As a fish-head I tend to like simple, no-frills, Spartan center console boats that are focused on fishing, fishing, and more fishing. But every now and again you run across a feature on a boat that has nothing to do with fishing, but still makes you say “wow, that’s cool.” Case in point: the transom of the Robalo 317 DC.

The transom of this boat is actually a big seat with a double-backrest in the middle, so you can sit facing either fore or aft. Press a button in the cockpit, and the backrest splits. The forward half lowers into the cockpit, the aft half lowers toward the swim platform, and when they stop moving you have a massive sunpad. Will this thing help you catch more fish? Of course not. But, is it an uber-cool seat/sunpad? Aw, heck yeah.

Okay, enough about the seating wow-factor – let’s talk fishing. Like most dual console fishing boats the 317’s main trade-off lays in the lack of 360-degree fishability as compared to a center console, and extra seating where you might prefer open deck space. In this case, the extra seating (an L-lounge aft of the passenger’s seat and a wet bar and seat behind the helm) isn’t really a big deal, simply because this is a large boat for the genre. And while the top’s pipework will prevent you from working a rod forward with a hot fish on the line, it also supports four rocket launchers. There’s a 25-gallon livewell in the transom, four flush-mount rodholders in the gunales, fresh and raw water washdowns, a removable 36-quart cooler, and a fishbox under that tricked-out transom lounge.

robalo 317 dual console running
The Robalo 317 DC has a slew of features, for both fishing and family fun.

The biggest fishability perk on this boat as compared to other DCs, however, has little to do with fishing features and everything to do with console design. Virtually all DCs have stuff like livewells and fishboxes, but what they don’t have is enough deck space in the bow for more than one angler. The 317 DC does, and the reason is found when you swing open the passenger’s console door. Rather than the expected head compartment, you’ll find a mini-cabin with a berth. The head compartment is actually located in the helm console, and it’s accessed by swinging open the front of the console from the bow compartment. That leaves not only the center of the bow open with fishable deck space, but also a large portion of the starboard side.

Doesn’t that cut into bow seating capacity? Not really. There’s a forward-facing seat built into the front of the console access door, and the port side seat wraps around. So you still have two forward-facing seating positions plus an aft-facing one in the center.

When we checked out the 317 DC it was locked in tight at the Annapolis Boat Show, so we couldn’t check out performance first-hand. However, Yamaha’s tested this boat and we’ve always found their numbers exceedingly reliable. And they say that with the twin Yamaha F300 V-6 outboards on the transom, this boat cruises at a spiffy 42-mph (turning 4500 rpm), and tops out at an eye-watering 54.4-mph. Whether you’re running for the fishing grounds or just giving the kids a thrill ride, those are pretty awesome numbers.

Will the Robalo 317 DC be the choice of a die-hard angler, for a dedicated fishboat? Of course not. But, will it provide everything a fisherman needs, including the means to treat the entire crew to family days on the water? You bet. It’s also got the beef to take you wherever you want to go, be it the Hot Dog to chunk for tuna or the Target Ship to hunt for cobia. Just be careful not to get too much fish blood on that aft sunpad, while you’re at it.

Robalo R317 DC Specifications

LOA – 31’0”

Beam – 10’6”

Displacement – 9100 lbs.

Draft (hull) – 1’9”

Transom Deadrise – 21 degrees

Fuel Capacity – 260 gal.

Max. Power – 700 hp

Area Dealers – Waterfront Marine, Edgewater MD, (443) 949-9041