Needless to say, the large cockpit of any 65-footer provides more than enough room for multiple anglers to fish side by side without crowding. But the first impression of the Viking 65's cockpit inspires minimalist awe. It's so clean it borders on stark. Gaffs, mops and the like stow efficiently under the side walkways, as do the hose and shore power cable. Viking has molded in a ledge or step along the forward edge of the cockpit where cleaning supplies, fish, drinks, bait and anything else can be stored unobtrusively. An additional step up to the salon door contains a refrigerated drink cooler. The cabinetry along the salon bulkhead also contains the obligatory rigging station, sink, tackle drawers, etc.
After about an hour's cruise out to the tuna grounds, I discovered another terrific aspect of the 65's cockpit. Viking has tapered the back ends of the cabin sides toward the center of the boat, effectively channeling air into the cockpit. This totally eliminates any "station-wagon" effect from the exhaust, leaving not a speck of spray to besmirch the salon's cockpit window. All those anglers who regularly sit atop the cockpit cabinetry underway will particularly appreciate it.
There must have been a hundred boats out in one fairly small area fishing for giant bluefin tuna. During our day of fishing, we raised, caught and released a 100-pounder. As far as I could see (or hear on the radio), we were the only boat to catch a fish that day. That certainly speaks well for our boat's fish-raising ability. Oh, and reaching over the gunwale to remove the hook and revive the bluefin proved a comfortable and well-balanced reach.
While pulling tuna spreader rigs at a 3- to 4-knot trolling speed, I detected absolutely no discernable wake turbulence. The spreader bars generated far more white water than the boat did. At 8 knots the prop wash was solid through the first wave aft, but still I saw no chine turbulence.
I know there was a time when hardcore anglers swore that no boat over 40 feet long could fish effectively. They obviously never fished a Viking 65. It doesn't matter what maneuvers you perform to catch a fish; this boat will back, spin and run responsively enough to match even the fastest big game.
Altogether, I can think of only one change I'd ask the factory to make if I were buying a new 65. Despite the exceptionally good nonskid on the bow, there's a space between the cabin sides and the foredeck where, if you're walking forward to anchor, there isn't adequate handhold security. Sure, adding a handrail may disrupt the lines slightly, but I'd rather do that than fall overboard.