Life is full of compromise, and boats are no exception. However, just like everything else, we do whatever is in our power to achieve perfection as closely as possible. This is where center console boats factor in when looking for a boat that fits your on-water lifestyle. These boats occupy the small-boat market’s main segment because they deliver excellent performance, rough-water stability, and good looks. But not all console boats are equal; hence it’s imperative that you check out these top 10 traits before making a final choice.
Nobody wants a wobbly, flimsy fishing boat, ever. How can you know for sure about the best center console boats? In addition to market research and manufacturer reputation, pay attention to the boat while on a sea trial. Listen for vibrations and rattles that indicated loose fittings, creaks in fiberglass, and feel how stable the boat is when hitting waves at high speed.
Center Console Hull Design
This world works on trade-offs—a deeper V means smoother sailing through the seas, but less V in the stern provides more lateral stability, less draft, and better efficiency. Also, keep in mind the power catamaran options that can run pretty smooth but come with a list of kinks such as snap-rolling, sneezing, or outward leaning in turns.
Weight and size
Size does matter when selecting Center Console Boats– larger is not always better. Bigger boats cost more and are challenging to tow and can get stuck in certain areas. Similarly, there’s a common fixation that lightweight means better, but that represents another trade-off. A lighter boat is faster and efficient, but then again, it will be that much easier for it to launch off waves. Heavier boats are better at navigating through waves and don’t launch as often, which results in smooth sailing in rough areas.
Consider this trait by reflecting back on the qualities of the hull design, size, and weight and then adding your ambition level and your skill as a fisherman. Ask yourself if you’re willing to sacrifice some comfort in favor of better performance when it’s calm? Does the boat designs suit your preference of fender hangers or is best suited for quick fenders? Regardless, the bottom line is that safety should be the priority in any situation and should not be compromised on in any way.
Livewell capacity and quality
The matter of livewell capacity is dependent on your personal preference for fishing style. If you feel this is a deciding factor, then focus on:
- Volume: more is better
- Shape: rounder is better
- Interior color: blue keeps the baits calm
- Water flow: more is better
- Dedicated pumps are a must.
- Back-up pumps get bonus points
- Hatch quality: no leaking or spilling is good.
Style-specific fishing design
The boat design should reflect your fishing style if you have one, so make sure you choose accordingly. There are a million variables that factor in this decision, and it won’t be a complicated one since most people enjoy several fishing styles. So a center console boat can cater to all fishing styles, but make sure to keep in mind what you enjoy the most as you assess the boat’s design.
Rod and tackle stowage
This variable is mostly dependent on where and how you travel. Locking rod boxes are a must-have for trailer-boaters and for boats that get left in a marina. While having an onboard tackle stowage on smaller boats can save you from the hassle of carrying a big tackle-box to and from the boat before every trip.
You’ll be surprised to know how a boat can drift: faster or slower, stern-to or beam-to, some rock like crazy in a beam sea, and so on. While doing a sea trial, always put the boat in neutral and let the boat drift so you can see how it will act. But remember that boats with taller gunwales, less weight, and flatter bottoms will drift faster than others.
This is a primary concern for anglers who make long cruises, but the adage holds true: one-third fuel for the trip there, one-third to return, and have one-third for reserve.
Although this is probably the least concern of a hard-core angler, it does deserve a place on the list. Comfort will dictate when you’re done with your sail head for home. Hence a small dose of comfort can delay the return by an hour, so it’s something to think about while choosing a center console boat.
We understand that you’ll put a lot of effort and thought into this decision. But, while looking for the best center console boat, make sure you do an extended sea trial before investing. Do everything, trial under different conditions, go fast and go slow, drift, and sleep on it before finalization. Happy sailing!