BlogJuly 2022

What are the Best Fishing Boats?

What are the Best Fishing Boats?

By Debbie Hanson

Jul 06, 2022

What are the best fishing boats for different waterways, type of fishing you do, number of people aboard, watersports, overview of fishing boat types.

If you’re considering a new boat, it certainly makes sense to ask a few experienced boaters for advice. However, the answer to the question “what are the best fishing boats?” will always depend on your personal needs and budget. In other words, the best fishing boat for someone else might not be the best for you.

When looking for a new fishing boat, it’s important to think about where you plan on fishing, how many people you’ll have aboard, your level of boating experience, and which models have the features you’re looking for.

Best Fishing Boat Brands

Some boat manufacturers may have longer warranty periods or have a reputation for quality workmanship. Check the online reviews for different brands, read boating magazines that compare similar boat models, and make plans to attend local boat shows so that you can “sea trial” or test drive the fishing boats you are considering.


Best Fishing Pontoon Boat

When it comes to stability and comfort, fishing pontoons rank high. Look for models that have fishing stations (including a live well, rod holders, drink holders, tackle storage compartments, and rod storage racks). Pedestal-mount fishing seats that swivel and a Bimini top are two other key features that will help keep you comfortable and shaded while casting. Four, five or six anglers can often fish from a pontoon (depending on the size).


Best Small Fishing Boats

Maybe you live on a lake and want to know, what are the best boats for fishing small, inland waters? Jon boats, skiffs, aluminum fishing boats, and inflatable fishing boats are all good examples of boats that are ideal for small inland lakes. These types of fishing boats are also good choices for first-time boat owners because they are simple to trailer, launch, and dock when compared with larger fishing boats. Small fishing boats are typically under 20 feet in length and designed for one to three anglers (always check the weight capacity).


Best Offshore Fishing Boats

The most popular boat models for offshore fishing include center consoles, sportfishing yachts, and walkarounds. Each of these types of offshore fishing boats are designed with added fuel capacity and power for long runs, hull designs that can handle rough offshore seas, bait rigging stations, rod holders, multiple live wells, and built-in tackleboxes. Offshore fishing boats are generally over 25 feet in length (sizes and maximum number of passengers can range considerably).


Best Saltwater Fishing Boats for Bays

Bay boats are often considered one of the most versatile types of saltwater fishing boats because they offer access to both inshore and nearshore waters. While bay boats don’t typically offer the stealthy approach or shallow draft that a smaller backcountry skiff will, they provide a safe and smooth ride to deeper waters. Features can include live wells, trolling motors, rod holders, and fish boxes. Most bay boats are between 20 to 25 feet in length and have enough deck space for four anglers.


Best Fish and Ski Boats

Most fish-and-ski boats are designed as either deck boats with fishing features or like all-purpose fishing boats with added features like ski pylons for family-oriented watersports (tubing, wakeboarding, and skiing). These types of boats generally range in size from about 15 to 22 feet and hold up to five passengers at maximum.

What are the best boats for fishing? Now you understand that any answers to this question will be subjective. Carefully consider which boats, features, and options make the most sense for the waterways you plan to navigate and type of fishing you plan to do.

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.