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Updated on April 8, 2021

Chosing the perfect fishing boat

By Terri Mackinnon

How does one person make such a major decision to figure out what kind of boat that would actually fit their family’s needs? Although boating opens up the opportunity for families to a new world of recreational activities it is a major investment and a decision that is as important to families as it was when they purchased their car or home. Giving an angler a boat is like giving the golfer the golf cart. Yes he doesn’t need it, but it’s nice to have and you sure can cover a lot of ground much quicker.

But, as with any major investment, you need to still be educated and the more education the better the student, the better the student the better the pocketbook for all of the fishing equipment that you would like to have on the fishing boat.

So with that said let’s try and figure out what your possible needs would be:

  1. Who are you going fishing with? If it’s just you and your fishing buddy, you might want a specialized boat that’s dialed into the fishing you like most; a three-person skiff, for example. If you envision evening cruises around the lake with the neighbors, or pulling the kids on a tube, you’ll want a larger recreational boat. You never want to overload a boat, so it’s better to guess high in this regard. It’s usually smarter to fish out of a recreational boat than it is to make that specialized fishing boat do things it really wasn’t designed to do.
  2. What type of fish species do you like to catch most often?

· Walleye boats are usually found to be used around the larger lakes that can be deep and wavy, so they tend to have higher stable sided hulls and deeper V hulls.

· Saltwater flats for redfish are shallow skinny draft so that they can go into very shallow water.

· Bass boats tend to have larger engines fast and flat large decks to offer the angler a platform to be able to manipulate around to land the fish. Majority also contain trolling engines. Good for a variety of water environments.

· Multi Family Fishing - Pontoon Boats have some fishing platforms and are enjoyed by those that want family to also be able to use the boats at the same time. A leisure vehicle also used for fishing.

3. Where are you actually planning on fishing? If you are going to be doing 99 percent of your fishing on your home cottage lake or river, get a boat that works best for that water, and for the fish species that live there. There is no sense thinking you might travel around with the boat and start visiting, enjoy your home lake first and then your next boat after you have conquered your own lake can be for exploring how to back you boat up and launch it on a public ramp. (Most boaters will understand, sometimes it takes a lot of practice before this one is perfect.) Also ask your friends and neighbors on the lake what they prefer and why.

  1. The gear you fish also dictates the boat. Downriggers are put onto deeper hull boats that are used by someone that likes to troll for fish like lake trout in deep waters. Using a variety of deep diving lures, baits they are capable of catching the really large species of fish. The fly fisher needs flats for the open space at the bow of the boat. That way the anglers can stand and cast and they won’t have to worry about seating, latches or cleats. Bass anglers want casting platforms and they want boats that care able to equip with a trolling motor/GPS and if they were to be fishing in a tournaments then it would be a big benefit of having a live well on the boat. Put on a fast engine and they are ready to go.
  2. What type of engine do you really need? All engines-inboards, outboards, two-strokes, four-strokes have their own advantages by way of power, speed, fuel efficiency, ease of maintenance, Each engine should be matched to your boats specs as closely as possible. (There are boating ministry regulations). DO NOT Overpower your boat.


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