When I purchased my first boat, I only ever really thought of it in terms of entertaining friends and family—thinking about how much fun we would all have on it. Hosting parties, taking friends out on the lake and making memories with my family. It was all great, but it all got to be pretty hectic in a hurry.
That’s why there’s just something about deck boat fishing that speaks to me, and it’s all about being able to have your cake and eat it too. Some might only think of deck boats in terms of large parties or luxury cruising, but I’m here to give you to the ultimate guide to deck boat fishing and show you what changed my own feelings about the experience.
Your Guide to Deck Boat Fishing
Let’s start by talking about why deck boats can be ideal fishing boats for the right people.
The Advantages of Fishing in Deck Boats
Well, what do we already know about deck boats? Just like pontoon boats, deck boats have tons of space.
This makes them ideal for spending lots of time with people, and these kinds of boats are naturally inclined towards water activities for that reason.
Space for Group Fishing Excursions
One way to go is inviting everyone out for a day of fishing together. You’ll have more than enough space for people, fishing gear, bait and the day’s catch.
I’ve hosted one or two fishing trips, and the best part about going with a deck boat is still always going to be the sheer amount of space. When you can get all of your best friends out on the water, it’s a lot more fun. Fishing boats often have the drawback of being a bit of a tight squeeze, which is fine for an hour or two—but it gets old pretty quickly.
But of course, the rule of boat is typically this: The more people there are out on your boat, the more people there are who need to be entertained. It’s a fact of life, even if it can be pretty stressful at times. You may imagine yourself organizing, packing, storing and then driving your boat full of people with a sigh—what if you want to cut loose a little bit by yourself?
One thing most folks might not call a deck boat is laid back, but why is that? It’s because they’re more commonly associated with luxury and cruising around in style… and doing so with plenty of guests, because of the spacious nature of the deck boat.
That’s why, especially for the captain, we need to start thinking of deck boats as more than a party out on the water. Your deck boat can become your own personal fishing craft.
A Luxurious Fishing Experience
Next up is the luxury that comes from a deck boat. It’s so much easier to schedule a whole weekend out on the boat when you know you’re actually going to enjoy yourself.
The deck boat got some of the more streamlined features of a fishing boat or speed boat, but the deck’s layout is a bit more “open plan.” This means you’ll get to walk around, stretch out and find a nice, restful fishing spot on board.
With all of the additional accessories, and the ample room, a deck boat is the perfect opportunity to be able to spend lots of time with your pals—without wanting to throw them overboard.
Smooth Motors for Ease of Navigation
Last, but certainly not least, is the ease of navigation. One great feature of deck boats for fishing is the boat’s design and motor. With the ability to handle more nuanced and fully-charged motors, deck boats are often more agile and can better navigate the waters. The design of the boat itself is sleek, making sharper turns than other wide boats, which makes it spacious and perfect for slicing through the water.
Navigating inlets, bayous and other tricky waterways is simply easier when you know you have the comfort of a slick boat underneath you and a better motor behind you.
The Disadvantages of Fishing in Deck Boats
Pretty Pricey for a Fishing Boat
The first thing you need to know is that buying a deck boat is going to require much more of an investment than a simple fishing boat. A new, smaller deck boat is typically going to run you in the area of about $20,000, which is definitely not a small chunk of change.
When you’re saving up to buy a boat, you want to make sure you get a good return on investment. If you want a deck boat just for fishing, you might want to look elsewhere—fishing on a deck boat is great, but you should be open to hitting the water with your friends to really make it a worthwhile purchase.
Not Its Usual Purpose
In the same vein, deck boats are simply not made for the express purpose of fishing. While they might be luxurious, they might not necessarily “fit” with what someone thinks of as a traditional fishing experience.
If you have friends who also have deck boats, they may not be seasoned fishermen—and vice versa. Moving from Canada to Florida, I’ve been personally surrounded by people who love to fish all of the time, but what if that wasn’t the case?
Not Suited for Saltwater Fishing
Deck boats are known for performing well in rivers, lakes and smaller bodies of water. This makes them ideal for lake fishing, but not so much if you do your best fishing out on wide-open waters. Otherwise, you might want to look elsewhere for a relaxing weekend away.
7 Deck Boats to Get You Hooked On Fishing
So, what are some of the best deck boat models for fishing? Let’s look into the seven different options that we might be able to find on the market (and what makes them special).
Here we want to focus on the aspects of space, price, maneuverability, as well as how “fishing ready” these boats can be. Here we go:
1. 2016 Bayliner 190 Deck Boat – 115 HP — The thing about this deck boat isn’t the affordability or the speed, but the way it’s designed. It’s certainly within budget, but it’s styled more for easygoing rides on the water (and less for leisurely weekends fishing with friends).
2. 2016 Bayliner Element XR7 – 115 HP — The open front-end on this model allows easily for up to four people to cast a line out on the water. While it might not have the most room in the world, it can easily accommodate a day out on the water.
3. 2016 Boston Whaler 230 Vantage – 350 HP — There’s an ideal amount of space in the front and the back, and even accessories to allow for easy fishing rod storage right off the bat. This is a fisherman’s dream, but it has the price ($101,450) to keep it that way.
4. 2015 Bryant 255 – 260 HP — This is a great deck boat if you have a significant other who enjoys the water as much as you do. It’s easy to imagine a romantic evening here, but it’s a bit harder to imagine casting your line at the same time.
5. 2016 Crownline E6 XS – 300 HP — This is an ultra-sleek model perfect for fishing on rivers or bayous, it has the maneuverability and power you want from your deck boat’s motor. The pod in the front is perfect for a couple of pals out fishing, but it isn’t the best when it comes to overall room.
6. 2015 Four Winns SL242 – 300 HP — Not only does this model have plenty of space, but there’s a washroom and an awesome cooler perfect for beverages while you’re looking for your next catch.
7. 2015 Princecraft Ventura 224 – 115 HP — A low deck profile allows for plenty of room, and did you see the chairs on the back? This is the kind of boat that gives deck boat fishing a good name, that’s for sure.
Ready to Start Fishing?
Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about deck boat fishing, and just how much fun it can be, why not take the time to learn more about popular deck boating topics?
We’ve covered them all on the blog, so that you can learn more about what it takes to head out on the water today. Keep exploring!