Offshore anglers can dial in a Contender to match their needs and tastes: The Homestead, Florida, company offers several models from 25 to 44 feet, for which a seemingly endless list of options is available.
Each boat is built-to-order for its owner, with choices available from power to fishing appointments to upholstery stitching.
Contender, having launched thousands of boats in its more than 35 years, builds boats on both stepped and deep-V hull designs.
Designed to reach bluewater fishing grounds swiftly, the 44ST is built from the same hull as the new-last-year 44FA (fish-around). But where the FA has more cabin than console, with berth, shower-equipped head, and galley, the ST opts for a simple but elegant step-in head, and more fishing space.
How that space is equipped is largely up to you: Contender lists more options than standard equipment.
The helm, accommodating a pair of 24-inch Garmin displays, is protected by a curved-glass windshield. The captain and two companions each have plush helm chairs. The tackle station aft of them is expansive, with room for a variety of tackle options.
Two clear-topped 55-gallon livewells in the transom will meet or exceed the needs of all but 4 percent of survey respondents; those 4-percenters will smile at the third, 125-gallon livewell within the aft cockpit deck. Nearby are two 110-gallon fish boxes.
Forward is another, 340-gallon fish box, plus 315 gallons of storage. A pair of 10-foot rod lockers protects gear. A T-top is standard; a tower and second station are optional.
Four standard gunwale-mounted cockpit rod holders meet the needs of 33 percent of our offshore CC survey respondents, while a stand-mounted aft rocket launcher, helm-flanking vertical racks and additional gunwale-mounted holders forward augment them.
A lounge forward of the console has storage beneath in three separate compartments. It rises hydraulically to access a large coffin box.
Bow gunwales are recessed for forward seating, maintaining maximum fishing space while providing the bow seating that 40 percent of survey respondents say is important to them.
The 44ST is powered by triple or quad Yamaha 425 XTO engines.
Survey Says: On Target
- Speed and range for offshore adventures
- Plethora of options to create semicustom boat
- Handles offshore conditions very well
- Contender boats are the best on the water
- Easy to handle and economical to run
- Performance through innovation
- Sea-tested, captain-approved
- “100 percent offshore machine!”
Fuel Capacity: 600 gal.
Dry Weight: 9,600 lb. plus power
Max HP: 2,000