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October 26, 2001

Contender 31 Fish-Around

A trusted off-shore center-console is converted into an able-bodied walk-around.

This hull no longer needs to prove itself. Many professional fishing guides and hard-core owners around the world agree that the Contender 31 sits at the top of the list of best offshore 31-foot outboard fishing boats. These boats are fast, virtually as strong as steel and set up perfectly for the most demanding angler. So what's with this "Fish-Around" business? It's Contender's answer to the adage, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

With twin 250 Yamahas, we burned up Biscayne Bay at 56 mph which, surprisingly, fits right in the same niche as other Contenders with the same power. I say "surprisingly" because the cabin adds several hundred pounds to the displacement of this 31. According to Contender president Joe Neber, "The reason the boat performs so well, and maybe even better than our other 31s, is because yes, we added weight, but we also redistributed it.

Consequently, this boat seems better balanced than anything I've ever run." Expect about 1 1/2 mpg at cruise.
The Contender Fish-Around does everything just a bit better than the competition. The boat leans over into a turn and carves gracefully - though turn too hard and it will grab. We headed out into deep water offshore where seas were running 6 feet. At that point, the solid construction let us know by the deadened sound and cushioned landing that this boat can take it when it launches off waves and touches down deep-V-stern first.

How often can you say of a boat, "They built this exactly right"? Walking forward around the cabin, the space for your feet, the room to pass and the height of the rail all fit perfectly.