How do I Choose the Best Sport Fishing Boat?

Lori Kilchermann

When choosing a type of sport fishing boat, shoppers often seek one that combines the attributes of a pleasure speed boat with those of a fishing boat. The trick in purchasing a sport fishing boat is to get the version that best suits the needs of the user. If the purpose of the sport fishing boat is to provide a family fun boat that can also be used to fish, a boat with attributes of a speed boat may be the best choice. If the purpose is to obtain a fishing boat that can occasionally be used as a family fun boat, a boat with more of the fishing-type amenities such as a trolling motor and fish locator may be best.

An Atlantic salmon.
An Atlantic salmon.

One of the main differences in a fishing boat and a family fun boat lies in the design of the hull. In order to choose the best sport fishing boat, the hull design is meant to sit slightly higher in the water than a dedicated fishing boat, but lower than a common speed boat. The purpose for a lower hull is to aid the fishermen in hauling fish into the boat. A high hull design would necessitate hoisting the fish higher in the air to get them into the boat. Subsequently, a low hull design in a sport or speed boat would not allow the boat to carry as many passengers or to corner as sharply without taking in water.

Sport fishing boats often have the luxury and speed of a pleasure boat.
Sport fishing boats often have the luxury and speed of a pleasure boat.

Another key difference in speed boats and fishing boats where the better sport fishing boat designs make certain concessions is in the motor. A speed boat typically uses a very large motor to produce high speed and torque required to pull skiers and water toys. The fishing boat requires a smaller motor to allow the boat to be used for trolling at slow speeds. A good sport fishing boat will often be powered by a medium-sized motor in order to provide the operator with the best of both worlds. Propeller design will usually lean towards powerful take-offs to get a skier quickly up on plane as well as offer a moderate top cruising speed.

When purchasing the best sport fishing boat, seating arrangements should include plenty of availability around the perimeter of the boat for passengers. Typically, removable fishing pedestal seats are easily positioned for fishing adventurers. The top sport fishing boat packages will often include a stereo system. This system can be used when spending a playful day on the water with family and friends. The radio may, however, be deemed a distraction when fishing and can be turned off.

The best sport fishing boat will have a propeller designed for powerful take-offs.
The best sport fishing boat will have a propeller designed for powerful take-offs.

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Discussion Comments


Boat salesmen will try to sell you on a lot of the minute features and technical details of a boat, but the reality is that most boats are pretty equal, and having a nice one is not going to help you catch more fish.

Some of the best fishermen I know had some of the oldest, ugliest boats I have ever seen. So try not to get too wrapped up in the flashy details. If it floats, it probably works.

One of the up sides of the bad economy is that there have been a lot of nice used sport fishing boats for sale. You can find them at drastically reduced prices and many of them have barely been used.

A lot of people, when they get a little bit of cash and a sense of security buy a boat. It is one of those aspirational objects that people seem to flock to. So when things go bad the boat is often the first thing to go.


A lot of people, when they are looking to buy a sport fishing boat, only think about the superficial qualities. They want to know how fast it will go and what kind of radio it has and how it looks. But be real guys, this is a fishing boat and you are buying it to help you fish.

So try to focus on the features that matter. How big is the live well? How do the seats feel and what angles do they provide you? How easy is it to install a trolling motor? These are the things you should be most concerned about.

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