Nor is there anything wrong with having a boat that’s good for catching your own fish or heading down to a fancy Intracoastal restaurant to eat somebody else’s. Center console as the functional workhorse? Not any more.
Contender 39 FishAround
Homestead-based Contender has been in the boatbuilding business since 1984, and this company is all about South Florida. Company founder, president and owner Joe Neber walks the walk as a Florida fisherman and conservationist – last year, the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida named Neber and his company Conservation Partner of the Year. This is a serious boat for serious fishermen – but it also offers the comforts of a well-appointed galley with options for add-ons such as a gas generator and 7,500 BTU cabin air conditioning.
Expert's Verdict: “Contender’s new 39 Fisharound was designed for this 21st-century mindset, artfully blending a swift and capable offshore tournament machine with softer features that all family members can enjoy.” – Jim Hendricks, Sport Fishing Magazine
Weight: 15,000 lbs., loaded
Fuel Capacity: 460 gal.
Max HP: 1,400
Blackwater 43 Sportfish
Eugene Uriarte designed homes until he wanted his own boat. Unable to find the one he wanted, he went to plan B – he built the boat he wanted. From that, BlackWater was born. Today the company makes boats one at a time – your BlackWater boat is made for you, and you won’t see too many similar ones on the New River. With elegant, classic lines and subtle features, these boats are works of art.
Expert's Verdict: “The boat was developed with comfort and function as the leading criteria. The cockpit can be laid out with one or two rows of offshore-style bolsters at the helm, a sun lounge on the front of the console and optional forward seating in the bow. There are folding transom seats, a slide-out cooler and a bait-prep station.” – Eric Colby, Boating Magazine
Weight: 18,000 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 780 gal.
Max HP: 1,400
Nor-Tech 392 Super Fish
North Fort Myers-based Nor-Tech makes a diverse lineup of boats – in addition to center consoles, they do a good line in catamarans, vee bottoms and performance yachts. As you might suspect from a maker of such other high-end luxury boats, Nor-Tech’s center consoles take care of details big and small. For the Super Fish, Nor-Tech reached out to experienced fishermen for advice on what’s wanted and what’s not. Details that emerged include a cockpit that self-drains thanks to a plumbing system glassed into the cockpit liner under the deck.
Expert's Verdict: “The 392 Super Fish was designed to be the most capable tournament fishing (center-console boat) ever created. I can confidently say (Nor-Tech) has successfully crafted one of the best fishing Center Consoles on the market.” – centerconsolesonly.net
Weight: 13,000 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 450 gal.
Opa Locka-based Deep Impact celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, and the custom boatbuilder has earned a reputation for creativity and innovation. Since 2014, Deep Impact has partnered with BlackWater founder Eugene Uriarte on production. Popular as yacht tenders, Deep Impact boats are known for mixing comfort with impressive speed.
Expert's Verdict: “The 399’s multi-step hull creates a cushion of air under the running surface to reduce drag. This, combined with 24 degrees of deadrise at the transom, allowed it to easily bridge four-foot wind waves and never pound in my test. At the same time, it is a stable and comfortable fishing platform at rest, with all of the features you need to best any tournament rival.” – Jim Hendricks, Sport Fishing Magazine
Weight: 14,500 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 454 gal.
Scout 420 LXF
Scout makes a great variety of quality fishing boats – for a solid, straightforward performer, check out something like the 175 Sportfish. But if you’re going all in on both comfort and fishability, check out the 420 LXF. The Scout flagship’s attractive lines bely a boat that’s both ready for tournaments – and ready to party when the tournament’s over.
Expert's Verdict: “Scout’s 420 LXF offers a rare blend of fishing functionality, comfort, sophistication and performance. Anglers searching for a supersize luxury center console they can customize to their heart’s desire need to put this one near the top of their list.” – Jim Hendricks, Salt Water Sportsman
Weight: 16,800 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 500 gal.
Max HP: 1,675