The overwhelming majority (95 percent) of boats on the water in the United States measure less than 26 feet in length, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. These boats are trailerable, generally affordable and easy for one person to manage.
Center console fishing boats at the lower-end of this size class usually feature a single outboard, while boats pushing 26 feet usually offer an option for twins. Here are 20 of the best center console boats that measure under 26 feet currently on the market. Although we tried to keep budget and affordability in mind, this is not a collection of the best fishing boats for the money. Do note the boats are listed alphabetically by brand.
If you’re shopping for something bigger, visit our gallery of the best center console boats 26 to 30 feet, or check out our best center consoles over 30 feet. And if you’re on the fence about whether a bay boat is an option, check out some of our favorite center console bay boats.
Aquasport 2500 CC
The Aquasport 2500 CC’s flared bow and high-freeboard design provides the dry ride fishermen want. The center console’s Kevlar-reinforced hull, with the company’s Dyna-Core hullside construction, offers the durability necessary in an offshore boat. Looking inside, the helm is shielded by a tempered-glass windshield, with a dash large enough for multiple electronics. A standard T-top features four rod holders and a pair of spreader lights. Popular options for anglers include stereo, trim tabs, portable toilet, and washdowns with both raw and fresh water.
Barker 26 Open
The Barker 26 Open was designed for the angler who wants to fish for tarpon, snook and redfish in the bays, but who also wants to feel comfortable fishing for bluewater species such as dolphin and sails. The 26 Open is based on a patented 25½-foot Michael Peters-designed twin-stepped hull that introduces a cushion of air under the boat to increase lift, speed and fuel efficiency. Inside, the Barker carries a deep deck throughout most of the interior, with abbreviated casting decks in the bow and stern.
Boston Whaler 250 Dauntless
Boston Whaler says its 250 Dauntless bay boat which debuted late last year, delivers a high-quality experience with its smooth ride and spacious deck, outfitted with fishing features such as a 35-gallon aft-deck livewell, bow fish box, and a full-beam casting platform astern. Choose from several leaning-post options, one of which includes a second livewell. Family members will enjoy the bow sun pad, with port and starboard folding backrests, and the console lounger with armrests. Whaler also employed folding backrests for the port and starboard stern seats. Choose from multiple Mercury power options up to a 400 hp XXL L6 DTS Verado.
Cobia 240 CC
Cobia took the proven hull of the 237 CC and designed a new deck for it to provide both tournament anglers and family fishermen with all necessary amenities. The 240 features twin 40-gallon insulated fish boxes and a 28-gallon livewell as well as a forward-entry head and a full windshield. Although rated for up to 300 hp, this center console tops out at 44 mph using a pair of Yamaha F115s and sips only 3 mpg at 27 mph.
Contender 25 Bay
Contender’s 25 Bay rides on a twin-step hull that’s quick to plane and runs at a consistently flat trim angle. The use of a jackplate enables the 25 Bay to jump on plane in shallow water. With a Yamaha F300, this model can reach 60 mph. It features 40 gallons of livewell capacity, a 45-gallon insulated insole fish box, a 170-quart cooler under the helm seating, a 40-quart cooler below the forward seat, and a pair of rod lockers. Wraparound seating forward and a stern jump seat offer cruising comfort. A large helm panel accepts multifunction displays of 16 inches or larger.
Crevalle 26 HCO
The Crevalle 260 HCO is designed for anglers with families that want the most a bay boat can offer. With a 90-gallon fuel capacity, the 26 HCO can reach speeds in the mid-50s with a 350 hp outboard. This model includes two removable 72-quart coolers, an in-console portable marine head, and a storm-gray helm face with integrated foot rests and a standard 12-inch multifunction display. It also has two 28-gallon release wells; a baitwell/cooler; lockable rod storage for 10 rods; powder-coated leaning post with backrest, rod holders and rigging tray; and in-floor storage for a five-gallon bucket.
EdgeWater designed the 245cc to run with single or twin outboards and gave it 89 square feet of useable cockpit room and 140 gallons of fishbox and storage space. EdgeWater includes a 28-gallon transom livewell, but choose the optional leaning post to add 45 gallons of additional live-bait space.
Everglades calls the 235cc a new class of entry-level performance center console. And it clearly has some innovative features. With its RAMCAP high-density hull, the 235 takes you beyond the shallows when it’s calm offshore. The sliding windshield and 180-degree swivel helm/mezzanine seat creates versatility and comfort. For anglers, a tackle station with tray storage, drawers, rod holders and a rigging surface delivers good working space. Everglades installed a standard 17-gallon livewell with an acrylic lid and friction hinges into the starboard transom. To port lies an insulated cooler that can be optioned out for a second well. Power up the 235 with a single Yamaha 300 that can be customized with Helm Master EX.
Grady-White Fisherman 236
Grady-White’s Fisherman 236 brings together all the fishing features of a classic hardcore 23-footer while seamlessly integrating family comforts. The company started with a roomy cockpit, rod and tackle storage, a standard 15½-gallon livewell, and twin 22-gallon insulated fish boxes, and then added bow seating with foldaway backrests, a stand-up head inside the console, and swim-platform extensions port and starboard.
The North Coast 230 all-composite center console features high freeboard, a pleasing sheer line, trim tabs and a self-bailing cockpit. Fishing amenities include rod holders, rod storage under the gunwales, fish boxes forward, and oversize rugged hardware. Two automatic bilge pumps, crosslink poly fuel tank with shut off valve, and fuel/water separator are standard features on the boat. The 230 hits speeds in excess of 40 mph, with crew and gear, when powered by 250 hp engine, the company says.
Pathfinder 2500 Hybrid
The 2500 Hybrid inshore/offshore bay boat is the first fully vacuum-infused Pathfinder model. It offers the integrated aft seating of the TRS series as well as a high-performance, double-stepped hull similar to the HPS models. A new deck layout focuses on a large, single-level foredeck, more cockpit space and additional freeboard. It comes with standard fishing features such as a 43-gallon insulated fish box, locking rod storage, and a 35-gallon livewell.
Pursuit C 260
The solidly built Pursuit C 260 offers a pleasing blend of serious fishing features and family cruising amenities. Anglers will appreciate the 19-gallon livewell in the port quarter, as well as the 31-gallon insulated fish box under the foredeck. Non-anglers will gravitate to the bow seating, forward console seat and foldout transom bench. Swing open the front of the console to access the head compartment. The hardtop integrates seamlessly with the console, and twin helm seats provide comfort behind the wheel. Powered by a pair Yamaha F150 outboards, the C 260 reaches speeds in the high 40s.
Regulator Marine has added a second model to its XO center-console crossover lineup with the 24XO, a smaller sister to the 26XO. This new 24-foot-4-inch hybrid bay boat comes standard with dozens of features, including a fiberglass hardtop, 25-gallon aft starboard livewell, two bow fish boxes with locking rod storage, a leaning post with rocket launcher and tackle storage, a 12-inch Garmin display, and a saltwater washdown. In Yamaha testing with an F300, the 24XO hit a top speed of 50 mph at 5,900 rpm, achieving 1.90 mpg.
The Robalo R230 features a proprietary Hydro Lift multiangle hull design for better maneuverability underway. Standard features on the 23-footer include an aluminum-framed glass windshield, lockable console door, forward console seat and bolster, bow cushions, two insulated 23-gallon storage compartments, portable head and premium audio. Fishermen will appreciate vertical storage for six rods, horizontal rod storage, and four gunwale-mounted stainless-steel rod holders. The R230’s aft seat features a folding backrest that converts into a casting platform.
Scout 255 LXF
Scout’s 255 LXF is the smallest member of the company’s luxury sportfish line, which blends high-performance fishing with high-end cruising. Standard features include Scout’s patented hardtop with tempered-glass enclosure, a portside livewell, a transom door, three fish boxes and a forward console cooler seat.
Sea Born LX24 CC
The LX24 CC sports higher freeboard than Sea Born’s bay boats, creating greater security and offering more protection from higher seas. Seating includes a helm leaning post, forward-facing bow loungers with stowable seatbacks, a plush aft bench and a front console seat. Fishing features aft include a 14-gallon portside livewell and an insulated fish box. Sea Born offers three upgrade packages: Tournament, SE and LE, which include additions such as electronics, hardtops, washdowns, additional rod holders and more.
Sea Chaser 24 HFC
Sea Chaser’s Georgia builder, Carolina Skiff, designed the 24 HFC as a crossover bay and offshore boat that fits a fisherman’s needs while addressing the desires of most other on-water enthusiasts. HFC stands for “hybrid fish and cruise.” The 24-footer’s stepped-hull design helps enhance fuel efficiency and acceleration, and the center-console’s deck layout provides storage, easy bilge access, a large foredeck with U-shaped seating, a swim platform, and a side-entry door to port.
Sea Fox 266 Commander
Like many fishing vessels today, Sea Fox’s 266 Commander attracts the family boater as well as the serious angler. The double-wide lounger and storage box forward offer comfortable seating and space for tackle and gear. Twin fish boxes with overboard discharge make smart use of the cockpit sole; at the transom, twin flip-down jump seats and a folding bench disappear when it’s time to set lines. The 266 Commander sports a newly designed 50-gallon livewell with a thick, acrylic double-latch lid and tension hinges. Standard gunwale rod holders and storage keep rods ready, and a built-in tackle center organizes the lures or rigs you’ll need.
World Cat 230CC
With its ample beam and catamaran design, the World Cat 230CC offers anglers a roomy cockpit that seats 10 and the seakeeping ability you might expect from a much bigger boat, World Cat says. Amenities include a 30-gallon livewell, 75 gallons of fish-box space forward, and loads of rod holders and storage. The 230CC also floats in 9 inches of water, for fishing coastal beaches and bays.
The Yellowfin 26 reflects a distinctive blend of offshore- and bay-boat features. The upright livewell behind the helm seating and available twin outboards definitely speak to offshore anglers, while the elevated aft casting deck caters to inshore fishing enthusiasts. A level foredeck is standard, but you can order an optional elevated foredeck from Yellowfin, which adds even more appeal for inshore anglers. The elevated aft casting platform serves double duty: Seat backs lift up in each corner so crew members can kick back while running to and from the fishing grounds. A hatch in the middle of the aft deck provides access to the immaculate bilge rigging.