Before you buy your fishing boat, here are tips to make your decision better and easier. These pages, Selecting Your Freshwater Fishing Boat, and Freshwater Fishing Boat Ownership cover a series of questions about how to make the choice, things to consider once you buy the boat and how to learn to transport your boat and trailer using your transport vehicle. Additionally, remember you never know what you will see when you take your boat to the lake!
Before you buy your own fishing boat consider how much time you spend fishing now? Owning a boat will generally mean spending even more prep time – whether working on your boat, hauling the boat, storing your boat - just to be able to fish the same amount of time. How close to fishing lakes are you? Once you own a fishing boat you will be interested in taking your boat further away from home in order to explore more fishing holes, and of course you will be able to access parts of lakes you just are not able to by walking in. What about the memories you will create? Are there children in your life you want to pass on the tradition of fishing?
Before you buy your fishing boat think about the lakes you will likely want to fish the most. The bigger the lake the further you will want to be able to travel on that water. This will help determine the size of the boat, size of the motor, size of gas tank and the range you will be able to have when at that lake. The bigger the lake and the more open the water the more you will be concerned about the weather and wind – larger boats with higher sides for example. Will you have guests with you and/or children with you? Keep this in mind as you select your boat and look for higher side walls, and greater buoyancy.
Be sure to assess what kind of access to the water you will most likely fish before you buy your fishing boat. Does the lake you want to fish have an easily accessible boat launch of adequate size? Smaller lakes/ponds including strip pits often have no boat launch ramps which requires you to carry your boat to the water and launch from the bank. Wind is generally less a concern on smaller ponds because of smaller surface area, higher banks and cliffs allowing smaller craft to be used safely. For example: Row Boats, canoes and inflatables address these needs well.
Before you buy your fishing boat think about your tow vehicle and where you will store your boat. The larger the boat the larger the vehicle you will need. Small boats such as canoes and row boats can be transported on car top carriers or in the back of a pickup truck. If you buy a large boat you may need to buy a truck or large SUV. Have you budgeted for this? Hybrids are fuel efficient and may be able to carry a small canoe or kayak on top, but are not built to tow a 19 foot boat and trailer.
Plan ahead for storing your boat to avoid problems. The time to begin thinking about storage is before you buy your fishing boat. How much room do you have at your home? Boats are best stored indoors. Outside storage is an option, providing your neighborhood allows it. If stored outside boat owners will store their boat under a tarp. Be sure to cover tires to prevent UV rays from harming your tires. There are inexpensive portable boat storage units available, provided you have the outdoor space and neighbors allow it. Some lakes with marinas offer boat slip storage rentals. These make trips to the lake very convenient. Leaving your boat floating on the water adds additional maintenance concerns. As a result, some owners add a lift so their boat does not sit in the water. Many anglers first boat will be a smaller craft such as a 2-3 man row boat. These can be easily carried on a top carrier, and stored in a garage.
Last but not least, before you buy your fishing boat, talk to a friend with a boat and ask them their likes, dislikes, advantages and disadvantages; fish with your friend or hire a guide. Most guides have owned several boats, ask them their likes and dislikes, why they choose what they do. Find a guide with a different type of boat. Guides fish nearly every day and will demand features that others may find optional. Some will have a boat that can be cleaned easily, which can be power washed and drain easily. Some features they will tell you they would not be without. Other options truly are options. Some accessories you may enjoy installing yourself.
How do you ultimately justify buying your own fishing boat? It really boils down to if you can afford it, and how often you will use your boat. From feedback we receive and the our experience here at PFT the rewards of fishing are out of this world. By getting these answers, you will make the wisest choice, and avoid ever feeling like the boat owner who said: The two happiest days of a my life were the day I bought my first boat and the day I sold that boat. The best way to avoid ever feeling this way is: Don't overbuy in either size or cost. and get out there and go fishing!
Finally: Most anglers who own fishing boats recount example after example of fishing trips, that big fish, that time with a best friend when they caught a big one, that delicious dinner, those remarkable week long trips to Canada with 8 friends, and on and on. These outings and trips provide experiences and memories that are priceless and exciting talk about over and over again.