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Need opinions on the 31 Fisharound. Looking to buy a slightly used one. Has twin 250 Yamahas. Handling, ride, etc.
 

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Its a contender.. Not much to say about them.. solid ride, solid build.. all you got to worry about is the motors! everything else is just perfect!
 

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bigbobber,
since this is the first I have noticed you, I would like to say wlecome aboard the Offshore Forum.

I insure more than a few of these boats, and I have to tell you, I really
enjoy fishing on the 31' Contender.

If your not a speed freak, 500HP w/ Yami's is good, the one I went out on had the 275 Mercs.

One I recently insured, the owner bought the 350 Yamaha's
and I had to overcome issues related to the top end speed of the vessel to place the insurance ( rated to 68MPH)

Here is the fishing report I made last September from a trip on 31 Contender
http://www.thebassbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=111678&highlight=contender+Captn

Captn Joe - Offshore Forum Moderator
 

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Not sure how my I can help you with what you already know or have read. I hope this is not too much. If you would like to speak to any of the owners direct and get thier feel for it I can hook you up with a couple of the owners probably fish and see for yourself.

Just a little about me. I have been working with Contender Boats, Coty Marine and the previous dealers for quite a few years now. I work for Coty Marine and also fish full time 20 plus tourneys a year with and for the Contender factory boat here in the NE

We fish a 36 Fisharound with Trip 250's and I love the boat to death. It has been awesome for everything that we have done with her offshore to inshore across the board.

31FA is its kid brother in a sense and the boat performs great.

The ride and handling is great. The flush deck the enclosure the whole nine yards is just comfy. Our cabin is used for storage and I think someone sleep in it once or twice at a tournament or two with the heat and ac it worked out great for them. Just not for me;)

We made a couple conversions on ours. We built in a tackle center rigging tray in the back of the helm seat pod and removed the back rest cushion. We also removed the tackle tray on the outside and put a knife holder and other things in instead. If you need pictures let me know.

The boats are pretty simple all your electrical,batteries, generator, the whole nine yards are located in a safe dry area so premature failure is really out of the question. The mechanical locker/bilge access houses all the items that can get salt water on them and continue to work properly. Some manufacturers mount battery chargers and crap like that in a wet bilge.

I have had no performance issues with the boats at all.

Contender's fishboxes are insulated fully, they drill a hole in the box and inject it full of foam insulation and patch it up nicely and neatly so you will never see it.

If you live bait fish Contender's livewells are pressurized at all times while underway and at lay. They work differently than most manufacturers but they are the best at the end of the day for keeping live bait. I leave spot and mullet in the boat bait tanks sometimes and they keep longer than I would ever expect. Each well is individually plumbed sometimes with a back up pump in line and depending on the initial buyer the pumps can be 800gph or up.

With any and all Contender boats they are meant to run hard and fast. Meaning if a little bumpy and uncomfortable or even a little spray bump the throttles up and run her a little harder and she will smooth out unless its one of those days where the weather, wind and sea's just suck and no matter what you do unless in a troth it sucks. The boats run great in big **** in the troth too if you can take the seas at that angle.

Our 36 has ran impressively in all conditions and the apples are not far from the tree with all thier boats.

To me it runs just a great as a center console with a lot of creature comforts. Just remember you do have a cabin and there is only so much abuse a refrigerator, microwave and tv will hold up with screws, silicone and all the frills. I am not say the boat is going to eventually fall apart but within weeks of getting the 36 we ripped the TV off the wall, running her too hard. Thinking yeah the boat will eat it up and it did but what we forgot about was the stuff that is mounted to the wall in the cabin. :eek:

With centers and Yami's you can prop walk them on top of the water till you hearts last desire but with the Fisharounds every time you let those motors bark out of the water and re-enter its a shock to anything. She will do it and it will be comfortable at most times but that is when we break frills in the cabin. All the newer yamaha power has been flawless and we had 573 hours on the 36 before the last trip in Jan 08 over a year and a half time

The only complaint that I get is the range, not performance or burn. It only seems to be an issue with a few select guys that run hard all the way out, troll and run all over gods creation, and I mean all over. The boat holds a 185 gallons of fuel and for most that is enough.

With any of the new 31fa's we have added a nice buffer and added extra fuel in the builds and we have never done that prior to late 07/08 its not much but 30-50 gallons goes a ways for those that use it.

With the 36 we burn anywhere from 175 to 253 gallons of fuel with various offshore trips or tournaments,which is not a problem for us since we hold 400 gals. 36FA Triple 250 4/S 127 miles out of Cape May outside of the Balti troll back inside the Baltimore, overnight, AM troll and back 127 plus to Ocean City and back to Cape May we burned 253 best burn 1.3 and as low as .8 wide open but normally 1.0-1.1 at majority of the speeds. ( I will ask one of the guys to post up thier burns on the 31fa, I have only been on the boat a few times)

Ok now that I wrote a book I hope this helps you. There is only a few 31fa's in this area with F-250's on the back and 05 or newer you can't go wrong.

If you need anything or have any questions feel free to post up or give a shout. If the boat is semi local or in a few select area's with the color scheme I can tell you how well it has been cared for etc.

Best of luck with your decisions and future new ride! Hopefully a future congrats! ;)
 

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Finally got enough time to answer the question... I run one... A very slick sick sexy machine sums her up. We're running 250 four strokes and she's comfortable cruise at 32 knots. I have seen 43knots in the corner. Like a lot of Contenders she rides better the faster you go and the economy stays goodand flat to about 37 knots.
Being 31 gives you a lot of boat to break em down. Also has her limitations wanting to hop in a head sea and a touch wet in a following sea. That can be remedied by playin with the trim.
We just laid 1000 nautical miles under her last week in the tourney and that was in some rough stuff. Broke two plastic clips and loosened two screws through the whole boat in all that beating. We ran 70-75 miles each way and fished eight hours all on about 150 gallons so that would be comparable to what she'll burn for a canyon run... She holds 245...
Cabin is cozy but we use it more for storage...We have a/c but have never used it...
Flush deck makes it nice to work a fish to the front and run it down. Drifts either side to or stern to if you work the wheel. Makes it nice for getting broader spreads out for mako, swords or fluke if you prefer...
 

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If your the same bigbobber that I think you are - a contender 31 fisharound would look great in a slip fight next to a 33' Bertram SF:D.

If your not - then you have no idea what Im talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sean Manni said:
If your the same bigbobber that I think you are - a contender 31 fisharound would look great in a slip fight next to a 33' Bertram SF:D.

If your not - then you have no idea what Im talking about.
Yea Sean, I'm the that Big Bobber next to you. (The same guy who retrieved the anchor that Denise didn't know was ours). If I can get what I want for the Whaler, we'll be in a Contender 31FA sometime this year...I'm trying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the reply, Compleat. We'd also use the cabin for storage. Don't sleep on the 305 Conquest. Of course when is there time to sleep, when fishing is the primary reason to have a boat? Haven't heard anything bad about the Contenders. One of the ones I am looking at has an upper station. You think it would be a little pitchy given the relatively narrow hull?
 

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bigbobber said:
Thanks for the reply, Compleat. We'd also use the cabin for storage. Don't sleep on the 305 Conquest. Of course when is there time to sleep, when fishing is the primary reason to have a boat? Haven't heard anything bad about the Contenders. One of the ones I am looking at has an upper station. You think it would be a little pitchy given the relatively narrow hull?
I run a 35 once in a while that has a full tower. At speed its... well.... exhilerating...
I would think for trolling she'd be good. Would not want to drift up there... The roll motion on these and all go fasts is quick and sharp where ion deck you really dont feel it at all. Up top though ... I don't know...
 

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Then an upper station would be fine... I'd kinda like one just to get away from the crowd...:)
 

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bigbobber said:
Yea Sean, I'm the that Big Bobber next to you. (The same guy who retrieved the anchor that Denise didn't know was ours). If I can get what I want for the Whaler, we'll be in a Contender 31FA sometime this year...I'm trying.



I figured there wasnt more than 1 bigbobber - at lest not locally:D
I like your other boat also so, whatever happens - you'll be in a good boat! Will it be the Bigbobber 2 ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
No, there's only one Big Bobber. Yea, the whaler I have is fine. We just don't utilize the cabin, as we don't sleep on it, and it isn't as fishable as the Contender 31FA would be. Should be going in the water by mid April, one or the other. See ya then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yea, that's where the captain should be. Just get em on the fish and manuever the boat. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully, there'll be a Contender in Bree-Zee-Lee G Dock this spring. Thanks again for your imput. Big Bobber---out.
 
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