One of the biggest investments a fisherman will every make is the purchase of a fishing boat. Just like cars, fishing boats come in all shapes and sizes and varying levels of quality. To avoid buying a “lemon”, it is always advisable for the potential boat owner to educate themselves on the ins and outs of boat ownership.
All-Purpose Fishing Boats
These boats are intended for those who fish for just about everything. They can be made of aluminum, wood, or fiberglass and sizes usually range from 15 to 20 feet (4.5-6 meters) in length. Aluminum boats are generally the least expensive option available, with prices ranging from $1,500 up to about $25,500. Keep in mind that these prices are generally without a motor, which will have to be purchased separately. Wooden boats are still being made, but they are difficult to find, and very hard to get. Used wooden fishing boats are readily available in the classifieds section of your newspaper or any number of places on the Internet. Maintenance is the big issue with wooden boats, as the wood is susceptible to dry rot and fungus, and so must be painted and kept in good shape at all times. Fiberglass boats are probably the most widely used these days. There are many manufacturers and styles of fiberglass boats, and prices range from about $8,000 to $30,000 for a new boat. A general purpose fishing boat will usually have spaces for fishing gear and several bench seats or pedestal style seats with backs. The driver's area will be very simple; some boats can be found that even use a steer-by-tiller layout. These boats are almost always outboard powered, and are usually trailerable. The capacity range for a general purpose fishing boat is 1-4 people.
Bass boats are almost self-explanatory. They are purpose-built for getting to bass quickly. This is the sort of boat you see on those ESPN fishing tournament shows. Bass boats usually have larger outboard motors than the general-purpose boats and have much more storage space as well. Additionally, bass boats will have a full complement of fishing electronics such as depth and fish finders.
There are usually raised casting platforms in the bow of the boat, and quite often in the stern as well. There will usually be provisions for a trolling motor near this platform. Most bass fishing boats are made of fiberglass, but they can also be found in aluminum. Bass boats are usually between 16 and 25 feet in length, with prices ranging from approximately $10,000 to $30,000+. These boats can be trailered and are comfortable for up to 4 people.
Center-Console Fishing Boats
Because of their design, with the control station in the center of the boat, these boats allow for fishing from almost any place on the deck. Additionally, the center station allows for easy netting of fish. These boats are generally larger than the other two types, and usually have much larger engines, though still outboard as a general rule.
Because of their versatility and pricing, these boats have grown in popularity in recent years. Some of these boats even have small cabins and toilets. Some of the larger center-console design boats can even be used for offshore saltwater fishing. Center-console boats range in size from 16 to 35 feet in length and are generally trailerable. The larger varieties can comfortably accommodate up to 6 people. Prices for center-console boats range from around $15,000 up to over $60,000.
This article gives a general overview of some of the items to consider when shopping for a fishing boat. For more specific information, as well as suggestions on where to purchase a good fishing boat, be sure to visit Fishing Boat HQ
Allen Bohart is a fishing fan, and enthusiastic writer for about any subject that interests him. He is also co-owner of The Fishing Bobber , a site for and about fishing enthusiasts of all levels.