Growing up next to a Florida lake, I loved our family’s dual-console ski boat; I spent hours aboard, piloting and keeping watch. As an adult and a committed saltwater angler, I’ve owned and preferred center-consoles.
So when boatbuilders debuted duals as bay and offshore fish boats a few years back, I — and surely others — felt understandably perplexed. To resolve that, I asked seven builders why this trend made sense for their fishing customers. Their answers surprised me, and they might even convince you to see DCs differently.
“When you really think about it, in terms of layout, the dual-console’s cockpit is very similar to the aft area of a sport-fisherman,” says Maverick Boat Co. marketing director Charlie Johnson. “Dual-console fans who are fishermen have always recognized this, and builders who are more fishing-minded have started adding fishing enhancements like convertible aft seating, rod storage and serious livewells.”
OK, I’m ready for a dual-console fishing trip — and I might try a little skiing as well. (Note: Boats are listed in order by LOA from shortest to longest.)
Cobia 220 Dual Console
The people at Maverick Boat Co., which owns the Cobia brand, really know fishing. The company introduced the 220 Dual Console in 2013 as a big sister to the 180. “The Cobia 220 DC is built on our 217CC hull, which is designed for open water,” says Johnson. “The basic layout of a dual-console, with the helm forward and offset, typically makes for a very roomy cockpit. Instead of having to work around the center console and leaning post, the centerline — the most stable position on a boat — is wide open.”
Cobia offers a lot of cushioned seating in this model, and touts it as a “do-it-all” dual-console for cruising, skiing and fishing. However, Cobia designed the aft bench seat to stow away quickly, expanding the deck space. The 220 DC comes with under-gunwale rod and gaff storage and flush-mount vertical holders. Anglers would want the optional 25-gallon livewell — for the aft port corner — and raw-water washdown package. “The boat even has covering boards with coaming pads, which allow anglers to lock in and get straight up and down on a big fish that’s digging for bottom,” Johnson says., which owns the Cobia brand, really know fishing. The company introduced the 220 Dual Console in 2013 as a big sister to the 180.
“The Cobia 220 DC is built on our 217CC hull, which is designed for open water,” says Johnson. “The basic layout of a dual-console, with the helm forward and offset, typically makes for a very roomy cockpit. Instead of having to work around the center console and leaning post, the centerline — the most stable position on a boat — is wide open.”
Cobia offers a lot of cushioned seating in this model, and touts it as a “do-it-all” dual-console for cruising, skiing and fishing. However, Cobia designed the aft bench seat to stow away quickly, expanding the deck space. The 220 DC comes with under-gunwale rod and gaff storage and flush-mount vertical holders. Anglers would want the optional 25-gallon livewell — for the aft port corner — and raw-water washdown package.
“The boat even has covering boards with coaming pads, which allow anglers to lock in and get straight up and down on a big fish that’s digging for bottom,” Johnson says.
“I think dual-consoles are growing in popularity because families have different boating interests, and dual-consoles can satisfy them all,” says Bryan Harris, Everglades’ vice president of sales. “Duals make good fishing boats because they have big cockpits and a separate bow area so people can spread out when fishing.”
Like the Cobia, this DC was built on a battle-tested center-console hull — in this case, the Everglades 230cc. And again, fishing-boat companies like Everglades know what anglers need.
“We don’t compromise any fishing features in the boat. We still have an extensive work-station/helm-seat combination with a raw‑water sink, cutting board, cooler and tackle storage,” Harris says.
The 230 also comes with a 38-gallon insulated fish box, 27-gallon livewell on centerline aft, rod holders in and under the gunwales, and fold-away stern seats. The standard aluminum powder-coated arch comes with rod holders and outrigger mounts, as well as a ski pylon.
(Note: When you’re fighting a speedy fish, an arch, Bimini or hardtop might impede you — even though most dual-consoles come with a walk-through-windshield design. So if your main family-boating focus remains fishing, keep that in mind.)
Pursuit DC 265
While Pursuit now offers a 23-foot dual‑console vessel, its 265 was the first such design for the company and is its dual-console flagship at almost 26 feet in overall length. The company describes the vessel’s design as “specifically engineered for its anticipated use, with family fun, casual fishing, cruising and marine sport utility in mind.”
That said, the 265 offers plenty of more-than-casual fishy features, such as cockpit lounges that fold up tightly to create open fishing space, under-gunwale rod storage, a tackle drawer under the freshwater sink, transom door, 19-gallon livewell and 31-gallon transom fish box.
Pursuit says it initially designed the 265 for a single-engine application to improve efficiency and preserve more space around the swim platform. A single Yamaha F350 takes the boat to a top speed of 49.8 mph, achieving 1.49 mpg, according to Yamaha statistics. However, Pursuit now also offers twin applications: Twin Yamaha four-cylinder F200s generate a top end of 51.4 mph for 1.3 mpg.
Boston Whaler 270 Vantage
Whaler’s 270 Vantage and its smaller sister, the 230, debuted in late 2012 as the “true no-compromise boat.” One of Vantage’s most notable features, Whaler said, was its convertible portside lounge seat, which folds into numerous positions so anglers can ride facing fore or aft and partially or full reclined; they can even use it as a leaning post for offshore fishing.
Whaler also offers an optional fishing package for the 270 with a 19-gallon, lighted livewell, stainless toe rails with under-gunwale storage, transom-mounted rod holders, and a raw-water washdown station. The boat comes standard with flush-mount gunwale rod holders, a cockpit utility center (cutting board and sink), transom door, insulated fish box with drain, and lockable in-floor rod storage.
Twin 150 Mercury Verados with power steering comprise the standard power package for the 270, though anglers can jump up to twin 200 or 225 Verados with Smartcraft Deluxe gauges and power steering.
Scout 275 Dorado
Scout unveiled its 275 Dorado — the largest in its dual-console fleet — late last year, calling it a family-friendly coastal fishing vessel. “The 275D goes from 100 percent comfort with full wraparound cockpit seating to 100 percent open-cockpit fisherman in a matter of 10 to 20 seconds,” says Mark Jerkins, a Scout spokesman. “Dual-consoles are typically very open in the mid to stern areas of the boat, creating space for movement around the cockpit where most people fish. Most dual-consoles are more comfortable and practical boats for family fishing and entertaining.”
Plush bow seating, a porcelain head and a variety of optional cockpit-seating arrangements speak to parents whose families simply love to be on the water. In-floor port and starboard fish boxes, a 25-gallon aft livewell, tackle drawers, raw-water and freshwater washdowns, vertical and horizontal rod holders and storage, a fold-down wave gate and a swim platform provide anglers enough amenities and space to get fishy.
A Yamaha performance bulletin on the 275 with twin four-cylinder F200s shows the vessel tops out at 53 mph with that arrangement, getting 1.33 mpg.
As these dual-consoles grow in length, their resemblance to express boats increases. “The 280CX is an offshore-capable boat built with the amenities for an overnight stay,” says EdgeWater marketing coordinator Daniel Robinson. The cabin offers 6 feet 8 inches of headroom, and is equipped with a full head and berth with options for air conditioning and a microwave.
The 280 is the largest of EdgeWater’s three dual-console “crossover models,” which include more-modest 20- and 24-footers. As such, its list of fishing features includes three insulated fish boxes — 125-gallon in-floor, 39-gallon bow and 28-gallon transom; a standard 28-gallon livewell plus an optional second well of the same size; prep sink and storage drawers; under-gunwale rod racks; and vertical flush‑mounted holders.
Like many DCs, the 280 comes standard with an anchor windlass — a great benefit for family boaters. The 280 was also specifically designed to run with twin outboards and can handle a pair of Yamaha F300s.
Grady-White Freedom 335
Grady-White now offers nine different dual-console models whose heritage dates back to 1979. The 335 is second largest to the 375, which is a true powerhouse in this genre. But the 335 is no slouch. A settee that converts (electrically) to a full berth fills the port console, while a complete head with shower, sink and toilet fills the starboard space; both sport cherry-and-holly soles.
Grady had room in this 33-foot-6-inch vessel to provide expansive companion seating, including a bow dining area. Directly behind the helm area, a sliding cockpit seat lets mates relax in comfort as they watch the lines. To starboard, a wet bar with a refrigerator and sink (and optional grill) lets you play or wash up after a catch and grab a drink.
Fold away the aft seat and retract the cockpit seat, and anglers have a full open deck. The 335 also comes with rod racks, tackle storage and a 42-gallon fish box in the transom that can be equipped with a freezer/cooler. An additional 58-gallon fish box lies in the starboard-bow area. Live-bait anglers would surely opt for the 32-gallon lighted livewell.
“Dual-consoles make great fishing boats for the same reason they make great do-anything boats: They are supremely versatile,” says Shelley Tubaugh, vice president of marketing. “Fishing takes many forms; some of us might be casting one day, trolling in the bright sun the next, maybe live-bait fishing, bottomfishing in a drizzle, even kite-fishing in a sea breeze — each a very different activity with different demands on boat features and equipment.”