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Best Aluminum Fishing Boat Brands: Tougher, Lighter and More Affordable

Aluminum fishing boats have a long list of advantages over their fiberglass cousins, especially when it comes to relatively small models. They’re lighter, require smaller powerplants, are easier to tow and to handle around the dock, are easier to maintain, and tend to cost less. Sometimes, significantly less. Of course, fiberglass boats hold some advantages too, like the ability to mold more complex hullforms, to mold in more integrated features/furniture, and they often have better seakeeping characteristics. But on the whole, these factors tend to become more critical as the boats get significantly bigger. So, if you want a boat that’s not much over 20 feet in length and you’re looking for the best small fishing boat brands, an aluminum rig is likely to be a top choice. There are many options that may prove ideal for your own personal needs, but of those we’ll ID here, each has a standout trait that helps them rank among the best aluminum fishing boat brands around.

 

Best Deep V Aluminum Fishing Boats

Anglers who venture out onto big lakes and bays where the conditions can get rough will want to do so on the best deep V aluminum fishing boats they can find, because having more V in the hull means the boat can cut through waves with less pounding and spray. We should note, however, that very, very few small aluminum fishing boats have hulls that meet the technical specifications of a true deep-V design. Most professionals would say that among all the different types of fishing boats, the deep-V designation begins when a hull has 20 to 21 degrees or more of transom deadrise (the angle of the V in the hull all the way at the back of the boat). However, many aluminum boat builders advertise and market hulls with half that amount of deadrise as “deep-V” boats—they are more properly called “semi-V”). Often they don’t even specify transom deadrise. So don’t let the marketing hype fool you. But by the same token, remember that an aluminum boat in the 20-foot range with 14 or 15 degrees of transom deadrise has a relatively sharp V hull when stacked up against other models of the same nature.

 

Crestliner

Crestliner bills its Discovery, Pro Tiller, Hawk, and Fish Hawk boats as deep-V models; these range in transom deadrise The Best Aluminum Fishing Boatfrom 17 degrees all the way to six degrees. Setting aside the Tiller models, the rest of the boats in this lineup feature awesome cover from the elements thanks to protective windshields, and on most of the Hawk models, very tall wraparound windshields shield the cockpit from wind and spray. Construction is all-welded, and long options lists allow for significant customization.

 

Crestliner Boats for Sale

 

Crestliner 1950 fish hawk

Crestliner 1950 Fiish Hawk. Crestliner photo. 

 

Lund

A huge swath of Lund’s aluminum fishing boats (14 different model lines in all) have relatively deep amounts of V in the hull, but their flagship Baron and high-end Pro-V lines stand out as top-of-the-heap offerings and are unquestionably among the best deep-V aluminum fishing boats on the water. The 2275 Baron, for example, is a huge boat for the genre with 22’9” LOA and an 8’6” beam. It can hit speeds in the 60-mph range, carry up to a dozen passengers, and has a double-plated bow with a thickness of 0.225”.

 

Lund Boats for Sale

 

Lund 2275 Baron

Lund 2275 Baron. Lund Boats photo.

 

Ranger

This builder is best known for its bass boats while their aluminum deep-V lineup has just a couple of models; however, they’re an ideal choice for an angler who wants to sign on the dotted line and go fishing the very same day. These are sold in all-inclusive boat-motor-trailer packages with a very long list of fishing and comfort features, and are listed with clear “no haggle no hassle” pricing that includes prep and freight. That means there aren’t any unpleasant last-minute surprises.

 

Ranger Boats for Sale

 

Ranger VX1788WT

Ranger VX1788WT. Ranger photo. 

 

Best Aluminum Fishing Boats for the Money

You’d expect the best aluminum fishing boats for the money to deliver maximum bang for the buck, but you still want quality, safety, and at least a basic assortment of angling features. These aluminum fishing boats check all of those boxes at prices that undercut the competition.

 

G3

Boats built by G3 are not at all cheap and often cost as much or possibly more than some competitors, but they deliver more than most for the dollar spent—especially when it comes to their Gator Tough Jon boat series. Even their smallest models feature beefy 0.10” thick aluminum in the hulls, standard boats include camo paint job options, and stock trailers in the boat-motor-trailer package are Kodiak-coated three-inch tubular steel models with detachable tongues. Compare construction quality and features, and G3 becomes a real stand-out.

 

G3 Boats for Sale

 

G3 Gator Tough 18 DK

G3 Gator Tough 18 DK. G3 Boats photo. 

 

Lowe

Lowe is one of the biggest aluminum boat brands around, with a lineup of modified-V, Deep-V, Fish and Ski boats, and utility boats. They also have dozens upon dozens of dealers. They sell a lot of boats, they go through a lot of aluminum, and as a result they enjoy the benefits of economy of scale. Match up the price of any of their models against the most similar offering from a competitor, and the Lowe model usually posts a lower sticker price.

 

Lowe Boats for Sale

 

Lowe Stinger 198

Lowe Stinger 198. Lowe Boats photo. 

 

Tracker

Tracker claims to be America’s No. 1 selling aluminum fishing boat brand, and we don’t doubt them. Along with the benefits of economy of scale and a huge dealer network, Tracker boats are sold in complete package form with the boat, motor, trailer, and a full suite of standard features, at a clearly listed MSRP.

 

Tracker Boats for Sale

 

Tracker PRO TEAM 195 TXW Tournament Edition

Tracker PRO TEAM 195 TXW Tournament Edition. Tracker Boats photo. 

 

Best Offshore Aluminum Fishing Boats

Once boats get into the mid-20-foot range, fiberglass becomes much more popular and most offshore fishing boats are that size or larger, so you won’t see many aluminum boats designed for offshore fishing. Some exceptions will be found in the Pacific Northwest, where the rocky geography favors aluminum over fiberglass since the material tends to bounce off of rocks rather than cracking or shattering.

 

Duckworth

Built in Clarkston, Washington, Duckworth makes some of the biggest ocean-going aluminum fishing boats around. The largest boasts a 34’1” LOA, and Offshore and Pacific Pro models have full cabins, elbow room for plenty of anglers, and more fishing options than we can list out here. 

 

Duckworth 30 Offshore XL

Duckworth 30 Offshore XL. Duckworth photo. 

 

Weldcraft

Another brand built at the Clarkston, Washington, location is Weldcraft, which offers Cuddy King and Ocean King models of similar dimensions. Their larger boats can handle up to a whopping 900 horsepower, carry 19 degrees of transom deadrise, and are highly customizable with long lists of optional features.

 

Weldcraft Boats for Sale

 

Weldcraft 300 Cuddy King OS

Weldcraft 300 Cuddy King OS. Weldcraft photo. 

 

Best Small Aluminum Fishing Boats

The world of small fishing boats is crowded with aluminum offerings, and it’s no small task to separate the wheat from the chaff. Which brand makes the best small aluminum fishing boats for you personally? There’s no doubt that these three should be in the running.

 

Lowe

Lowe is back and since we’re talking about small boats it’s no wonder why—in addition to their larger offerings, Lowe builds Jon boats that range all the way down to a mere 10 feet in length. Sure, that one’s limited to three people and a five horsepower engine, but for kicking around on a pond or small lake it’ll prove ideal.

 

Lowe Boats for Sale

 

Lowe L1032 Jon

Lowe L1032 Jon. Lowe Boats photo. 

 

Smoker Craft

Smoker Craft has plenty of larger offerings but the Angler series includes straightforward 14’ and 16’ models that come with a shocking level of available accessories. Even the smallest can be outfitted with a bow-mount electric trolling motor, a factory-installed GPS/fishfinder, a seat slider, and more. 

 

Smoker Craft Boats for Sale

 

Smoker Craft16 Angler DXL TL

Smoker Craft16 Angler DXL TL. Smoker Craft photo. 

 

Starcraft

Starcraft’s small aluminum boat offerings range all the way down to a diminutive 12-footer in the SL series. SF, SF DLX, Alaskan, Freedom, and Patriot models also come in with small, simple, easy-to-afford offerings. These are no-frills boats, and as a result they carry low price tags, require very little maintenance, and are easy to trailer, launch, and retrieve.

 

Starcraft Boats for Sale

 

Starcraft Alaskan

Starcraft Alaskan. Starcraft Marine photo. 

 

Best Aluminum Bass Fishing Boats

Among the best bass boat brands, you’ll find plenty of players making their hulls out of aluminum. While it’s true that most professional-grade bass fishing machines are fiberglass, the best aluminum bass fishing boats offer virtually all of the same fishing accouterments and performance that can be quite impressive. Speaking of impressive, these three aluminum bass boat brands are sure to fit the bill.

 

Ranger

While Ranger is better known for its fiberglass offerings, the brand also builds a full lineup of aluminum bass boats including six different models. These carry less power than their fiberglass brethren and don’t perform to quite the same level; however, they can be rigged with all the angling goodies a bass angler could ever want, ranging from live-imaging fishfinders, to bow-mount trolling motors, to onboard battery chargers.

 

Ranger Boats for Sale

 

Ranger RT178C

Ranger RT178C. Ranger photo. 

 

Vexus

The AVX lineup of bass boats from Vexus boats is unique even in this crowded marketplace. The all-welded aluminum hulls incorporate computer-modeled lifting strakes, integrated spray rails, and pad designs. The rest of the boat is what Vexus calls “glass-Infused Aluminum Hybrid.” Parts like the recessed bow panel, steering console, cockpit panels, and livewell system are molded fiberglass. That eliminates many of the plastic pieces and parts commonly found even on high-end aluminum bass rigs.

 

Vexus Boats for Sale

 

Vexus AVX1880

Vexus AVX1880. Vexus photo. 

 

Xpress

Xpress boats are designed around a pad hull with hefty 0.125” thick 5052 aluminum to provide the best possible performance while accommodating the maximum horsepower possible. Net result? While few aluminum bass boat rigs can match fiberglass bass boats for sheer speed, an Xpress can—their X21 Pro rigged with a Yamaha F250, for example, can reach a top-end of 73 mph.

 

Xpress Boats for Sale
 

 

Xpress X21 Pro

Xpress X21 Pro. Xpress Boats photo. 

 

Aluminum boats are incredibly popular among those of us who are anglers, and the crowded field can make choosing one tough. Stick with these best aluminum fishing boat brands, however, and you’ll soon be casting to your heart's content.

 

 

Written By: Lenny Rudow

With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites. Rudow lives in Annapolis, Maryland, and is currently Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk; he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.

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