25 Great Fishing Boats of the Decade | Sport Fishing Magazine

25 of the Decade's Top Boats

From flats skiffs to big offshore-fishing boats, we offer a glimpse at some of the best rides from the last 10 years.

25 best fishing boats

25 of the Decade's Top Boats

Chris McGlinchy

We all have our favorite boats. If we’re lucky, we already own them. If not, we lust after them with undiminished fervor. To drive you onward toward spring boating and fishing season, we dug through our archives and located 25 awesome boats that either debuted during the last 10 years (2004-2014), or have remained popular and sought-after from the moment they splashed ’til today. (They're listed alphabetically by manufacturer.) Is your favorite among them? If not, is your dream boat one of these captains' favorites?

Albury Brothers 23

Albury Brothers 23 center console fishing boat

Albury Brothers 23

ROLLED OUT: 1997

WHY WE LOVE IT: While this boat debuted almost two decades ago, when Willard Albury — co-founder of the Abaco, Bahamas, company — lofted the 23 on top of the 20-foot plug, the 23 is still in production to this day. In fact, with more than 300 built, the hand-laid 23 remains the company’s most popular hull. Albury says that’s because it’s the “Swiss Army Knife of boats” — balanced and stable, seaworthy and smooth, trailerable and affordable. “A low center of gravity and full forward [bow] provide reserve buoyancy when the waves get rough,” Albury says. (Albury introduced the Bay & Bluewater version in 2014.)

Courtesy Albury Brothers

Albury Brothers 23 center console fishing boat

Albury Brothers 23

This 23 center-console features a low center of gravity and full forward bow.

Courtesy Albury Brothers

Boston Whaler 370 Outrage

Boston Whaler 370 Outrage sportfishing boat

Boston Whaler 370 Outrage

ROLLED OUT: 2010

WHY WE LOVE IT: Few boats typify the rise of the super-sized, multi-outboard center-console over the past decade more than the award-winning Boston Whaler 370 Outrage. Capable of handling as much as 1,050 hp, the 370 offers innovations such as an electrically adjustable captain’s seat and a voluminous storage compartment forward of the console that, when closed, becomes a forward facing double lounger. The console cabin is so large inside that it hosts a double berth for overnighting, as well as a fridge, microwave, HDTV, head, shower and vanity. A rigging station behind the helm seats accommodates a livewell, refrigerator/freezer, sink and grill. Capable of speeds of nearly 55 mph with triple 300 hp Mercury Verado outboards on a smooth-riding deep-V hull, this 37½-footer stands as the flagship of the legendary Outrage line, and that alone makes it a great boat.

Courtesy Boston Whaler

Boston Whaler 370 Outrage sportfishing boat

Boston Whaler 370 Outrage

Decked out to fish! The rigging station accommodates a livewell, refrigerator/freezer, sink and grill.

Courtesy Boston Whaler

Boston Whaler 370 Outrage sportfishing boat

Boston Whaler 370 Outrage

The 370 features a voluminous storage compartment ahead of the console that becomes a forward-facing lounger.

Courtesy Boston Whaler

Carolina Skiff 218DLV

Carolina Skiff 218DLV sportfishing boat

Carolina Skiff 218DLV

ROLLED OUT: 2005

WHY WE LOVE IT: The 218DLV has remained one of Carolina Skiff’s best selling models since its introduction nine years ago. And that’s saying a lot, since Carolina Skiff has consistently ranked as one of the best selling boat brands in the U.S. This 20-foot, 10-inch center console expands on the brand’s reputation for durability and value with all-composite construction and heavy-duty stainless steel hardware. Its expansive casting decks fore and aft, eight-inch draft (with outboard up) and 18-gallon livewell help make it an ideal boat for inshore fishing. Rated for outboards up to 150 hp, the 218 DLC is the kind of boat that many first-time buyers might gravitate toward, and given its beefy construction and fishing features, it might also be a boat they will own for a long time to come. And that, in our eyes, makes it great.

Courtesy Carolina Skiff

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Cobia 296

Cobia 296 sportfishing boat

Cobia 296

ROLLED OUT: 2008

WHY WE LOVE IT: After Maverick Boat Company bought the Cobia brand in 2005, it began focusing on performance, quality and deck layouts that appeal to the fisherman and the family. That combination quickly launched the Cobia 296 into great acceptance among anglers. The transom bulkhead houses two 28-gallon elliptical livewells with overflow drains and short standpipes; two 40-gallon insulated fish boxes reside in the cockpit sole. The helm comes with bolster seating, a tackle center and dual insulated cooler buckets for chilling bait or drinks.

Courtesy Cobia

Contender 32 ST

Contender 32 ST sportfishing boat

Contender 32 ST

ROLLED OUT: 2010

WHY WE LOVE IT: This hull, Contender’s top-selling offshore model, came out as the 31 ST but has been renamed to reflect the full LOA — 32 ft., 7 in. This boat is still trailerable, yet it offers loads of deck space — with a 9 ft., 8 in. beam — and excellent range (with 310 gallons of fuel capacity). Yamaha testing showed the Contender 32 ST, powered by twin F300 outboards, tops out at 64 mph, achieving 1.22 mpg. At cruise, 35.1 mph, it gets better than 2 mpg. Accelerating to 30 took only 5.88 seconds. Standard features include twin 40-gallon livewells and tons of insulated fish storage.

Courtesy Contender

Contender 32 ST sportfishing boat

Contender 32 ST

Twin Yamaha F300 outboards push this dominant tournament-fishing boat to 64 mph, achieving 1.22 mpg.

Courtesy Contender

EdgeWater 318CC

EdgeWater 318CC sportfishing boat

EdgeWater 318CC

ROLLED OUT: 2006

WHY WE LOVE IT: The EdgeWater 318CC has been a steady favorite among saltwater anglers since its debut 8 years ago. This center-console’s 10-foot, 2-inch beam offers an extraordinary amount of fishing space, while the unsinkable design offers boating anglers great peace of mind. Combined with a smooth-riding variable-deadrise deep-V hull, the Single-Piece Infusion, or SPI, all-composite construction has enabled EdgeWater to create a stronger, lighter and efficient-running boat. With a 28-gallon transom livewell, 66-gallon transom fishbox (that can be converted to a livewell) and 58-quart removable cooler under the forward console seat, this 31-foot, 10-inch boat is as fish-ready as they come.

Courtesy EdgeWater

Everglades 243cc

Everglades 243cc salt water fishing boat

Everglades 243cc

ROLLED OUT: 2004

WHY WE LOVE IT: Though the Everglades 243cc looks like a bay boat at first glance, this model is a category buster, combining aspects of an inshore fishing boat with features from offshore machines. For example, the self-bailing interior is encircled by deeper gunwales than in most bay boats. Even the forward casting platform is recessed, yet the low freeboard is bay-boatesque. Draft with the engine up is just 16 inches. On the offshore side, the hull offers a deep-V with 19 degrees of deadrise at the transom, allowing it to slice smoothly through choppy water. The maximum horsepower rating of 300 and the 80-gallon fuel tank offer bluewater capability. With the 243cc, you can stay inside and fish the shallows, or head offshore to target fish in deep water. That kind of versatility is truly great.

Courtesy Everglades Boats

Everglades 243cc salt water fishing boat

Everglades 243cc

This 24-footer features deeper gunwales than most similarly-sized vessels that could be termed "bay boats."

Courtesy Everglades Boats

Everglades 243cc salt water fishing boat

Everglades 243cc

Classic styling at the helm.

Courtesy Everglades Boats

Freeman 33

Freeman 33 salt water fishing boat

Freeman 33

ROLLED OUT: 2007

WHY WE LOVE IT: Freeman Boatworks was founded on the premise that saltwater fishing should be enjoyable, not punishing, and the Freeman 33 serves as shining example of this philosophy. The flagship of the Freeman Boatworks line, this 33-foot, 7-inch center-console catamaran has proven over the years to provide comfort, speed and outstanding fishability. This has earned the 33 an enthusiastic customer base in one of the country’s most demanding sport-fishing regions — the Louisiana coast — where the 33 has seen countless hours of hard use and an incredible number of monster fish.

Courtesy Freeman Boatworks

Grady-White Express 330

Grady-White Express 330 salt water fishing boat

Grady-White Express 330

ROLLED OUT: 2001

WHY WE LOVE IT: Soon after this hull floated onto the market, it was named Boat of the Year by Sport Fishing’s sister publication Boating. Other experts dubbed the Grady-White Express 330 a “category killer”. The boat has fuel efficiency, fishing and cruising amenities as well as speed, interior space and performance. Over the years, Grady has tweaked the hull, and it remains one of the company’s best-loved boats. With twin Yamaha F350s, it tops out over 50 mph; at cruise, it runs 27 mph and delivers 1.24 mpg.

Courtesy Grady-White

Grady-White Express 330 salt water fishing boat

Grady-White Express 330

The 330 offers fishing and cruising amenities.

Courtesy Grady-White

Grady-White Express 330 sport-fishing boat

Grady-White Express 330

Grady designed loads of interior space.

Courtesy Grady-White

Hell's Bay Professional

Hell's Bay Professional sport-fishing boat

Hell's Bay Professional

ROLLED OUT: 2000

WHY WE LOVE IT: Extreme stealth and versatility define the popularity of this technical poling skiff. This 625-pounder blends shallow draft (4 ½ in.) and stability. Its length-to-width ratio (17 ft, 8 in. long and 5 ft., 10 in. wide) makes it easy to pole and responsive. Though it was introduced in 2000, the Professional underwent a redesign in 2004 and remains first choice in the Hell’s Bay lineup for serious flats-fishing enthusiasts and flats guides, the company says.

Courtesy Hell's Bay

Hell's Bay Professional sport-fishing boat

Hell's Bay Professional

The Professional offers stealth and versatility.

Courtesy Hell's Bay

Hell's Bay Professional sport-fishing boat

Hell's Bay Professional

As shallow draft of 4 1/2 inches allows anglers to get onto the skinniest flats.

Courtesy Hell's Bay

Hydra-Sports 3400 CC

Hydra-Sports 3400 CC sport-fishing boat

Hydra-Sports 3400 CC

ROLLED OUT: 2003

WHY WE LOVE IT: Hydra-Sports’ 3400 CC is steeped in sportfishing legend. More than 550 of this iconic center-console have been sold since it debuted a decade ago. In many ways, this 33½-footer ignited the boom in big center consoles. Today, it represents the evolutionary pinnacle of this genre, with features such as twin bucket helm seats with fold-down armrests, a 50-gallon livewell, a side door for boarding and landing big fish, and a pad-style deep-V hull for minimal bow-rise on acceleration and a level attitude on plane. With triple Yamaha F300 outboards, the 3400 CC is capable of speeds in excess of 60 mph. With a 336-gallon fuel tank, you can fish far and wide with this great boat.

Courtesy Hydra-Sports Boats

Hydra-Sports 3400 CC sport fishing boat

Hydra-Sports 3400 CC

Wide-open space in the 3400 CC cockpit.

Courtesy Hydra-Sports Boats

Hydra-Sports 3400 CC sport fishing boat

Hydra-Sports 3400 CC

Fishing features are located in every corner of this center-console.

Courtesy Hydra-Sports Boats

Invincible 36 Open Fisherman

Invincible 36 Open Fisherman sport fishing boat

Invincible 36 Open Fisherman

ROLLED OUT: 2007

WHY WE LOVE IT: Invincible Boats has made its mark catering to customers for whom compromise is not an option, and its 36 Open Fisherman, with impeccable fit and finish, is a prime example. This 36-foot, 8-inch center-console is a proven tournament winner. It features Invincible’s patented Stepped-Vee Ventilated Tunnel hull with twin steps that introduce a cushion of aerated water below the running surface to boost speed and efficiency. During acceleration, there’s virtually no bow rise, offering excellent forward visibility. While each Invincible is built to order, standard features on the 36 include two livewells: a 50-gallon tank in the transom and a 60-gallon well below the aft cockpit. A quartet of insulated fish boxes includes twin cavernous lockers below the bow deck and another pair under the aft deck.

Courtesy Invincible Boats

Invincible 36 Open Fisherman sport fishing boat

Invincible 36 Open Fisherman

A stepped hull and triple outboards make this boat a fishing-tournament favorite.

Courtesy Invincible Boats

Jarrett Bay 77

Jarrett Bay 77 sport fishing boat

Jarrett Bay 77

ROLLED OUT: 2013

WHY WE LOVE IT: The 77-foot Blank Check represents the largest boat to emerge from the vaunted line of Jarrett Bay custom sportfishers to date. Powered by twin 16V-2000 MTU marine diesels, each rated at 2,600 hp, Blank Check is capable of speeds up to 40 knots. At a cruise speed of approximately 35 knots, the Carolina-style sportfisher achieves exceptional fuel efficiency. The 3,200-gallon fuel capacity results in outstanding range, according to Jarrett Bay. Blank Check has already racked up several major tournament victories, including The World Cup Blue Marlin Tournament. _Blank Check’s _interior features high-gloss cherry veneers throughout.

Courtesy Jarrett Bay

Jupiter 41 Sport Bridge

Jupiter 41 Sport Bridge deep sea fishing boat

Jupiter 41 Sport Bridge

ROLLED OUT: 2013

WHY WE LOVE IT: The Jupiter 41 Sport Bridge blends bold styling and a classic Carolina-style foredeck with outboard power, a time-tested deep-V hull design and abundant features. This offshore fishing machine offers the uncompromising weather protection of a sleek hardtop and tempered glass windshield that wraps around the bridge deck, which features abundant seating and storage. There’s also cabin space for two staterooms. A fully appointed galley helps keeps the crew fed. The enclosed head features a shower, vanity and sink, as well as a marine toilet. In cockpit you’ll find a 60-gallon livewell and top-loading refrigerator/freezer. A diesel generator supplies AC when away from the dock. Triple Yamaha F350 outboard maximize performance of this 41-footer. Jupiter customizes each boat to the customer’s needs.

Courtesy Jupiter Boats

Maverick Mirage 17 HPX-V

Maverick Mirage 17 HPX-V deep sea fishing boat

Maverick Mirage 17 HPX-V

ROLLED OUT: 2001

WHY WE LOVE IT: The 17 HPX-V gained popularity among tournament anglers and guides for its dry, comfortable ride (12 degrees of deadrise), and its ability to track and spin quietly while poling. With a revised deck layout in 2013, the new 17 HPX-V II offers increased storage room and access. The featherweight carbon fibers used with Maverick’s vacuum-assist resin-infused system (VARIS) minimize the weight of this technical poling skiff. The low-profile deck allows it to move with little wind resistance.

Courtesy Maverick

Pathfinder 2200 TRS

Pathfinder 2200 TRS deep sea fishing boat

Pathfinder 2200 TRS

ROLLED OUT: 2010

WHY WE LOVE IT: The 2200 TRS (for Third Row Seating) followed on the popular heels of the company’s signature 2200-V bay boat. To the latter — a serious fisherman’s boat — the TRS version brought a few family amenities, which include the extra flip-up seats along the transom bulkhead, extra storage and a larger deck. But make no mistake, this boat still focuses on fishing with storage for up to 16 rods and a 28-gallon aft center livewell (with options for an optional release well).

Courtesy Pathfinder

Pursuit OS 385

Pursuit OS 385 deep sea fishing boat

Pursuit OS 385

ROLLED OUT: 2012

WHY WE LOVE IT: Originally introduced as the OS 375, this express-style outboard-powered sportfisher ranks as a category leader in retail sales with an incalculable number of hours on the water and fish brought boatside. The OS 385 took shape with the addition of redesigned hardtop, integrated windshield and factory-installed second station in the 2012. Yet, this 39½-footer retains its timeless styling, smooth riding characteristics and warm, luxurious interior. The flagship of the Pursuit line, the OS 385 offers 360-degree walkaround to battle a fish wherever it takes you. The transom incorporates a 50-gallon livewell. A spacious galley, dinette, and forward statement invite overnight trips, no matter where you like to fish.

Courtesy Pursuit

Regulator 28

Regulator 28 deep sea fishing boat

Regulator 28

ROLLED OUT: 2011

WHY WE LOVE IT: Almost as soon as the Regulator 28 debuted three years ago, it became the company’s best selling model, signifying its rightful place among the great boats of the last decade. This center-console combines Regulator’s penchant for designing smooth-riding deep-V hulls with the latest in boat-building technology. With a flush deck throughout the cockpit and plenty of storage – including a 124-quart transom fishbox, 456-quarts in-deck fishbox and two 140-quart storage compartments in the foredeck– there's plenty of room for fishing adventure. The console features a tempered glass windshield and optional hardtop. Classic lines tell everyone that this is a serious fishing machine and a great boat indeed.

Courtesy Regulator Boats

Regulator 28 saltwater fishing boat

Regulator 28

The 28 center-console is a bestseller.

Courtesy Regulator Boats

Scout 350 LXF

Scout 350 LXF saltwater fishing boat

Scout 350 LXF

ROLLED OUT: 2013

WHY WE LOVE IT: Scout transitioned into the larger, luxury boat market with the 350 LXF at last year’s Miami boat show, and the model has been pretty much sold out since, the company says. At first glance, this flagship vessel is a real head-turner, featuring a rising bow table, state-of-the-art helm (Scout is now partnered with Garmin and Mastevolt to deliver integrated vessel control), luxury console berth and electric sliding fiberglass sunshade. Available in a twin- or triple-outboard configuration, the stepped-hull 350 LXF is capable of nearly 70 mph.

Courtesy Scout

SeaHunter Tournament 37

SeaHunter Tournament 37 saltwater fishing boat

SeaHunter Tournament 37

ROLLED OUT: 2010

WHY WE LOVE IT: Tournament 37's are hand built for each buyer to his or her demands, whether for additional fish boxes, different seating, additional tackle stations, a tower, larger fuel tanks — you name it. With triple Yamaha F300s, the 37 tops out at 65.2 mph (it can best 72 mph with triple F350s); it cruises at 37.3 mph, achieving 1.6 mph. SeaHunter also builds its deep-V hulls with Kevlar for added strength.

Courtesy SeaHunter

SeaHunter Tournament 37 saltwater fishing boat

SeaHunter Tournament 37

SeaHunters are built-to-order for customers, with any and all fishing features they desire.

Courtesy SeaHunter

SeaHunter Tournament 37 saltwater fishing boat

SeaHunter Tournament 37

With triple Yamaha F350s, this 37-footer tops out at 72 mph.

Courtesy SeaHunter

SeaVee 340

SeaVee 340 sportfishing boat

SeaVee 340

ROLLED OUT: 2001

WHY WE LOVE IT: The SeaVee 340 combines the crucial elements of an all-around offshore fishing boat with the fit and finish of a yacht with amenities such as enormous insulated fish boxes, lockable below-deck rod storage, up to four livewells, retractable cooler, tackle station and gelcoat-finished interior. The original center-console version has been joined by cuddy-cabin and luxury editions in outboard and inboard diesel configurations. The 340 was also among the first models to accommodate heavier four-stroke outboards, which quickly made it a favorite among saltwater anglers, including the legendary Jose Wejebe.

Courtesy SeaVee

SeaVee 340 sportfishing boat

SeaVee 340

The 340 is also available in cuddy-cabin and luxury-edition configurations.

Courtesy SeaVee

Southport 29 TE

Southport 29 TE sportfishing boat

Southport 29 TE

ROLLED OUT: 2012

WHY WE LOVE IT: This tournament-edition version of the 29 CC offers additional rod holders aft of its leaning post, lockable tackle-storage compartments and a livewell/tackle station. Its performance mimics its sister, however, and that’s a good thing: The 29 handles like a luxury automobile and tops out in the low to mid-50s with twin Yamaha F300s. At a cruising speed of 24.8 mph, it achieves 1.92 mpg.

Courtesy Southport

Sundance DX20

Sundance DX20 sportfishing boat

Sundance DX20

ROLLED OUT: 2011

WHY WE LOVE IT: The DX Series is Sundance’s premier skiff line, with full molded inner liners. The skiff runs 35 to 40 mph with a 90 hp outboard. At rest and with engine up, it floats in 6 inches of water. Base-boat-priced in the $16,700 (up to $28,900 range depending on power), this 19 ft., 10 in. skiff offers value while providing ample fishing features and comforts for the family.

Courtesy Sundance

Sundance DX20 sportfishing boat

Sundance DX20

The DX20 runs up to 40 mph with a 90 hp outboard.

Courtesy Sundance

World Cat 320CC

World Cat 320CC fishing boat

World Cat 320CC

ROLLED OUT: 2010

WHY WE LOVE IT: The World Cat 320CC represents the first big fishing catamaran with the fit and finish and offshore capability to compete head-to-head with the best of the big center-console mono-hulls. At 32-feet, 2-inches in length and with a 10-foot, 6-inch beam that travels all the way to the twin bows, this center-console cat is an offshore battlewagon with plenty of fish fighting room for a big crew. In addition to the famously smooth World Cat ride, the 320CC also has plenty of range, thanks to a 280-gallon gas tank and fuel economy that averages about 1.8 mpg at 28 mph with twin 300 hp outboards.

Courtesy World Cat

World Cat 320CC fishing boat

World Cat 320CC

This 32-foot catamaran offers plenty of room for a big fishing crew.

Courtesy World Cat 320CC

Yellowfin 36

Yellowfin 36 fishing boat

Yellowfin 36

ROLLED OUT: 2003

WHY WE LOVE IT: With its debut in 2003 and makeover in 2009, the Yellowfin 36 has proven to be one of the most dominant center-consoles on the saltwater tournament scene over the past decade. This 36-foot, 8-inch boat has won four Southern Kingfish Association tour championships, three SKA national championships and three wahoo championships. From the proud bow to the swooping sheer, the Yellowfin 36 casts an unmistakable profile. And its performance is just as impressive, with a smooth, dry, wave-taming ride and top speeds in excess of 65 mph when powered by triple 300 hp Mercury Verado outboards. A 55-gallon transom livewell will hold all of the bait you need for a day, but you can also add a huge helm module with a second livewell. The Yellowfin 36 uses composite laminates consisting of 100 percent vinylester resins and Core-Cell composite for superb strength without additional weight.

Courtesy Yellowfin Yachts

Yellowfin 36 fishing boat

Yellowfin 36

The 36 holds multiple Southern Kingfish Association national championship titles.

Courtesy Yellowfin Yachts

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