Selecting Your Fishing Boat

Selecting your fishing boat does not have to be complex.  Practical Fishing Tips lays out logical comparisons.  Of course you need to think through the general size of the boat, where you would be able to store it, where and how you would normally like to use the boat, how you will transport your boat to the lake.  Now you are looking for help in selecting your fishing boat.  Try visualizing catching big fish from your new or used fishing boat.  What does that look like?

New or Used Fishing Boats

How do you decide between a new or used fishing boat?  A new fishing boat means you are getting the latest in technology.  New technology means the latest in body design, up to date electronics, and the latest most convenient options.  Newer boats  find ways to give you more on board storage options. You also get a full warranty - which based on your total options can be a real plus.  If this is your first boat, having a full warranty gives you confidence as you learn how much - if any - maintenance you will want to take on yourself.  There is nothing like selecting a new fishing boat.  Of course, you can expect to pay more for selecting a new fishing boat.

Texas Crappie Big Texas Crappie

USED:  Choosing used when selecting your boat offers advantages too.  Your money goes further - you could buy a bigger motor, or bigger boat for example for the same amount of money.  Many first time boat owners are not sure just how often they would actually use a boat addition to the family.  For these anglers, a used boat offers a real advantage in that they can get away with spending less money.  An old boat with a sound motor can get you on the water and start fishing while keeping you on your budget.     Older boats like older cars often are easier to work on and handle maintenance and leaves you with money to add a few extras like a new depth finder.


Selecting Your Fishing Boat Tips

Develop a budget - Include:
  • Amount you are able to spend on the boat
  • Routine Maintenance expenses
  • Storage Expenses
  • Yearly Insurance
  • Property Taxes
  • License Fees for Your trailer
  • State Boat License Fees
Maintenance expenses will vary a lot based on your specific desires and selections. Expenses will be more if you take it to a licensed boat repair shop compared to doing it yourself. If you are not sure what or how to do a repair or maintenance take it to an authorized mechanic. There is a lot of help available beginning with your owners manuals, parts suppliers and on line. A good rule of thumb is to allow $150-$500 per year for maintenance. Set aside an additional amount for unexpected repairs.
Aluminum Row Boat Common Aluminum Row Boat


Aluminum Fishing Boats

Aluminum Fishing Boats tend to be stiffer and more resistant to abrasions.  They also are easier to make minor repairs.   When selecting your fishing boat if your plan is to use it on shallow rivers choose flat bottom aluminum fishing boats are just the ticket.  Canadian waters are larger and more open, and seasoned anglers prefer aluminum fishing boats with a V-Bottom on these waters because they provide smoother rides across the waves, have higher side walls to keep water out of the boat.  Caution is advised on any river or lake you have never navigated on because you want to avoid unforeseen hazards.  Seek out detailed maps or talk to anglers who have had experience on the lake you are about to fish so that you are best prepared to avoid these hazards that can dent, take off a lower unit, or even capsize your boat if you are not careful.  Other scrapes occur when you are about to dock your boat.


Fiberglass Fishing Boats

Fiberglass fishing boats tend to ride smoother on the water. Fiberglass is easier to shape so there are many more unique designs available.  Fiberglass fishing boats are generally preferred for fish and ski boats and bass boats with minimal draft.  Fiberglass can be easier to damage or even puncture than aluminum if you hit a rock or tree.  There is no right or wrong when making your decision.  Your decision should be based mainly on how you plan to fish most often.  If you want to do a lot of casting for bass the flat design of the front part  fiberglass fishing boats make them ideal.   Both aluminum and fiberglass offer advantages when selecting your fishing boat.

Fiberglass Bass Boat
Common Fiberglass Bass Boat

BOTTOM LINE: When selecting your fishing boat as long as you don't overspend your budget, there are no bad decisions. For over six years we had great times fishing with my first fiberglass fishing boat with its inboard engine and jet drive. We caught a lot of fish in that boat. We also turned a lot of heads when we started up its engine at the boat ramp. Imagine a 455 cubic inch engine firing up among mostly bass boats. Today we are thoroughly enjoying fishing with my newer outboard "V" bottom aluminum fishing boat which came with many more convenient options that came standard on this Lund IFS, ProV Magnum 2025. I have added additional accessories which has increased the convenience and pleasure. First check your budget, look at both new and used, then test drive both types of boats and see which you prefer.


Inboard Engine

Well maintained engines will provide you with years of service whether inboard or outboard.   Selecting your fishing boat with an inboard motor offers smooth and quiet operation.  They are often modified car engines which means maintenance is easy and spare parts are easy to find.  These boats are more ideal for skiing so look for these models that are built as a fish/ski combination.   The biggest negative to fishing from a boat with an inboard motor is loss of interior space due to the size of the motor.


Outboard Motor

2 Stroke or 4 Stroke;  Selecting your fishing boat with an outboard motor  will maximize space in your boat which means it can be easier to fish from.  In general outboard engines offer a more efficient use of fuel.  Traditionally outboard motors were all 2 stroke or 2 cycle engines.  This meant that 2 cycle oil must be mixed with the gasoline before burning.  Recently technology brought 4 cycle outboard motors to market in a full range of horse power.  4 Cycle motors tend to be quieter than 2 cycle, but can be heavier than the same horse power 2 stroke motor.  Routine oil changes will be required with 4 stroke motors just like your car or truck.  The biggest negative to outboards is that they can be in the way if you also want to ski with your boat.  


Size of Boat; Size of Motor

Selecting the Size of Your Fishing Boat is determined by three main factors:
  • Your Budget
  • Your Storage Limitation or Options
  • Where and How You Will Fish
Small fishing boats (including row boats, canoes, and kayaks) can be used on large bodies of water as long as you pay attention to the weather, wind, rough water and other larger vessels around you. These craft are noted for excellent fishing on smaller waters with limited access. Storage unit size is determined by total length and width of boat and motor including the trailer. Once on the water, you will be limited in how far you are able to travel by the size of motor and size of gas tank. Conversely, while smaller fishing boats can be used on larger water, larger boats are harder to use on smaller bodies of water. Where would you most likely use your fishing boat?