center consoles article.