There are many types of fishing boats for sale and finding the best one for you, personally, can be a long process. That’s why we created this Fishing Boats Guide – to help you narrow down the choices and make a smart pick. Guide for Aceboater NY exam
Types of Fishing Boats
Different types of fishing boats range from small Jon boats used in ponds and inland lakes, to big offshore sport fishing boats that can venture many miles off the coast, relatively far from land. Which of these types of fishing boats is ideal for your needs depends entirely on the types of waters you fish in, the marine species you’ll be targeting, and of course your budget.
Breaking the field down into freshwater fishing boats and saltwater fishing boats, the different basic popular types of fishing boats include the following:
Freshwater Fishing Boats
Freshwater fishing boats, as the name implies, are vessels design specifically for fishing in fresh water only, as opposed salt water. Freshwater fishing boats tend to be lighter weight, have less freeboard (i.e. shorter height), a slim profile and shallower drafts than saltwater fishing boats. Additionally, many freshwater watercraft may be equipped with heavy duty carpeting and other materials that may be prone to faster deterioration in salt water.
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Aluminum Fishing Boats
Relatively small and light-weight, aluminum fishing boats are often used on ponds, lakes and rivers. They’re inexpensive, easy to tow on a trailer, and can be found in different designs and layouts intended to pursue specific fisheries.
Bass boats are one of the most popular types of freshwater fishing boats on the water – no surprise there since bass are the most popular freshwater fish species among anglers. Since they’re so incredibly popular, we’ll dig a little deeper into angler boats designed specifically for bass fishing. Most importantly, any boat shopper should understand that the best bass boats are highly-specialized bass fishing machines.
The best bass fishing boat is going to have lots of power so you can beat competitors to the hotspots; it will be low-slung so you can swing those bass right over the gunwales or reach down and grab them by the lip; and it’s designed for a pair of anglers because competitive bass anglers fish in pairs, so even on many large models three’s a crowd.
When it comes to targeting largemouth bass, period, nothing can compete with a dedicated bass boat. However, bass boats aren’t always the best choice for those who like to fish with a large group of friends, hit the lake one day and go to a saltwater bay the next, or use the boat to tow the kids on wakeboards and water-toys.
If you’ve decided a bass boat is the right boat for you, there are still plenty of decisions to make. They come in both fiberglass and aluminum models, range in size from 16 to over 20 feet in length and can be found more or less comprehensively equipped with a range of features like electronics, livewells, and electric trolling motors.
The term “Jon boats” is sort of a catch-all name used to describe most small, open, simple, flat-bottom boats. These are very versatile and utilitarian. They’re also among the least expensive fishing boats in existence, so naturally, they’re quite popular as well.
Pontoon Boats Design For Fishing
You can find a number of pontoon boats that have purpose-built and designed from the bottom up to be used specifically for fishing. Fishing pontoon boats are a great platform for more casual anglers who want to relax as they crank on a reel. They offer stable casting platforms and plenty of onboard storage for tackle and rods, as well as ample room for large livewells and insulated fish boxes. Fishing pontoon boats have advanced greatly in their capability and onboard features over the past decade.
Of course, there are many other sub-categories and niche-oriented freshwater fishing boats. There are fish-and-skis made for people who enjoy water sports as much as fishing. There are walleye boats made specifically for targeting that species, and there are even some boats designed just to target panfish like crappie. It’s important to understand that as fishing boat designs become more and more specific to any one type of fishing, they become less and less versatile. Some people’s fishing interests are very targeted, and for them, a specialized boat makes sense. But if you want a boat appropriate for numerous different activities, be careful not to choose one that’s so focused on a specific species or style of fishing that you can’t use it for others.
Saltwater Fishing Boats
Saltwater fishing boats are built to withstand harsh ocean conditions and the corrosive nature of salt water. Generally, they are designed with increased stability, strength and durability than freshwater fishing boats, although they vary in size and hull shape.
Center Console Fishing Boats
Center console boats have a steering station in the middle of the boat, and an open deck all around. Small ones are often used for fishing on protected bays, larger ones regularly venture into the ocean, and many people feel they’re the best type of inshore fishing boat around.
Convertible Boats (And Convertible Sportfish Yachts)
Convertibles are large fishing boats usually intended for offshore or open-water use. They have a flying bridge with a steering station, which is often enclosed by removable clear-canvass or Isinglass curtains (hence their name).
Dual console boats, often simply called “DCs,” have a steering station located on a starboard-side console and a passenger’s seat located behind a port-side console (i.e. two consoles). Although not designed at the outset for fishing, these kind of family-style boats can actually be set up for fishing as well, while providing some more comfort for those onboard who may not be throwing lines. This saltwater fishing boat is a popular choice for recreational cruisers and family anglers because the cockpit offers an additional console for storage (or a head), a comfortable “automotive-style” passenger seat to the port side of the driver and a dedicated bow seating area in front of the console. This is also a good cockpit layout and design for watersports boats, ski and wakeboarding boats, swimming, and other family-oriented activities.