If you’re looking to buy a BlackJack, besides getting on the water for a test ride, the best way to learn about the 224, 256 Bay and 256 Coastal models is to talk to an owner. Especially an outfitter who uses a BlackJack for their job.
Capt. Joel LeVine, owner of RedFin Charters in Charleston, South Carolina, has been using BlackJack boats for about seven years and currently has three 224s and two 256s in his fleet — all with a black hull. We recently talked with Joel and Capt. Justin Carter, one of RedFin’s six guides, about why they use BlackJacks and what makes them ideal for both inshore and near-shore fishing.
Along with taking clients out to catch redfish, mackerel, snapper, amberjack, spade fish and more, Joel and Justin said they use BlackJack boats for tournament fishing. “We’ve had people in tournaments look at us, wondering how we get in such skinny water,” Joel said, with Justin adding, “We have high confidence putting them in shallow water.”
Two characteristics both said they appreciate about the BlackJacks are that the boats ride dry and smooth. Thanks to the the BlackJack’s signature “Carolina flare” on the bow, “clients never get wet” and it “handles chop really well,” Joel said.
When asked about the differences between their 224s and 256s, Justin said the larger 256 gave RedFin the ability to fish a completely new area of fishing. “It’s a longer boat, a heavier boat, so it allows you to gap the waves — especially with harder weather.”
“With it, we don’t lose much in capability for inshore fishing, we gain a lot for near-shore.”
Both also appreciate the smaller details and creature comforts, such as the jump seats that give clients additional cushioning “that you don’t have to worry about stepping on,” Justin said. “I’m a gear junkie, and I love the rod tubes and amount of space. It’s important for me to be able to have 14 rods locked up and stowed away.
“It’s also nice to be able to trim your motor from the front. That’s huge for tournaments!”
Of course, besides the BlackJack’s performance, both guides made a point to comment on the show-stopping design. “It’s very distinct, unique style of boat,” Joel said. “When I first got it, nobody had ever seen it, and people would follow me into creeks, pull up and start asking me questions.”
Justin said, “It’s a very sexy boat.”
When asked about the new 256 Coastal, Justin said he likes its new feature of a live-well system in the back, and how the higher gunwales will give clients an even-more comfortable support when reeling in the big one.