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Aluminum Center Console Boat Brands: A Comprehensive Guide to Offshore, Inshore, and Inland Models

Whether you’re searching for a small fishing boat, a bay boat, or the best center console boat under 25 feet, there’s a good chance aluminum center console brands will pop up during your search. And aluminum boats hold several advantages over their fiberglass counterparts: they’re lighter so they require smaller powerplants and are easier to tow and handle around the docks; they tend to cost less; and they require far less maintenance. But there are lots of choices on the market, so how are you supposed to know which are the best center console aluminum boats around? Truth be told, different boats are best for different people depending on their specific needs, but we’ve picked out some top choices in different categories to help you get started on your search.

 

 

Best Aluminum Center Console Bay Boats

Center console bay boats are popular in many parts of the nation, where protected waterways and estuaries make aluminum boats a great choice for targeting everything from snook to stripers. Be sure to check out these top picks, all of which are arguably among the best aluminum center console bay boats around, and then get those rods and reels ready for action.

 

G3

G3 boats, a Yamaha Boat company, has a significantly more extensive lineup of bay boats than most builders, with six offerings ranging from 17 to 22 feet. The main differentiating factor between their GX and T GX lines is in the hull; T GX versions (offered on 18-foot and 20-foot models) have tunnels. This allows for less running draft, an important feature for anglers who regularly fish in backcountry areas where one might need to run through mere inches of water to get to the hotspot. Beyond that, these boats offer bay anglers several unusual perks, like dual livewells even on the smallest models (it’s rare to see more than one on boats under 20 feet or so) and extensive a la carte menus for choosing electronics and trolling motors.

 

G3 Boats for Sale

 

Bay 20 GX G3 Boats

Bay 20 GX, G3 Boats photo

 

Lowe

Lowe Boats is a very large builder of a wide range of aluminum fishing and hunting boats as well as pontoon boats, and the company has three models in their aluminum center console bay boat lineup. There’s an 18 Bay, a 20 Bay, and a 22 Bay. All feature large fore-and-aft casting decks, aluminum-framed leaning posts, and Mercury outboard powerplants. Fishing features range from aerated livewells to locking rod lockers in the bowdeck, and these boats run on all-welded hulls with beefy 0.125” gauge aluminum.

 

Lowe Boats for Sale

 

Lowe

Bay 22, Lowe Boats photo

 

Ranger

Ranger has just two models in their RB aluminum center console bay boat lineup, the RB190 and the RB200. But they’re both very popular offerings and come in complete boat-motor-trailer packages that are ready to fish right out of the box. Their list of angling accouterments is extensive, with integrated livewells, fishfinders, bow-mounted trolling motors, lithium-capable onboard battery chargers, and fishing rod racks included as standard features. They also look sharp, thanks to a high-gloss metallic paint job on the outside and Rawhide coating on the inside. 

 

Ranger Boats for Sale

 

Ranger RB 190

RB 190, Ranger Boats photo

 

Best Aluminum Center Console Offshore Boats

Few production boat builders choose to build aluminum center console offshore boats because fiberglass is generally considered superior for the purpose. There are, however, a few exceptions, most notably from low-volume builders in the rocky Pacific Northwest where aluminum is often favored for its impact-resistance. You won’t see many of these offerings on the market, but search around and you will encounter some of these top picks.

 

Pacific Boats

Pacific Boats builds a mix of recreational and commercial boats, with two center console models potentially usable for offshore fishing: the V2325 and the V2600. Intended for serious duty, these boats are built with the thickest aluminum plating you’re likely to see on a recreational boat: 0.25” thick hull plating, and 0.1875” thick sides. These are not fancy, gentrified boats, but they can be semi-customized to some degree with items like livewells, raw water washdowns, and fishboxes.

 

Pacific Boats for Sale

 

Pacific V23HT

Pacific V23HT, Pacific Boats photo

 

Walker Custom Aluminum Boats

There are 18-, 22-, and 26-foot center consoles in Walker’s lineup, though for offshore use the CC26 is certainly the model to consider. The hull and sides are maximized with 0.25” and 0.1875” thickness, respectively, and the boat is constructed with a full-length internal keel and single-piece hullsides. The Walker also features a full-sized protective console with a three-sided enclosure. These boats have a higher level of fit and finish than one usually expects from aluminum, and as one might guess from the builder’s name, are customizable.

 

Walker Custom Boats for Sale

 

Walker

Walker CC26, Walker Custom Aluminum Boats photo

 

Best Aluminum Center Console Jet Boats

Aluminum center console jet boats are commonly favored by riverine anglers who run through rocky, shallow environments on a regular basis. And in truth they aren’t jet boats as much as they are aluminum boats designed to run via jet outboards. Their appeal may be limited, but these builders fill a very specific niche.

 

Koffler Boats

Koffler is an extremely well-established builder of aluminum boats designed for rivers and has been around since 1973. It builds a wide range including some center consoles, but generalizations can’t be made because rather than offer a model line, Kofflers are built to order.

 

Koffler Boats for Sale

 

Koffler

22 Koffler Special, Koffler Boats photo

 

SJX Jetboats

SJX is one of those rare manufacturers who builds inboard aluminum jet boats for running rocky rivers. They have one center console model, the Tru-X 241, which is powered by a 310-hp 2.3L Indmar Ecoboost engine that spins a stainless-steel impeller through the tunnel hull. Their boats are built to order and are customizable, with 0.25” aluminum in impact areas and floor bracings 16” apart.

 

SJX Jetboats

Tru-X 241, SJX Jetboats photo

 

Best Aluminum Center Console Hunting Boats

Many anglers also enjoy hunting, and in that case, will be looking for a center console boat that can do double-duty for both fishing and hunting. Each of these manufacturers produce top picks that fit the bill.

 

Crestliner

Crestliner produces the Retriever series, ranging from a 16-footer up to 20 feet long, plus a tunnel version of their 18-foot model. These come in full camo right down to the seat cushions, so they can be parked at a duck blind or pulled up to the shore without putting waterfowl on high alert. Additional features for fisher-hunters include available gun and shell holders, livewells, and trolling motors.

 

Crestliner Boats for Sale

 

Crestliner

1860 Retriever, Crestliner photo

 

Tracker Boats

Although most of the Tracker models are pure fishing boats, their Grizzly line (which includes four center consoles) can be capped off with either Grassland or Woodland camo. Seat cushions come in camo as well, and transom pods sit at the waterline so your retriever can more easily climb back aboard after fetching the ducks. All of these models also feature livewells, rodholders lining the consoles, and roomy decks ideal for both gunning and casting. There’s even a Sportsman model with an elevated foredeck and lighting, so you can combine the best of both sports and go bow fishing when the mood strikes.

 

Tracker Boats for Sale

 

Tracker

Grizzly 2072 CC Sportsman, Tracker Boats photo

 

War Eagle Boats

War Eagle’s Sportsman and Blackhawk lineup are ideal for hunters, with full camo patterns and lots of open deck space for decoy bags. They’re also built extra-rugged to survive trips through stump-filled marshes and backwaters. The 2072LDSV, for example, has a 0.125” gauge hull. It also has 12-degrees of deadrise, for a smooth ride when the winter fronts push through and make the waters waterfowlers need to cross choppy and sloppy.

 

War Eagle Boats for Sale

 

War Eagle

2072LDSV, War Eagle Boats

 

Choosing the ideal boat for your needs is no easy task. But there’s no doubt that those who are looking for the best center console aluminum boats will want to check out each of these builders. They make our roundup because all of them offer some special feature or design that sets them apart from the pack, and no matter how you enjoy spending time on the water, one of them is bound to be right for you.

 

Center console boats for sale

Bay boats for sale

Jet boats for sale

 

Written By: Lenny Rudow

With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites. Rudow lives in Annapolis, Maryland, and is currently Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk; he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.

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