You and your family are heading out early in the morning for a day of fishing in your brand new fishing boat. You hit that highway that leads to the lake, excited voices echoing throughout your SUV. Your wife and kids are just as delighted with the new boat as you are and are discussing the whopper they hope to catch. You arrive at the lake, launch the runabout that contains the entire family’s fishing gear and in no time at all, you are skimming across the water, every family member safely encased in a lifejacket. You just know that this is going to be a great family outing and everyone loves the new fishing boat.
A fishing boat can be anything between a canoe where you dangle basic bait over the side in a river or stream to a powerful cabin cruiser or yacht. Basically, all you need to get out onto the water is a vessel that is seaworthy. There are a large variety of fishing boats available on today’s market. You can buy them at boat shows, fishing shows or dealerships. Let’s look at some different types of fishing boats.
Freshwater Fishing Boats
If you enjoy fishing in freshwater rivers, lakes and streams, leave the big, powerful boats for someone else. Choose a fiberglass or aluminum boat that is lightweight and easy to transport. A bowrider, runabout, walleye boat or a boat with a small or dual console will meet all of your freshwater fishing needs. These boats are perfect for family outings.
Bass boats ride low in the water and are usually very colorful and extremely fast. They can be aluminum or fiberglass and most often they are equipped with platforms in both the bow and stern for easy casting. If you’ve always dreamed of owning the perfect bass boat, be sure to buy one that has a trolling motor mounted on the bow. These boats are mainly used for sport fishing and tournament fishing.
Offshore Saltwater Boats
If you enjoy heading out on the open sea for a day of saltwater fishing that includes huge fish and heavy tackle, you will need a heavy boat that is dependable and can be relied on in all situations and weather. Anything less than a cuddy cabin or center console that’s equipped with either twin or single outboard motors will not fit the bill. The high end of an offshore saltwater boat is a bluewater or convertible that comes complete with luxury quarters and elaborate salons. These boats should be equipped with inboard diesel engines that have maximum power.
Inshore Saltwater Boats
If you’re planning to fish for tarpin, bonefish, trout and snook or redfish on tropical flats, a light boat will take you a long way. This type of boat should always be less than a 25-footer and powered by a single outboard motor. The best type of vessel for inshore saltwater fishing is a basic bay boat or flat boat. Both types of boats offer a spacious deck for casting and float well in shallow water.
Float tubes are devices that allow fly anglers who don’t own a boat easy access to get out onto the water. They are excellent for fishing ponds, lakes and mountain streams. Essentially a float tube is a floatation device that is equipped with a seat. The angler sits in the seat while wearing fins and kicks his way around while partially submerged. Fly fishing from float tubes can be difficult, especially for those who are using them for the first time. It definitely takes time to hone your fly casting skills from a float tube.
There are two basic types of float tubes – traditional and pontoon. Traditional float tubes are usually round and have an opening in the front or middle. Basically, these are an inner tube with built-in features for fly fishing. These float tubes can take a lot of time to maneuver because they are round in shape and cause a lot of water resistance.
The newer pontoon float tubes are much easier to use. These are equipped with two pontoons, or air chambers, one on each side of the fisherman. Pontoon float tubes have less water resistance and offer far less drag than traditional ones because the pontoons are V-shaped and move through the water almost effortlessly.
If you are thinking of purchasing a fishing boat, shop around, talk to anglers who own their own boats and do your research to help you decide which type of boat you’d like to have. If you still can’t make a choice, talk to a boat fishing guide or the owner of a fishing charter service. They will be glad to give you tips on how to choose the perfect boat for you.