These days, it’s hard to tell whether some center consoles are fishing boats, or speed boats. Triple outboard rigs have become common, quads are popping up all over the place, and max horsepower ratings well over 1,000 have become normal. Are these fishing boats, or are they really speed boats? Yes. In reality, a big center console serves both purposes pretty dang well, and most anglers like the ability to regularly blast across the water’s surface at 60 MPH, 70 MPH, or more. But… there is a down-side to consider.
First off, most of these newer, more powerful center consoles cost an arm and a leg. As in, far more than the average American’s house. Part of this is due to size, and part is due to the ever-increasing number of outboards on the transom. Another cost to consider is maintenance, since more outboards mean more oil filters, lower unit oil changes, and spark plugs, every time regular maintenance is due.
Then, there’s fuel burn. Here, we see some surprising ups and downs. While twin outboards are less efficient than a single, moving up to triples is actually more efficient then twins. Put a fourth outboard on the transom, however, and… you guessed it—you’ll see a corresponding efficiency drop. The increased burn also means a (slight) range reduction, for guys running one of these types of boats. For an average angler it probably won’t be significant enough to worry about, but tournament anglers who pile on the high-speed miles need to take it into account.
Fishing room also needs to come into consideration. Some of the high-speed center consoles that claim to be serious fishers really have a tilt towards entertaining and impressions, and come cluttered with things like bow cockpit tables, sunpads, bar-b-q grills, and even giant center console cabins (complete with berths and a galley). On top of that, some others are so concerned about speed that they’re designed with less beam than usual. Sure, this helps them go faster, but it again cuts into deck space. The bottom line? Many of these big, bodacious center console speedsters really only have the room for six or seven guys to go out for a day of fishing—even those that may be 40 feet or longer.
Of course, if you want a super-fast, die-hard fishing boat, you can find it. If, that is, you have some serious cash to burn.