by Steve Lague

Bayliner is well known for its family-friendly range of bowriders with the 175 one the biggest selling boats in the world. The brand has a strong name and reputation for no frills affordable boats and now it has turned its attention to the fishing market with the release of the Element F16 and F18. Built on the highly awarded M shaped Element hull, these centre console fishing boats represent a completely new direction for one of the world’s biggest brands.
The F16 and F18 come on the back of the development and release of the Element and Element XL. They were developed as a solution to the ever increasing cost of boating and designed from the ground up for new boaties. The hull performed extremely well, was stable at rest and was competitively priced.
It’s that hull which now underpins the F16 and F18 fishing boats. Bayliner has added a large centre console with storage underneath, a forward facing seat at the front and generous inbuilt rod storage either side. There’s a grab bar running up and over the windscreen and dash space for a sounder. The helm seat is a bench style with a built in cooler underneath the cushion and what appears to be an adjustable backrest which can be swung so you can sit conventionally or facing the back of the boat.
Bayliner Element FX18 4
Bayliner Element FX18 3More rod storage runs up the sides of the gunwale and the bow and stern both feature casting platforms. Three storage hatches are located underfoot at the bow and an electric engine can be added. The stern platform includes two jump seats with a live bait tank in between. The seats are designed to double as hatch covers and hide a battery compartment and storage bin. They also fold flat creating part of the casting platform. It appears to be a very clever use of space.
The only downside we see is that the gunwales are not very wide; therefore fishing rod holders will have to be cleverly worked into the platform by owners as there does not appear to be any as standard inclusions from the images we’ve seen.
While we are yet to test this boat on the water, we expect it to handle like the Element before it which proved to be extremely stable, turn flat and deliver sound performance. Offshore it appears to be best suited to relatively calm conditions although it could be a surprise package once we step aboard.Bayliner Element FX18 2Stay tuned for a full review later this month.

Specifications
Length Overall: 4.93m (F16) 5.57m (F18)
Beam: 2.26m (F16) 2.26m (F18)
Fuel: 68 litres (F16) 114 litres (F18)
People: 5 (F16) 6 (F18)
Max hp: 80 (F16) 115 (F18)