The world of bay boats has undergone seismic changes in the past decade or so, as the fleet of these single-mission fishing boats grew in size and complexity. Larger hybrid bay boats capable of running offshore became common, family-friendly features were added, and complex systems ranging from aquarium-style livewells to gyroscopic stabilizers began showing up. While bay boats remain a mission-driven type of center console focused on maintaining a shallow draft for accessing shallow water fisheries yet also having enough beef and brawn for crossing and fishing in open bays, today’s crop is light years ahead of earlier models. And the latest to hit the water is the new version of the Sportsman 267 and its sibling, the 267OE.
Sportsman Masters 267 Versus Sportsman Masters 267OE
These two models share the hull, the same basic attributes, the same power options, and even (at the time of their introduction) the same advertised base MSRP of $141,325. There are, however, some significant differences in the deck design.
The 267 features a two-level casting deck in the bow, with substantially more territory than you’ll find on the 267OE. The OE instead offers less casting platform and more deck space surrounded by the full-height gunwale. The OE also takes advantage of the additional deck space and reduced platform area by incorporating a huge lounger with an integrated coffin-box in front of the console, rather than a svelte console seat. So, anglers who spend most of their time shoal-water fishing in protected areas will probably prefer the 267, while those who travel into bigger seas with greater regularity may favor the OE version.
The aft deck layout is also a bit different between the two boats. On the 267 it houses a pair of flip-up double-wide bench seats on either side with livewells behind them. On the 267OE there’s a smaller aft platform with a single centered flip-up seat, with livewells flanking it on either side. Again, there’s additional full-depth cockpit area on the OE as compared to the 267, boosting the boat’s big-water applicability and hybrid nature.
Note that another difference between the models is in livewell capacity, due to the different deck layouts. With the additional casting deck area the 267 has four separate wells both aft and also forward and in total breaks the 100-gallon capacity mark, while the 267OE has two wells in the aft deck totaling 42 gallons.
Sportsman Masters 267 and Sportsman Masters 267OE New Features
We should note that the new 267s are based on the same basic footprint and premise as the manufacturer’s older versions, so this is more of a model refresh than an entirely novel introduction. That said, Sportsman made changes significant enough that they saw fit to reintroduce the 267 and 267OE as new models for the 2023 boating season.
You’ll see a number of substantial improvements made in the hard top, windscreen, and pipework arrangement, which is now very slick and incorporates extruded D-tubing integrated with the shape of the console. The three-sided enclosure has an opening vent in the front tempered glass windshield, and the top itself integrates courtesy and spreader lighting, stereo speakers, molded in nav lights, and if you opt for the half tower with second station, a slide-open sunroof/access hatch.
Another nifty change you’ll see between old and new models is found in the leaning post on the 267. Previous versions had a standard two seat above/tackle station below setup, while the new leaning post has two seats perched atop a post with some tackle stowage beneath and a cooler aft. The seats are placed such that they can swivel 180-degrees to face aft in what Sportsman calls “sandbar mode,” for lounging at the beach or watching the kids swim. The OE version may not go into Sandbar Mode, but it does have a fun new perk in that the livewells in the aft deck are aquarium-style, with clear viewing ports in the front.
Sportsman Masters 267 and Sportsman Masters 267OE Fishing Features
Both of these models are fully rigged to fish and fish hard in any number of venues. And critically, it’s clear from the moment you start casting that Sportsman’s design team includes serious anglers. Knowledge that only anglers will have is evident from bow to stern in a number of ways. Check out the livewell systems, for an excellent example. Wells are oval and baby blue inside (which helps keep baits calm and prevents them from beating themselves up by smashing into the fiberglass sides); several have Pro-Air aeration; they’re insulated; and they’re LED-lighted.
Another example can be found in the pre-rigging for a bow-mount trolling motor, which includes designed-in dedicated battery storage for three 12-volt deep-cycle batteries to power a 36-volt system. The standard features list is telling, too, as it includes many items some builders would consider optional but we anglers know are must-haves: fresh and raw water washdowns; kingfish rodholders in addition to the five hard top rocket launchers; protective pads by the under-gunwale racks to prevent reels from beating against the fiberglass; an Airmar B60 through-hull transducer; cockpit coaming bolsters; and a six-inch hydraulic jackplate all make the list.
Also take note of the fuel capacity. Many builders design hybrid-style bay boats that are perfectly capable of handling offshore conditions, yet rig them with a fuel tank that isn’t necessarily large enough to account for the hours-long runs that may be necessary to reach the fishing grounds you want to visit. Often you’ll see boats in this class with 80 or 90 gallons of fuel capacity, but these models have a hefty 121 gallon tank with 113 gallons of approximate useable capacity.
Sportsman Masters 267 and Sportsman Masters 267OE Performance
Maximum horsepower for both models is 450, and they’re commonly rigged with F300 or F425 Yamaha outboards. It’s a fair bet that with Yamaha’s 2023 introduction of the F450 these slightly more powerful powerplants will show up on the 267s soon, but as of this publication we haven’t yet had the opportunity to run one with a F450. That said, the numbers shouldn’t differ dramatically from what we’ve seen with the F425.
Regardless of the upcoming power-boost, performance with the single F425 is rather spectacular. At a mellow 3500 rpm cruise the 267s run just over the 30-mph mark, while getting around 3.7 mpg. Goose it up to a reasonable 4500 rpm cruise and you’ll be going in the low- to mid-40s while still enjoying better than two mpg. Nail the throttle, and top-end (on a relatively lightly loaded boat) peaks just over the 60-mph mark.
Sportsman Masters 267 and Sportsman Masters 267OE Specifications
- Length Overall: 26’7”
- Beam: 9’2”
- Weight: 4,300/4,600 lbs.
- Draft (min.): 1’3”
- Transom Deadrise: 16 degrees
- Max HP: 450
- Fuel Capacity: 121 gal.
- Water Capacity: 25 gal.
For anglers who want the flexibility to fish both inshore and offshore as well as taking out the family for fun days on the water, the 267 and 267OE are going to be tough to beat. And for any angler looking at these models, the toughest call they’ll face will be choosing which flavor of the 267 they like the most.
Editor’s note: If the 267 or 267OE seem appealing but are a bit more boat than you feel you need, be sure to also check out the Sportsman Masters 247OE.