To explore some of the best fishing boats available to saltwater and freshwater anglers, review the information below.

Fishing Boats for Freshwater Angling

When looking at the different types of fishing boats that are available today, you will notice that some watercrafts are suitable for freshwater and saltwater angling, while others can be used to take fish from one type of environment, but not the other. If you plan to spend most of your time fishing on rivers and lakes, or if you live in a state such as Minnesota or Wisconsin, make sure to purchase a boat that is suitable for pursuing freshwater fish species.

There are several great boating options for freshwater angling. These include:

  • Bass boats. These powerful boats are excellent options for bass fishermen and women, especially those who compete in tournaments. Ranging from 16 to 25 feet in length, some models can seat as many as five passengers at a time, while others may only seat up to two. When looking for the best bass boat for your needs, several options to consider include: the BassCat Puma FTD, Crestliner 1750 Bass Hawk and Lund 1875 XS.
  • A bow rider. These larger boats are excellent options for families, as many models can seat up to nine passengers at a time. Additionally, bowrider boats can be used to pursue fish in freshwater and saltwater environments, or they can be used for towable watersports, day cruising and other water activities. Depending on your budget, popular options include the Bayliner VR6, Chaparral 191 Suncoast and Crownline E 295 XS.
  • Fish-and-ski boats. As another type of bowrider, this boat can be used for day cruising, tow sports and fishing on freshwater environments. Additionally, most models can be loaded onto a trailer, making it an excellent option if you enjoy traveling to different fishing areas. Several top-rated options include the Boston Whaler 230 Vantage, Alumacraft Trophy 175, Everglades 230 DC and Chaparral H20 19 Ski and Fish.
  • Inflatable boats. Many inflatable boats are suitable for fishing in freshwater and saltwater environments, making them an affordable option, if you regularly alternate between these two types of fishing environments. One top-rated fishing boat option includes the Classic Accessories Colorado Inflatable Pontoon Boat, available for just $350 on Amazon.

Another type of fishing boat is known as an all-purpose boat, as this watercraft style can be used to fish on freshwater environments, or for enjoying other types of boating activities, such as cruising across the lake, tubing and water skiing. Most models can comfortably seat up to five passengers, but actual sizes will vary by manufacturer.

Best Saltwater Fishing Boats

Bay boats, cuddy cabins, flat boats and sportfishing models are excellent options if you wish to purchase a watercraft that has been designed for saltwater angling or longer fishing trips.

Cuddy cabins, for instance, are ideal for extended offshore boating trips, leisurely cruising during the day or night and various saltwater fishing activities, as these models contain a small cabin space that can be used for sleeping purposes. Several of the best fishing boats with built-in cabins include the Scout 350 LXF, Grady-White Canyon 376, Boston Whaler 370 Outrage and HydraSports Custom 4200 Siesta.

Moreover, the best bay boat models include: the Sea Born FX22 Bay, Yellowfin 24 Bay Carbon Elite, Grady-White 251 Coastal Explorer, California Sea Skiff and the Barker. Some models can also be used for watersport activities, but the primary purpose of these boats is for fishing in freshwater and saltwater environments.

If you are looking for a more affordable boat model that can be used to pursue shallow-water fish species, flat boats may be a better choice for you. These boats are suitable for pursuing saltwater and freshwater fish in shallow water environments. Popular options include the East Cape EVO, Action Craft 1820 Flatsmaster, Dragonfly 17 and Beavertail 17 BT Strike.

Moreover, sportfishing boats are the perfect option if you wish to use your boat solely for saltwater fishing purposes. Some of the best fishing boat brands for serious saltwater anglers include the following:

  • Bertram Yachts
  • Contender Boats
  • Hydra Sports
  • Mikelson Yachts
  • Scout Yachts
  • Striper Boats
  • Streamline Boats

To find the best fishing boat brand for you, it is important to conduct plenty of research before purchasing a new watercraft for yourself, and the other outdoor enthusiasts in your life. Before choosing to buy a boat, take the time to shop around, read customer reviews and compare prices, as doing so will help you to get the best deal on the purchase of your new watercraft. Working with a broker or attending a boat show can also help you to narrow your search and select the right model for you.

How much does a new fishing boat cost?

While the cost of purchasing a boat varies depending on the boat type, size, brand and several other factors, the cost of purchasing a new model averages at around $20,000. Financing options are available, if you cannot afford to pay for the boat upfront, but your lender may require you to insure the boat if you do finance the purchase.

Moreover, you can save money on the purchase of fishing boats when you buy a pre-owned model, rather than purchasing a watercraft brand new, especially if you wish to own a higher-end yacht. If you choose to purchase a pre-owned boat, however, you will reduce your risk of running into future issues, by submitting the boat for a professional inspection – before finalizing the transaction with the seller.