Designed from the outset with the sport of fishing in mind, center console boats are a popular choice for both inshore and offshore anglers alike. The helm on these boats is conveniently located in the center of the boat, leaving an open passageway on either side, as well as open bow and stern decks at the front and rear of the vessel making for easy casting and reeling-in the catch of the day. The hull design is typically built to withstand rough waters, making it an ideal boat for ocean fishing.
Today’s top fishing boat manufacturers build center console boats in varying lengths with built-in options such as rod holders, outriggers, bait wells, high-end electronics, hardtops, sunshade structures and high-performance outboard engines.
Here are our picks for the best manufacturers and brands for center console style fishing boats in 2020 (alphabetically listed with no other rank):
Boston Whaler – 170 Montauk. Photo by Boston Whaler.
Known as ‘The Unsinkable Legend’, Boston Whaler boats can literally be cut in half and still float. A division of the Brunswick Group, Boston Whaler currently makes center console fishing boats ranging from the 15-foot Montauk 150 all the way up to the giant 420 Outrage. Whether you’re looking for a center console for lake fishing, or running from Florida to the Bahamas and back, Boston Whaler’s diverse line of boats offers options for all budgets.
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Contender 44FA Center Console Boat Photo courtesy of GTB Boat Sales in Key Largo, FL.
Contender is known for fishing first, with a lineup featuring tournament-ready center consoles and “fisharound” boats, to a 25 foot bay boat built for inshore fishing and beyond. From the 24S with forward bench seating to the 44ST with two 55-gallon live wells in the transom, Contender has struck a balance between fishing and family. Contender boats are powered by Yamaha outboard engines ranging from 300HP to the 425HP XTOs on larger models.
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2020 Everglades 435 Center Console. Photo by Colin Voreis for Boat Trader.
With ten different center console models ranging from the 235CC to the 435CC, Everglades Boats are all built using their patented RAMCAP construction process that makes them unsinkable. The Everglades line-up also offers three bay boat options, beginning with the popular 243CC, while some boaters opt for the larger 253CC or 273CC models. In total, Everglades offers 10 total center console models, with seven offshore center consoles and three bay boats.
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Freeman Boatworks – 42LR. Photo by Freeman Boatworks.
Founded in 2007 in Summerville, S.C., Freeman Boatworks is a newcomer to the list. Freeman is focused on building the best performance fishing boats, and has already gained the respect of a laundry list of well-known charter captains from the Carolinas, to Florida and Louisiana. Their big power catamarans are known for conquering the ocean even on her worst day, and for the remarkable ability to cruise at 80 MPH! From the 34 and 37VH (Vented Hull) models, to the 42 and 47LR (Long Range) models, Freeman has been innovating as fast as anyone in the industry in recent years.
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2020 Grady-White Canyon 456. Photo courtesy of Fish Tale Boats.
Grady-White has been building high-quality center consoles for more than 60 years. The brand has secured numerous innovative patents along the way, including a fold down cockpit step assembly that makes boarding and disembarking easy, as well as their offshore-worthy SeaV2 hull, which debuted in 1989. Not only does Grady-White offer an impressive line of center console fishing boats, but it has won the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s award for top customer satisfaction in the category of fiberglass outboard boats nine years in a row.
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2020 HCB 42 Siesta. Photo courtesy of American Yacht Group.
Hydra-Sports Custom Boats, or HCB for short, produces four center console fishing yachts ranging from 39 feet to 65 feet in length. HCB maintains a “no compromises” dedication to detail and quality, and are a brand well regarded by the serious tournament fisherman. HCB manufactures the largest center console boat in the world by length, the 65 foot “Estrella.”
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Invincible Boats is another newcomer to the list, offering an extended line of power catamarans and center consoles. The Invincible fleet has grown to nine models since the company formed in 2006, ranging from the compact 33 foot fishing “V” hull center console to the horizon-crossing 46’ power catamaran. Invincible Boats are outfitted with Yamaha or Mercury power from the factory, and buyers can also opt for a choice of either Garmin or Simrad electronics.
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2020 Pursuit S 408 Center Console. Photo courtesy of Strong’s Water Club.
The Pursuit Boats brand manufactures center console fishing style boats from 23 to 40 feet in length. Whether you’re looking for a Center Console or Center Console Sport, Pursuit likely has a model to fit your needs. The brand offers eight total center console options. Pursuit boats are built in Fort Pierce, Florida, with one of the cleanest and most efficient manufacturing facilities in the industry, with a large dealer network in the U.S. and Canada.
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2020 Regulator 41. Photo courtesy of Yacht Works in Key Largo, FL.
The Regulator brand is known as “the legendary ride” and delivers attention to quality and detail in their full line of center console fishing boats – ranging in size from 23 feet to a newly offered 41 foot model. In addition to their deep hull, offshore ready center consoles, Regulator also offers a growing line of center console crossovers in the 24XO and 26XO.
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2019 SeaVee 270Z. Photo courtesy of a Boat Trader private seller in Fort Myers, FL.
SeaVee opened its brand new manufacturing facility in Miami, Florida in 2020, and builds a wide range of fishing boats. Whether you’re in the market for a bay boat (270z) or a Classic V (290, 320, 340, 390), or willing to step up to the “SeaVee Z” line (322z, 340z, 370z, 390z), SeaVee Boats is a classic builder that is ready to suit your every need. SeaVee Boats are powered by Mercury outboards from the factory, and also offer an LE (Luxury Edition) upgrade package for fishermen who like to entertain friends and family aboard.
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Center Console Newcomers To The Game
Solace Boats is “Unleashing a New Era of Boating” with its 345 Center Console. Named the 2019 Boat of the Year and a 2020 NMMA Innovation Award recipient, the Solace line pushed the limits of design and engineering within the boating industry by designing the innovative “fish through” transom.
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Making their world debut at the 2019 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Valhalla Boatworks, a Viking Yacht Company brand, is making waves within the boating industry. Valhalla’s V Series center consoles consist of three deep-V, stepped monohulls that range from 33 to 41 feet. Valhalla center console boats are powered by Mercury outboards from the factory. With more than 55 years of experience building serious sportfishing yachts, we’re excited to see how Viking and Valhalla will continue to innovate.
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2020 Edgewater 370CC. Photo courtesy of Tom George Yacht Group.
EdgeWater caters to any and every fishing audience. Whether you’re interested in lake fishing on one of their Heritage models (158CS, 170CC, 188CC, 208CC), or looking to head offshore in one of their Center Console or Yacht models (230CC, 245CC, 262CC, 280CC, 320CC, 340CC, 370CC), EdgeWater has a boat for you. Founded in 1992 by boating industry legend Bob Dougherty (Boston Whaler, Everglades), EdgeWater has spent the last 28 years developing some of the marine industry’s most advanced structural designs for center console boats. EdgeWater boats are powered by Yamaha outboard engines from the factory.
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2020 Jupiter 34 HFS Center Console Boat. Photo by Boat Trader.
Jupiter began building boats on the east coast of Florida more than 30 years ago, and in recent years moved to Florida’s west coast and chose Palmetto as their manufacturing location. The brand offers six center console models, ranging from 26 to 43 feet in length.
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2020 Yellowfin 42. Photo courtesy of Atlantic Yacht and Ship, Inc.
Yellowfin offers seven boat models – five center consoles, one hybrid and one bay boat. Yellowfin’s serious offshore center console fishing boats range from 32 to 42 feet, while the hybrid (26 feet) and bay (24 feet) offer customers the opportunity to fish inshore.
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TwinVee Powercats is an American boat builder based in Fort Pierce Florida that has been designing and building boats for over 25 years. Their line of twin-engine, center console cats starts with the 24-foot 240 CC and goes all the way up to the 360 GF PowerCat – a boat designed as a trailerable tournament fishing vessel with plenty of comfort for friends and family. TwinVee boats are great-riding, seaworthy vessels for those seeking enough deck space to fish, entertain and cruise without breaking the bank.
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Wrapping Up Best Center Console Manufacturers
As you can see above there is a wide array of high-quality center console fishing boats currently being manufactured with varying capabilities and features, from shallow draft bay boat center consoles to offshore powerhouses. If you’re looking for a center console fishing boat for inland fishing on lakes and ponds, you may also consider pontoon boats as an alternative, due to the versatility of these large deck boats for both fishing and entertaining.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in March 2018 and last updated in April 2020 to represent the latest models currently available.