Fishing Boats 101: Everything You Need to Know
Written by Carolyn Jackson
Table of Contents
What is a Fishing Boat?
A fishing boat is a marine vessel designed specifically for fishers. They come equipped with technology and features that make fishing easier and more efficient. The thing about fishing boats is that they come in a huge range of sizes, shapes, and prices. From offshore beasts like a center console to inshore compact boats like a skiff or bass boat, there is an option perfectly fit for every fisherman.
If you aren’t quite sure what you are looking for out of a boat, you can start with our Ultimate Guide to Buying a Boat to get your feet wet and then come back to this article on fishing boats specifically!
Why Would I Want a Fishing Boat?
If you do not fish for a living or as a high priority hobby, purchasing a boat specifically designed for fishing might seem odd. However, these boats are all versatile and offer many of the same benefits as more traditional family cruising, speed, or wake/ski boats.
Benefits of Fishing Boats
- Built with fishers in mind with features like rod holders, live wells, navigation systems, and comfort
- Built to accommodate different types of water and environments
- A great source for family bonding
- A great option for socialization
- Access to a relaxing hobby outdoors
If you are interested in buying a boat but worried about the cost, you have options. Consider financing your boat purchase. For more information on finding the best possible boat loans, check out our Guide to Financing a Boat.
What Types of Fishing Boats Are There?
There are actually dozens of different types of fishing boats available. For the sake of brevity, we are going to cover the basics of some of the most popular types of fishing boats.
Location: Offshore, Inshore
Why Center Console Boats are Great for Fishing: A center console boat has the helm located in the middle of the boat. This means the passengers can walk around the boat without any barriers. This is great for fishing because it gives you access to all areas of the water without obstruction. Center consoles also come in a wide range of sizes, and some of them come equipped with comforts like a bathroom.
2. Aluminum Fishing Boats
Why Aluminum Boats are Great for Fishing: One of the best parts of an aluminum fishing coat is its size and versatility. They can come super small, which means sometimes they can be transported on the bed of a truck or even on the roof of a car. They are also capable of traversing shallow waters with stumps and rocks in the way. Aluminum fishing boats are an affordable, durable, and versatile option for inshore fishing.
Why it works for fishing: Pontoons were not originally designed to be fishing boats, but their stability, comfort, and large size prove to be a perfect fit for some fishers. They have high sided walls, which make it safer for young kids learning to fish, they also usually come with a bimini cover for shade, built-in coolers, and even a bathroom so you can fish comfortably all day. To learn more about pontoon boats, take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Buying a Pontoon.
4. Bass Boats
Why Bass Boats are Great for Fishing: As the name suggests, those searching for bass fish typically want a bass boat. Anglers also thrive with a bass boat. They make great fishing boats because they come with a v-shaped hull that is open for good access all around the boat. They also come fully equipped with all the latest technology and equipment for fishing, such as navigation, rod holders, locked rod storage, live bait tanks, powerful outboard motors, trolling motor, and detachable, comfortable, and flexible seats.
5. Flat Boats (Skiffs)
Location: Inshore, flats
Why Flat Boats are Great for Fishing: Flatboats are known for their ability to only go in the water by a few inches. This makes them extremely practical for shallow water fishing and makes them a great alternative to wading. They often come with live wells, a navigation system, a trolling motor, as well as a low power motor (think less than 100hp)
6. Cuddy Cabin Fishing Boats
Why a Cuddy Cabin is Great for Fishing: A cuddy cabin boat is similar to a center console in how it looks and how it is made. The big difference is that a cuddy cabin includes an enclosed living area with a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping quarters. These boats are ideal for weekend trips on the sea to find some elusive fish. They come with live bait tanks, rod holders, and navigation equipment.
7. Bay Boats
Location: Offshore, Inshore
Why a Bay Boat is Great for Fishing: Bay boats are very similar to the flatboats we covered earlier. They are built for shallow waters and for wading through water slowly and quietly. They can be used with a push-pole. Bay boats are usually larger than a flatboat and can be used in offshore fishing environments. Bay boats have v-shaped hulls, which helps them keep the draft low so they can find less traversed fishing spots.
What are Some Fishing Boat Brands?
Center Console Brand Examples:
Bass Boat Brand Examples:
Aluminum Fishing Boat Brand Examples:
Flat Boat (Skiff) Brand Examples:
Pontoon Boat Brand Examples:
Cuddy Cabin Brand Examples:
Bay Boat Brand Examples:
How Much Does a Fishing Boat Cost?
A fishing boat can cost anywhere from $300 to over $100,000. Yeah, that’s a bit of a range. The reason for the massive range in pricing for fishing boats is because of the wide variety of fishing boats available. A bay boat is much smaller and less advanced than a cuddy cabin and one bass boat might be a base model whereas another bass boat might be a premium model, which will drastically change the price.
For more information on other types of boats and how much they cost, take a look at our article on How Much a Boat Costs?
Here are some example prices for each category of fishing boat:
1. Center Console Pricing Examples:
- 2020 Boston Whaler 130 SuperSport — $16,010
- 2020 Boston Whaler 330 Outrage — $303,324
- 2020 Pursuit C 260 — $145,770
- 2020 Edgewater 245 CC — $156,287
2. Aluminum Fishing Boat Pricing Examples:
- 2020 Lowe Roughneck 1546 — $7,898
- 2020 Lowe V 1258 — $2,192
- 2020 Lund 1775 Renegade — $19,797
- 2020 Crestliner XF 189 — $21,478
3. Pontoon Fishing Boats Pricing Examples:
- 2020 Avalon GS Fish — $24,000
- 2020 Bennington 20 SF — $37,519
- 2020 Crestliner 240 Rally DX — $28,736
- 2020 Starcraft CX Fish — $35,020
4. Bass Boat Pricing Examples:
- 2020 Ranger Z518L — $62,795
- 2020 Ranger Z519 — $50,095
- 2020 Triton 21 TRXS — $66,995
- 2020 Triton 18 TX — $18,995
5. Flat Boats (Skiff) Pricing Examples:
- 2020 Beavertrail 16’ Micro — $22,000
- 2020 Beavertrail 17’ Elite — $40,000
- 2020 Mako Pro Skiff 15 CC — $15,995
- 2020 Mako 19 CPX — $32,995
6. Cuddy Cabins Pricing Examples:
- 2020 Bayliner VR5 — $30,929
- 2020 Beneteau Flyer 32 — $212,700
- 2020 Scout 305 LXF — $281,695
- 2020 Boston Whaler 380 Outrage — $593,015
7. Bay Boats Pricing Examples:
- 2020 Pathfinder 2005 TRS — $29,827
- 2020 Skeeter SX 200 — $30,595
- 2020 Skeeter SX2550 – FISH — $87,618
- 2020 Everglades 243 — $127,545
If we take away anything from the pricing examples for each type of boat, it is that price is not the best way to narrow down your search. Yes, some types of boats are inherently more expensive than others, but there is such a wide range within each category of the fishing boat that even if you really wanted a more expensive fishing boat, like a cuddy cabin or center console, there might be a model out there within your budget. Likewise, the aluminum boats can be as low as a few hundred, but once you start adding on extra features and toys, the price can skyrocket quickly.
Find a boat that meets your needs first. Then find ways to make it fit into your budget. Definitely start your boat search out with a budget in mind so you don’t accidentally fall in love with a boat that is $100K outside of your price range.
Where Can I Buy a Fishing Boat?
There are hundreds of fishing boat dealers across the US. You can use GoRollick to help you find local dealers in your area, see their current inventory, and receive a special offer. You can also simply pull up a Google search for local fishing boat dealers in your area. Most dealers will sell multiple brands, so you can go visit and see a few different brands to compare in person.
If you are interested in buying a used boat online or through a private seller, you need to take extra steps to ensure a smooth transaction. The benefit of buying used is that the price is typically lower than a new boat. Keep in mind that one of the cons is that you may not qualify for any dealer or manufacturer financing or rebate options.
If you are going to buy a boat from a private seller, we recommend you get the boat thoroughly inspected by a professional. Boats can incur damage that is not visible to the naked eye or to the untrained eye. You don’t want to buy a boat with some serious (or expensive) issues without knowing that upfront. Protect yourself and get the boat inspected before agreeing to the purchase or to a price.
New Vs. Used Fishing Boats
There are both pros and cons of buying new or used fishing boats.
Buying New Pros:
- Dealer/MFG Financing and Rebates
- Access to Brand New Inventory
- Security of Working with Accredited Dealers and Manufacturers
Buying New Cons:
- Depreciation Immediately
- Less Ability to Negotiate
- Insurance will be Higher on a New Boat
Buying Used Pros:
- Ability to Negotiate the Price
- Can Get a Boat for a Great Price
- Potential Owner-Made Updates to Boat
Buying Used Cons:
- Access to Dealer/MFG Financing or Rebates is Not Guaranteed
- No Warranty
- Less Choice
Fishing Boat Rental
If you aren’t quite ready to commit to purchasing your own fishing boat, but still want to get out on the water and spend a relaxing day searching for the perfect cast, you might consider renting a fishing boat.
How Much Does a Fishing Boat Rental Cost?
- This depends on the boat, the location, and the time of year. We estimate that fishing boat rentals can run anywhere from $35/hour, up to $1,000s/hour. A great website to get an idea of price is GetMyBoat.com. They let private boat owners rent out their boats on an hourly basis to qualified renters across the entire world.
What Do I Need to Rent a Fishing Boat?
- It depends on the state you are boating in. Some states have more stringent boating safety laws and require a license to rent a boat and some are more relaxed. Take a look at this website to read up on the requirements for your state.
You also might need a fishing license to go fishing on a rented boat. The laws are different in each area and apply to the type of fish you are catching as well. You will need to read up on the laws and regulations about fishing licenses in your area.
A fishing boat can be an excellent investment for you and your family. They provide a great way to escape the stressors of life and relax on the open waters. Fishing boats are also a really exciting subcategory of the boating world because there is so much variety and flexibility with them; they often serve dual-purposes as cruising, speed, entertaining, or ski/wake boats and as fishing boats, which means you get more bang for your buck! Whatever you want out of your fishing boat, there is an option out there for you. Make sure you check out GoRollick to find the perfect fishing boat for you and get connected with a Certified Dealer in your area.
When you’re ready to find your perfect boat, be sure to check us out at Gorollick.com. You can:
- See nationwide inventory, specs, and incentive information
- Get an upfront, transparent price on your desired boat
- Receive special offers on both the boat, as well as additional accessories
- Take advantage of Bonus Savings plus the option to Buy From Home from select Certified Dealers
- Shop at one of our Certified Dealers who are committed to providing an exceptional buying experience