The details matter when you choose a ride.
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.
And I’ve wet lines with — and interviewed — about two dozen charter captains and veteran anglers in the last two decades, learning their priorities, favored equipment and systems, and the designs they think separate the mediocre from the strong angling platforms. Each of the three types of boats we examine here tout specific strengths, such as the 360-degree fishability of a center console and the mammoth cockpit of a convertible. Any good model of each style will offer similar features, but as a group they also share some key characteristics. A seaworthy hull and reliable power serve as the foundation, but winning fishing boats also have quality electronics for viewing the water column and bottom and for navigating; uncluttered decks with easy access to everything from rod holders to tackle; and dependable live wells and abundant well-placed storage for fish, ice and supplies. We shine the spotlight on a center console, a pilothouse boat and a convertible, highlighting the components on each type that carry out the fishing mission.
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June 2015 issue