The best fishing boats are those that are specifically designed with the sport of fishing in mind. Fortunately, there are many boat manufacturers that have dedicated themselves to creating great fishing boats for all types of angling. But the countless options to choose from can make it difficult to determine which fishing boat is right for you, personally. That’s why we created this handy guide to the best fishing boat brands in various categories.
Best Aluminum Fishing Boat Brands
Alumacraft Boat Co.
Alumacraft has been in business for more than 75 years and is well known for creating high-quality aluminum fishing boats that are incredibly durable and surprisingly affordable. The one-piece aluminum hulls of Alumacraft boats are double-plated, and their models come with specific fishing features like large livewells with aerators and timers, locking rod stowage boxes, and elevated casting decks. Alumacraft makes a wide variety of vessels to choose from and works with an extensive network of dealers to ensure that anyone interested in one of their boats can find one.
Crestliner has also been called one of the best aluminum fishing boat brands in the market today. The boats from Crestliner have many outstanding characteristics, including making their aluminum fishing boats with seams that are welded rather than riveted. After being in business for around 70 years Crestliner has a good idea of what anglers want, and they incorporate some great touches that make their boats more user-friendly. Some of these features include plentiful integrated tackle and rod-storage lockers, large livewells, and top-of-the-line electronics.
Lund is another popular brand among aluminum fishing boats. Their construction process includes highlights like closed-cell foam injected into the hulls for better flotation and vibration-dampening, high-density composite transoms, and retractable stainless-steel cleats. The model line ranges from beginner boats to top-tier models, and includes designs dedicated to a number of different fisheries. Lund boats are prevalent in the American Midwest and Canada but can be found nearly anywhere due to their immense popularity with people who know boats.
Photo Credit: Lund Boats
Best Fish and Ski Boat Brands
Crestliner has a wide selection, including four different model lines of aluminum fish and ski boats. These range from affordable 16-footers with minimal features, to their 22-foot, 11-inch, top-end Sportfish 2250, which blasts across the waves with up to 400hp and has a convertible bow that transitions between sun pad and casting deck. All of their fish and ski models are fully equipped for angling and offer ski-tow pylon and water-toy storage options that make these boats ideal for multi-purpose use.
Ranger builds both fiberglass and aluminum boats, including in their Reata series of fish and ski boats. They range from 16 feet, 8 inches, to 20 feet, 9 inches, and there’s a broad spectrum of pricing and features between the different boats in the lineup. All have full fishing and watersports abilities, but particularly the higher-end fiberglass Reata models are exceptionally well equipped and come with family-friendly perks like Bluetooth stereo systems, snap-in carpet, and stainless-steel cupholders.
Triton’s line of fish and skis has just two models, but they’re top-tier fiberglass boats that feature not only full fishing and watersports features, but also high performance. The 206 Allure, for example, can handle 300hp and breaks 60mph. Tritons are also packaged with high-end trailers with disc brakes and integrated tie-downs.
Photo Credit: Ranger Boats
Best Freshwater Fishing Boat Brands
Lowe Boats are some of the most popular freshwater fishing boats around, in no small part because this builder offers one of the widest range of boats on the market. They have dedicated fishing boats including bass boats, multi-species boats, and fish and ski boats; they have fishing pontoon boats and deck boats; they have Jon boats for fishing and hunting; and they have center console boats. In fact, add them all up and you’ll discover that Lowe offers more than 60 different models.
Smokercraft makes the list of best freshwater fishing boat brands for its wide-ranging designs that include 20 different series of aluminum models. Many of their models are straightforward and utilitarian, making them easy to use and simple to maintain. Others are fully featured and have everything from integrated livewells to gunwale track systems that allow you to add and remove accessories as you please. Their boats come in both tiller and console-steering versions and some feature twice-baked urethane paint, giving them a finish that rivals fiberglass boats.
Starcraft offers seven different series of dedicated aluminum freshwater fishing boats, as well as six lines of simple, inexpensive utility fishing boats. But casual anglers who enjoy relaxing as they fish will be just as interested in their CX Fish and EX Fish lines, which are fishing-oriented pontoon boats. With six different models between 20 and 23 feet in length, these will be tough to beat if you enjoy kicking back on the lake just as much as you enjoy reeling in fish.
Photo Credit: Lowe Boats
Best Center-Console Fishing Boat Brands
Boston Whaler takes a top spot for best center console fishing boat brands on just about any list you’ll see. Their boats have a reputation for being unsinkable thanks to their fiberglass-foam-fiberglass sandwich construction, and they can literally be cut in half and still float. Boston Whaler manufactures a diverse line of fishing boats ranging from a mere 13 feet to the 420 Outrage, a 42-foot, 6-inch fishing machine that can be optioned with quad 450R outboards or triple Mercury Marine Verado V-12 600s for outrageous speed—this boat will go in excess of 60 mph despite its 22,000-pound heft.
Grady-White is one of the most popular and well-respected boatbuilders around, and their lineup of 12 center console boats includes models dedicated to both offshore and inshore fishing. They’re particularly well known for having variable-degree deadrise hulls that ride incredibly well, and for including a wide range of comfort-providing family features like lots of cushy seating, freshwater showers, and electrically actuated seating, alongside angling armaments like livewells and rocket launchers.
Freeman Boatworks is one of the newer additions to the list of best center-console fishing boat brands. Launched in 2007, the company focuses on building high-performance power catamaran fishing boats that can reach speeds of more than 80 mph on the open water, gaining the brand the respect of charter captains from across the Southeastern United States.
Photo Credit: Freeman Boatworks
Best Offshore Fishing Boat Brands
A great brand for offshore fishing boats is Contender Boats, which has been making boats with extremely aggressive V-hulls to slice open big waves for more than 30 years. The brand has a considerable lineup of tournament-ready center consoles built for offshore fishing. Contender boats are powered by Yamaha outboard engines and range in size from 24 feet, 6 inches to nearly 44 feet in length. Different Contender models have different fishing features, so take a look at our selection to see which models may be right for you.
This two-decade-old Florida-based brand is well-known for its tricked-out offshore boats, ranging from 28 to 45 feet, constructed with pre-molded high-density foam cores sandwiched between the hull and liner. This provides an amazingly solid build that absorbs sound and vibration as well as insulating the compartments. Everglades is so confident in their construction techniques that they back up every boat with a lifetime hull warranty.
Regulator has a lineup of six dedicated offshore fishing boats from 23 to 41 feet, and is known for building rugged deep-V hulls designed to take on the rigors of the open ocean off North Carolina’s Outer Banks. They’re fishing boats through and through, with huge fishboxes, oversized tackle, and rigging stations, and lots and lots of rodholders. They’re also known for top performance, with some of their models exceeding the 60mph mark.
Photo Credit: Contender Boats
Best Bass Fishing Boat Brands
Ranger Boats has been known as one of the best bass fishing boat brands for a long time, with some people calling the brand the pioneer of the modern bass boat. The company makes its boats based on their five-point philosophy of "Quality, Performance, Innovation, Safety, and Resale." Their excellent design and construction quality complement the numerous features added to enhance the user experience. The top-of-the-line details built into every Ranger boat provide maximum efficiency and comfort for anglers of every age.
Skeeter Boats Inc.
Skeeter has been in business for more than 75 years and has spent much of that time researching and designing high-quality bass fishing boats. Some of their most popular models have ultra-large raised casting decks with conveniently located storage areas beneath, innovative locking rod stowage and tackle stowage options, and cutting-edge electronics packages. Other options include performance-designed seats, audio packages with multiple speakers, and various color options.
Tracker has a reputation for being one of the most popular bass fishing boat brands available at an affordable price point. Their boats are all-welded aluminum builds and are equipped with Lowrance electronics and Minn Kota trolling motors. Fishing features for their boats include an impressive rod-storing capacity, raised casting platforms, and abundant seating. Tracker boats are sold as complete packages including trailers and electronics, and most of the available options are upgrades, so they’re ready to go fishing on day one.
Photo Credit: Tracker Boats
Best Deep-Sea Fishing Boat Brands
Bertram is the brand that made the deep-V hull design famous back in 1960 when founder Richard Bertram won the Miami to Nassau race in the 31-foot Moppie. Today, Bertram builds three models that qualify as deep-sea fishing yachts, 35- and 61-foot convertibles and a 50-foot express. All feature a blend of seakeeping abilities, luxury, and fishing armaments.
Hatteras Yachts has a selection of four deep-sea fishing machines ranging from 45 to 70 feet. All are convertibles except for the GT45X, an express. Based in New Bern, North Carolina, Hatteras Yachts have always been known for excellent seakeeping abilities along with a generous helping of luxury and sportfishing abilities. Starting in 1960, this company was one of the first to build large sportfishing boats out of fiberglass and is often credited with building the first fishing boat over 40 feet in length with the material.
If you intend to fish far offshore for days at a time, a Viking would be a top choice. With 22 models including convertibles and expresses ranging from 38 feet, eig8ht inches to 90 feet in length, these are not inexpensive deep-sea fishing boats, but they are as capable—and as comfortable—as you’ll find anywhere on the ocean. Viking Yachts has been building large sportfishing boats like these since 196, and has a reputation in the industry that’s unsurpassed.
Photo Credit: Viking Yachts
Related article: A Complete Guide to Family Fishing Boats
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