The Boating Forum - Bay Boat vs Center Console
THE HULL TRUTH is the world's largest FREE network for the discussion of Boating & Fishing. Whether you're researching a new boat, or are a seasoned Captain, you'll find The Hull Truth Boating & Fishing Message Forum contains a wealth of information from Boaters and Sportfishermen around the world.
07-07-2006, 12:43 AM
Hello all. I've been lurking here for a little while trying to absorb some boating knowledge. I'm in the early shopping stages and have a few questions that are probably pretty elementary.
What are there general differences between a bay boat and a center console? What makes a bay boat a bay boat? What are the general advantages between the two?
I'm looking at bay and center console boats in the 19' - 22' range. I'd be towing the boat with a '99 V6 4Runner, 5,000 pound towing capacity. I live in the Raleigh area and would primarily use the boat for fishing trips to Jordan or Falls Lake. There is a remote possibility of an occaisional trip to the coast, but if it happened that would be near shore outing. The usage would occaisionally be just me, more often a friend and I, with an occaisional third fisher once in a blue moon. The ability to add a trolling motor and fishing chairs to some of the models seems like a good thing, but might not be as necessary in reality.
I've made some trips to Chatlee Marine eyeballing NauticStar, Sea Pro, and Sea Hunt boats. I've seen a lot of other makes mentioned, some are available in this area, I haven't done any serious shopping though. The number of choices kind of makes it hard to get started.
07-07-2006, 01:53 AM
In very general terms bay boats are for protected waters (such as lakes). Center consoles are for rough water (such as ocean waves). But mostly it's a matter of personal preference. Try to get demos of both.
07-07-2006, 05:09 AM
The bay boats are shallower draft, can easily add a trolling motor to the front, and you are closer to the water. The front has a casting platform. these boats as previously stated are primary for protected waters, bays, lakes where waves don't get high. They are usually lighter also.
I have a 214 CC Cobia (20ft) that has a 14 in. draft. I usualy try to stay out of water less than 2 ft though. It works great for the bays and can handle the extra wave height of the Gulf of Mexico. I plan on using it up to 10-15 miles out.
Get the biggest engine the boat can handle. it's worth the extra money.
07-07-2006, 06:18 AM
Welcome to THT!
A bay boat was designed as kind of a cross over between a flats boat and a center console. Bay boats have a great deal of raised deck area with light tackle fishing being it's primary job. It also will have lower gunwale heights (sides) to reduce the effect of the wind during a drift. Center consoles will have more gunnel heights and the larger ones almost all have a deep V bottom with offshore fishing in mind.
One thing to keep in mind if you're new to this, the cockpit floor is much smaller on a bay than a typical center console of equal size because of all the raised deck.
Good luck with your searching.
07-07-2006, 06:19 AM
For fishing Falls, Jordan, Kerr, etc, a bay boat between 19' and 21' would do the job fine. Depending on the size and hull weight, this would be powered with a 115 to 150 hp engine, preferably 4-stroke if you plan on doing any trolling. Might even be good in the sounds (I have not made it out there yet).
Basically, bayboats have less freeboard, usually draft less, and often have less deadrise. If you do any bass fishing, or other fishing needing precise control or very slow trolling, get the trolling motor (on a CC you will probably have to order without the high bow rail to fit one, so consider whether or not you want a trolling motor before you order).
Jordan is big enough to get a little rough, you may want to think about the Key West 196 bay boat (KW dealer is Overbys up in Henderson or Webbs over in Rocky Mount) as well. It has a little deeper V for handling a little rougher conditions. Otherwise, the NauticStar 2110 at Chatlee looked very nice, although I would think something bigger than the Suzuki 115 might be called for. Another possible boat would be the McKee 185 Bay (one dealer in Durham, the other dealer is Webbs)
If you were fishing bigger waters on a regular basis, the CC, DC, or WA would be the way to go.
If you were only fishing Falls, a skiff or aluminum bassboat would be fine.
PS: If you actually want to catch fish, forget about Falls and drive on up to Kerr or over to Jordan. Too much fishing pressure and recreational boats on Falls to be much fun unless you have the option of fishing during the week.
Go to the boat show in Raleigh coming up at the end of August, should start seeing ads for it in the local fishing mags.
07-07-2006, 07:09 AM
Jeff, I was in the same situation as you. I striper fish Norman and Badin, but also have a place at Atlantic Beach and spend alot of time in the sound.
I researched over the last year. I narrowed my choices down to a Sea Hunt 186 CC and the Nauticstar. I went to Chatlee which had both. As soon as I got on the NS 2110, I was sold. The fit and finish is top notch. Everthing is well constructed and the layout is right.
I did end up moving up to a Suzuki 150. With the large livewells and the large fuel tank, I wanted to make sure it would get up on plane.
I've had it at Norman and the coast so far. The boat rides great and is very dry. It did very well in the sound at the beach. 1 to 2 ft. chop and also through the swells at the breakers.
I have talked to the factory in Mississippi a couple of times. Really good people. Very appreciative of the business. I spoke to Phil F. (the owner) and he was very friendly and informative.
Hope that helps
07-10-2006, 11:20 PM
Thanks for the info and advice. I spent some time out at Chatlee and Choplin climbing around on the boats, opening covers, etc. Only one NauticStar, a 2000 Offshore, but there were a few Sea Hunt's and Sea Pro's to check out. Choplin had a Key West 196, as well as a quite a few Pioneer's. Came home and looked around THT and found I should've climbed up on those as well! A neighbor has a NauticStar 2110, looks nice. I prefer that to the look of the 1900, though all the rest I'm checking out are 19 foot and some number of inches. Even though I'd use it mostly on lakes, I'm liking what I've seen and read about the Pioneer 197.
By the time I get through with the shopping we'll be pretty close to the Raleigh boat show near the end of August. Won't necessarily wait though, not if the right terms are reached ahead of time.
Sea Cat 18 the ultimate boat for lakes, inshore and offshore and you wont beat the ride.