From The Helm: Cobia 214

Issue: June 2011, By Capt. Scott Newhall

Capt. Scott Newhall aboard his 2002 Cobia 214


2002 COBIA 214
LOA: 20’ 4”
Beam: 8’ 6”
Draft: 14”
Weight without engine: 2,600lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 100 gallons
Deadrise at transom: 20 degrees
Maximum Horsepower: 200hp

Captain Scott Newhall
Time Out Fishing Charters
Absecon, NJ • 609-569-1601
Timeoutcharters@gmail.com

During the 2004 off-season, I set out to purchase a new 21-foot center console after having owned a variety of skiffs, side consoles and center consoles during previous fishing campaigns.

Always analyzing my own likes and dislikes in a boat, I narrowed my choice to a few different 21s made by reputable manufacturers. I wanted a boat that would be ideal for the thousands of hours I spend back-bay fishing in South Jersey but also perfect for running nearshore and slightly offshore. So when I saw a 2002 Cobia 214, which was on my preference list, for sale that only had 62 hours on it, I went ahead and bought the barely used Cobia and aluminum trailer.

The first thing that attracted me to the Cobia was its 25-gallon stand-up livewell. It is perfectly situated at the center of the transom and is capable of holding hundreds of small baits such as peanut bunker, minnows or mullet. Its wide, oval shape also allows me to keep larger baits such as adult bunker and herring for chasing stripers. Even though the rule of thumb is one large bait per gallon of water, I’ve successfully carried plenty more, especially when the water was cool. During my research, I found that only a select group of 21-foot center consoles came standard with a livewell that was larger than 20 gallons, and even fewer housed them above deck in an easy-to-use location.

Also worth noting, the transom is a virtual wall that has a door leading to a ladder on the port side. The design makes it very resistant to both seas and wake entering via the transom. This is a nice feature when fishing on weekends among every sort of watercraft known to man that, in turn, create a slosh effect that will jump many transoms. Wet feet are fine in the summer, but no one wants to be wet during gritty cold autumns and springs. Alas, this is not a concern on the Cobia 214. There is a deck space that resides behind the transom that can be utilized when someone wants actually sit on the transom. In addition, it has been helpful when I’ve had to remove unwanted monofilament that found its way into the prop by providing somewhere to stand. Although I don’t use it much, the ladder is helpful when I take a dip on the particularly hot days or if I spend an afternoon wakeboarding with friends.

The boat easily holds 500 feet of rode plus plenty of chain in the anchor locker at the bow of the vessel. This is an often overlooked feature on the 21s, but having this amount of line has been extremely beneficial when setting the Danforth anchor over the wrecks off the Jersey coast. The twin fi sh boxes, also in the bow, are located under the casting deck and are easily accessible. I prefer these “old style” fi sh boxes in contrast to the forward seating layout in the front of many boats being made today. The fi sh boxes allow me to keep as much meat as one could expect on a 21-foot center console or store extra gear. The Cobia 214 is rated for up to 200 horsepower, but mine came equipped with a Yamaha 150 High Pressure Direct Injection. In ideal situations, this engine has allowed me to reach top speeds of about 40 mph, which is more than I need. Even though the HPDI is a two-stroke, its upgraded efficiency and fuel burn is only second to four-stroke motors. The Cobia’s 100-gallon tank allows anglers tremendous range for a boat in its class. The 20-degree deadrise at the transom and deep “V” allow the boat to cut through the chop in a frothing ocean or bay. I spend time regularly at the wrecks in the 5-15-mile range, dropping lines in search of doormat fluke, tasty sea bass and feisty tog, and never question whether I will get to my destination or home again during days of light to moderate chop.

If the seas are especially tight, it might be necessary to dial back the RPMs due to the bow occasionally pounding, but that is the only issue. On exceptional weather days, I’ve been out in the 20- to 30-mile range looking for some bigger game. And when the seas do in fact turn nasty for the ride home, the Cobia 214 always gets it done. I’ve had the 21 out in ocean swells that were big enough that I probably should have been watching football on the couch, and the boat handled well as long as I did my part as a captain. It’s only happened a few times, and it was not my intention to
be out in that large of a sea, but it’s still a worth pointing out that the boat did its duty in a big ocean.

I can speak from experience regarding the 14-inch draft of the vessel considering I routinely cruise on plane across the shallows in our local bays. What’s more, I love to throw the cast net, and I sometimes trim the motor and sneak up on schools of baby menhaden and mullet in the skinny waters. This boat can get into remarkably shallow water for a vessel of its weight and design. In the event I run aground, it’s not a problem to reverse and back off the sand and mud. The boat is very forgiving when it beaches on a sandbar. Furthermore, I mine minnows in the local marshes on a regular basis. The Cobia is easy to nose up onto the sod banks so I can trudge through the meadows for my bait.

Another significant reason I chose the 214 Cobia is that it is easy to trailer and drop in at the state’s boat ramps. Unfortunately, many of the Garden State’s ramps are difficult or completely impossible to use on low water and the 21 was a perfect option in order to stay in the game. A 23-foot boat simply wouldn’t be feasible at
many of the ramps I’ve used when there is a blow-out tide, and that’s a concession I’ve been unwilling to make. I’ve slipped various boats throughout my time, but it is too enjoyable to go on fun trips with family and friends either to the north or south along the Jersey coast following fish migrations or hot bites. Moreover, I’ve carried four men that look like the starting offensive line for an NFL team illustrating that the Cobia has no problem being loaded down. When
folks lean to one side to grab a glimpse at a healthy striper or huge summer flounder coming to the net, the boat remains a stable fishing platform that sits nicely in the water. The high freeboard is more than adequate and provides safety for the children that come out to enjoy the bay and ocean with me.

The 214 Cobia has met and exceeded my personal requirements for the duration in which I’ve owned it. The boat has withstood all the use and abuse I’ve shown her over the years without missing beat. Other than typical maintenance, there have been no negative issues in which to speak. She’s a tight and well-constructed vessel
that has served me well.