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Read Profiles of the Different Boat Types on Soundings Online

Fishing Friendly

The details matter when you choose a ride.

The right boat is a critical component of the fishing equation.What makes a great fishing boat? I’ve fished all my life — mostly aboard center consoles and walkarounds from 20 to 35 feet, but also from express fishing boats, pilothouse vessels and convertibles.



Fishing boats - Center consoles

Regulator builds larger T-tops for its boats these days, as anglers are more aware of skin damage from the sun. The 28’s extends all the way to the gunwales, and over the leaning post and forward console seat. For weight savings, the builder cores the top with a composite foam in a vacuum-bagged resin-infusion process. The Lee outriggers have integral levers under the hardtop to easily position them.



Fishing boats - Pilothouses

Eastern 270 Tournament

A locker in the pilothouse contains three drawers, two large and two small tackle boxes, and a rack for tools. The builder placed the unit abaft the step up to the helm deck for easy and quick access from the cockpit. It faces inboard rather than aft for easier access while underway. Thick gasketing around the door’s perimeter and a locking latch make for tight, secure storage.



Fishing boats - Convertibles

Viking 42 Convertible

The 57-gallon center transom live well’s dual hinged lid can be secured with positive-locking latches, and the rubber gasketing keeps the water inside and off the deck. The undersides of both lids double as cutting boards. By raising the live well off the deck, the builder has created toekick space. (The live well also can be used as a fishbox.) Note the stainless steel scupper in the cockpit corner — it’s flush with the sole to prevent puddling.



Viking 55 Convertible

Illustration by Jim Ewing

When the Viking 55 Convertible debuted at the 1997 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, it was a definitive break from Viking “tradition.” She was softer and more curvy than the previous angular models. There was more bow flair, an absence of “knuckles” in the hull sides and an abbreviated bow rail. The saloon windows were blackened, and the flybridge overhang sheltering the cockpit was larger and created lots of room to maneuver behind the helm seats.



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