Center console fishing boats are incredibly popular among anglers, but interestingly, they’ve recently become popular among the speed boat crowd as well as for a wide range of boating adventures. To anyone who’s owned a center console, that makes perfect sense. Even though the center console may have been primarily designed as a saltwater fishing boat, it’s copious deck space, sporty performance, and rugged construction make this type of boat great for a huge number of activities. Nowadays, there are a million and one models on the market of all shapes and sizes. But, which ones are the best of the bunch? Here are the 10 best center console boats we’ve seen in the past year or so which deserve special recognition.
2022 Aquasport 224 Bay
The Aquasport name has been around for a long, long time, and the company has gone through many changes over the years. The latest? Built by the Limestone Boat Company (which also produces Limestone and Boca Bay Boats), they now have a slick little center console bay boat in the form of the 224 Bay. Initially introduced last year it’s gone unseen by much of the boating public thanks to the pandemic, and that’s a shame because this model is getting very high marks right out of the gate. The forward casting deck is huge, houses a pair of integrated locking rod boxes, and has a center fishbox large enough for oceanic game much less bay species. The stern also features an elevated casting deck, and incorporates a pair of 20-gallon livewells. Construction is above par with Kevlar reinforcement in the hull, a foam-filled stringer grid, and all stainless-steel hardware.
See Aquasport 224 Bay boats for sale on Boat Trader.
2022 Boston Whaler 190 Montauk
Boston Whaler gave the classic 190 Montauk a refresh a few years back which quite simply made it a better boat. First they added an optional teak package, including the swim platform and helm footrest, to give the boat a bit of a nostalgic look. Then they put flanking jump seats in the transom, just forward of flush-mount vertical rodholders that also serve as receiver mounts for the seats’ backrests. The most significant change, however, is found in the foredeck. Whaler managed to design in a relatively large overboard-draining fishbox without stealing space from the dedicated anchor locker. For this model year the boat remains a classic with cool new features, it has Boston Whaler’s trademark unsinkable nature, and considering Whaler’s also-epic resale values, there’s no doubt that the 2022 190 Montauk belongs on our list.
See Boston Whaler 190 Montauk boats for sale on Boat Trader.
2022 Boston Whaler 360 Outrage
Yes, Boston Whaler managed to secure two spots on our list, thanks to the introduction of an all-new angling beast that hit the water in February 2022. The boat made it’s official debut at Miami International Boat Show 2022 and was one of the big hits of the show, with crowds oohing and “ahh-ing” over her for each of the 5 days the boat show occupied the convention center in Miami Beach.
The 360 outrage is a fresh design from the keel up, and from the teaser video on YouTube can tell it’s powered with a pair of Mercury’s new 600-hp outboards, has an available upper station, and joystick controls. Stay tuned for more info to come as owners and testers across the country get their hands on the boat and start reporting back on more of her performance numbers and favorite features.
View all Boston Whaler 360 Outrage boats for sale on Boat Trader.
2022 Caymas 401 CC
Caymas Boats has only been around for a few years, but they’ve been upping the ante one season after the next. For 2021 that meant introducing a new flagship model, the 401 CC, and in 2022 this boat continues to impress. It’s an utter fishing beast, with an 11’6″ beam, the ability to take up to 1,800 horsepower on the transom in triple- or quad-engine installations, a pair of monstrous 45-gallon livewells, and 460 total gallons of fishbox capacity. Those livewells benefit from a Hooker sea chest system with variable-speed pumps and a 5,000-gph capacity. And, like other Caymas models, the 401 CC is built on the Michael Peters SVVT twin-stepped hull. Net result? Neck-snapping acceleration and hair-whipping speeds. Added bonus: this boat has three dozen standard-issue rodholders.
See Caymas 401 CC boats for sale on Boat Trader.
2022 Grady-White Canyon 456
Grady-White has a well-deserved reputation for building high-quality boats that have excellent resale value, and the Canyon 456 is the biggest Grady-White ever built. It’s even a bit of a stretch to think of this model as a mere center console fishing boat – in truth, it’s a center console yacht. The huge console houses a full cabin with a queen berth, a complete galley, and an enclosed stand-up head with shower. A Seakeeper gyro-stabilization system dampens the rocking and rolling. And not two, not three, but four massive Yamaha F425 outboards grace the transom, pushing all 24,500 pounds of this boat up to a cruising speed around 40 mph and a top-end of 58 MPH.
See Grady-White Canyon 456 boats for sale on Boat Trader.
2022 Invincible 33 Catamaran
The Invincible 33 Catamaran enjoys all the advantages of the best multihulls, and we found this model so impressive it also earned a slot in out Best Catamarans of 2022 top picks. With a pair of 450 horsepower Mercury outboards it can blast off to the fishing grounds at eye-watering speeds of up to 70 mph. Construction is high-tech with vacuum-infusion, and the twin-stepped hull is just as cutting edge. The Invincible 33 Catamaran rocks it in the fishing department, too, with 20-plus rodholders, a huge coffin box fishbox under the forward lounger, and a jacuzzi-sized livewell in the transom.
See Invincible 33 Catamaran boats for sale on Boat Trader.
2022 Mako 334 CC
The 2022 Mako 334 CC is the oldest “new” model in our round-up, having been introduced several years ago. But it still deserves a space in this top 10 list because, quite simply, we haven’t seen anything like it since it first made our top 10 which rates bumping it from the list. Staying true to the company heritage the Mako takes its fishing seriously and unlike many center consoles over 30 feet, it isn’t gentrified with gobs of creature comforts nor does it give up one iota of fishability to make accommodation for other activities. On top of that it’s a serious performer, with a top-end busting through 66 MPH (with triple Mercury Verado 350 HP outboards on the transom).
See Mako 334 Center Console boats for sale on Boat Trader.
2022 Parker 2200 CC
Parker Boats is a traditional builder with a traditional lineup, so we don’t see brand new models from them all that often. For 2022, however, they have a 22-footer that’s new from the ground up and looks as modern as any boat on the water. A stand-out feature you won’t see often on today’s center consoles is the cut-away transom/splashwell arrangement with jump seats to either side, which allows anglers more fishing space in the cockpit. We love the full-back leaning post, which incorporates tackle stowage and an optional livewell, and the integrated three-side helm windshield enclosure. The boat runs on a 17-degree deadrise semi-V hull design and can handle up to 250 horses. And unlike some of the bare-bones utilitarian Parker boats of yesteryear, it also incorporates niceties like lots of cup holders, USB ports, a Porta Pottie in the console, and LED under-gunwale courtesy lighting.
See Parker 2200 CC boats for sale on Boat Trader.
2022 Robalo R242
Robalo has long been known for building center console fishing boats that offer maximum bang for the buck, and starting at base for under $100K for a complete boat-motor package, the all-new 2022 R242 is no different. This boat seems large for its length, no doubt partially because it has an 8’9″ beam. It also features a hefty 12-passenger capacity rating and has gobs of seating both aft and in the forward cockpit. Family anglers will like the forward-entry console head compartment and touches like LED courtesy lighting, bow filler cushions, and a freshwater cockpit shower. Another nice attribute of this rig is that you can have it with either a single engine (300 hp) or with twins (up to 400 hp total).
See Robalo R242 boats for sale on Boat Trader.
2022 Sportsman Open 262 Center Console
For the 2022 model year Sportsman has a number of hot new offerings, but we’re awarding the Open 262 Center Console this position because it’s a unique offering in a very crowded market niche. The 25 to 27 foot range is jam-packed with boats since it’s such a popular segment, but most of the center consoles in this size range are relatively vanilla. Not the 262. Like larger models and a handful of 26-footers this one has a side entry door in the gunwale, but unlike any in this range the Open 262 has a second door – there’s one on either side of the boat. It also has a pair of 30-gallon pressurized aquarium-style livewells, the likes of which we commonly see only on much larger, more expensive offerings. Plus, the Open 262 is even designed for a Seakeeper gyroscopic stabilization system; it’s optional, but the boat is pre-prepped for the install.
See Sportsmen Open 262 Center Console boats for sale on Boat Trader.
You say you’re not 100-percent sure that a center console is the ideal type of boat for you and your needs? Check out Center Consoles, Side Consoles, and Dual Consoles: What’s the Difference? to get a handle on the ins and outs of these different types of designs. You may also be interested in learning which are the top 10 center console fishing boat manufacturers.
This article was last updated 5/12/2022.