Contender 26 Bay: 2023 Boat Buyers Guide

The 26 Bay mixes performance with fishability.

Contender 26 Bay near shore
The 26 Bay can handle a single outboard motor of up to 400 hp. Courtesy Contender Boats

Founded in 1984, Contender is a recognized leader in building carefully engineered and meticulously handcrafted boats from 24 to 44 feet long, with custom choices in details from engine power to upholstery, all to deliver the performance, convenience and comfort that anglers expect.

More tournaments are won on Contenders, the company says, than any other boat brand. 

Contender 26 Bay

The new Contender 26 Bay builds upon the legacy and running surface of Contender’s popular 25 Bay, adding an integrated transom bustle, new console design, and expanded fishability. The transom bustle helps extend the setback for a single outboard motor of up to 400 hp.

Among the 26 Bay’s other credits are improved bilge access; increased storage, fuel and water capacity; improved rod storage; wider jump and forward seating; and better console area ergonomics—making it easier to move about the fish, fish-on or not. That console’s electronics panel can accommodate a 22-inch screen or a pair of 16-inchers, and speaker mounting surfaces are improved. 

The console front seat, which contains a 70-quart cooler, is wrapped by additional seating, housing three sealed storage compartments. Forward is yet another 125 gallons of dry storage. The deck contains a 70-gallon insulated fish box. The 26 Bay also boasts a standard 40-gallon livewell and 12-gallon baitwell. 

Options include custom electronics packages, underwater and undergunwale lighting, hard and soft T-tops, stand-through second station, shallow-water anchors, trolling motor with lithium battery, casting platforms, and custom seating and leaning posts.

Lenco trim tabs fine-tune the ride. With a 15.5-degree deadrise and 12-inch draft, the 26 Bay is at home in bays, the backcountry or blue water.

Manufacturer’s Remark

The 26 Bay displays Contender’s continued dedication to innovation through fishability and performance.

Performance Data

  • Test Power: Yamaha 300
  • Test Props: 21 Pitch SWS II prop
  • Test Load: Three people, 50 gal. fuel 
  • Test Speed: 61.4 mph at 5,800 rpm 
  • Max Range: 360 miles (90 percent of 100 gal fuel capacity at 4.0 mpg, 31 mph, 3,000 RPM)


Fuel Capacity:100 gal.
Dry Weight:4,200 lb. with power
Max HP:400

Editor Says

Contender’s new 26 Bay improves helm ergonomics expanding space for crew and electronics. The integrated transom bustle improves performance with extra setback for single ­outboards up 400 hp. -Jim Hendricks, Staff Editor, Boating and Fishing Group

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