For many anglers it’s impossible to beat the tremendous fishability of a center console fishing boat. With the ability to follow a hooked fish 360 degrees around the boat and their legendary low maintenance, center consoles appeal to no-nonsense anglers who want to spend their free time fishing, not cleaning the boat.

But for many families a boat has to perform double duty, making versatility key. When it’s not out chasing trophy fish, today’s family boat has to be ready to tow the kids on a tube, pull a wakeboard or take the whole crew out for an evening cruise or a picnic to some distant island beach.

Drawing from its years of experience as a master builder of family-friendly deck boats and runabouts, Hartsville, South Carolina-based Stingray boats has introduced a pair of new center consoles for the 2017 model year with the all-new 186CC and 206CC.

Designed to blend the fishability of a center console with the versatility of the company’s popular deck boats, the new Stingray center consoles include design cues that add a lot of value. That’s particularly true in the case of the 186 CC, due to the greater challenge of blending all these features seamlessly into a smaller hull.

True to its fishing roots, the 186 CC boats plenty of secure rod and tackle storage.

True to its fishing roots, the 186 CC boasts plenty of secure rod and tackle storage.

Center consoles became the boat-of-choice among offshore anglers for their ability to run fast yet handle bigger waves, while maintaining a shallow draft and a low profile design to facilitate navigation in shallow waters. These at first seem like contradictory goals, and they could be were it not for the ingenious design of Stingray’s Z-Plane hull. The Z-Plane design rides on a series of fin-like surfaces incorporated into the lower hull structure. These “Z-planes” provide horizontal planing faces when the boat is at idle, helping it to rocket out of the hole quickly and smoothly once power is applied. With the boat up and running, the Z-planes continue to contribute to the driving experience by controlling spray and ensuring that the boat’s running surface passes through water that’s free of any bubbles or vortices that could reduce performance. The smooth flow of water generated by this design is said to also allow the propeller better bite, during both straight line speed and hard cornering manoeuvres.

The double-wide flip-flop helm seat conceals a massive 26-gallon live well in its base.

The double-wide flip-flop helm seat conceals a massive 26-gallon live well in its base.

Befitting a center console fishing boat, the 186 CC has all the amenities that serious anglers expect. The double-wide flip-flop helm seat conceals a massive 26-gallon live well in its base, while the boat’s clean dash design leaves plenty of room for aftermarket electronics – right up to a 10-inch multi-function display.

The massive raised bow deck offers more than enough space for two anglers to fish in comfort. There’s a plug-in for an electric trolling motor on the bow panel, and a huge amount of storage space beneath its deck.

The massive raised bow deck offers more than enough space for two anglers to fish in comfort. There’s a plug-in for an electric motor on the bow panel, and a huge amount of storage space beneath its deck.

Step around to the bow and you can’t help but notice the rod storage both in the gunnels and around the base of the console. The forward bench seat lifts to reveal an 18-gallon cooler that can be upgraded to a second live well. The walk-around access makes it easy for anglers to quickly move around the boat when fighting big fish. And the massive raised bow deck offers more than enough space for two anglers to fish in comfort. There’s a plug-in for an electric trolling motor on the bow panel, and a huge amount of storage space beneath its deck.

You’ll find an additional large, elevated casting space in the stern. Look closely and you’ll note that the corners flip up to reveal two concealed jump seats that begin to transform the 186 CC from tournament fishing boat to weekend family runabout. Along with the existing centerline seat, they greatly add to the boat’s overall utility.

The stern jump seats transform the 186 CC from tournament fishing boat to weekend family runabout. Along with the existing centerline seat, they greatly add to the boat’s overall utility.

The stern jump seats transform the 186 CC from tournament fishing boat to weekend family runabout. Along with the existing centerline seat, they greatly add to the boat’s overall utility.

There’s actually comfortable seating for seven people in the 186 CC, which reflects Stingray’s experience as a deck boat giant. Amenities like built-in beverage holders, cockpit coaming, and the extended rear swim platforms – complete with a three-step retractable boarding ladder on the starboard side – speak to this boat’s fun side. A Bimini top is another family boating essential.

With its Z-Plane hull design the Stingray 186 CC runs great with fuel-efficient outboards in the 115 horsepower range, making this boat not only less expensive to buy, but economical to operate as well.

Stingray 186 CC

Length: 19’ 1”
Beam: 7’ 6”
Dry weight: 2,300 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 34 gals.
Maximum power: 115 hp

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