More in Sports
Versatile boat choices for Maine fishing
Anglers come from all sorts of backgrounds, and most have a multitude of fishing preferences. Fishers use many varying techniques to catch fish, often within the same day of fishing; ocean fishing, trolling, spin casting, fly-fishing, bait fishing, etc.
Most anglers set their boats up for a specific type of fishing, maybe allowing for one other type of fishing technique. For instance, many anglers rig a boat for trolling and also at times might try a little bait casting. Others use a boat for fly-fishing and occasionally use spincasting equipment when conditions warrant the change.
A small motor can be added to a drift boat that normally gets used for fishing fast moving rivers – and the angler then has the option of fishing small ponds or flat sections of the river with more ease. A motor mount and a few rod holders on a canoe easily allow the craft to be used in trolling situations.
Adding a secondary electric motor to a bass boat, equipped with a huge primary motor, works the same way. When the bass angler finds that shoreline fishing has slowed down, a small electric motor can be used for trolling other parts of the pond. Even a big pontoon boat can be rigged with a smaller electric motor for quietly fishing near rocky or weedy shorelines.
Drift boats usually suit fly rodders, but any fishing boat can be set up to better serve a fly fisher. By adding a line-tamer (stripping basket) near the bow, flush-mounted (pop up) cleats, and quick-release mounts for downriggers and electric motors, a regular fishing boat can be made to cater to the specific needs of a fly fisher.
Better fishing equipment won’t make a good angler out of a bad one. But when it comes to watercraft used for fishing, top-of-the-line boats sure make a difference. Getting the right boat for the water most often fished stands as an even more important task
As with most things in life, choosing one perfectly designed boat for all fishing preferences comes down to a compromise. A flat-bottomed boat offers exceptional stability on smooth water, and its shallow draft affords easy access to waters lacking in depth. This same boat won’t maneuver well in rough water due to the shallow-draft design inherent in flat-bottomed boats. For calm water on small lakes or ponds, the flat-bottomed boat reigns supreme.
A semi-v hull provides better rough-water performance, while giving up a little stability for anglers that like to stand up and fish from a boat. The slightly angled hull cuts waves more efficiently and tracks easier on the stormy surface of a big lake or pond.
Although nice and roomy enough for a whole family, a big pontoon boat won’t skirt into tight spots as easily as smaller boats. Pontoon boats do have many favorable features; they usually draft less than most boats allowing them to maneuver about in shallow water with ease, their high profile offers great sight fishing, and space for extra fishing gear never happens to be a problem.
Aluminum Vs Fiberglass
Another compromise must be made between the materials used in the construction of the bass boat. Aluminum or fiberglass, the most popular choices, work equally well, but differ widely in many areas.
Aluminum weighs less, but drifts too easily in the least bit of wind. Anglers with smaller, underpowered vehicles appreciate the lower towing weight of aluminum boats. Just make sure to purchase a boat constructed with heavy gauge aluminum. Push in on the outside of the boat and look for any “give” to the metal. Stay away from any boat with a hull that buckles easily – it will cause trouble in the future.
As a general rule fiberglass boats, far heavier than boats constructed with aluminum, ride steadier in the water during choppy, stormy conditions. The extra weight also requires a more powerful vehicle for towing.
Folks that repair damaged boat hulls for a living relate that getting a fiberglass craft back together works better than trying to patch an aluminum boat. On the other hand, a solid quality, heavy-gauge aluminum boat takes much more of a beating than does the fiberglass craft.
In my humble opinion, an angler won’t go wrong with a boat made of either fiberglass or aluminum. Many manufacturers now make aluminum boats that handle just as well as fiberglass boats. And don’t fret; most boats only stay with the original owner for around five years anyway. If an angler finds they prefer one material to another, they can make a switch when the next purchase takes place. Experience stands as the best teacher.
Reputable dealers gladly offer demo rides to prospective boat purchasers. Consumers make a major investment when buying a new boat. Take a few boats out for a test drive after narrowing down the list of various makes and models, and then let the experience be a big factor in the final purchase.
An angler’s own experience with the boat on a demo ride offers the most valuable information for solidifying the boat-purchasing decision. I would recommend taking a demo ride so the consumer can get a real feel for the boat. Get a good feel for the stability of the boat, and make sure the craft handles properly.
Try and take the demo ride during windy conditions. Picture yourself out in the boat fishing, and see if it feels comfortable. Check to see if the boat feels stable and responsive in the water. Most of all be comfortable with the way the boat maneuvers in tight situations and rough conditions.
While taking the test ride, make note of the responsiveness and attentiveness of the dealer. The treatment an angler gets during the purchase tells loads about the service after the sale – even better, check with several new owners of boats purchased through the dealer in question to get a broad view of the quality of service.
Check the construction of the boat thoroughly to make sure the craft feels solid. Stand on the casting deck and the main deck and take note of how solid it feels beneath your feet.
The storage compartments should sport sturdy doors, be waterproof, and contain an insulating factor. The rod storage box should be large enough for your own rods, plus space for anyone else in the party.
Some anglers like to stand to fish, but much of the time the seats get a good workout. They should be comfortable and allow the driver to see gauges and a clear view of the water ahead.
Riding a boat without a windshield in the rain at a speedy rate stings the face and can be dangerous. The boat should protect the driver and a passenger from rain and wind with a good windshield. At any speed over 30 M.P.H., little raindrops pelt the skin like a charge of number 12 shot.
Ask for any and all accessories that come with the base package. Each added item increases the total cost, so be clear up front about the total cost of what you want. Knowing what accessories come with the final package gives the consumer a better overall picture, ensuring after-sale satisfaction.
When an angler finally takes the plunge and gets the boat on the water, the true satisfaction of a perfectly planned purchase can actually be felt in the ride – the loads of fishing enjoyment that come with the package are just icing on the cake.