Buying a boat for saltwater fishing is different from just buying a boat for transport, or for relaxation. You need a boat that actually helps you in your saltwater adventure, and boats for saltwater fishing are different from freshwater boats. So here are some factors to consider when you’re buying a boat for saltwater fishing:
- Hull design.The hull design must fit the type of fishing you typically enjoy. If you’re into drift fishing, you need a boat hull with lots of stability. A semi-V hull works best for light-tackle bay anglers and flats anglers. For offshore anglers, trollers, or extended runs in various conditions, you need a powercat or a deep-V hull design.
- Durable construction. You need to make sure that your boat can handle all kinds of stress. You should check for at least 316-grade stainless steel fittings and parts. If the grade is lower, it’ll begin to rust almost immediately.
- Sunlight cover. As an angler, you’re probably going to stay out in the sun for extended periods, so you need a shade if you don’t want to get sunburn. Your best bet is a T-top cover, so you don’t have any inconvenient problem when you work your rod in every direction around your boat.
- Fuel capacity. Bigger is obviously better here, since there’s always a tendency for anglers to find a better spot a few miles farther out. You have to be certain that you’ll always have enough fuel to get home! You need to keep in mind the rule of thirds: one-third of the fuel capacity for going out, another third for going back, and the final third in reserve for any emergency. What that means is when your fuel becomes only ⅔ full, it’s time to go back home.
- Proper fish box. First it has to be really large, since running out of space will just end your adventures prematurely. The fishbox also must be insulated. Finally, get a fishbox that drains overboard. If you must get a pump, at least get a diaphragm type, which is better than a macerator. What you really must avoid is a bilge pump in the fishbox, which won’t last long as it will just choke on the slime and the scales.
- Secure bulk stowage. After you’ve bought all your saltwater fishing gear from Eat My Tackle, where will you put them onboard? You need enough space for your tackleboxes, rods, reels, and everything else. The compartment must be secured with a lock as well. If you don’t have a space place to put them in your boat securely, then you’re going to have to deal with storing all these bits of gear in your home. That means going back and forth between the boat and your house before and after each sea journey.
- Lots of rod holders. For offshore fishing you need gimbal pins in the bottom to lock the rods in place. On small boat T-tops, a safety strap is also needed keep the rods in position. Trollers need 2 or 4 angled holders from the top and the gunwales. The rod holders must be aluminum or stainless steel and not plastic. Flush mounts are superior to surface or rail mounts.
- Raw water washdown. This must be strong and dependable since there’s going to be a mess on the boat. Keep away from livewell/washdown pump-share configurations, which aren’t strong enough to clean off the gore.
And of course, there’s always the cost of the boat. Be practical, and know what you can really afford!