Pursuit S288 Sport

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There were a whopping 885 billion fishing outings in America alone in 2016.

That was three years ago. Guess what the numbers would be like right now? 

Another statistic, albeit a more recent one, touts that 12-million fishing rods are expected to be sold globally by 2020. 

What does that tell you? 

We love to fish folks. We love to be on the water come rain or sun. 

We love to feel the wind on our face and there’s nothing more exhilarating than cranking a reel and tossing that massive bass over the gunwales.  

Recreational fishing has gone mainstream. It’s no longer limited to lugging your old John boat to the bay for fluking. (Although that still tops our list of fishing favorites.)

The good thing is that if you are new to fishing, then there’s no better time to wet your toes in it.

And there are enough resources, both online as well as in the offline world to help beginner fishermen navigate their way through the basics.  

But we noticed that surprisingly, fishing boats don’t seem to get the attention they deserve. 

There’s a lot of chatter about using the right type of rod and reel and bait. But what about the vessel? 

Today, we will talk about fishing boats. Right from the different varieties that you can use to the purpose that it is best suited for. 

If you are a rookie fisherman who checks classifieds every day hoping to land a steal deal on a great fishing boat, this blog post will help you narrow down on the right one. Even if you aren’t, this can be used as a reference point to get started with boat shopping.

To make it even better, we’ve thrown in a list of the best fishing boats in 2020 for you. (Show me the top 10 fishing boats now)

This is going to be a long read though. So strap in. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the ride.

What are the different types of fishing boats?

A decade or two ago, you could walk into a boat dealership and separate the fishing boats from the ones that are designed for other purposes, like sun-worshipping or cruising or yachting.  

The lines have blurred now. 

Almost any type of boat can be rigged and retrofitted to turn it into a fishing vessel. 

And that makes it quite overwhelming for a newbie to select the right one for their application. 

To make things simple, we have separated them into freshwater, saltwater and offshore boats. 

Your choice should depend on the type of waters that you mainly fish in as well as the species that you’ll mostly be fishing for. (Skip to the fishing boat buying guide)

Freshwater Fishing Boats

As the name suggests, these boats are designed specifically to be used for freshwater fishing. 

These typically have a slim, narrow profile and are lighter than their saltwater counterparts. 

They also have a short height (freeboard) and shallower drafts. 

Because of their intended application, these boats ‘may be’ made of materials that would deteriorate at the slightest exposure to saltwater. So if you are someone who likes to fish in a lake or a pond one day and head to a saltwater bay the next day, these may not be the right fit for you. 

There are of course a few freshwater boats that are made for dual applications. But those cost more. 

Here are some of the common types of boats used for freshwater fishing. 

  • Bass Boats: Think freshwater fishing and the first marine species that pops into your mind is bass. Bass fishing has just exploded in popularity in the recent past and there’s a whole smorgasbord of gear aimed at the seasoned bass angler. At the forefront are bass boats. 

These are dedicated bass fishing machines that have features designed with one sole purpose, to allow the angler to catch the best bass they can. These feature bigger casting decks with raised platforms, a low slung design, there will be a gamut of rod boxes and massive livewells that can keep the bait alive.

To top it off, these boats offer top-notch performance. 

The price tags on these rigs can be anywhere from an affordable $5k or less for a quality used boat, to almost 100k for a ‘glitter rocket’ that would look obnoxious on the water. 

Bass boats are advertised by their lengths which can range from 14”-24”. But pay attention to the width or the beam as well. The wider the boat, the more room you have. Normally these boats are designed for two anglers. But a wider beam may offer enough room for three or more anglers, making them a better bet for a small family. 

Also wider boats tend to be more stable and allow you to venture into shallower water as opposed to a boat with a narrow beam. 

Check the outboard motor as it will determine how fast you can get to the fishing hotspots before fellow anglers. The boat should also have a mount for a trolling motor by the way. 

Other factors to consider are the material. There’s fiberglass, which is lighter and aluminum which is more durable. 

  • Jon Boats: The humble Jon Boat is an old American favorite. It is a catchall phrase that is used to describe small, versatile boats with flat bottoms that can seat up to 3 or 4 people.

Highly utilitarian and versatile, the Jon Boat can usually be used in both fresh and saltwater for a wide range of applications including fishing, hunting, lumber collection or just skimming on the lake surface. 

Jon boats are lightweight and can navigate easily through swamps, waters riddled with obstacles, mudflats and the likes. Select one based on the waters that you will be fishing in.

Larger boats (15-20 feet) can be taken into larger water bodies like lakes, where the waves aren’t forgiving.

Jon Boats can be made of wood, fiberglass or aluminum and they are either welded or riveted. 

Riveted boats are cheaper but are more likely to spring leaks in rough waters. Welded boats will rarely leak, but can be a significant purchase. 

  • Pontoon boats: Pontoons are capacious, stable, have a shallow draft and can have all the features that you seek for a comfortable day on the water. The extra room and the stability mean that you can easily customize it for fishing. 

You can walk and cast from any side of the deck, there can be lounge seats, couches, cabins, and other luxury features depending on what you are willing to pay for.  

Some pontoons are also made for use in choppy waters. These typically have a V-shaped hull and an additional tube that keeps the boat steady. 

But if you intend to take your rig to saltwater, your reach might be limited to shallow bays and tributaries as large waves in the sea can roll over very easily over the decks of the pontoons. 

Saltwater fishing boats

Saltwater fishing boats encompass a wide range of fishing vessels in varying shapes, sizes and at equally varying price points. These are designed to tackle extreme weather conditions, to resist the corrosion caused due to exposure to salt and to keep you stable and safe in windy and choppy waters. 

Saltwater fishing boats can be largely divided into inshore and offshore fishing boats. However, some features might overlap making these boats perfectly capable of performing double duties. 

  • Center Consoles: Center Consoles dominate the small boat market due to the sheer utility that these boats bring to the fore. Great aesthetics, ample room and a gamut of configurations mean that these boats can be used for a plethora of diverse marine activities including fishing, oyster tonging, gunkholing, water sports and cruising. 

Traditionally, the use of center console boats was limited to indoor fishing. 

In recent times, outboard motors are stretching the limits beyond what was once believed to be possible. So armed with the right outboard or a stack of them on the transom, a sufficiently large center console can also be used as a full-fledged offshore cruising and fishing boat. 

As implied by the name, the simplest of these boats have a single center-mounted console and a steering station with bare minimum sun protection. They can range in size from 10 feet to a whopping 40 feet. The more advanced and pricier models can boast of features like air-conditioned cuddy cabins and a galley. But these are typically seen in boats that are designed for picnicking and cruising rather than fishing. 

Fishing center console boats are optimized for fishing and these usually have tons of standing room, the ability to cast from just about any direction (360 degrees) and very few things that can obstruct or snag the line. These feature two or three outboards, ample deadrise and are endowed with a range of accouterments including multiple rod holders, coolers and tow tubes.

You can choose from fuel-efficient varieties with a single-engine or you can select one that is better suited for aggressive waters.

  • Dual Consoles: Dual Consoles or ‘DCs’ cater mainly to family anglers or to recreational anglers who like to hit the waters in a group. These boats have two consoles, one at the starboard side and the other at the port-side. 

Just like center consoles, DCs have undergone a radical transformation in recent times. A decade ago, a Dual Console boat bigger than 20 feet was a rarity. Today, you have 30 and 40 feet boats with features like dual cabins, individual compartments and even passageways that link the two compartments. 

DCs also have bow cockpits with seating on the front and back, which makes them a great pick for recreational use as well as for watersports. Dual Console boats are extremely versatile and find a place on open oceans as well as lakes and bays.

  • Bay Boats: Bay Boats are compact boats designed to reach into backwater hotspots. These feature shallow drafts that can float over extremely thin waters. Some bay boats can reach into waters 5-6-inches thin. 

In addition to the shallow drafts, these boats typically have low gunwales that minimize windage (and help toss that fish onboard), a raised fore, and a head compartment. 

Powerful outboard motors allow you to cover the water fast. 

Bay Boats can be called a subcategory of center consoles. But their popularity as a niche fishing boat for light tackling has risen manifold in the recent past. 

As you would have guessed by now, these boats aren’t exactly family-friendly nor do they boast of fancy features. They aren’t the best bet for offshore fishing either. 

  • Flats Boats: These petite boats also called Skiffs, feature shallow drafts and offer tons of room on the casting deck. These are usually preferred for fishing in flats and shallow bays where the water can be as thin as 6-inches. While flats boats do feature outboard motors, the maneuvering in shallow coastal areas is done using a pole by the captain who stands on the stern.  

Flats boat fishing is quite popular in the Florida Keys where these boats comfortably run over the extremely shallow waters. It happens to be one of the best spots in the country to catch crustaceans like Tarpon and bonefish by the way. 

  • Convertibles: Convertibles are the be-all, end-all of offshore angling. The gold-standard, if you may say so. If you are a serious offshore angler with the bankroll, then there’s no better choice than one of these behemoths. These capacious boats are usually well over 30-feet in length and feature state-of-the-art features designed for extended runs over vast expanses, often in rough waters. Rightly, these are usually powered by twin diesel engines and come with a gaggle of features like multiple cabins, staterooms, galley, and saloons. 

The flybridge serves as the control console and also provides the captain with a vantage point that lets them spot potential fishing hotspots like rips and flotsams. You can also add an additional tower if you fancy. You will be that much higher and it can also double up as an entertainment area. 

An innate advantage is that the position of the flybridge means that the helm station is located away from the power plants. This translates into fewer vibrations from the engine room. A more stable ride is in the offing. 

  • Express Fishing Boats: Offshore anglers are often faced with the conundrum of choosing an express or a convertible. Expresses can be as roomy as convertibles. However, the advantage is that the captain can be a part of the action when things heat up on the waters. They can easily head to the cockpit and deploy a bait or grab themselves a rod if need be. They aren’t isolated on the flybridge.  

Expresses have roomier helm-decks and this usually results in loss of cabin space as compared to a convertible. However, these boats are sleeker and do the job even if there are only two people on board, a captain and an angler. 

Also, expresses with their low center of gravity are more stable than convertibles. 

By the way, you can always add a tower to an express fishing boat This sort of customization is finding fancy with a lot of fishermen looking to get the best of both worlds. However, this usually results in a lack of space. 

Our favorite 10 fishing boats

Despite what the manufacturers want you to believe, picking the best fishing boat is always about minimizing tradeoffs and finding something that’s close to what you had in mind. 

There’s never a perfect boat. You just have to find ways to work around the shortcomings.

Having said that, if you do your research, you can find a boat that’s best suited for your intended use. 

Due to the overwhelming number of options at hand and limited space, we had no choice but to omit several amazing models from this list. 

While this isn’t a definitive list of the best fishing boats in the market in 2019, it is as close as it gets to one. 

#1 – Bass Cat PUMA FTD – The best Bass fishing boat


Bass Cat literally blows the competition out of the water with the Puma FTD, a mean, fast fishing boat that tops its premium range of offerings. 

The Puma FTD is 20.4” long and has a surprisingly roomy 94” beam that makes it offshore worthy. 

It is a brute of a boat with a vacuum bonded deck, hull and stringer grid. The fiberglass construction keeps things light on the water and out of it. 

It is crammed to the brim with features tailored to the T for bass anglers. 

There are seven compartments including a central tackle box and a rod box. Throw in two iceboxes, two livewells, twin Humminbird Helix 7 fish finders, spray bars, and inline filters and you have a stock bass boat that’s ready to take on anything that you throw at it. 

The roomy deck allows multiple anglers to cast simultaneously. There’s no dearth of storage either. 

Powering the Puma FTD is a Minn Kota Fortrex 80 motor that gives it a reasonable 200-300 HP capacity. You can of course stack more power on the transom to further bolster its offshoring capabilities. Even with the stock motor, can cruise at 70MPH to hit those hotspots before fellow anglers. 

As expected for a bass boat so advanced, the Puma FTD doesn’t come cheap.

If you are shopping on a shoestring budget, then you may want to check out the Tracker Pro Team 190TX instead. It is priced under $20000 and boasts of an elite feature list that will allow you to cover the water quickly and efficiently. 

You can read more about it here.

#2 – Tracker Boats TRACKER® GRIZZLY® 1860 CC – The Best Fishing Jon Boat

Tracker Boats TRACKER® GRIZZLY® 1860 CC

For a long time, Lund held the number one position in the market for fishing and recreational boats. However, they have been sitting on their laurels for a while now and their products look obsolete and pale in comparison to the competition these days. 

So, we picked the Tracker Grizzly 1860 cc instead of the Lund 1448 MT, which was one of our favorite boats. 

The Grizzly range of Jon Boats are designed for all-purpose use. But the center-console and the welded construction makes them a favorite with anglers. Ample room, stable ride, and enough power. 

The 1860cc Grizzly is at the top end of the range and is crafted of heavy-duty powder-coated aluminum. There’s no wood used anywhere. 

It comes with a 7° deadrise and a modified V-hull that allow you to take it into choppy river waters as well as the bay. The interior sidewalls are filled with foam that reduces vibration and keeps the ride smooth. 

The new 2020 model comes with a top-loading storage compartment on the bow deck. In addition to this, there’s the VERSATRACK accessory mounting channel that allows anglers to mount their fishing gear. 

At this price point, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better all-purpose Jon Boat. 

Comes with a Custom-fit trailer as well. 

You can read more about it here.

#3 – Lowe SF212 W – Best Fishing Pontoon Boat

Lowe SF212 W

Fishing Pontoon boats or Fish Toons as they are called, appeal to families that like to fish together and pop open a cold beer on a sunny day while waiting for a bite.  

The Lowe SF212 W will be a terrific pick if that’s what you are looking for. 

This roomy pontoon is 21.4 feet long and around 9 feet wide. It can comfortably seat 10 people and features loungers and swivel fishing chairs for the family, and plush recliners for the captain. The base of the seating doubles up as storage. 

There’s an integrated swim platform with an aluminum boarding ladder (foldable) that lets you take impromptu dips on sultry days and hop back up in no time. Also thrown in is a bimini top for good measure. 

The SF212 W is powered by a Mercury 115 FourStroke outboard that gives it decent speed without guzzling on gas. 

Anglers would be more interested in the onboard Lowrance Hook 5 fishfinder, a 13-gallon aerated livewell and the factory-installed tackle box.

It’s as feature-rich as they come.

Budget shoppers can check out the Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 16 Dlx that costs less than half of the SF212 and comes with a bow fishing deck, two fishing chairs, a 9-gallon livewell, one large lounger and a 10-year warranty for bow to stern. Not bad at all. 

You can read more about it here.

#4 – Mako 334 – Best Center Console fishing boat

Mako 334

Mako is fast turning into one of our favorite boat manufacturers these days and for good reason too.

They have been churning out one amazing boat after the other. Just when we couldn’t get our eyes off the 21 LTS, they came up with the 334, which is quintessentially center console but with fishing written all over it. 

The Mako 334 is a 34-foot high-performance fishing boat designed for offshore use. 

The sleek, aggressive styling is clubbed with drool-worthy fishing paraphernalia and powerful performance on the water. 

We could talk all day about it. But the noteworthy features include the deep-V, the notched transom, the chemically bonded hull, the low deadrise, and the one-piece molded stringer grid.

There are gobs of storage lined thoughtfully onboard including a monstrous 740-quart compartment, a 290-quart fish box, 34-gallon pressurized livewells and 11 flush-mounted rod holders (Fishwater edition).

In addition to this, the fully-loaded dashboard includes 12-inch Garmin multifunction displays, tilt steering, gauges, radio, stereo and more. 

With the stock motor, you can top speeds of 66.8 mph and cruise at a relatively good speed of 45 mph. 

It is rugged yet fast and will take your bluewater fishing to the next level.

You can read more about here.

#5 – Pursuit S288 Sport – Best Center Console Fishing boat

Pursuit S288 Sport

For young families that crave comfort and luxury on the waters, there’s the Pursuit S288 sport.

This is an all-purpose center console that’s armed to the teeth with fishing accouterments, but can easily double up as a comfortable family boat for sun-worshipping or weekend lounging. 

It boasts of an array of flush-mounted rod holders, in-deck fish boxes, rod stowage in the cabin and a 24-gallon livewell. 

The large bow cockpit with wraparound seating can be transformed into an entertainment and socializing hub in just seconds. 

There are extended swim platforms that keep you covered for a quick dip in the water. Oh, there’s also a 30-gallon onboard freshwater system which allows you to rinse the salt off before you hop on board.

On days when the sun starts to sting, you can head inside the air-conditioned cabin with standing headroom, which is equipped for changing and quick naps. 

While it does not have a full-fledged galley, there’s a refrigerator, a sink and a grill in the cockpit which more than suffice for delectable snacks. 

Powered by 300 HP F300 Yamahas, the S288 sport can handle the chops like nobody’s business. And it’s reasonably fast as well. 

You can read more about it here.

#6 – Cobia 220 DC – Best Dual Console Fishing Boat

Cobia 220 DC

Despite being around for over 6 years, the Cobia 220 DC still manages to outperform a lot of its higher-priced competition.

This sturdy and roomy dual-console stands 21.07 feet long and has an 8.06 feet beam. 

It can seat 9 people and while it might look pretty basic as compared to the fancier Dual consoles that have invaded the market recently, it is a terrific all-purpose boat that’s perfect for cruising.

Yet it has enough mettle to tackle open water fishing and comes with enough add-ons for watersports getaways as well. 

Anglers will love the rod holders mounted on the gunwale, the integrated raw water washdown, the onboard livewell and the aft bench seat which can quickly be stowed away to increase deck space for unhindered casting. 

The 2020 edition of the 220 DC is crammed to the brim with standard features like the double lounge chair with an under-seating cooler. And there are a whole lot of optional upgrades, like a hydraulic tilt steering. 

Overall, we see a clear emphasis on comfort for the family. But at heart, the 220 DC is a still a fishing vessel. 

You can read more about it here.

#7 – Grady White 251 Coastal Explorer – Best Bay Boat

Grady White 251 Coastal Explorer

If your fishing preferences often swing between inshore and offshore, then you’d love the Grady White 251 Coastal Explorer.

This Hybrid bay boat is designed for ‘tweeners’ as they call them these days. 

It can easily wade through waters as thin as 15-inches in backwaters and marshes. 

Yet, it has a higher freeboard with an aft cockpit that’s 20-inches deep which allows you to ride the waves with ease. 

The 251 comes with fore and aft casting decks that can easily accommodate up to four adult anglers. There’s enough room to move around with minimal chances of a snag to the line. 

When you are waiting for the fish to bite, you can attach the removable tabletop to convert the deck into a socializing area. The seating is plush and comfy. 

There are 74-qt insulated fish boxes on port and starboard side, a 12 3/4-gallon livewell under aft seating and a bow access ladder that can be deployed from the water. 

With a beam that touches 8 ½ feet, the Grady White 251 is the perfect family boat. 

 It’s unique in every way. And that explains its ongoing popularity despite being 5-years old this year. 

It also has excellent resale value by the way. So if you are hoping to land one of these beauts for cheap, you are mistaken. #

You can read more about it here.

#8 – Beavertail Mosquito – Best flats boat

Beavertail Mosquito

This was one of the toughest decisions to make in this list of the best fishing boats. We had our eyes set on the Hell’s Bay Waterman which arguably has the best hull in the business. 

But after getting a good run-in with the Beavertail Mosquito, we were sold.

The mosquito, after all, is newer and completely customizable. Plus, there’s a hefty warranty on the hull and the engine which according to us were critical in swaying our decision towards the BT. 

The Beavertail Mosquito is a very sleek skiff. It has an 18 feet LOA but has a very petite beam of just 70-inches which allows it to venture further into the backwaters than any other rig. 

Yet, it is stable, as silent as a mouse (zero wave slapping) and keeps the anglers as dry as a bone. 

There’s plenty of room for up to 3 guys to cast, flush-mounted rod racks for up to 4 rods on each side, two aft storage compartments, one large forward storage compartment, and an optional plumbed livewell. 

The stock motor powers it up to 30HP. You can up that to 70HP. It really shines though, when you mount a Suzuku 60 4-stroke on it. Wide-open, you should be able to top 35 mph with ease and cruise at a reasonably good 28 mph. 

Comes with standard hydraulic steering and Beavertail gives you the option to choose from the tiller, side or center-mounted consoles. 

We recommend tiller-mount. Improves the draft to just 5-inches. Perfect for intertidal flats.

You can read more about it here.

#9 – Viking 58 – Best Convertible Fishing Boat

Viking 58

When Viking came out with its 58-footer behemoth convertible boat in 1991, they were quite the rage. 

Now, 18-years later, as the market has turned over its head, Viking has launched the successor to the popular boat in the Viking 58 C.

As expected, we get to see many best-in-class features starting with a mammoth 165-square-foot cockpit. 

It retains Viking’s signature center console helm design and there’s an entire suite of electronics, displays, and gauges to boot. 

There’s ample seating on the sides of the bridge. But it’s the salon that pops out from everything. 

An L-shaped couch, a flat-screen Television, a dinette, and glossy walnut cabinets exude elegance. 

The three-stateroom layout is designed to perfection. The master stateroom boasts of a queen size bed with gobs of storage space beneath. There’s a starboard side twin stateroom and another one forward.

Despite the flair and the over-the-top luxury, the Viking 58 C is a hardcore fishing vessel. 

You can read more about it here.

#10 – Beneteau Gran Turismo 50 – Best Express Cruiser

Beneteau Gran Turismo 50

The Gran Turismo 50, also known as the GT 50 is one of the best express cruisers to come from the French boat builder’s stable. 

Featuring a sporty design, the GT 50 makes full use of the open layout. 

There are dedicated indoor and outdoor lounging areas, an L-shaped seating in place of the old aft seating on the other Beneteau models and an electrically controlled pedestal table which can be converted at the touch of a button to a sun pad.

The salon is unbelievably roomy and starts with a ceiling height of 6’7 m, which pretty much extends the ‘openness‘ of the design.

There’s a large settee, a love seat, plush chairs with armrests, airconditioning and a drawer-styled fridge to boot. There’s ample room to socialize and entertain a large family.

Large windows keep the salon bright and offer great views from all seating positions. 

Below decks, there’s a full-sized galley with a cooktop, cabinets, convection microwave et al. 

All the luxury touches don’t take away the functionality of the cruiser. There is ample deck room and tons of storage for your fishing paraphernalia. 

You can read more about it here.

Fishing Boat Buying Guide

A lot of people, interested in embracing the fishing lifestyle refrain from doing so because they believe that they cannot afford a big, fancy vessel. 

That’s because when they think about fishing, they picture a large express cruiser in blue waters with men trolling for bluefin tuna. 

That’s not the be-all, end-all of fishing folks.

To be honest, we started off with a used Jon boat that we picked off Boats.com. 

You don’t necessarily need a flashy boat to get started with fishing. 

If you put some thought to it and prioritize your interests, you’ll notice that your needs from the boat and the activities that you mainly want to pursue can be fulfilled with an entry-level vessel. 

Or even a pre-owned one. 

Here’s a brief buying guide for first-time boat buyers. 

  1. What type of boat is right for me? 
  2. That’s subjective. There are a few questions that can help you find the answer to this. Where will you be fishing mainly? Is it in shallow bays? Is it in ponds? Lakes? Rivers? Tributaries? Larger water bodies? Do you fancy going offshore? We’ve covered all the common types of boats used for fishing. Find one that best suits your fishing interests. 

Do you like to fish solo? Or in pairs? Maybe you like to head out on a sunny day with friends in tow. Or maybe like us, you feel that fishing is best done with the family. The number of people that you will be fishing with will help you determine the right size of boat. 

Do account for the additional cost needed for storing the boat. A large boat will most likely need to be stored at the marina whereas a smaller one can be stored in your garage. 

Buying new vs. buying pre-owned boats

Contrary to what some people believe, you don’t always need to start with a brand new boat. 

The used boat market is huge in the United States and with some luck and some patience, you should be able to find yourself a sparingly used vessel for less than half the cost. 

There are a few things to watch out for before you hand over the cash though. 

Inspect the boat from head to toe in minute detail. Check the transom. Use the light hammer test. If it’s an old boat (pre-80s) with a wood transom, then chances are that the wood has rotten and the hammer test can give you a clear idea of the current condition. Fiberglass transoms can crack too. 

Check previous maintenance records, hire a certified mechanic or a marine surveyor to run some diagnostic tests for you. Like a leak test and a compression test. If the motor doesn’t sound right, it probably will cost a fortune to fix. A new lower unit is a huge red flag. It usually indicates an accident and possibly, a damaged transom. 

Don’t forget to inspect the trailer equally well. The axle, the break, any electrical components, everything must be checked. 

Take it for a sea trial. By the way, get the boat hauled as many a time, the bulk of the damage can be hidden below the waterline.  

Buying a Fishing Boat for sale

Ah, the perks and the perils of the internet. 

You now have access to thousands of listings of pre-owned boats. Many of them NMMMA Certified, which reduces the risk of landing a gimcrack. 

But you have to be doubly diligent while buying online, particularly from private sellers. 

Start off by analyzing classifieds for pre-owned boats to get an idea of the prices and the current market. 

Most classifieds allow you to search by boat length, model, price and location. 

You can also check boat shows or visit dealerships or even buy directly from the manufacturer. Some manufacturers offer refurbished boats. 

Once you find a few options that suit your needs, start narrowing down the list further. 

Check the equipment list to know what comes with the boat. If you are buying a fishing boat, you’d want to ensure that it comes with at least the basic equipment that you need, like a fish finder, a livewell, fish storage, and rod holders. Compare two or more listings of the same model to spot any discrepancies. 

Inspect the boat manually. Many a time, you may narrow down on the perfect boat only to discover that it’s located a few hundred miles away. Drive down if need be, for a good used boat won’t go unsold for a long time. 

By the way, it’s always safer to buy from a dealer. But dealer certified boats may cost you more. 

Always check the paperwork. If you are buying through a dealer, research about boat financing. It’s pretty much like financing for used cars. 

There are lenders as well who specialize in marine financing. 

And if you have the bankroll, then nothing like a beautiful boat fresh out of the factory. 


If you are buying a pre-owned boat from a private seller, put your emotions on the backburner no matter how much you like the boat. 

Boat buying is often driven by emotions. However, the more badly you want the vessel, the higher the price that the seller will demand. 

Put your negotiating shoes on.  

Buying Boat Insurance

Once you have settled on a price, check quotes for boat insurance. While the very thought of paying a premium can be scary, boat insurance is not as expensive as automobile insurance. 

More importantly, it will keep you covered for liability, wreckage removal, accident as well as for mechanical damage, depending on the cover you buy. 

Closing thoughts

That’s it, folks.

That sums up our brief guide to fishing boats

We hope that you enjoyed reading this. Do you have anything to add to it? Do write in the comments box below. We’d love to hear from you. 

Meanwhile, go crank em reels.