ArticleBoat PreviewsBoating

Walk on the Wildside

In the world of big game sport fishing, having the right vessel is imperative to one’s success and comfort searching out expansive stretches of open ocean. With so many builders offering top of the line standard features, options, and yacht-like finish work, finding the perfect platform for your budget and preferred style of fishing can be a challenging endeavor. In the past, buyers were forced to make a choice. Sacrifice speed and fishability for foul weather comfort and the full salon of a sportfish, or choose to go fast with the efficiency and maneuverability of an outboard-powered center console. However, the newest crossbreed of massive platforms bridge the gap and have recently taken the industry by storm with exceptional designs that provide high performance attributes, protection from the elements, versatility, live-aboard comfort, extended range and unrestricted fishability with a deck layout that extends the cockpit to the bow.


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Blackwell Boatworks

While there’s something to be said about a self-sufficient sportfish yacht with multiple staterooms and the range and seafaring abilities to fish distant waters hundreds of miles offshore, many of Florida’s fisheries lend themselves to open deck layouts with 360 degree fishability. Nowhere is this more evident than in South Florida where tournament teams fish with kites aloft in an effort to hook and fight multiple fish simultaneously. Although gleaming sportfishers provide maximum comfort with swank accommodations, they sacrifice fishability by negating the ability to safely access and fish from the bow.

As the market corners a new niche of exceptionally equipped platforms, the terms sportfish, walk-around and center console are thrown all about, with the definition of each now somewhat ambiguous. Enter the world of modern, high performance fish-arounds that blend the open deck design of a center console with the accoutrements common to large sportfish yachts, making that dream of the perfect boat finally come true.

What’s more is that most all of the following vessels are customizable to the point buyers can practically consider the hull as a blank canvas and fill it in as they please. These super versatile platforms are taking the offshore fishing experience to a whole new level with exceptionally designed deck layouts providing unsurpassed versatility.

Blackwell Boatworks

57 Center Console //
Wanchese-based Blackwell Boatworks has built one of the largest fish-arounds available to anglers today. At 57 feet, it is a truly unique design that suits a variety of anglers in the offshore realm. One of the first noticeable differences on this boat that speaks to its uniqueness is the size of the beam.


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Blackwell Boatworks

Traditionally, the largest center consoles seen offshore have relatively narrow beams, giving them a sleek style that has become a staple to anglers everywhere. However, the nearly 17-foot beam of this single-level plat-form adds to the boat’s extensive offshore angling capabilities in several ways.

Next to the wide beam, another desirable characteristic of this custom fish-around is the material it’s made of. Common to many Carolina customs, construction consists of marine grade okoume, while the hull, cabin, decks and sides utilize composite cores. Full length stringers and chines are crafted of Douglas fir. The addition of multiple layers of fiberglass and West System epoxy applied on both the inside and out finishes the build, with three watertight bulkheads providing additional rigidity to a vessel that’s already built like a tank. With traditional curved shear line and sharp entry, the tumblehome at waterline is wider than that at the top of the gunnel, which can only be accomplished through a custom build.

One of the most surprising aspects of this 57-foot colossal fish-around is that even though it is the largest vessel included in this editorial, it is the only one powered by a single power source. Granted, it can accommodate twins, the single 1800 HP MAN is no joke and this boat doesn’t compromise speed or power with the efficient selection. In fact, Katana has a cruising speed of 35 knots and top end reaching 43 knots. With 1,200-gallon fuel capacity there’s seemingly no fishery that’s out of reach.

With an extensive list of available options and impressive standard features, this giant fish-around can facilitate the drive and passion of the most dedicated anglers. A uniquely designed two-part console separates the climate controlled helm station from the mezzanine seats facing the aft. Furthermore, four bunks, an electric head and full shower below deck ensure comfort on long-range and overnight trips.

L.O.A. 57′ // Beam 16’10” // Draft 55″ // Weight 49,000 lbs. (loaded) // Fuel Capacity 1,200 gal.

HydraSports Custom

5300 Sueños //
First unveiled at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show, the award-winning HydraSports Custom 5300 Sueños was dubbed the world’s largest outboard-powered center console, yet its 1,000 gallon fuel capacity and 100 sq. ft. cockpit are features common to much larger sportfishers.


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HydraSports Custom

After receiving feedback from customers who purchased their 42-foot Siesta wanting a larger boat, HydraSports Custom took on the task of designing this monster fish-around. As the concept of versatility is the ongoing theme within this category of boats, the Sueños is no different and makes for a lifetime of unforgettable angling experiences.

Using materials such as interplastic vinylester resin, Kevlar and orthotropic fiber reinforcements, this highly capable craft features a single-skin hull and transom. It’s a lot to take in, but all you need to know is that this unique process and group of materials yields top-of-the-line toughness with fairly lightweight construction. The 5300 Sueños has a dry weight just over 28,000 pounds. As a result, the innovative hull design offers jaw-dropping speed, power and impressive agility for such a mega machine.

The raised console station, equipped with three Garmin 17-inch glass helm displays, allows for a full view of the horizon and all but ensures safe passage to and from the fishing grounds. The state-of-the-art electronics included on the Sueños run on AGM batteries and a Mastervolt charging system, which is responsible for monitoring and charging all batteries on board. One of the key benefits from this system is that it eliminates the need for a generator.

Beneath the console is a spacious, air-conditioned cabin that houses amenities that even the most hardcore anglers are tempted to stop and enjoy every once in a while. This stylish space is as easy on the eyes as the rest of the boat, featuring carbon fiber upholstery customized to match the hull. Amenities include a head with full shower, refrigerator, microwave, dinette seating and queen berth.

Quad Yamaha F350 or Seven Marine 627 outboards give the Sueños extraordinary power that leaves passengers in awe. Although every angler would undoubtedly love to get there hands on one, HydraSports Custom has very limited production on the Sueños and plans on building no more than 12 of these boats per year for worldwide factory-direct distribution.

L.O.A. 52’11”
// Beam 13’// Draft 24″ // Weight 28,323 lbs. (w/power) // Fuel Capacity 1,000 gal. 

SeaVee Boats

430 Fish-Around //
SeaVee has long been associated with off-shore fishing success. As their extensive line of center consoles continue to be top choices for avid offshore anglers and family fishermen alike, this forward-thinking manufacturer has stepped up its game with the 430 Fish-Around. The innovative design of this sleek craft adds size and comfort to SeaVee’s already impressive line of offshore boats without sacrificing the speed, versatility and fishability owners have grown to know and love.


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SeaVee Boats

The 430 FA was purpose built with avid anglers in mind, as standard features themselves are enough to impress even the most decorated tournament captains. Though, every boat that leaves the factory is custom to the owner’s wants and desires. Notables include dual 45-gallon transom livewells, a 40-gallon livewell in the bow, dual 100-gallon insulated fishboxes in the cockpit, a 288-quart insulated fishbox in the bow, a 65-gallon deck storage compartment that can serve as an additional livewell, ample rod holders, electric reel outlets, and an aft tackle center with bait prep station.

Another advantage the 430 FA brings to the table is the elevated, express-style bridge deck. From this heightened vantage point the captain has an unobstructed view of the bow and cockpit, which provides much needed situational awareness when anglers are fighting multiple fish stretched out in opposing directions. Additionally, the raised platform provides for a spacious, air-conditioned cabin below.

Meticulously designed, the cabin features a dinette with seating for five that quickly converts into a guest bed. On the starboard side is a galley that includes sink, electric heating plate, refrigerator and ample storage space. The master suite features a large V-berth, storage compartments and adjacent head with full shower and all of the amenities you’d expect. A pair of overhead skylights provide soothing ambient light and serve as an entryway for an innovative rod storage system.

As a semi-custom builder, SeaVee offers the option between inboard and outboard power. Those who prefer a clean transom often choose twin Volvo IPS 600 pod drives, while outboard enthusiasts lean toward quad Verado configurations.

L.O.A. 43′ // Beam 13’4″ // Draft 27″ // Weight 19,600 lbs. (w/o power) // Fuel Capacity 584 gal.

Jarrett Bay Boatworks

46 Walk-Around Express //
For the past 30 years, Jarrett Bay Boatworks has been a premier builder among avid offshore anglers, boasting craftsmanship and attention to detail that is second to none. Grander certainly made a splash in 2016, challenging the status quo of the offshore fishing boat while continuing to embody the qualities that have left Jarrett Bay owners satisfied for decades.


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Jarrett Bay Boatworks

Based in North Carolina, Jarrett Bay custom designs every one of its master-pieces to handle the often treacherous waters along the Atlantic Coast. Their most recently splashed 46-footer upholds this standard of toughness and durability, while its customizable features can be perfectly matched to the unique style of any angler fishing nearly anywhere in the world. Whether pulling a spread of ballyhoo and teasers to entice multiple whites at once, or setting a spread of kite baits while sailfishing off South Florida, this is one platform that can do it all.

The builder’s 61st custom hull, Grander is outfitted with twin Caterpillar C-18 engines that propel the sleek craft to a 39-knot cruising speed, with an 800-gallon fuel tank providing impeccable range. The boat’s mechanical systems also include a 21.5 kW Cat generator and Seakeeper gyro stabilizer.

The primary helm on the elevated bridge includes pilot and co-pilot chairs and room for the most intelligent electronics suite. Teak-covered steps to either side of the tower lead to the flybridge helm that features a captain’s chair and pop-up electronics display. The cockpit is arranged with a central mezzanine seat that doubles as an ice maker and cooler, with two freezers accessible in the steps below.

The spacious and luxurious cabin is the cherry on top, adding even more comfort and flare to the boat’s aggressive styling. Amenities include a refrigerator/freezer, sink, microwave, tackle storage station, rod locker, head and twin V-berth. The cabin is finished with Alexseal Stardust Silver metallic paint throughout, which paired with the all-black fittings that cover the rest of the boat make this mid-size flybridge sportfish one of the best-looking vessels around.

L.O.A. 46′ // Beam 15’4″ // Draft 54″ // Weight 36,500 lbs. (dry) // Fuel Capacity 800 gal.

Release Boatworks

46 Walk-Around //
While every boat included in this feature presents its own combination of attributes and characteristics from sportfish and center console models, the Release 46 seems to more closely resemble the traditional sportfish that has dominated the offshore arena for so long.


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Release Boatworks

Although the Release 46 is available in three different configurations (express, convertible and walk-around), each offering its own distinct advantages, the uninterrupted deck of the walk-around model is designed and equipped in such a way that particularly appeals to Florida anglers with a penchant for fishing live bait.

All release boats are 100 percent composite, built with vinylester resins, Kevlar, carbon, biaxial and triaxial woven fiberglass cloth and composite cores throughout the hull areas. Stringers are foam-filled and fully encapsulated with fiberglass laminates and reinforced with a carbon composite layer for additional strength.

The cabin in the convertible or express construction may be bigger than that of the walk-around, but with over six feet of headroom and top-of-the-line amenities, the customizable salon below the unobstructed deck providing 360 degree fishability is no slouch. Prospective owners have a choice in the different fabrics used in the cabin, so that they can put their own flare on this space and make it look and feel just the way they want it to. Additionally, the cabin includes a single V-berth providing a comfortable place to rest when the day comes to an end.

Enhancing the vessel’s fishability, anglers will come to appreciate the single-level deck and wide walkways to access the bow, where two 10-gallon pitch wells flanking the anchor locker make kite fishing endeavors more efficient than ever before. Additionally, low gunnels for easy releasing of billfish boatside, the perfect camber to drain water to scuppers quickly, and a massive tackle center in the cockpit make this one of the most highly desirable and versatile tournament boats on the market today. Furthermore, the attention to detail is exquisite and the resulting finish work is what you’d expect from one of the industry’s leading custom builders.

Powered by either single or twin Cummins Zeus pods or Volvo IPS drives, this timeless vessel offers a smooth and comfortable ride with extremely competitive fuel efficiency. The use of pod drives makes maneuverability a breeze, as the boat can walk sideways with the twist of a joystick. With a wide variety of options to add to the already impressive collection of standard features on the 46 Walk-Around, there is nothing to get in the way of you and the fish of a lifetime.

L.O.A. 45’11″// Beam 15’6″ // Draft 42″ // Weight 34,000 lbs. // Fuel Capacity 725 gal. 

Intrepid Powerboats

475 Panacea Sport Yacht //
Breaking the mold with their largest center console model to date, Intrepid’s Panacea will exceed your reservations regarding fishability, comfort and seaworthiness with 47 feet of sheer power and pleasure. In Greek mythology, Panacea was a goddess of universal remedy, and this tricked-out vessel is definitely a cure all for anything you want to accomplish on the water.


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Intrepid Powerboats

Although Intrepid has gone great lengths to provide the unrivaled comfort common to larger sportfishers, the Panacea 475 Sport Yacht still falls within the realm of what a traditional center console should look like. However, step into the ultra-accommodating and spacious air-conditioned cabin and you’ll come to realize there’s much more than meets the eye. Sporting anelectric head, vanity, shower, refrigerator, sink and cabinet space, this home at sea accommodates almost every need. Additionally, the below deck V-berth makes long-range and overnight trips comfortable for everyone on board.

Above deck you’ll appreciate the massive con-sole that enables helmsmen to comfortably navigate distant stretches of open ocean. With space for a full array of massive MFDs, the helm also provides three-across seating with fold-down armrests, footrests, LED lighting, and a convenient cooler. With a long list of standard features, an optional aluminum half tower with a fiberglass top further enhances the 475 Panacea’s already impressive fish-finding abilities. Options like custom color, cockpit and underwater lights, painted engines, two-color hull sides and teak decking are sure to turn heads without sacrificing practicality and functionality. Further-more, triple or quad outboard configurations give this boat the power it needs to get to and from the fishing grounds efficiently and safely.

Intrepid’s innovations are achieved through the company’s obsessive research, new product development, testing, and quality control systems focused on creating the safest, most comfortable, convenient, and family friendly vessels on the water.

Like every Intrepid, the 475 is built around their signature transverse stepped hull. Designed to maximize fuel efficiency and stability, the hull encompasses stringent quality controls combined with vacuum bag/resin infusion technologies for unmatched strength and lightweight attributes.

L.O.A. 47’6″ // Beam 13’8″ // Draft 30″ // Weight 28,000 lbs. // Fuel Capacity 550 gal.

Gulfstream Yachts

52CC //
With Gulfstream Yachts, safety is the name of the game. In celebration of their 10th anniversary, this forward-thinking builder is set to unveil their all-new 52-footer at the 2016 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. With collaboration from renowned designers Setzer Yacht Architects and Michael Peters Yacht Design using their patented Stepped V Ventilated Tunnel hull technology, the 52CC is set to shock the industry with uncompromising style and unequalled performance. The most unique feature of the boat is the climate controlled helm and passenger seating area.


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Gulfstream Yachts

Upholding their safety standard, the construction process involves injecting a rapidly expanding foam mixture that essentially bonds the underside of the deck structure to every square inch of the hull. The amount of foam used in this process exceeds U.S. Coast Guard requirements and ensures that the boat is truly unsinkable, even if it were cut in half. The foaming process also provides insulation to all of the in-deck compartments.

To further enhance the safety attributes of the 52CC, the boat operates on a four-battery bank with a voltage-sensing relay, keeping all of the batteries charged so the navigation and communication equipment that boaters rely on is never interrupted and preventing the many different accessories from draining the starting batteries.

One of the best parts of the Gulfstream Yachts experience, especially for anglers, is the fact that nearly everything is customizable. Blue water fishermen are very particular in their ways, and every one of them is different. The 52CC is flexible in allowing owners to put livewells, tackle storage, fishboxes, outriggers, electric reel plugs and coolers in places that best suit their wants and needs.

The customization process is extended to the boat’s power, as Gulfstream Yachts will provide and install any brand of motor that the buyer chooses. Potential combinations include four Seven Marine 627s, or five traditional outboard motors.

The 52CC is truly a top-of-the-line fish-around that anglers can customize to their specific needs. There is no going wrong here, as this is an extremely versatile boat that is ideally suited for hardcore blue water fishing and destined to be one of the most talked about vessels this coming year.

L.O.A. 52′ // Beam 15′ // Draft N/A // Weight N/A // Fuel Capacity 1,000 gal.