Carolina Composites knows how to do an encore. Following the well-received launch of its Avenger 26 Bay, the builder has reintroduced the original Avenger hull with an all-new cap and deck layout, lower-freeboard sheer, offset transom and thoughtful standard features that make this 24-footer an extremely versatile model for the shallows and near-coastal waters.
Avenger’s Joby Davis and I, with the assistance of local dealer Paradise Marine in Gulf Shores, Alabama, cruised into Perdido Bay on the heels of a cold front. A stiff wind and solid chop greeted us when we reached open water, but neither was a match for the new Avenger’s aggressive entry and deadrise. The hull sliced the slop like a fillet knife cutting a slab of fresh cobia.
Foul weather gear and knee braces weren’t required. It was soon evident that the bow flare redirects spray downward for a dry ride, and the offset, slightly notched transom keeps the propeller engaged with the water, smoothly producing forward thrust, even when the engine is fully raised.
Avenger boats can be rigged with Honda, Mercury and Yamaha outboards, but our test boat had a 250 hp Suzuki four-stroke, with which we popped on plane in a single boat length, with negligible bow rise. Although the 24 Bay is rated for up to 300 hp, the Suzuki 250, coupled with the 89-gallon fuel capacity, proved a nice performance package. Factory performance tests with a T-top produced speeds in the mid-50s.
The boat was very responsive to steering and trim-tab adjustments, and effortless to drive thanks to the standard SeaStar hydraulic tilt steering, Lenco trim tabs and Atlas electric jack plate. There were no surprises in tight turns, and we kept a level attitude while drifting in a beam-to sea.
The 24 Bay’s hull is the original Louisiana design, but everything between the covering boards is brand-new. The roomy forward casting deck starts with the anchor locker with molded cradles for bow and stern anchors. Twin locking rod compartments snugly cradle combos to port and starboard. And a trolling-motor wiring harness is standard issue.
On the centerline, a 260-quart insulated fish box comes with a pump-out, while a 96-quart cooler is incorporated in the transition step. A third insulated box (180 quarts) is located in the forward deck. Twin 27-gallon livewells are located in the transom corners, and a smaller 12-gallon well hides under the forward console seat.
The large center console — with a head compartment to port and helm rigging access inside — is equipped with a removable tinted windshield, lighted compass, and stainless-steel wheel with a control knob. The dash has ample room for electronics, along with a 12-volt power port and stainless-steel cup holders. An aluminum leaning post with a four-rod rocket launcher and 75-quart Yeti cooler is the standard helm seating configuration. A flip-up footrest adds to the operator’s comfort. A folding transom bench-style seat accommodates more crew members. Flush-mounted rod holders and undergunwale racks store the trip’s necessary arsenal.
The Avenger 24 Bay can also be ordered with a marine stereo, freshwater washdown, blue underwater LED lights and a battery charger. A flip-back bolster leaning post with a livewell and tackle center, and a T-top or hardtop with spreader lights, a radio box and stand-through second control station are also available options.
Like its larger predecessor, the 24 Bay is solidly built, with premium components and a careful eye for detail. Stainless-steel pull-up cleats and through-hulls are standard, and the rub rail has a stainless insert and integrated low-profile LED running lights. A raw-water washdown system is included in the standard package, along with a dual battery switch, undergunwale LED lights and a 1,500 gph bilge pump with 700 gph backup. All hatch lids fit neatly, are finished underneath for easy cleaning, and come with thick gaskets to ensure a tight seal.
The brand’s tag line is “Born on the bayou, raised in the Low Country,” and that definitely applies to the heritage of the 24. But jingles don’t sell boats — performance, layout and fishability do. So if you’re in the market for a multispecies bay boat, you really should take this one out for a spin.