Boat Fishing Tips and Tricks
by: Steve Dolan
If you're keen to find a fun family activity, then give boat fishing a try. There's nothing better than heading off on your boat with the wife and kids, talking about the fish you plan to catch that day.
It's important to realize, though, that there are lots of different types of boat fishing, and each one has specialized boat requirements. You can do everything from dangle some bait on a string over the side of a canoe, right through to high-tech rods and a powerful cabin cruiser. It just needs to be seaworthy - the rest is up to you! But if you're keen to buy a boat, you need to do some homework first. It can be very confusing walking into a boat show or dealership and seeing so many choices. You need to think about what you're planning to do with the boat before you can decide which one to buy. Here are some popular boat fishing choices.
If you enjoy fishing in freshwater lakes, rivers or streams, then you don't need a massive boat. Instead, choose an aluminum or fiberglass boat. Make sure it's easy to transport and lightweight. Popular choices include bow riders, runabouts or walley boats, with either a small or dual console. These boats are fine for family freshwater boat fishing outings.
Offshore Saltwater Boats
Fishing out on the open sea is the most common thing people think of when you mention boat fishing. Most people enjoy fishing offshore because they get the chance to catch huge fish and use heavy tackle. It's important to have a dependable, heavy boat for this type of fishing. You'll encounter plenty of different weather and situations on the open sea, so you need to be able to rely on your boat. You can choose twin or single outboard motors, and you definitely need a cuddy cabin or a center console. If you want to spend a bit more, you can start to look at the more luxurious boats, including a bluewater or convertible with luxury quarters, and maybe even an elegant living area. Bigger boats generally have powerful inboard diesel engines as standard.
Inshore Saltwater Boats
If your tastes run to tarpin, snook, trout, bonefish or redfish, then you will want a boat suitable for inshore saltwater fishing. It's best to have a light boat that is smaller than a 25-footer. All you need is a single outboard motor. You're likely to be in shallow water at least some of the time, so something like a flat or baby boat works well. These have a spacious deck you can use for casting, and are still float well in shallow water.
This type of boat is generally suitable for tournament and sport fishing. They're colorful, fast, and ride low in the water. It's preferable if the bass boat has a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Generally they have a platform at both the bow and stern ends, which makes casting much easier. You can choose from aluminum or fiberglass.
These don't really qualify as boats, but fly anglers find them very handy for fishing in mountain streams, ponds and lakes. A float tube is simply a flotation device containing a seat. The angler is partially submerged when seated in the float tube, and uses fins on his feet to navigate around on the water. They're tricky to handle, and fly-casting requires lots of practice. You can choose between round float tubes, which are similar to an inner tube, and pontoon float tubes, which have an air chamber either side of the fisherman. The pontoons are slightly eiasier to maneuver, as their v-shaped design reduces the amount of water resistance.
It's always a good idea to speak to experienced anglers who either have their own boat or use one regularly. They can give you lots of help in deciding which type of boat is right for you. Read magazines, guides, and talk to your local boat charter service. Fishermen generally love to talk about boats, and you can learn a lot to help you select the perfect fishing boat for your needs.