When it comes to center console fishing boats, many are vanilla in flavor. They look the same, they have the same features, and there's little to set them apart from the crowd. Not so, with the 2016 Sportsman Open 312. We took one for a ride at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, and discovered a number of unexpected features, design tweaks, and accouterments that make this boat one of a kind.


Now, that unusual forward seating, the electric-actuated table, dive door, and other goodies are eye-openers, for sure. But what we couldn't show you on video was the history behind this boat's development—and it offers a lot of insight as to how Sportsman boats have managed to break onto the scene and become serious competitors in the marketplace in three short years.

Sportsman was started in 2012 by Tommy Hancock and Dale Martin. Hancock was one of the original founders of Sea Pro Boats. Martin was a co-founder of Key West Boats. Between the two of them they had some serious boat-building knowledge, and the former competitors teamed up to create Sportsman.

What's coming next from this company? They haven't yet announced their plans for next year, but one thing's for sure: at the rate they've rolled out new models and considering the quick success they've had since opening their doors, there will be some new and interesting Sportsman fishing boats to check out soon. We'll let you know about them, and in the meantime, for more information visit Sportsman.

Or, if this model looks like the right one for you, check out some Sportsman Open 312 listings right now.

Written by: Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld, boats.com, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.