Q. I like to spend time offshore fishing and I am considering an investment in a sport fishing boat. Is there anything specific I should look for?
A. There are really a number of factors to take into account. First, you need to decide on your plan for using the boat. If you are truly dedicated to using it as just an off shore fishing boat, then the design will need to target just fishing. In reality, I do not think you will find many of these “just fishing” boats used by recreational boaters.
If you look at the available sport fishing boats on the market, I think you will find that a large percentage of the offshore fishing boat designs are more than just fishing boats. Most of today’s sport-fishing boats have become weekend and vacation getaways. A few of the larger ones are even long term live aboard vessels.
If you are serious about using the boat as a fishing boat, you will want to look at the size and layout of the fishing area. You will definitely want a roomy section of the cockpit that has accessible bait wells and storage areas for the catch of the day. In addition, most sport fishing boats need a decent fighting chair. That means you will need a spacious enough area to accommodate the chair, the crew and the cheer squad for that record catch.
The next major question you need to ask yourself is what type of waters you plan to spend most of your time in. If you live and plan to use the boat in the Northern waters (East or West), you will want to shop for a boat that has the ability to handle rougher waters and colder temperatures. Being cold and wet on a boat with nowhere to warm up will reduce your enthusiasm. A boat that is too small for your water can make the trip uncomfortable to only the hardiest of the fishing crowd. Do not buy a boat that you “think” will be big enough. Test your planned purchase on similar water before you spend the money.
With that in mind, the location and use will also determine a few of the amenities you opt for. To extend the fishing (or any use) in the Northern areas, the cabin should offer heat for that cold weather warm up. If the boat is to be in the southern waters where the temperatures can be rather high, the cabin needs to be air-conditioned. Many of today’s owners move their boat back and forth so they should be equipped for both climates.
That choice will come down to the location it is used, the fishing area of the cockpit, the passenger comfort and finally the personal styling preferences.