A serious fishing boat with big water credentials
One of the best-known names in offshore fishing boats, Mako has been building center consoles for more than 50 years. Acquired by Tracker Marine Group in the late 1990s, the company today offers a full line of offshore center consoles that build upon its fine heritage.
Maximum Power: 300 hp
Maximum Capacity: 11 People
One of its most popular models is also one that’s been in the lineup for a long time. Measuring 23 feet, four inches in length and with a full 8’ 6” beam, Mako’s 234 CC remains a best-seller by virtue of its size, being small enough to tow comfortably, yet large enough to handle big water. With its wide, flared bow, generous freeboard and a 21-degree deadrise hull with chines that carry all the way forward to the bow (where they form spray rails for a dry ride), the 234 CC is very much built for open water fishing.
The open layout of the 234 CC is its greatest attribute, allowing anglers to follow a hooked fish a full 360 degrees around the boat. But there’s more to this rig than meets the eye, and you have to step aboard and open doors to really get a sense of just well designed this boat is. It’s all in Mako’s experience and attention to detail.
For starters, right up front a standard anchor locker is thoughtfully positioned to the starboard side of the bow, allowing the installation of an optional windlass on the centerline where it should be. A recessed grab rail provides security for passengers riding up front without getting in the way of serious fishing. The split raised front deck houses a massive 86-quart insulated fish box/storage compartment with overboard drainage on each side, with an additional 396-quart storage compartment in the cockpit sole. And all of the hatches are fully gasketed and held open by gas struts so you can stow or retrieve gear with both hands. And of course, the entire cockpit is self-bailing, and treated to a non-skid finish.
A removable 72-quart cooler serves as a seat on the front side of the console. It’s surprisingly comfortable, with a cushioned top and a cushioned seat back on the helm console itself.
Step around the console to starboard and you’ll note a large entry door that opens to provide access to the head. With a full six feet of head room, this is a surprising and welcome feature on a 23-foot boat.
Slide around to the driver’s seat and you’ll find the Mako 234 CC offers a compact but well designed dash, with key instruments (three multi-function gauges with classic black-on-white analog dials), the engine controls and a range of rocker switches for live wells and other electrical controls in a neat row, preserving plenty of space for aftermarket electronics. There are also controls for the standard trim tabs, which recess into the hull for a flush finish that won’t snag fishing lines. Along the lower portion of the console is a secure cabinet for cell phones, wallets, truck keys and other valuables.
The helm seat is double-wide and mounted into a fiberglass base console with integral storage. The aft side offers a pair of beverage holders to complement the two on the dash, along with a 31-gallon anti-slosh bait well. Above, an aluminum support arm supports the back rest for the helm seat while providing a base to mount four rod holders, and a handy grab handle for passengers standing behind the helm seats while underway.
Owners can add a fold-down stern seat as a factory option, and this is a worthwhile upgrade. When not in use it folds flat against the transom, so it doesn’t take up valuable cockpit space.
The rear cockpit is where most of the fishing will take pace, and this is where Mako again distinguishes itself with in-gunnel rod holders, a convenient tool station for pliers, knives and other necessities, and a freshwater shower with a pull-out spray head to keep the cockpit clean. Overhead, a standard canvas T-top with an electronics box and spreader lights can be upgraded to a full fiberglass T-top with rod holders and outrigger mounting plates.
Rated to handle outboards of up to 300 horsepower, standard power for the Mako 234 CC is a Mercury 250 Optimax. Many of these boats will come rigged with twin Mercury 150 four-strokes in order to provide greater maneuverability while docking, and the added safety of simply having twin engines. Although you also gain an additional 50 horsepower, the added weight of the second engine – the twin 150s weigh more than 400 pounds more than the single 250 Optimax – will likely negate any increase in top speed. If absolute speed is super important, the available single 300 Verado will deliver peak performance.
But even with the heavier twin 150 set-up, the Mako 234 CC is still an impressive performer, planing in about three seconds and achieving a top speed of over 45 mph. Cut it back to about 25 mph and the Mako’s big 136-gallon fuel tank gives you a range of over 350 miles. That’s pretty impressive for a 23-foot boat.
For those in search of a big water, offshore fishing machine, Mako’s 234 CC is an enticing package. Big enough for the open ocean yet small enough to tow with a full-sized pickup, it’s a capable offshore performer with more than its share of delightful surprises.
Mako 234 CC
- Length: 23’ 4’’
- Beam: 8’ 6’’
- Dry weight: 4,100 lbs
- Draft: 18″
- Fuel capacity: 136 gal.
- Passenger capacity: 11
- Maximum power: 300 hp