• Published:November 12, 2018
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The Fort Lauderdale Int'l Boat Show is the place to see the latest and greatest fishing machines to hit the water.

As 2018 draws to a close, fishing boat manufacturers all across the nation are rolling out their new models for the 2019 season. There's just one problem: many of those "new" models are mere rehashes of old boats that have been given little more than a superficial facelift.
If a boat gets a new seat added or the hull is painted a different color, do anglers really care? Not so much. So we sifted through the dozens of models introduced at this fall’s Fort Lauderdale boat show, to separate the wheat from the chaff. We found these five boats that truly deserve to be called “all-new” models which are worth getting excited about.

Albemarle 27 Dual Console

Yes, we realize that most die-hard offshore anglers opt for a center console but this dual console deserves some attention. Thanks to their additional weather protection and versatility, the dual console design has become incredibly popular among fishermen who like to take the entire family aboard. Still, when we heard Albemarle was coming out with a dual console we were quite surprised. When we saw the 27 Dual Console at the show, that surprise only grew because Albemarle’s done a few things never seen before on a boat of this nature.
For starters, the walkthrough to the bow is off-center to port and the helm windshield is unusually tall. This provides extensive coverage of the helm when the center windshield is open for long cruises to the offshore fishing grounds. It also allows for an enlarged console compartment, one large enough for a berth, while still providing enough space in the passenger’s side console for a head compartment.

Another unusual feature is the use of a single, centered in-deck 60-gallon fish box, as opposed to the smaller flanking boxes we usually see. When you plan on gaffing yellowfin tuna instead of netting yellowtail snapper, you’ll be happy of the box’s location. Finally, note the asymmetrical cockpit, with a bit of extra deck space carved out of the starboard side seat. That allows you to recover some of the fishability lost to forward seating (one of the common sacrifices of the dual-console design), and there’s room for an angler to stand forward and cast.

For more information, visit Albemarle Boats.  

Bertram 61

Bertram introduced a new take on a classic design, the 61 convertible, which follows the same trail blazed by the Bertram 35 introduced last year. The builder combines classic Bertram looks and functionality with modern design and construction. You won’t see anything Earth-shattering in the cockpit (though they did add a nifty MFD display next to the mezzanine, so you can eyeball the fish finder while watching the baits). The cabin is also relatively straightforward, with a three stateroom, three head layout and a full-beam master. It’s all gorgeous, from the book-matched cabinetry to the gleaming-with-varnish barstools. But you expect this from a Bertram. What really sets the 61 apart from other boats of this nature is the flybridge.

Climb up top any you’ll discover that instead of going with the usual C- or L-lounge shaped seating, which, let’s face it, is not the most comfortable in the world when you’re plowing through the ocean at 30 knots. The front of the helm console is extended to house a huge double lounge. And to both port and starboard there are single-width lounges with backrests. These backrests can be reversed, so you can kick back and face forward while cruising or relax as you watch the baits from the bridge.

One additional detail of note: The entire boat is resin-infused with vinylester resin, and is reinforced with Kevlar at the keel and strakes. Visit Bertram Yachts for more info. 
HCB Estrella 65

In the OMG that is insane category we have the HCB Yachts 65 Estrella, which claims to be the largest center console fishing yacht on the face of the planet. We know one thing for sure: it’s certainly among the most extravagant. Air conditioning blasts across the twin-row helm seating, electrically-actuated dinette tables in the bow and helm deck raise and lower at the press of a button, and the console houses a cabin befitting a blue blood’s 40-foot picnic boat. All of these facts are obscured, however, by the real highlight of the Estrella: a brace of five Seven Marine 627-horsepower outboards lined up along the transom. That’s 3,135 horsepower!

But the spec sheet on this boat actually claims the max horsepower to be “unlimited.” Ask the company reps why they chose to mount an outrageous five outboards on the Estrella and they will unabashedly tell you “because we couldn’t fit six.” Visit HCB for more info.

Pursuit S 288

With the S 288, Pursuit has taken the high-end features and design found in their larger sport models and migrated them into a smaller package. These include perks like aft platform extensions that reach all the way to the backs of the outboards on either side, fold-down seating in the back of the leaning post, and most importantly, an integrated fiberglass hardtop, windshield, and console which eliminate the need for pipework framing that hits the deck and causes tripping points.

That’s all good stuff, but the most unique feature we spotted on this fish boat was the console entry. It’s a front swing-open door, which is off-center and allows about two-thirds of the face of the console to swing open. This provides a huge, easy-to-navigate opening that even husky anglers will have no problem fitting through. For more information, visit Pursuit Boats

Wellcraft 352 Fisherman

Wellcraft as a company has come and gone several times through the years, and in its latest incarnation they’ve been focused on bay boats and small center consoles… until now. At the show we found the prototype for its 352 Fisherman, the largest Wellcraft currently offered.

The boat has several stand-out features, starting with a slick-looking curved clear livewell built into the back of the leaning post. You want to haul more bait? No problem, there’s also a 35-gallon well built into the transom. Tackle boxes are built in, there are a half-dozen extra rod holders in the transom, and angled kingfish-style rod holders are also in the mix. It’s the pipework, however, that’s the real eye-grabber on this boat. There are three rocket launchers to either side of the back of the hard-top and a clear spot in the middle, with a ladder built into the pipes. For more information, visit Wellcraft.