Our US correspondent Elliott Maurice picks out six of the best center consoles for fishing, ranging from 24ft to a whopping 65ft.
The sports fishing segment of the US center console market has become one of the most competitive in the industry. It contains some of the most incredible leisure boats on offer, attracting ocean boaters with a lot of experience.
I live in south Florida where this type of boat is very popular, most of the inlets alone require a serious boat just to get out of the many narrow and challenging waterways into the Atlantic, and consequently most of the best center consoles for fishing are built in Florida.
A revolution has been taking place over recent years, due to the massive power and reliability offered by the latest generation of outboard motors, allowing builders to make serious center console boats for serious buyers, who previously would have looked at large diesel-powered sportfish boats from the likes of Bertram and Viking.
This makes this segment one of the most exciting on the market right now – with offerings up to 65 feet boating features previously only available on custom superyachts, it is a serious business with some sensational boats.
The only downside compared to a traditional sportfishing yacht is that with multiple engines bolted to the stern, backing down on a prize fish may prove difficult, and accommodation is very limited.
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But as tournament boats, it is becoming ever more common to see big centre consoles running out with the big boys to win the trophies.
Serious boats cost serious money, and this segment of the market can take you well over $3 million dollars and give power in excess of 2,500hp.
The latest suite of electronics is available along with large open array radars, side scanning and mapping sonar, FLIR and even Seakeeper stabilization on boats as small as 23ft.
6 of the best center consoles for fishing
Twin Vee 240 Center Console
Best center consoles for fishing – up to 25ft
As the name suggests, the Twin Vee is a twin-engine powercat with twin deep V hulls. Anyone considering bluewater cruising should always have a twin engine boat, because if one fails, you can always get home on the other.
With up to 150hp twin Suzuki APX outboards, a very high spec Twin Vee 240 Center Console can be had for under $150,000.
Its wide 8’8” beam offers huge deck space for a boat of this length, and the boat also carries just under 100 (US) gallons of fuel, giving a cruising range in excess of 120nm.
The Twin Vee 240 Center Console also has three batteries, Llebroc Billfish helm seats and the option of a fiberglass hardtop with four rod holders.
With high coamings and a large walkaround helm, this design affords unprecedented working space. The usual live bait wells, copious storage wells and oversized ground tackle complete the deal.
The Twin Vee has exceptional seakeeping for her size and the kind of nimble handling that you wouldn’t normally expect from a powercat.
Sea Hunter Floridian 28
Best center consoles for fishing – from 25ft to 30ft
The smallest boat in Sea Hunter’s range can be specced with serious power, with twin 400hp Mercury Verados being the most powerful option, providing 60mph performance.
This powerhouse of a hull is built using a mix of bonded carbon fibre, bulletproof Kevlar and a corecell core using a state-of-the-art process of vacuum assisted lamination.
The result is a boat capable of handling difficult offshore conditions far better than its size would suggest.
The standard equipment and options list allow you to tailor this boat as an offshore fishing weapon.
Duel 12” Garmins, a 36” open array radar and even a skyhook are available. The latter is a GPS anchor, with the ability to hold the boat in place over a fishing hole without dropping ground tackle.
The hardtop can accommodate carbon fibre outriggers so you can troll even more lines.
Boasting an impressive options list, the Sea Hunter Floridian 28 is available with twin aerated live wells, capacious in-hull fish boxes, a trolling motor and a second helm station on the T top.
Prices start from $170,000, although at the high point with the top spec navigation, radar and sonar, and biggest engine options, you can expect little change from $370,000.
Coming from the builder of some of the finest tournament boats on the market, the 28 is a compelling boat by any standards.
Best center consoles for fishing – from 30ft to 40ft
At 39ft4in LOA including engines and with a beam just under 11ft, this is a far bigger boat than its 34 name suggests.
The Regulator 34 has a massive, flared bow and given the choice of triple 300hp or twin 425hp Yamaha V8s, near 60mph performance is readily available.
Given the Regulator 34’s internal volume, other than the additional third helm seat and third big screen MFD, very little to justify the extra $200,000 in going up to the Regulator 37.
This is a boat that has nigh-on unbeatable seakeeping ability. The stern is all business with a flush-folding transom seat that can be used as a fighting chair or stowed to create a large, open working space.
The forward section with ample seating for six is a great place to sit underway, as the Carolina flared bow throws spray well away to the side.
A huge 42-gallon livewell fills the stern from port to starboard. A large dive door to starboard can be used to pull large fish on board, and the engines are hiked way out to stern for minimal obstruction while hauling in from the rear.
With digital anchoring, a 48” open array radar, Seakeeper stabilization, 350 gallon fuel capacity and massive 10-speaker sound system among the options, the Regulator 34 is a true bluewater fishing machine.
You can expect to pay just over $485,000 for a base boat, but expect to shell out a further $85,000 for a top-spec, triple-engine boat that wants for nothing, with low hour examples selling at near retail prices.
Best center consoles for fishing – from 40ft to 50ft
Starting at just over $1.1million, the super luxurious 455cc is the all-new flagship of the Everglades brand.
This boat is built using Everglades’ ground-breaking RAMCAP hull construction, a patented process that involves a pre-moulded, high-density foam core that fits precisely between the hull and liner before being cured into one cohesive and rigid structure.
The result is a super-sturdy, virtually unsinkable boat with a hull that absorbs shock better than any other fiberglass boat, and can still run if holed.
Power comes from quad 425hp Yamaha V8s, giving her a top hop of 59 mph and a 380nm cruising range at 41mph. Once onboard, quality is evident everywhere.
The view from her three-seat wide helm is unobstructed, while all the instruments are easily visible on three 22” Garmin 8622 glass bridge screens.
Equipped with a standard Seakeeper 6 stabilizer, this near 49ft beast can smash through big seas with ease. At the business end, the two fish boxes at the stern can hold 75 and 40 gallons, in addition to the two 50-gallon aerated livewells. As if that wasn’t enough, a third 120-gallon fish box sits forward.
The Everglades 455cc can be equipped with a tuna tower with up to 40 rod holders available, plus two 22ft outriggers to throw even more lines in the water.
The helm and luxurious cabin are fully air-conditioned, and forward of the helm and its electric windscreen are three luxurious chaise lounges. Even further forward is bench seating for up to six, which provide exemplary comfort at rest, as well as absorbing impacts underway.
The order book currently has a near two-year wait time. But if you spend just a few minutes on board, you’ll understand why – this is the new benchmark for performance sports fishing and with a massive starting spec, she offers a competitively priced package against her nearest rival, with the equivalent Valhalla coming at $200,000 more.
HCB Estrella 65
Best center consoles for fishing – ultimate luxury
If it’s the ultimate center console boat for fishing that you seek, then the biggest boat in this segment is where the buck stops.
At 65ft long and 16ft on the beam, the HCB Estrella 65 is everything supersized. Their latest commission incorporates six 600hp Mercury V12s – that’s 3,600hp worth of outboard motors gulping on 1,500 (US) gallons of fuel.
This massive center console is not just the biggest currently on the market, it is now the most powerful outboard powered boat ever made.
Not just a huge open boat, the HCB Estrella 65 has luxury accommodation for up to five people with the fit and finish to rival the finest luxury yachts.
Formerly known as Hydra-Sports Custom, HCB builds class-leading boats starting at 39ft and offers almost limitless custom build options.
The huge cockpit with enclosed seating for up to six people gives a commanding, panoramic, 360-degree view of the entire boat.
The aft working space is comparable to any high-end sports fishing cruiser with the kind of performance they could never match.
Several of these boats have been built as pure pleasure boats, nevertheless the HCB Estrella 65 has a sport fishing bias. To that end, the options list includes multiple live bait wells and a huge tackle station.
Nor-Tech 452 Superfish
Best center console boat for fishing – ultimate performance
Nor-Tech is known for producing some of the fastest offshore powerboats in the world. So when a builder with this reputation builds a boat called the Superfish, you can just tell it’s going to be a fishing-oriented boat with a huge bias on speed.
Available with up to five 450hp Mercury Racing V8s, the Nor-Tech 452 Superfish is capable of speeds in excess of 80mph – you can expect this boat to arrive first every time on the fishing grounds.
With an optional tuna tower, twin 50-gallon live bait wells and a massive inventory of rod holders, outriggers and dedicated fish boxes, this boat is properly equipped for the serious business of big game fishing.
The combination of speed and range means a day’s fishing trip from Miami to the Bahamas and back is easily achievable.
Every Nor-Tech boat is a semi-custom build and with each boat being unique, the price tag matches the exclusivity.
The above list is not exhaustive and there are many more center consoles for fishing worth looking into, such as Viking’s new Valhalla range, which looks to be an exceptional option.
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