While looking for the migrating giant bluefin tuna in Cat Cay, Bahamas the past couple of years, I began noticing several large center consoles docked there. These were a relatively new brand called SeaHunter Boats. Being a boat junkie, I had to check out these boats from the dock, but I hoped that one day I’d get to run one. I finally got the chance recently to see one up close and put it through its paces on a beautiful summer morning in Islamorada, Florida.
In a relatively short number of years, SeaHunter Boats has grown to build an offshore series of center consoles that includes the 40-foot, 35-foot and 29-foot models, and the company recently released the all-new 37-footer that we tested. SeaHunter also builds an 18-foot flats boat as well as 22- and 24-foot bay boats at its Princeton, Florida, factory.
Our test boat came rigged with triple 300-horsepower Mercury Verado outboards, power that provided a great opportunity to test the SeaHunter’s handling characteristics. All SeaHunter models use a nonstepped hull design, and the 37 proved to be stable, fast and laid out as a great fishing platform. With a sharp 60-degree entry and 24.5-degree deadrise at the stern, the hull is a true deep-V, offering a smooth ride. SeaHunter incorporates large chines for greater lateral stability, and they do a good job of keeping water from going airborne, helping keep the boat dry.
SeaHunter uses high-end materials to build its boats with a technical slant, utilizing quality advanced composite components like 100 percent vinylester resin, Corecell PVC core throughout the boat, a full layer of Kevlar fabric in the hull layup, and a lot of lightweight and expensive carbon fiber to save weight. All deck hatches are vacuum bagged for a precise fit and air-free laminate, which makes for a super-lightweight yet super-strong hatch. They are easy to lift and require minimal-weight gas shocks to hold them open.
Advanced construction techniques on major components include vacuum bagging the entire hull with its multifabric and Kevlar laminate schedule, to insure a quality layup. All open areas and voids are filled with a closed-cell foam to create a virtually unsinkable hull, and help provide a quiet ride when combined with the core panels in the hull. SeaHunter utilizes 316 stainless-steel hardware and takes great pride in the wiring and rigging, with combed and labeled wires throughout for a neat and clean job that is easily serviced.
All the way forward, two fully lined, large anchor lockers with two doors come hinged on the centerline and offer excellent access to ground tackle and a long shot of rode for deep-water anchoring and bottom fishing. She features nice wide gunwales, a recessed handrail and full coaming pads. The huge foredeck provides plenty of space for fishing and carrying gear. In the deck on the centerline, forward of the console, a large bin provides massive storage capacity. Slightly aft of the large bin lies an in-deck livewell or additional storage compartment, and two more in-deck storage/fish boxes are found alongside the console.
The ergonomically designed console has a forward seat with a cooler beneath it. Access to the step-in head compartment is on the port side, and that space has a completely finished interior with storage bins, access to the backside of the electronics, gauges and helm equipment as well as battery switches and rod holders. The 37 comes with either a manual or electric head, both options. There are vertical rod holders on both sides of the console, a great and necessary fishing feature, even with the port side door.
The helm is well thought out with a center-mounted wheel and ample room for the control binnacle, drink holders, and a glove box. The 37 has a large recessed dash with a lift-up Plexiglas panel to protect the two big display screens owners will surely install, and the Mercury Smartcraft user interface. Everything is within arm’s reach of the helmsman, making it easy to run and fish the boat.
Our test boat had an optional Key West-style T-top with an upper helm and four aft-mounted rod holders, two side-mounted kingfish rod holders and Rupp Top Gun outriggers. She can be outfitted with an optional leaning post with six rod holders and either a tackle center or a 50- or 100-gallon livewell underneath. Aft of the leaning post, there’s a large and deep in-deck storage/fish box, and farther aft yet lies a large access hatch that opens to the lazarette, where you’ll find the livewell sump box with multiple pumps to feed the various wells throughout the boat, plus bilge pumps, fuel filters and the like.
Two 53-gallon corner livewells sit in the transom bulkhead for easy access when kite or bottom fishing. There are also five vertical rod holders, plus freshwater and saltwater washdowns. I like all the rod storage, which allows you to carry enough rods to change up during the day without rerigging.
The 37 is a good-running boat with a time-proven deep-V formula that is predictable and comfortable. She has a fair bit of bow lift on acceleration, even without the aft livewells full, but she comes over and planes at a relatively low rpm. When I pushed the throttles to the pins, though, she answered the call and hit nearly 68 mph with three-quarters fuel, four people and a day’s worth of fishing gear. It was too calm to really test her rough-water handling, but she was smooth, quiet on entry and dry in the little chop we did find. She trolled and drifted nicely as well.
There are many great, large center consoles on the market today. The SeaHunter 37 ranks as one of them and can be highly customized to your liking and fishing style. With the new 37, SeaHunter has proved that the company is here to stay — it builds a good-running and nice-looking fish boat that also exhibits fine-quality craftsmanship.
Transom deadrise……24.5 degrees
Dry weight……7,000 lbs.
Rigged weight……14,000 lbs.
Fuel capacity (std.)……410 gals.
Base price……$241,751 w/triple 300 Verados
SeaHunter Boats: 305-984-3000 • www.seahunterboats.com_