Is a Dual-Console Really a Fishing Boat?

Do you turn up your nose at the mere mention of a ­dual-console boat?
A family out fishing on a dual-console
Duel-consoles can satisfy a wide variety of anglers. Courtesy Grady-White

I have talked to many hardcore anglers who think that anything other than a center-­console is a glorified dayboat. Creature ­comforts? Ha! Those are for the weak. Real fishermen brave the elements with only a ­surfboard-size hardtop.

I’ve got news for you ­purists: For years, center-­console boatbuilders have been adding features that allow owners to entertain on their boats. At the same time, builders designing dual-console boats have been adding fishing features that blur the line between a multiuse family boat and a serious-as-a-heart-attack fishing vessel. If you can set your prejudices aside for a moment, there are some valid reasons for serious anglers to choose a dual-console boat.

Protection From the ­Elements

No one would ever call a tournament walleye fisherman a wimp if they ever rode with them in 6-foot seas on Lake Erie in March. But virtually all of them use dual-console boats, which is a good lesson for Northern coastal anglers who want to add a month or two to their fishing season. Combine the windshield with a Bimini top and some curtains, and you have serious protection from the elements.

More Cockpit Space

Small center-consoles can often have little fishing room aft, especially if there is a rigging station and large livewell right behind the leaning post. Smaller dual-console boats such as the Grady-White Freedom 235 have a surprising amount of space in the cockpit thanks to its helm-forward design and fold-down stern bench seat. Larger dual-console boats such as the Pursuit 365 DC have fishing cockpits that have the open feel of a sport-fisherman, minus the diesel fumes, because most dual-console models are outboard-powered.

Most Fishing Is Dual-­Console Compatible

Generally speaking, if your boat isn’t tethered to an anchor, a dual-console can be used because a skillful captain can maneuver the boat around to keep the fish at your stern. The addition of a long-shaft trolling motor can make it easy to jockey for position when an uncooperative fish starts running amok, and increase the boat’s fishiness in general. In contrast, if you are chumming for large tuna or sharks at anchor on a dual-console, be prepared for chaos to ensue as the fish starts to take laps of your boat; the consoles on each side can impede anglers trying to chase a fish along the rail.

Keeping Your ­Marriage Intact

If for some reason your spouse isn’t into fishing (seriously, what were you thinking?), and the boat you plan to buy doesn’t have a nice area to recline and read a book in the shade, moving forward there are two probable paths: divorce or you aren’t getting that boat. A dual-console boat heads those two likelihoods off at the pass, with plenty of room to fish, play and relax.