Family Lake Boat Choices

My neighbor is going through some boat growing pains. His first water vessel was a nifty kayak. It was loaded with all the bells and whistles, including an inboard electric trolling motor and a USB port! However it only had room for 1. With two youngsters who now want to go fishing too, a bigger, family-sized boat is required.  Thus, to maximize quality on-the-water family time, he has upgraded to a big jon boat.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a lake boat for your family:

1. More Room…  With passengers, you’ll need not only seating but storage for additional rods, tackle, gear, and a cooler for plenty of kid snacks. More boat room also helps when landing fish. (Ever tried to unhook a pike on your lap in a kayak?!)

2. But not too much room. Although part of my family still wants a giant two-story pontoon boat with a slide, a smaller family lake boat is more manageable not only for towing on the road but for handling and access to shallow areas and smaller bodies of water. 

3. Stable. With a flat bottom, wide design, this boat is not “tippy” even with everyone on one side, “helping” to land or photograph fish. It is easy to load and unload passengers and when anchored or trolling slowly, they are free to move around a bit. I like to position novice anglers at the front to keep an eye on them plus, they get first choice of casting targets. 

4. Versatile. This boat will work great in lakes but it is also tough enough to withstand the ample rocky river hazards. It is currently paired with a 9.9 hp outboard for just enough power on the river but could handle a larger motor someday. For a winter project, there are modifications planned for decking and storage underneath.

Here are some more tips for buying/selling a boat.  And when you do choose one, make sure you get your boat registered promptly. The quest of the perfect lake boat may never actually end, so make sure to just enjoy the ride.  
 
Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.