The idea that there is any boat out there that is better than all the rest is simply a myth. There is simply no such thing as the best fishing boat, best family boat, best center console, or best bay boat.
What does exist, however, is a “best boat” for you – for your fishing needs, your cruising needs, your comfort, and your budget. In fact, somewhere among the 60-plus boat manufacturers featured in our 2020 Boat Buyer’s Guide, you’ll probably find more than one “best boat” that can provide many seasons of enjoyment on the water.
Albemarle is taking full advantage of their 42 years of boatbuilding experience and history to position themselves as a leader in high-quality sportfishing boats. The new Albemarle 31DC will be unveiled this fall to meet the demands of boating families wanting to do all sorts of on-the water activities. A 24-degree deadrise, hand-laid solid fiberglass hull, one-piece construction, and superior weather protection will ensure a ride worthy of the Albemarle name, and a full-beam berth will make her capable of comfortable overnighting.
Aquasport’s 2020 lineup includes three center consoles, two bay boats, and the Aquasport 2300DC, which offers a fishing-friendly design with family comforts. This crossover boat can be a fishing boat in the morning, a family watersports boat in the afternoon, and a quiet dinner cruiser in the evening. Look for ample storage under each bow seat, behind the helm and in the head. Fishing tackle can be stored in the floor lockers and in the entertainment center tackle drawers.
The legend lives on in the new generation of Blackfin with brand-new models that feature yacht-like, high-end design and innovative construction. The result is an exceptional watercraft designed for fishing, family and fun. The Blackfin 272 CC is a battlewagon of a ship that can take on the toughest seas and elegantly slice through waves. Whether traveling far to reach fishing grounds, sandbar hopping, or making a run to the local dockside bar, the large freeboard, flip-down transom seating, and massive center console will do the job.
With its sleek deep-V hull and wide beam, the Boston Whaler Conquest family tackles both saltwater fishing and sophisticated entertaining with ease. For 2020, Whaler is entering new territory with the debut of the 405 Conquest. Like the rest of the Conquest family, it has the fishing amenities and cutting-edge technology that serious offshore fishermen demand, along with the core comforts and luxury amenities that will make it a favorite with pleasure cruisers. Fishing or cruising, Boston Whaler has you covered.
Century is a classic American brand that has been building boats for over 90 years. With models ranging from 22 to 32 feet, their focus is on building luxurious yet hardcore fishing machines. The Century 24 Resorter has a cutting-edge dual console design that delivers versatility with amenities, features and performance needed for hardcore fishing trips, day cruising excursions and high-octane family watersports.
Cobia Boats mesh tournament capability, family comfort, and style into a single package. Every Cobia model is built to be safe, last a lifetime, and maximize every precious moment away from the dock. Look closely and you’ll see it in their smart, user-friendly designs, expert craftsmanship, and use of high-quality materials. Cobia offers a full range of center console and dual console fishing and family-friendly boats.
The Contender’s clean lines and aggressive entry make it a good-looking, comfortable-riding, fast boat. Contender offers fishing-focused boats in their Bay, Tourney, and Sport series. The Contender 39FA is the culmination of tournament fishing comfort and knowledge. Optimized for speed without sacrificing “fish-ability,” it has a cabin console and can reach cruising speeds over 60mph. It has the fishability of a center console and the convenience of a sport fish.
Crevalle boats are family-friendly fishing platforms built with a focus on reliability, durability, and excellence in design. Head offshore, fish inshore, or sandbar hop with the family in the Crevalle 26 Bay, a larger version of the popular 24 Bay that includes integrated trim tabs, a larger console, 83-gallon fuel capacity, and up to 350 horsepower capability. Standard features include two removable 72-quart coolers and Crevalle’s trademark gunmetal grey helm.
Family day cruising or serious fishing, Eastern’s classic downeast-style boats can handle the challenge. The Eastern 248 Tournament is all about fishing–efficiently, effectively, safely, and above all, comfortably and happily. Its cabin forward has a V-berth, head, and hanging locker. In the pilothouse opposite the helm is an L-shaped lounge. The back of the lounge forms a multi-drawer tackle center with cutting board and sink on top.
EdgeWater fishing boats are used by serious sportsmen who demand practical features, reliability and durability. With their proprietary Single Piece Infusion construction, they achieve a strength-to-weight ratio that, when combined with their variable deadrise deep-V hulls, produces handling, performance, fuel efficiency, and range better than many other boats of the same size. The EdgeWater 280CC has a “ClearView” custom engineered windshield specifically designed for this boat allowing for an improved line of sight. It also sports a plush walk-in console complete with a head and a pull-out shower.
The new Everglades Boats 395CC, unveiled at the 2019 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, provides an exciting new option in the space between the Everglades 355 and the 435. Everglades DNA is evident throughout, with fishing-first design, but you’ll also find tremendous standard creature comforts. Everglades builds boats of the highest quality on legendary Dougherty-designed hulls.
The new Grady-White Canyon 326 is a modern center console with a sleek, sporty appearance and all the luxuries and amenities you’d expect in a Grady-White. It’s packed with standard equipment that enhances fishability, including a 32-gallon lighted livewell, three insulated fish boxes, and 24 rod holders. It also includes all the comforts that make it an outstanding boat for family cruising and entertainment, like plush bow seats with foldaway backrests and a lockable console with stand up cherry-accented head compartment and stainless-steel sink. And of course, underneath it all is Grady-White’s award-winning SeaV2® hull.
When Jack Henriques immigrated to the United States, he brought with him four generations of Portuguese boatbuilding experience. He founded Henriques Yachts in 1977, and 40 years later, the company builds to order at their factory in New Jersey. The Henriques 50 Express HT is a truly awesome fishing platform and as a semi-custom boat, can be tailored to your requirements with a wide variety of power packages, layouts and custom features.
Invincible’s patent-pending hybrid semi-asymmetric multihull provides safety, maneuverability, and exceptional ride in their Invincible 35 Catamaran. Available with triple or quad outboards, it can reach top speeds in excess of 65 MPH (with triples) and its 565-gallon fuel capacity will get you to the farthest fishing grounds and back with speed and comfort. Even though it’s a shorter boat, it has more deck space than a comparable 39’ monohull.
Jones Brothers makes tough, big-water boats for light-tackle fishermen. Popular with fishing guides and hard-core anglers, the Cape Fisherman 23 is economical to run, comfortably handles larger groups of anglers, and can go offshore on nicer days. It has plenty of freeboard and flare to keep you safe and dry. The addition of a forward casting deck provides seating for kids and increases storage capacity for camping and beach gear.
Every Jupiter is individually built to the exacting specifications of the sportsman who demands the very best in offshore performance. Jupiter’s Flagship 41 starts with a time-tested and proven deep-V hull design built for running efficiently through all conditions in comfort, while also offering speed when you want it, courtesy of triple 350-hp Yamaha V-8 outboards. The boat is equally at home cruising with friends and family or trolling the canyons.
Mako’s reputation for being rugged and durable has attracted Northeast fishermen for years. They incorporate super-strong transoms plus a unique stringer grid system that’s bonded to the hull to create tremendous structural rigidity. The whole assembly is foam-filled to produce a boat that’s incredibly strong. The Mako 284 CC is well-equipped to fish, and powered by up to 700 horses and with a 228-gal. fuel capacity, has the range and speed to get you out farther and keep you out longer.
Built in New Hampshire, Maritime Boats combines traditional New England looks with modern construction techniques and state-of-the-art design. The Maritime 250 Voyager, with its aggressive, stable vee-hull, was designed with offshore capabilities in mind. A full walk-around center pilot house allows for extended season fishing with protection from the elements. There’s a transom livewell and fold-down bench and bow seating with insulated fish boxes so you can fish hard in comfort.
Monterey Boats are all about the waterborne recreational lifestyle, and that includes skiing, wakeboarding, cruising, and fishing. Sleek, refined, luxurious, and powerful are just a few words that will come to mind when you step on the Monterey M-65. Spacious seating arrangements, special dedicated storage options including rod holders, and powerful engineering make it easy to spend long, unforgettable days aboard the M-65.
The largest model in NauticStar’s offshore center console series, the NauticStar 32XS is an outstanding saltwater performer, delivering all the necessary fishing features for the serious angler with cutting-edge styling and comfort. Its 10’ 6” beam offers a spacious and comfortable bow that features a large forward lounge seat and plush wrap-around seating. The head console has a fully lined interior with a stainless-steel sink, SeaDek floor and electric flush porcelain toilet. It has a large helm station to allow for dual 12-inch (standard) or 16-inch (optional) multifunction displays. The leaning post has a sink, tackle storage, a slide-out, 35-quart YETI cooler or optional refrigerator, and seats with flip-up bolsters and pivot arms. Aft jump seats flip up for a roomy fishing deck with port and starboard in-floor fish boxes and large portside dive door.
The new NorthCoast 255HT is all about being rugged and versatile—a real boat for real boaters, without all the “fluff.” The hull is designed to be dry and soft in the worst conditions, and the cockpit is uncluttered and massive, with two large macerated in-deck fish boxes. Built by C&C Marine in Bristol, Rhode Island, in a semi-custom fashion, it can be equipped with all the important features required by inshore or offshore fishermen. It also has the versatility of a cruiser, with a private stand-alone head below and a cabin that sleeps two comfortably. When offshore with friends or family, the feeling of a solid boat under your feet will give you the confidence to keep fishing.
Parker builds solid boats with an efficient hull design that allows them to plane easily and run economically. Parker offers center console, walkaround, and sport cabin designs. The Parker 2510 WA is a spacious walk-around built to handle extreme conditions while creating a comfortable sanctuary for family boating, scenic cruising, or fishing. Comfortable forward berth seating is the perfect spot to catch a nap, while the optional aft folding seat allows you to relax while taking in the sights on the water.
Pursuit boats are built on proven hulls matched to dependable Yamaha outboards. The Pursuit DC 326 – the latest addition to Pursuit’s innovative Dual Console family – features a fully integrated fiberglass hardtop with tempered glass windshield, thoughtfully designed storage and starboard hull side door. A port side wrap-around lounge, rotating helm seat, forward bow and foldaway cockpit seating offer plenty of room for friends, family and crew while rod holders, recirculating livewell and dedicated tackle storage are ready to fish.
Regulator makes classic deep-V center consoles designed for challenging conditions. From their offshore sportfishers to the new 26XO, their boats are built to fish and designed for comfort, with the fit, finish and ride that Regulator is known for. Find your offshore ride with a full line of boats engineered for hardcore fishing and ultimate comfort from 23 to 41 feet.
Release Boats has incorporated fish-ability and function into an attractive package. The Release 208RX features hand-laid fiberglass composite construction, foam-filled box-beam stringer grid and all stainless or bronze through-hulls. With a draft of only 12 inches, it’s at home in shallow bays and flats but can also travel to open nearshore waters. Standard equipment includes a T-top with canvas canopy and spreader light, leaning post with cooler storage, bow cushions, cockpit bolsters, Porta Potti, and aft bench seating for three with individual folding backrests.
Adding to their lineup of durable, dependable, and comfortable center consoles, the new Robalo R230 offers more boat for less. Robalo’s Kevlar-reinforced hull combined with a lifetime limited hull warranty and 5-year component warranty will allow you to enjoy complete peace of mind on the water, whether you’re cruising the shoreline or making a run offshore. Like the rest of Robalo’s popular center console family, the R230 is loaded with fishing features, luxurious amenities, and plenty of style.
Sailfish builds fishing boats to withstand the rigors of inshore and offshore environments and loaded with standard features for fishing enthusiasts. Serious offshore capability and a fully appointed cabin with berths for 6 or more makes the Sailfish 320 Express a serious sport fishing utility. Whether cruising to dinner or fishing the canyons, this boat provides a lifestyle worth dreaming of. Standard fishing amenities include 14 upright rod holders, 30-gallon live well with high-speed pickup, 2 deluxe tackle stations, and much more.
Scout designs and manufactures world-class luxury models from 17’ to 53’, each packed with timeless innovations, technology and trendsetting features. The Scout 255 LXF is a luxury center console that’s fun to drive and stunning to behold. There’s ample space throughout the boat to move around freely, and an innovative fold-out table and extra hide-away cooler are ideal for entertaining or just relaxing out on the open water. Available with upholstery color upgrades and in beautiful hull color options.
Sea Fox has grown to offer a full line of center consoles, bay boats, side consoles and dual consoles. All are paired with Yamaha outboard power, along with a multitude of leading-edge technologies and innovative features. The Sea Fox 328 Commander is a 57mph beast, equipped with twin Yamaha F300s or F350s. It is agile, yet solid, with a huge 10’ 8” beam and a wide Carolina flare at its bow and boasts more standard features than you’d expect.
Seaway Boats of Milton, New Hampshire builds classic, efficient boats with workboat roots. The Seaway 24HT blends classic, head-turning lines with a modern layout and composite materials, resulting in a traditional dayboat with sport boat performance. Two floor plans offer the choice between lounge seats with flip-back backrests or a more traditional cruise centric seating package. Standard features include an adult-sized head, V-berth with cushions, and an outboard engine bracket.
SeaVee Boats builds an award-winning line-up of semi-custom sport fishing boats available with a wide array of features and options that appeal to hardcore anglers and fishing families alike. The SeaVee 430FA changed the game with the latest evolution of offshore sport fishing boats. Part Express, part Center Console, the 430FA blends the best of both platforms to yield a boat that can do everything, and do it well. The 430FA is available with triple or quad outboards.
Skeeter crossed over to the bay boat market in 1992 and today is a major player, with an SX line of saltwater inshore models. Skeeter’s SX240 is a clean-looking, sharply appointed bay boat with ample fore and aft decks. From the back water to blue water, the SX240 can get you there. In the Skeeter SX240, one moment you’re casting to backwater stripers, the next you’re fishing live baits for tuna 10 miles offshore.
Solace Boats stands apart with truly revolutionary designs built upon the Dougherty family legacy of hull design. Every curve and line of the Solace 345 has been thoughtfully drawn and redrawn with the goal of achieving a new level of perfection for a center console boat. Step aboard, and you’ll find that the benefits of modern technologies matched with ergonomic and tastefully designed spaces have delivered a product that’s unlike any family-fishing boat you’ve seen before.
The newest Southport center console is built on an all-new 30’ hull. An evolution of the original Southport 292, the new design increases space on deck and adds modern touches to the layout. There’s increased aft and forward cockpit space for fishing and entertaining, with all new features including insulated transom fishbox (in addition to the classic floor boxes), newly designed mezzanine seating, rear swim decks, and an even more comfortable console interior. The Southport 30FE is ideal for both offshore fishing and family days, beach hopping and harbor cruising. The new model will debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show on October 30 and will be on display at regional boat shows throughout the winter and spring.
Sportsman Boats manufactures an intelligently designed series of center console, dual console, and bay boats with deep forward entries that provide soft and dry rides. The open series, which includes the new Sportsman 242 Open, ranges from 2’ to 31’. Designed for the more serious angler but lacking nothing for the family outing, the series features angler-driven cockpit layouts with optimized deck space and storage. An integrated windshield protects the helm, and a side-entry door is a versatile feature that will quickly become one of your favorites.
Long Island-based Steiger Craft was founded in 1972 and continues to produce fiberglass boats in six different sizes and various models, ranging from 21 to 31 feet. The Steiger 28 Miami is their flagship vessel, designed to offer a massive fishing platform in an extremely safe and seaworthy vessel. It features a 10-foot beam and a massive 80 sq. ft. cockpit. A 200 Gallon fuel capacity gives it a “canyon ready” 400+ mile range, with a top speed of 54 mph.
Striper’s hand-built V-Trac hulls with deep, wide bows and self-bailing decks perform with power at speed while delivering nimble control when trolling. The Striper 270 WA features impressive onboard fish-fighting space, plus the generous headroom and deep storage serious offshore and inshore anglers require. With a place for all your gear, bait and fish, you can focus on the task at hand.
Stur-Dee Boats is a family-run shop in Tiverton, Rhode Island, where mother/daughter team Heidi and Mackenzie Reid continue the tradition of their father/grandfather, Ernie Gavin. All boats are produced in-house from hand-laid fiberglass in the molds Ernie made from his original wooden boat. The Stur-Dee Boat Amesbury Dory 16 is an inshore-fishing platform with an offshore pedigree. Its incredibly deep hull design and high-sweeping bow give it the ability to manage rough seas. At the same time, it is an incredibly efficient boat for inshore fishing.
Tidewater boats have an impressive look, with clean lines and a Carolina flare in the bow, and an even more impressive price range. Their solid feel, dry ride and spacious cockpit will give any captain the confidence needed to take this offshore machine into the battle-tested Northeast waters where only the strong prevail. The new Tidewater 272 CC Adventure is fast, responsive and a pleasure to drive. With split fishing boxes, large livewell, rod storage, fresh water wash down and a console with room for all your electronics help to make this a true fishing boat.
From the legendary builder of Viking sportfishing yachts comes Valhalla Boatworks with a line of high-performance center consoles. The Viking V-33 is an ideal choice for owners looking to get into their first Viking-built boat and experience all its inherent benefits., like the patented Stepped-V Ventilated Tunnel and its soft, dry and efficient ride. The V-33 possesses big-boat technology and offers the same robust standard equipment list and nearly all the options for the V-37 and V-41. With three different engine packages, every owner’s needs can be met.
Vanquish Boats designs and builds efficient, stable, and truly gorgeous luxury center console, runabout, and dual console day boats under 30 feet. The Vanquish 26 Center Console uses superior materials, advanced engineering, and innovative hull design to deliver a smoother ride and longer lasting boat. Her spacious design includes an enclosed head, seating for 10 adults, and voluminous storage fore and aft. An excellent fishing package makes it the perfect center console for the discerning fisherman who demands quality and performance.
Started by brothers Bob and Bill Healey in 1964, New Jersey-based Viking Yachts has grown to become a world leader in semi-custom fiberglass yacht production. The Viking 52 Sport Tower runs strong on the popular resin-infused Viking 52 Convertible hull, while incorporating a stylish three-sided fiberglass deckhouse. The 142 square-foot cockpit is a versatile work space for fishing and other water sport activities with a walk-through transom door and lift gate, recessed in-deck fish box and stowage bins, a transom fish box, insulated coolers and twin mezzanine seating.
More than 50 years of boatbuilding expertise makes Wellcraft the landing place for fun, fishing, family time, and more. You can find a Wellcraft to handle every type of fishing in the Northeast, from trolling Lake Ontario for salmon to heading offshore for tuna. The Wellcraft 352 Fisherman takes center console boating to the next level with luxury, performance, and a layout designed for big game fishermen.
Yellowfin’s philosophy is to offer serious fishermen the best fishing boats money can buy by using high-quality materials and the best construction methods regardless of cost. The Yellowfin 34 Offshore is a mid-sized option that gives you flexibility in terms of fishing features. It’s a live-bait fisherman’s dream, with a 55-gallon transom live well and the options of an additional 55-gallon floor well. The 10-foot beam gives you plenty of room for you and all your fishing buddies, and forward seating options make it perfect for the family who takes their fishing seriously.
Content extracted from https://www.onthewater.com/fishing-boat-buyers-guide