Fish-Around Offshore Boats

Hybrids that fish like a center-console but pamper like an express

The term “fish-around” appears occasionally in boat-model names and in online-forum discussions. But its use seems sporadic, and its definition a bit elusive. To better understand fish-arounds, and how they differ from walkarounds and even today’s large center-consoles with oversize console cabins, I talked with four builders who manufacture boats that appear to fit the fish-around category. SeaVee 430 Fish-Around “On a walkaround, there’s a step up or two from the cockpit to a small, narrow side deck, which leads to the bow,” explains SeaVee designer Rob Kaidy. “This side deck includes a short, shallow bulwark. This arrangement makes it possible to readily access the bow for anchoring and other work, but fishing from forward of the cockpit is not possible. This is the fundamental difference — thus ‘walk’ and not ‘fish’ around.” However, because of that almost beam-to-beam cabin width, a walkaround can offer more interior volume — a facet many family anglers prefer. ...continued on next page.
SeaVee 430 Fish-Around
SeaVee purposefully labeled its 430 — introduced in 2013 — as a fish-around, and gave it some unique features that blend the creature comforts of an express-style boat with the fishability of a center-console. "Many people feel that the walkaround is more of a cruising or utilitarian design than a boat built for the purposes of sport fishing," says SeaVee marketing director John Caballero. "That said, I have encountered numerous people using the terms — walkaround and fish-around — interchangeably." Designed specifically for anglers, SeaVee’s 430 Fish-Around does offer 360 degrees of flush, uninterrupted deck, and comes with bow and stern livewells and fish boxes, gobs of rod holders, tackle storage, a rigging station, and expansive cockpit space. Yet it comes with comfortable living quarters belowdecks. The F-A’s cabin is accessed through the elevated bridge deck. Raising the helm to a bridge deck provides more cabin space and improves visibility for the helmsman. ...continued on next page.
SeaVee 430 Fish-Around
Comparatively, most large 40-plus-foot center-consoles provide access to their oversize cabins using a side door; they also anchor the helm on the single-level deck. Generally their freeboard is not as high, and their beam is not always as wide as fish-around hulls. So what kind of angler buys a fish-around? “Apex offshore anglers who like to make extended fishing trips to the canyons, out islands, and other destinations where safe and comfortable overnighting would be desirable,” Caballero says. “Also, anyone operating his boat on day trips who desires the significant comforts afforded by an air-conditioned cabin and bridge deck, yet doesn’t want to compromise on the fishability.” SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 43 ft.
BEAM 13 ft. 4 in.
DEADRISE 22 deg.
DRY WEIGHT 24,800 lb.
MAX POWER 1,400 hp
(outboard or inboard diesel)
Invincible 42 Walk Around
Despite its model name, this Invincible does provide a single-level fish-around-style deck with a wide-enough path fore and aft to comfortably fish — although the helm station is not elevated to a higher bridge. "We choose to use the term 'Walk Around' because the 42 WA has more function than just as a fishing boat," says Invincible spokesman Karim Sabet. "The features of the Invincible 42 WA allow for comfortable, if not luxurious, overnight trips complete with a fully enclosed head, full galley, A/C, generator and sleeping bunks for up to four adults (depending on the options)." Unlike center-consoles with -oversize console cabins, the 42 WA carries its “house” — or belowdecks living space — well forward, and access to the cabin is through the helm. ...continued on next page.
Invincible 42 Walk Around
Sabet says many large-yacht owners have been downsizing to smaller, outboard-powered vessels because of factors including fuel economy, ease of maintenance, and speed to the fishing grounds. The single-level deck and large cabin also appeal to older anglers and to family fishermen with young children. Available with triple or quad outboards, this yachtlike vessel still retains its high-performance characteristics, topping 68 mph at wide-open throttle. Fishing amenities and options include high-speed pickups for the sea chest, up to 160 gallons of livewell capacity, a customizable rod-holder setup, insulated fish boxes, and electric-reel outlets. ...continued on next page.
Invincible 42 Walk Around
BEAM.. 11 ft. 7 in.
DEADRISE 22 deg.
DRY WEIGHT 13,700 lb.
MAX POWER 1,400 hp
Billfish 39
While fishability is a key component of the fish-around style, Billfish Boatworks says that safety should also stand out, particularly as a consideration for far-offshore anglers and travelers. The ability to move completely around the vessel while remaining bounded by high gunwales offers protection to anyone negotiating the bow at night or in heavy seas. The Billfish 39 — although labeled a walkaround — does feature an elevated bridge and a single-level deck, which are fish-around hallmarks. It comes standard with a 100-gallon, pressurized oval livewell in the transom, a 55-gallon bow baitwell and 14 rod holders, plus interior features such as an air conditioner, galley with pressurized hot and cold water, and an enclosed head/shower. ... continued on next page.
Billfish 39
Because of their beaminess, fish-arounds make ideal platforms for a tower or other superstructure. Their broad cockpits easily facilitate rocket launchers or fighting chairs. Realistically, they can be decked out to fish hard or dressed up to cruise — or a little of both. ... continued on next page.
Billfish 39
BEAM.. 11 ft. 3 in.
DEADRISE 22 deg.
DRY WEIGHT 13,500 lb.
MAX POWER 900 hp (outboard)
Jarrett Bay 34
“Jarrett Bay’s definition of a fish-around is a unique crossbreed of a performance-based, traditional offshore center-console and a more traditional offshore walkaround,” says Zach Boslau, new-construction foreman. “There’s a fairly harsh gap between the two styles, with not many options in the market for anything in between.” The builder does introduce a slight step up to the bridge deck and foredeck on the 34 — which Jarrett Bay actually labels a semiproduction Walk-Around Express, rather than a fish-around — but the bow area offers deep freeboard, which permits easy and safe fishing access. To appeal to anglers, Jarrett Bay even hid gaff storage on the aft edge of this small step-up. ... continued on next page.
Jarrett Bay 34
The 34 also brings multiple livewells (50-gallon well in the transom) and fish boxes to the party, plus plenty of rod storage. “It merges design features from small and large offshore boats — it’s incredibly quick and maneuverable but performs like a big boat in challenging seas,” says Boslau. On the bridge and in the cockpit, it offers comfortable seating, and also provides V-bunks and a head belowdecks. “The Jarrett Bay 34 would be ideal for any hard-core weekend warriors who want to chase billfish but might not want the full-time responsibility and upkeep of a larger boat,” Boslau advises, “or the full-time South Florida guide who spends most of his or her time in skinny water, running to multiple spots throughout the day.” ... continued on next page.
Jarrett Bay 34
BEAM. 11 ft. 2 in.
DEADRISE 11 deg.
DRY WEIGHT 8,500 lb.
MAX POWER 1,114 hp (outboard)