For years we have all drooled over a beautiful 70-foot sports fisher with a massively impressive tower sticking 40 feet into the air. Then we would think to ourselves, man, that sure would be nice!
Problem is, it just wasn’t possible 20-30 years ago. But within those years, with the advancements of outboards and technology. We see center consoles with towers everywhere!
Here Is Everything You Need To Know About Center Console Towers!
- Different Kinds & Styles of Towers
- Advantages of Towers
- Disadvantages of Towers
- Full Towers
- Half Towers
- No Towers
- Crows Nests or Look-Outs
With years of experience out on the water, here is a list of what we think are the most important things to think about and consider when talking about center console towers!
1.) Different Kinds & Styles of Center Console Towers
To some, you might not see that much of a difference between towers.
When truly there are quite a few different variables when it comes to a center console tower.
I would say that there are really only three kinds of towers. Those being, a full tower, a half tower, and a crows nest or look-out.
We will break down the difference between each of these later on in the article. First, I want to talk about the different styles that you can find in towers.
From the style in the tubing, aluminum, powder coated or built into the T-top.
The style is different from the kind because this has to deal with the functionality of the tower. Towers a super sweet. However, if it’s a nightmare to get up into it, then it takes away from its pizzazz.
The manner in which you enter into the tower has all kinds of options and ways to customize the tower.
You can go in from the front of the console, you can go in from the back, the gunwale or side of the console. Or, climb straight up through the middle of the console.
It’s super important to think about the climbing system, in which you access a tower, to make the functionality and appeal of the tower that much better. Especially as time goes on and we get older.
Kind of hard to climb into a tower if your knees don’t bend.
Then there is the next step of getting out of the tower. Not to mention doing all this as the boat is rocking back and forth in just a light chop or 4′ seas!
2.) Advantages of Having a Tower
Don’t let this detour you from the thought of a tower though. Towers have huge advantages when it comes to all kinds of water activities, and not just fishing.
We will start with the fishing advantages of a tower first since they are the most common.
Having a tower when trolling comes in handy when it gets weedy out. That extra distance off of the water gives you a better line of sight in order to see upcoming weed lines and the formation of the line.
This allows you to steer the boat around the line and ride just close enough to pull the fish from off the line.
Then also, just far enough off of the line that you aren’t getting the fishing lines caught up on grass.
Causing you to have to keep reeling them in and cleaning off the rigs, then sending them back out.
If you have ever spent some time trolling, then you know how much of a mess it can be when people cross lines or you continue snagging grass patches. It gets frustrating and tiresome in a hurry!
The tower is also extremely helpful when you get into a mess of fish as well. That distance allows you to see what kind of fish it is, and what’s going on with it.
You can see if you’ve picked up a school of fish and where the school is moving so you can direct others where to cast and what to do.
You can also see other problems, like sharks, coming for your fish.
The tower’s advantage of the view is also huge when it comes to finding stuff floating in the water, or dolphin, turtles, manatees, or anything else that you find out in the ocean.
Having the tower comes into play when you are looking for lobster holes, diving on reefs, or spotting shoals and shallow patches.
There are many more advantages of having a tower but we will move onto the disadvantages for now, or else we will be here all day.
3.) Disadvantages of Having a Tower
With all of the advantages of the tower, there comes the other side of the coin. The disadvantages.
If you trailer your boat, unless it has a half tower, you are super limited because of bridges and roads.
You can’t pull a tower boat under the house or into the garage. Unless your garage is a barn with a 20′ door.
There are also issues with getting under bridges once you are out on the water too.
For a lot of places, you have to get under bridges to get out where you want to go or to get out of the canal where you keep your boat.
Having to drive all the way around an island to get to a place where you can safely make it under the bridge becomes something that you have to consider.
There is also the issue of weight and balance. For some boats that are already extremely tippy; adding a tower makes it top heavy, which can get pretty rough and even dangerous at times.
There is also the disadvantage of getting fish into the boat if the tower has to be supported at the gunwales.
This can become problematic when trying to gaff a fish at the back. If the fisherman has to move up the gunwale to allow the gaffer to get the fish in the back, it becomes tricky.
This can be a huge hassle if there is a giant pole attached to the gunwale blocking the fishers path!
That’s about it for the disadvantages though. If you can come up with anymore let us know in the comment section below!
4.) Full Towers
Full towers are exactly how the name describes them. A full tower where there is an entire platform to stand on. On top of or even raised up higher than the T-top.
These have full controls, gauges, GPS, Radars, radio controls, VHF control, and of course, cup holders.
Full towers are the towers that you see that rise up 20, 30, or even 40 feet into the air! These towers will only work if you aren’t concerned about bridges.
There is no trailering with a center console that has a full tower. These towers even have another T-Top to provide shade for the operator that is in it.
A lot of times you will see the undersides of the T-tops and towers painted black, or gel coated black. The black cuts down the glare and reflection of the sun from off the water.
If it is shiny white or aluminum you see a lot of glare which can affect the sight when looking for birds, weeds, or objects that are floating in the water.
Full towers give the overall best view vantage point out of all the kinds and styles of center console towers.
They stick the captain so far off the water he can see twice, even three times farther than if he were standing at the helm of the boat. Sitting only about 8 or 9 feet from the water line.
Most full towers have a laddering system from inside of the boat behind the leaning post on either the right, left or both sides. That is for the larger towers that are built up off of the T-top.
The most common though, for 28-36 foot boats are just a platform that is built on top of the t-top.
They have all of the controls and are usually accessed from the side of the console. On one side of the console, there is usually a small ladder system with a hole in the T-top to climb through.
5.) Half Towers
The counter side to the full tower, for those concerned about the bridges and trailering the boat, is the half tower. Down here some like to call them key west towers.
These are fairly newer towers that were never that common, but within the last decade have become a widely sought after alternative for a tower.
These towers really only have one way of being installed.
The deal is that you stand on top of the center console and have a small cushion and even sometimes a backrest. With all of the controls for the engine in front of you.
This is such a great alternative to getting that extra couple of feet above the water line. Giving you that advantage when it comes to sight and seeing the weeds, objects, and bird spotting! Even eyeing down the fish you are on.
Having the ability to get under the bridges and still trailer the boat, make this type of tower a hit with a ton of fishers out there.
Depending on the size of the boat, it isn’t uncommon to see this type of a tower on small boats, 21, 23, and 25 footers.
It does make an amazing difference when fishing and driving from a higher point than what is conventionally been available.
6.) No Towers
With all of the advancements in marine engines, electronics, the reliability of outboards, and the lightweight aspects they bring; towers are now a huge part of the offshore and inshore boating scene.
There was such a long period of time where towers were not even an option for center consoles.
Unless you had the money to afford the huge yachts and sports fishers, tower’s were just not in the cards.
Thanks to all of these advancements to the industry; fly by wire rigging, power steering, and network connected electronics, those of us that can’t afford the large vessels, have the option to get into the fishing world utilizing a tower.
There are still a lot of people that don’t want a tower though!
As you can probably tell, I’m pretty partial to the tower and have trouble trying to find a reason that you wouldn’t want a tower.
None the less though, some people are not for the towers.
I believe that the mobility of the fisher is also a huge factor in the decision of not wanting a tower boat. Towers can become quite the hassle to climb up into.
Also, if you do a lot of your fishing by yourself, or with only one other person.
Then climbing up and down and in and out of the tower can just be a burden; instead of a secret weapon, when it comes to landing the fish you are shooting for.
Not to mention the expense of a tower. Don’t get me wrong; towers are super affordable, but depending on what you are trying to deck out up there, they can get super expensive, quickly!
Think about what you are doing. Doubling the entire control for the boat.
We are talking 2 helms, 2 steering wheels, extra hoses, extra control wires, 2 control boxes, 2 lanyards, start-stop buttons, and the list can go on and on if you want it to.
Not only that, but that is just twice the aluminum and T-top to maintain as well. If the aluminum is not properly cleaned and protected. It doesn’t take long to pit and corrode.
There is still another option though.
7.) The Crows Nests or Look-Outs
This is if you are looking to get that advantage point with the extra visibility but aren’t looking for the controls.
These can be either half or full tower styles. The only thing is no controls.
It is just a location where someone can go up and start looking for birds, weed lines, floating objects, or anything else they can see with the height advantage.
Basically, we are talking about a seat or something to lean against. Most of the time they are enclosures so that you won’t be thrown off the top of the T-top.
They are only giving you somewhere safe to look out from.
Another advantage to this is that since they are so basic and there is not much to it. Most of the time these are made to be collapsible or built on hinges where they can be leaned forward or backward.
Leaving you with that same advantage of being able to still go under bridges and trailer the boat.
This is also a super cheap option to gain that visibility and not endure near the cost of installing a conventional tower with the controls.
The disadvantage of this is that most of the time you need to have at least 3 people with you when you are fishing.
It can work with two. But again, without the controls, you are shouting down commands and what it is that you see.
Trying to give directions to the driver; while being mindful of the lines, and everything else that you need to be watching when you are trolling can be quite the challenge.
With the exception of that, this is a great option to consider if you are looking to add some oomph to your fishing game!
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