What to Look for in a Small Fishing Boat

By June 13, 2018 January 6th, 2019 Boating, Small Boat Fishing
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A large watercraft allows for ease of catching large fish in deeper water, but economic constraints might make purchasing a large boat an impossibility. Moreover, there are many benefits to owning a small watercraft.

There is a great deal of dispute over what defines a small fishing boat. According to, the US Coast Guard defines a small craft as measuring under 100 feet. However, most anglers consider a small fishing boat to be any watercraft under 20 feet. For this article, we are looking at boats under 15 feet.

Small watercraft are perfect for the hobbyist. According to, small fishing boats are not as costly as their larger counterparts, possess less complicated motors and are capable of accessing small streams and tributaries, where water may be shallow. Additionally, small watercraft aren’t as bulky or heavy. These lighter boats may be easily towed by trucks with low towing capacity. Storage of small craft may be less costly as well if home storage is not an option.

It’s important to consider a watercraft’s hull material when purchasing a boat. There are several materials to choose from, each possessing benefits and downfalls. Materials include aluminum, fiberglass, and rotomolded plastics. According to, in an article about boat construction, fiberglass boats offer several benefits, they are light, easy to maintain and make for a quieter ride. However, aluminum is the lighter than fiberglass. Lighter material exerts less strain on the engine and may get better gas mileage. Rotomolded polyethylene boats are an excellent choice for fishing. The boats are affordable, these crafts can easily access saltwater flats, and are light enough to paddle. They are some of the most diverse boats on the market today. They are also one of the most durable. In an excerpt from

“Polyethylene is extremely impact-resistant, and we’ll go as far as to say that poly boats are virtually indestructible in the normal course of recreational boating. Smash into a rock jetty, much less a piling, and a poly boat will just bounce right off. Whack the hullsides with a sledgehammer (Triumph will invite you to at the boat shows) and there’s zero effect. One of our editors owned a 10’ poly boat which fell out the back of a pick-up truck while doing 50 MPH, and after bouncing down the road and off onto the shoulder, other than a few scuff marks it remained undamaged.”

When considering your next or first watercraft purchase, it’s necessary to consider all the variables. Small light boats get the best gas mileage and are more easily towed and stored. Additionally, where hull material is another primary concern, fiberglass is durable and easily maintained, but costly. Aluminum is loud. Many anglers purchase small rotomolded boats due to their low price tags, ease of storage, and shallow draft.


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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • My husband loves fishing, so I have been considering getting him a fishing boat for our anniversary. I like how you point out that considering a watercraft’s hull material is important when choosing a boat. I’m not sure what this entails for my husband, so I will have to talk to him fishing buddies to see what would be best. Either way, I’ll need to make sure I buy from a reputable company.

  • Mark Murphy says:

    I really like your tip on making sure that the hull of the boat, especially so it won’t have any problems moving in the water. My brother is a very avid fisherman, and he told me that he wants to buy a fishing boat instead of renting. I will be sure to tell him that he should try and find a boat that has a very sturdy hull!

  • Sam Li says:

    I like what you said about small watercraft being perfect for the hobbyist. I think that bay boats are a great investment, especially for avid fisherman or people who want to improve their nautical knowledge. If I convince my wife to let me purchase a bay boat, I’ll make a concerted effort to find the best supplier around to ensure I get the best quality.

  • Thank you for pointing out that it is important to consider material when you are buying a boat. My husband is wanting to get an aluminum boat and we need to find the right one. Hopefully, we can do some research and find the best boats in our area.

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