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Best Fish and Ski Boats: The Ultimate Guide

Once upon a time, boaters had to choose between a fishing boat that they tried to ski from, or a watersports boat they tried to fish from. While it’s of course possible to do both options from a boat designed for one or the other, the emergence of the fish and ski boat changed everything. Combining the features of both types of boats, fish and ski boats offer a platform that works equally as well for a multitude of activities in one neat, family-friendly package. 


Ski boat


Most models fall within 16 and 22 feet long and they are therefore easily trailerable. They can accommodate between five and nine passengers thanks to convertible seating, and are often compared to bowriders or dual consoles with their design melding traits of the two types together. Yet the addition of fishing equipment such as livewells, rod holders and an electric trolling motor, along with ski-tow pylons, swim platforms, and ski lockers, puts them in a class of their own. 


The Best Fish and Ski Boat Brands

Some of the best-loved boat brands in the United States offer fish and ski boats, closing the gap between activities that often go hand in hand with families.


  • Ranger:  Ranger boats are one of the top manufacturers in the US with a strong reputation for building strong, sturdy boats. Their fish and ski range, called the Reata Series, is no exception and they are valued by customers for their safety and reliability as well as their huge range of features. They also have a good resale value and high quality finish.


  • Crestliner: Crestliner are big names in the fish and ski sector, and have an impressive range to offer. Choose between the Sportfish, Super Hawk, Fish Hawk and Vision ranges, each offering various models with plenty of optional extras. As experts in aluminum fishing boats, they have a loyal following and you’re bound to find the exact model to suit your needs. 


  • Lund: Lund’s 2023 collection offers a range they call “Fish and Sport” with several traditional fish and ski models among them. Lund is one of the few builders of this style of boat which offers both aluminum and fiberglass versions, and among the wide range you can find models tilted more or less towards the specific types of fishing and watersports that you and your family enjoy.


  • Nitro: Nitro makes waves with their two 2023 models of fish and ski boats, a pair of 19-footers with a relatively deep 17-degree deadrise semi-V hull. The main difference between the models is the windshields; on the Pro model you get a full wrap-around windshield with a folding center walkthrough, while the Sport has small individual windshields for each console. 


  • Triton: Triton may be best known for its bass boats, but this builder also offers two top-of-the-range fiberglass fish and ski models, combining all their bass and walleye fishing boat expertise. Offering serious performance, the larger 20 foot, six inch Allure can take a whopping 300 horsepower on the transom. 



The Best Fish and Ski Boats

Choosing the best boat for fishing and skiing is of course subjective to your needs. What might be perfect for someone else isn’t necessarily the right choice for you. You might want more emphasis on fishing, with added equipment and features, or you might need more or less room for passengers depending on who will be joining you. Freshwater or saltwater use might determine the best one, and budget too will play a big role in which model you choose. Here we bring you our choices for the best fish and ski boats in 2023. 


The Best Family Fish and Ski Boats

Ranger Reata 1850RS: No list of best fish and ski boats would be complete without a Ranger boat on it, and the Ranger Reata 1850RS is a true top-of-the-line choice. You get the impeccable reputation of Ranger combined with their fishing boat design know-how. The fiberglass boat has a beautiful finish and smooth hydraulic steering, as well as an attention to detail that goes beyond most fish and ski boats. We’re talking gas-assist compartment lids, a chip-resistant finish, LED lighting and even color-matching to the trailer so you can be sure to turn heads everywhere you go.


Ranger Boats Reata 1850RS family ski boat

Photo credit: Ranger Boats


Triton 206 Allure: Another fiberglass boat on our list is the Triton 206 Allure, whose sleek design, 225, 250 or 300hp engine, 20 feet, six inches in length and eight foot, four inch beam makes it a popular choice for families. Skiers and tubers will delight in its power, while the walk-through windshield, livewell and center rod storage makes it the perfect platform for serious fishing. There is plenty of comfortable folding seating for the whole family too, as well as custom-fitted trailer, LED lights and plenty of gadgets. 


Triton Boats 206 Allure ski boat

Photo credit: Triton Boats


The Best Center Console Fish and Ski Boats

Wait a sec–is there any such thing as a center console fish and ski boat? Strictly speaking, no. The traditional fish and ski design features a helm console to one side and a passenger’s console on the other. That said, plenty of families who do their boating in saltwater will gravitate towards a center console with a fish and ski attitude. And if that describes your needs, these center consoles will fit the bill.


Boston Whaler 250 Dauntless: Boston Whaler’s 250 Dauntless has all the features we look for in a fish and ski boat, but in a center console package. At almost 25 feet and offering 400HP, it has gobs of power and plenty of room. In addition to an impressive range of fishing equipment you also get a swim platform which is great for watersports, and lots of clever seating. A key watersports option you’ll want is the All Activity Tower, which provides an elevated tow point plus ski and wakeboard racks. The boat comes with a full complement of fishing features and with a center console you also get the benefit of wide-open deck space for serious fishing. 


Boston Whaler 250 Dauntless Fish and ski boat

Photo credit: Boston Whaler


Scout 215 XSF: Whoever said that elegant day cruising can’t go hand in hand with watersports and fishing hasn’t laid eyes on Scout’s 215 XSF. There is tremendous attention to detail, from the removable teak bow table to the various options of Hardtop T Tops, to the plush seating including a forward sun lounge. Swim platforms and a telescopic reboarding ladder are standard so opt for the removable ski-tow pylon, and the boat is ready for watersports action. But don’t think this 21’6’’ fiberglass center console model is just a pretty face, as you’ll find all the equipment and amenities you could ever need for serious fishing and a multitude of watersports. 


Scout 215 XSF center console fish and ski boat

Photo credit: Scout Boats


The Best Aluminum Fish and Ski Boats

Lightweight, durable and easily fixable if dented, aluminum fish and ski boats tend to use less fuel and allow for great speeds.


Crestliner 1850 Sportfish: At just shy of 19 feet, this boat has comfortable seating for eight people, and there’s the option for bow padding to create a lounging area. Plus it can handle up to 200 horsepower, which on this lightweight aluminum hull makes it go like a rocket. 


Crestliner 1850 Sportfish aluminum fish and ski boat

Photo credit: Crestliner


Lund 1850 Tyee: Lund’s range of aluminum fish and ski boats set the bar high, and the 1875 Tyee offers premium quality with a pleasantly affordable price tag. There is plenty of room in its 18 feet, 10 inches for a family to enjoy a day on the water and it’s packed with fishing accessories (and can be optioned with add-ons ranging from fishfinders to electric trolling motors), as well as a ski pylon receiver base and wrap-around bow seating.


Lund 1875 Tyee Aluminum Fish and Ski Boat

Photo credit: Lund


The Best Fish and Ski Boats for Your Money


Nitro ZV19 Sport: One of two 2023 fish and ski models being produced by Nitro, the ZV19 is the perfect all-round fish and ski boat. With its 225HP engine, it offers big-water capabilities with a deep interior to keep everyone safe in rough waters. The 17-degree deadrise hull and wide beam of the ZV19 are less common on fish and ski boats, but this model is designed for the rough waters of big lakes, with all the fishing gear you could ever need to hunt trophies in open water.


Nitro ZV19 Sport Affordable Ski and Fishing Boat

Photo credit: Nitro


Lund Adventure 1675: Though it’s available in a side console model and doesn’t fit the fish and ski mold to a tee, if you’re looking for a speedy multi-purpose family boat that won’t break the bank then look no further than the Lund Adventure 1675. Starting at $26,217, this side console fishing boat is perfectly adaptable to all manner of tow watersports such as water skiing, tubing or wakeboarding, as well as offering all the gear for serious fishing. At 16 feet, 10 inches it is one of the smaller boats on our list, perfect for towing and easy storage. The Adventure 1775 costs a bit more, but offers a bit more deck space. 


Lund 1675 Adventure Cheap Fish and Ski boat

Photo credit: Lund


Which fish and ski boat will prove ideal for you and your family? Only you can answer that question. But this cast of characters should get you a solid start in the boat shopping process, and with a little luck you’ll have a new fish and ski parked in your driveway before the next fishing season begins.


Related articles: 

Best Fishing Boat Brands

A Complete Guide to Family Fishing Boats

This article was most recently updated in July 2023 by Lenny Rudow


Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

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