BlogSeptember 2020

6 Types of small fishing boats and their benefits

6 Types of small fishing boats and their benefits

By Alycia Downs

Sep 15, 2020

Six types of small fishing boats and their benefits. Find the best small fishing boat for your specific needs and lifestyle. 

Fishing and boating are two activities that go hand in hand pretty well. You can certainly enjoy one without the other, but when paired together, the enjoyment level and possibilities can increase exponentially.

If you’re browsing the small fishing boats market and just beginning your research, you’ll want to start by narrowing in on the best small fishing boat for your specific needs. Here are a few common types of small fishing boats and benefits to consider.

  • Kayak - The ultimate entry-level vessel. Kayak fishing can be the most cost-effective option for getting you on the water. Muscle-powered and stealthy, you’ll be able to access many shallow water areas that larger boats cannot with less likelihood of spooking nearby fish.
  • Aluminum jon boat - Rugged, lightweight, and low maintenance, the jon boat is a popular option for many river and lake anglers. They last forever and are most commonly powered by a small, hand-controlled outboard motor.
  • Pontoon - Everyone loves a good pontoon. This is the best option for casual family fishing excursions where comfort is key and cruising is enjoyed as much as casting. Everyone gets a good seat, there’s room for the cooler and the dog, and you can even fire up the portable grill.
  • Bass boat - For those who take fishing seriously. Bass boats are great for freshwater lake fishing and are best-suited for two to three passengers. They feature spacious, flat decks for generous casting space and larger outboards for getting you to your honey hole before those kayakers.
  • Drift boat - Drift boats are commonly used across the U.S. for drifting downstream and fishing as you go. One person typically steers with oars while the other gets the pleasure of casting. These small fishing boats have wide, flat bottoms and flared sides and are most commonly used by fishing guides who are experienced with this style of fishing.
  • Bay boat or skiff - These are popular boats for inshore saltwater fishing, ranging from 17-feet to 24-feet. A skiff is commonly used for technical poling across grass flats while sight fishing. Bay boats are more diverse and can handle more chop while still accessing fairly shallow waters.

With plenty of research, you’re sure to find the best small fishing boat for you. Remember, a boat is an investment, so you’ll want to take your time and a few test drives to help decide which vessel is best for your needs and lifestyle.

Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs is a freelance content creator and avid sportsman who contributes to numerous publications promoting tourism, fishing, and outdoors. Alycia is a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and is actively involved with conservation and fishing non-profit organizations. Visit her personal blog at or on Instagram @tideandtale.