From a pure angling perspective; the biggest advantage with a large center console is the ability to reach so many far away spots so quickly. A big center console also gives you a meaningfully more stable boat, larger crew size, increase seating and comfort.
- Nimble You’re still pretty nimble in terms of boating fish on a larger center though obviously less so than an small center weighing thousands of pounds less. Where you really see an advantage is the speed with which you can chase down fish you see breaking on the horizon or birds you are marking on radar.
- *Range*: The larger hull obviously gives you more range in terms of safety, engine redundancy and fuel capacity but where you really pick up an edge (which I argue is the biggest benefit of a large center console) is it’s speed. Big centers can regularly cruise in the 40kt range on a calm day, which pretty much turn the boat into a time machine. Now you can reach spots on a daytrip you wouldn’t be able to on a small center or a larger cuddy, express or sport fisherman. The speed also gives you the ability to reconnoiter more spots in a day if the fishing is slow.
- Easy To Cast: With open bows, you have very few obstructions when trying to cast.
- Size: Obviously, the bigger the boat, the more comfortable and out of the weather you will be.
- Obstructions: Big outboards hanging on a bracket or extended from an integrated transom can become problematic when landing a fish as they can extend as uch as 5’ from the back of the boat. Care and caution need to be exercise and ideally you have a helmsman at the boat ready to spin or re-position the boat to keep the fish on the corner and way from the engines. Even still, accidents still happen with experienced captains. Tuna, big stripers and Albies are strong and erratic and often have their say of when and where they want to go when the first see the boat. Big engines extended far off the back can get in your way sometimes.
- Noise, Twin engines make double the noise of a single. There is also much more hull slapping on the water. The noise and pitch of large outboards frequently changing pitch disturb the fishing. I’m not sure if it disturbs the bait or the tuna, either way I am extremely confident in the fact that big outboards can disrupt the fishing if proper protocol is not exercised when approaching fish. (more on that later)
- Stability: By nature, most center consoles are more narrow than their cuddy cabin, express and sportfisherman cousins and tend to be rockier at drift. The more extreme the deep v, the more so this phenomenon.
A large center console is hands down your best bet for casting an jigging tuna. You will have bow and stern casting access, range to reach the fish, speed to open up more location options including day trips to the canyons. A large center is wide enough for a blue water trolling spread.
A large center is a great option for striper anglers as you have size enough to handle some weather and comfort to run far distances in the dog days of summer when they my be a little further than home port. Big centers are still pretty nimble so casting jigging and trolling are all solid options. That said, you will trade off super skinny water as big hulls and engines draw a lot of water and while the boat is still nimble, it’s not nimble enough to fish comfortably super close to the rocks.
Big centers are “fine” for albie fishing as long as you don’t have to make a lot of runs. Big hulls and big engines are very disturbing to the scene. Not only is the large wake highly disruptive to other boats the hull noise and very audible engine pitch change on large outbards as RPM spike and dop will put down the fish. You’ll doubly tick off the other boats!
Hogy Pro-Staffer Terry Nugent ran this boat for me a a number of film trips. I have literally been to New Jersey and Back on a Contender 33T on a day trip for Bluefin Tuna South of MV that went, very, very far south. The boat was equipped with twin 350 Mercury Vorados and had the speed and range to go the distance. It was a tough tuna season and we committed to keep pushing until we found fish. We did, but it was far south. This trip was only possible on a badass large center with big outboards. Luckily there were 6 of us to split the fuel bill! I have day tripped to the Canyons, East, North you name it on this boat. It is also very fishy for stripers with a super clean open lay out. Without the forward seating, you can have 3 or 4 guys casting on this boat with ease.
I have spent a lot of time on regulators including two different friend’s 32s. The 32 Reg is a beast. While it may not be the fastest in the fleet, it is still fast. More notably is how well this boat does slow. Not everyone can handle 38kts on top of the waves in a light ultra deep v center. This boat backs down to a comfortable “women and children” speed without soaking the crew. The bow has a ton of flare that pushes water dozens of feet. Regulators are known for their sexy lines and the 32 has that going on… The fit and finish is amazing and has a very yachty feel while also feeling very fishy!