How to Choose the Best Fishing Boats for the Money

By Debbie Hanson

Feb 23, 2020

How to choose best fishing boats for the money, tips to consider when choosing freshwater fishing boats, saltwater fishing boats, aluminum fishing boats

When you're ready to take the exciting step toward boat ownership, you might be wondering about the best fishing boats for the money. Fishing boats are specifically designed with features like rod holders, livewells, locking storage compartments, and corrosion-resistant parts.

If you want to narrow down the best boats for the money, take the following tips into account.

Look for family-friendly features.

Is there enough comfortable and safe seating given the number of people you plan to take fishing? Are there enough built-in rod holders? The best fishing boats for one family may not be the best for another; it depends on the type of fishing you plan to do and where you plan to do it. For a comfortable family fishing experience on a calm nearby lake, a pontoon fishing boat might be the best option. However, if you want to fish saltwater tournaments or larger waterways, a fiberglass center-console could be your best choice.

Learn how much different saltwater fishing boats and freshwater fishing boats draft.

Draft is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull -- this determines the minimum depth of water a boat can safely navigate. By learning more about the drafts on various boat models, you'll be able to make a smart decision on a boat has a shallow enough draft to fish in local back bays or your favorite bass fishing spots.

Read boat reviews and attend boat shows

To get useful information as well as feedback when it comes time to choose your boat. Reviews can help by giving you an idea about what current boat owners are saying about the advantages and disadvantages that come with specific fishing boat models.

Learn about the materials that different types of boats are made from.

For example, aluminum fishing boats can be a good choice for fishing freshwater lakes, but fiberglass boats are best for saltwater fishing environments. The best boats for the money are going to be boats that are made for the waters you fish, and have a good warranty program. If you are considering a used fishing boat to stay within a certain budget range, be sure to ask about access to the previous owner's maintenance records.

Find a local charter guide or boating professional and ask for recommendations or advice.

If you are just learning how to boat, professional anglers and boaters can offer great first-hand advice on the best features, hull designs, and models for the type of fishing you plan to do.

The bottom line is that the best fishing boats for the money are going to be those that are made for the types of waterways you plan to fish, as well as those made with qualify materials and expert craftsmanship.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.