If you are thinking about buying a boat, or just want to learn more about types of fishing boats that are best for different waterways, this beginner’s guide with basic descriptions might be helpful. Find out which fishing boat types are made for fishing inland lakes, saltwater bays, and deep offshore waters.
1. Fishing Kayak
For anglers who prefer to fish solo and want to access shallow or remote waters, a sit-on-top fishing kayak is among the most affordable types of small fishing boats. Today’s pedal drive fishing kayaks offer hands-free maneuverability and the power to cover a lot of water quickly.
2. Jon Boat
One of the most common small fishing boat types are Jon boats. Jon boats are flat-bottomed vessels (generally in the 10-to-20-foot range) that are used on calm inland waters such as rivers, ponds, creeks, and lakes. These types of aluminum fishing boats can be manually powered by oars and can be fitted with an outboard trolling motor.
3. Center Console Boat
Center console boats are types of boats for fishing that have a steering station on a console in the center of the boat, with open deck space or seating in the front and the back. Center consoles are trailerable, versatile, and are one of the most popular types of sport fishing boats.
4. Dual-Console Boat
As opposed to a center console boat, which has the helm at the center, a dual console has the helm along the right side, with another seat along the left and open space in between. Dual console boats are the best type of boat for fishing and tubing. They have seating in the front and the back, which makes them comfortable for family boating trips.
5. Walkaround Boat
A walkaround boat is type of fishing boat that can be used for freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, and day cruising. Walkarounds are generally between 18 feet to 30 feet in length, have a small cabin at the front of the boat, and have access all around the perimeter of the boat for reeling in fish or rigging dock lines.
6. Power Catamaran Boat
Power catamarans are multihull power boats that are increasingly popular due to their stability, maneuverability, and smooth ride – making them the best type of boat for fishing offshore in choppy or rough conditions. Power catamarans also tend to have better fuel efficiency than monohull boats.
7. Convertible Sportfishing Boat
When it comes to types of deep-sea fishing boats made for chasing bluewater pelagic species like marlin or sailfish, convertible sportfishing boats are hard to beat. Convertibles keep you as safe and comfortable as possible in big seas. Inboard diesel engines and large cockpits contribute to the fact that these boats are made for targeting some of the largest fish in the ocean.
8. Bay Boat
Bay boats are the best type of fishing boat for coastal saltwater fishing. They have raised casting decks on the bow and in the stern, making it easy to spot fish and cast to them from an elevated position. Most of the bay boats on the market are trailerable and run between 19 and 26 feet in length.
9. Flats Skiff
If you’re interested in different types of fishing boats for shallow inshore waters, flats skiffs are shallow draft boats that can navigate through waters as skinny as 12 inches, providing access to fishing spots that other boats can’t access. Flats boats are generally between 15 to 25 feet in length with an outboard motor and usually sit two to three people.
10. Runabout Boat
The category of runabout boats includes bowriders, deckboats, jet boats, and other types of boats that are small powerboats. Due to size, runabouts are fairly low-maintenance and are often considered to be the best type of boat for family and fishing. They are made as a general use boat (for day cruising, beaching, fishing, beginner watersports) operated in protected waterways or in open waters during very good weather.
To learn more about fishing boat types, check out the boat explorer tool that explains the unique features and best uses.