Bassmaster Elite Angler/Xpress Boats Pro Bill Lowen explains why he chose SeaDek over traditional carpet on his 2019 X21 Pro.
Top Tips For Buying A Boat
If you’re like most fishers, a fishing boat is the art’s peak purchase. Whether you’re an in-season competition angler, an off-season cruiser or a year-round sportsman, there are plenty of options to choose from. This is a great thing—because it means you can find a boat which truly fits your fishing lifestyle’s needs.
But talk about a difficult choice! Between storage costs, day-to-day expedition requirements, resale value, looks and operational capacity—you have a lot of factors to choose from. Fear not, though, because we’re here to help. If you’re browsing boats, take charge with these top six considerations.
One: Depth Performance
So, where are you planning to fish? You’ll need to pick a watercraft suitable for your preferred area’s depth. Let’s cover the main choices:
The Walkaround Boat
Crafted from fiberglass or aluminum, the walkaround boat features a large center console which harnesses a step-down cabin. Powered by either single or twin outboards, inboard motors and stern drives, this boat is perfect for nearshore and offshore fishing.
The Center Console Boat
This boat usually has a fiberglass hull—sporting either a deep-V or modified-V design. Also called an “open fisherman” due to its spacious deck layout, the center console boat is quite adaptable. It can be used on rivers, lakes and ocean waters.
The Flats Skiff
Crafted from either fiberglass or composite specialized shallow-draft hull material, the flats skiff features a low freeboard, aft casting deck, fore casting deck and standing platform. It’s commonly used for inshore fishing—especially in extremely shallow waters.
Two: Construction Material Quality
Next, consider the material of your watercraft. You should opt for a boat crafted with the finest materials around—both for its exterior and amenities.
Fiberglass fishing boats are often accompanied by two-stroke engines, though they tend to be on the costlier end. The price is justified, though, due to fiberglass’s ability to withstand large, rougher, bodies of water.
Aluminum boats are more suitable for smaller lakes—and they’re generally cheaper than fiberglass boats. They’re also more likely to withstand nicks, dings and bangs caused by stumps and rocks residing in shallow waters.
Three: Resale Value
Even if you’re focusing on buying a boat, it’s a good idea to consider what’ll happen if you sell it. A boat’s resale value will determine the overall cost, and investment return, of your purchase. Remember: Not all boats are created equal. Try to pick a boat which will retain its value, because it’ll protect your wallet in the long run.
Four: Fit and Finish
When it comes to boats, great workmanship matters. All of a boat’s amenities should fit to perfection—and everything onboard should have a high-quality finish which necessitates the watercraft’s price. Check out some reviews on the boat, and pay attention to mentions of lesser-known amenity and finish issues. Hidden sharp edges, cabin installations and common fence issues are all things to look for.
Five: Company Innovations
So, how’s the watercraft’s company looking? In general, it’s a good idea to pick a boat which boasts cutting-edge technology. More important, however, is its manufacturer’s ability to stay ahead of the game. Are they constantly reworking their product line’s engine capabilities? What about its advancements to meet ever-changing EPA emission standards? Or its track systems, ventilation capabilities and digital dashboard options? Ideally, pick a watercraft which isn’t only technologically advanced—but one capable of harnessing new industry tech as it evolves.
Six: A Great Dealer Network
A boat which is available across many dealers is a boat which benefits from upgrade accessibility, ease-of-maintenance, awesome cleaning services and more. Take particular note of watercrafts available in awesome dealer networks—as you’ll not only benefit from more options, but also discounts and seasonal deals.
So, are you ready to take to the open waters? Once you’ve nailed down these boat-buying essentials, you’ll be armed with the knowledge needed to make a great investment. Good luck, out there, and enjoy the ride of a lifetime.