Center and Dual Console models are experiencing a surge in overall popularity – especially during the pandemic. With so many options available to anglers and families, it is important to understand the subtle differences between layouts to decide. Both platforms cater to fishing and entertaining needs, but one is uniquely different from the other. One could be classified as a family-friendly fishing boat, and the other as a fishing-forward family boat. So what gives?
In most cases, the differences between dual- and center-console models are lifestyle-related, and do not impact overall performance. Sailfish’s unique VDS (Variable-Degree Stepped) hull, for instance, is standard on both center and dual platforms. Its lifting and turning strakes and wide, far-forward chine beam enhance running performance and stability at rest. The VDS hull also accommodates deeper cockpits and gunnels, an enclosed head compartment, and wide casting decks on both platforms.
A dual console is similar to a bowrider. From the helm forward, Sailfish dual consoles offer superior bow-riding amenities, including a removable table, ample storage, and the deepest seating in their class. Having a fitted-out area for socializing and cruising is key. “Let’s face it: the first thing kids do when the lines are dropped is go up to the bow and settle in for a great view. The whole family can lounge comfortably there, have a snack, and socialize,” says Denny Warren, Sales and Transportation Manager for Sailfish Boats.
At the helm of a Sailfish dual console, the captain’s station sits across a starboard lounge with an optional open-air galley and grill top. A walkthrough windshield and a hardtop are installed for protection from the elements. These are great features for anyone who wants to get out of the sun and wind, but they will interrupt walkaround access to the bow. “You lose the capability of fighting the fish all the way around the boat in a dual console, because you have the hard top legs that go all the way out onto the gunnel versus being on the inside of the boat,” says Denny Warren.
From the helm backward, the Sailfish dual console acts as a tournament-style fishing platform, with wide decks, flip-up seating and wraparound cockpit access to rods and lines. Simply put, Sailfish dual consoles more family-style amenities forward, more fishing-friendly features aft. They offer the best of both worlds, fishing and cruising, because of their hybrid versatility.
“A dual console is fun for a family, and just as fishable as a center console. If you just free drift, the captain can spin the boat and keep the fish behind the boat versus chasing down the sides and up the front, where others may be lounging,” adds Denny.
Center consoles, by contrast, offer a more accommodating setup for fishing, and have wraparound access to the water. A Sailfish center console has a large fishing area forward, with retractable backrests and 360-degree access to lines, when the hunt is on. The ability to move and fish virtually anywhere along the rail is key for this layout. Some Sailfish models are even equipped with a dive door.
A leaning post-backed center helm gives a captain the option to stand and have great visibility and comfort when riding to an offshore location. Because of its larger dash, optional electronic Garmin GPS systems, VHF radio technology and accessory storage can be amply installed. Rocket launchers, a livewell and a removable cutting board with tool storage are incorporated into the leaning post to make a day of fishing extra productive.
If maximizing time on the water for fishing is the priority, a Sailfish center console is perfectly built to deliver. Comfort features can be easily added for those who seek to simply enjoy relaxing out on the water. On a Sailfish, the Comfort Package, which includes bow cushions, bolsters and forward-facing backrests is a great option to make the bow as comfortable as a Sailfish dual console.
Both center and dual consoles offer their weight in salt, no matter your priorities on the water. But it is important to know which advantages suit your lifestyle (e.g. one console vs. two; walkaround access vs. gunnel hard-top; bow lounge vs. casting deck).