People in the non-fishing world often ask – What exactly makes fishing a sport? It’s a valid question since it’s not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of sports.
To clarify, a “sport” is anything that requires some level of physical exertion, skill and can be done competitively. Any activity that meets these three criteria can be classified as a sport.
Here’s a fun fact for you. More than 49 million Americans fish every year, which represents approximately 15 percent of the population. Now, that’s a lot if you think about it.
If you’re thinking about taking up this thrilling hobby, you’ll need a proper boat to do it in. You can’t very well fish competitively in any old raggedy watercraft and expect sterling results. So, we’ve reviewed the 30 best sport fishing boats in the angling world to help you pick a high-quality craft.
If you’re looking for a sport fishing boat that offers the perfect combination of fishability and luxury, it doesn’t get any better than the HCB Estrella. This 65 ft. long beauty is powered by five Yamaha outboard engines, has a cabin that sleeps up to five people, and comes with loads of fishing-friendly features that are guaranteed to give you an edge over the competition.
The Mikelson 75 SF sits pretty at the top of the hierarchy when it comes to luxury sport fishing yachts. This 75 ft. long sport fisher comes with an enclosed flybridge, expansive salon, 360-degree panoramic windows, five staterooms, and a host of fishing features to boot. It is truly one of a kind.
The Boston Whaler 280 Outrage is designed to cater to thrill-seeking sport-fishing enthusiasts and day-cruising lovers alike. This center console model has loads of comfort and convenience amenities and fishing-friendly features guaranteed to give you a memorable on-water experience.
If you’re just dipping your toe into the sport fishing world, the Bertram 35 Flybridge Sportfish is the perfect vessel to ease you into it. It is rugged and luxurious, making it ideal for sport fishing and family cruising alike. Below-deck is a cabin that sleeps two.
The Invincible Boats 42’ Open Fisherman was designed with pro anglers in mind. This sport fishing boat offers an unmatched passage-making capability and remarkable stability that you don’t get with any other long-range boat. It has 360-degree walkaround fishability and is fully customizable.
When fishing offshore, you need a watercraft that’s designed to deal with the choppy waters of the high seas. The Release 46’ is one of the most stable, maneuverable, and fuel-efficient boats in its class, which is why it is so popular among pro anglers.
If speed is what you crave, the Bluewater 355E is guaranteed to quickly get you to fishing hotspots. It has a maximum horsepower rating of 1,100 thanks to its three powerful outboard engines. It is designed to meet the speed, range, and fishability demands of serious anglers.
If you’re looking for an express sport fishing boat, then you’ll love what the Grady White Express 370 brings to the table. This 32 ft. vessel has a spacious cabin complete with a galley, loads of storage below deck, and tons of fishing accessories.
The Contender 39ST is the ultimate offshore sport fishing boat. It has an exceptionally long range to get you to offshore fishing sites fast, giving you more time to identify exclusive hotspots before any other boats get there. It comes with a ton of fishing-friendly features.
The Crevalle 26 is the ultimate hybrid sport fishing boat. It is designed for both inshore and offshore fishing. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another boat that offers the versatility this particular vessel has. It comes with 28-gallon release wells, a baitwell, rod holders, and a ton of other fantastic fishing features.
Fishing competitively doesn’t always have to happen in oceans and big lakes. The Scout 175 Sportfish is specially designed for sport fishing in rivers. It comes with ample seating, an aerated livewell, and a spacious casting platform.
The ACY58 Flow Control from American Custom Yachts is one of the most versatile multipurpose sport fishing boats we’ve come across. It is specifically engineered for speed and performance using Kevlar, fiberglass, and an ultra-light hull made from fir stringers and Bruynzeel plywood.
The below-deck cabin is simply exquisite. It is ideal for an overnight stay – something you don’t often get with other sport fishing boats.
The Lowe FM 1900 WT is the ideal tournament freshwater fishing boat. It features a deep-V hull design for maximum stability and a walkthrough windshield for easy access to the bow and stern fishing decks. It can store up to 10 fishing rods at a go.
The Thresher 25CC is the ultimate saltwater sport fishing beast. It is made of a fiberglass/composite stringer construction, making it corrosion resistant against the damaging effects of salty water. It also has an extended aft deck fishing platform with removable knee pad rails and is chock-full of fishing accessories that make it every angler’s dream.
If you’re looking for the best watercraft to give you an edge over your flying fishing competitors, the Beavertail Predator 16 is guaranteed to do just that. It allows you to skim through the marsh in hot pursuit of your prey and stealthily stalk trophy fish once you get to the fishing site.
The Lund 2000 Sport Angler is the ideal fishing companion for hunting lake trout. It features several extruded gunwales that allow you to attach a host of fishing accessories. It seats up to six people and has ample storage for 12 in. rods.
The Grady White 251 Coastal Explorer is specially designed for shallow-water fishing, which is where you’ll find several bass hotspots. This center console boat comes with a 25-gallon livewell, built-in rod storage, and several other amenities that make it perfect for fishing and family-use.
The PolarKraft Sportsman 1860 SE is the perfect all-welded pike fishing vessel. It comes with an 18-gallon livewell, 10 in. lockable rod storage, and seats up to five people at any given time. Its extra-thick hull design makes it one of the most durable watercraft around.
When fishing for catfish, you need a sport fishing boat with a hull designed for freshwater-use. The Everglades 243 CC Bay Boat is designed for both inshore and offshore fishing. You’ll particularly like the patent-pending upper station to help you spot catfish you never even knew were there.
If you’re looking for the perfect sport fishing boat for catching walleye, the Lund 1800 Sport Angler is just the vessel you need. Don’t be fooled by the minimalist design of this vessel. It comes with a ton of gunwales that allow you to attach a host of fishing accessories.
The best all-around muskie fishing boat is no doubt the Alumacraft T-Pro 195. This professional-level 19 ft. long tournament vessel was designed with serious anglers in mind. It has plenty of in-floor storage for rods and other gear, huge raised platforms, as well as timed live wells.
If you plan to fish for marlin, you’re going to need a hardcore sport fishing boat to venture offshore. The 31 Power-Up from Regulator Marine offers the stability you need to navigate the rough ocean waters as you head out to the fishing site.
It has a massive tackle center, a livewell that doubles up as a fish box, and several other accessories guaranteed to make your fishing expedition a breeze.
If you’re hunting for tuna, the Contender 35ST is arguably one of the best performing offshore center console boats you can do it in. It is designed with a deep-V hull for optimal stability in rough ocean waters and exhibits excellent fuel efficiency and maneuverability.
When you’re fishing for sailfish, you’re going to need an excellent offshore sport fishing boat to do it in. The Crevalle 33 CSF represents the next frontier in sailfish hunting. It has in-floor storage for a cast net, 6-rod lockable storage, three livewells, and several other handy features.
Everglades is well-known for building boats with loads of patented features that you won’t find in any other watercraft models. The 435CC Center Console is the perfect example of this. It is a top choice among pro anglers when fishing for sharks. For one thing, it is massive. Plus, it is designed for fishability.
The Striper 220 Center Console OB is built to handle offshore rough waters, which is precisely where you need to be when fishing for mackerel. The flared hull design guarantees a smooth ride even in the choppiest of waters. It comes fully loaded with several fishing accessories.
If you’re looking for a sport fishing boat that will get you to and from the fishing site in style, then you’ll love the Spencer 87’ yacht. It features an innovative, spacious, and luxurious interior to give you the comfort and convenience amenities of home while you’re hunting big game offshore.
The Viking 92 Convertible is the ultimate tournament watercraft. In addition to being chock-full of fishing accessories and features, the interior of this sport fishing boat oozes luxury and elegance. It has six en-suite staterooms and a master suite that fits a king-size walkaround bed. It doesn’t get any better than that.
The Bayliss 64’ is not only designed for speed and range but also comfortable accommodation. It has three cabins with 2.5 heads and comes with lots of fishing-friendly features like a transom fish box, tackle storage, and a livewell supply.
If you’re looking for a fishing boat that’s built for rugged performance while also offering the creature comforts of home, the Invincible Boats 42’ Center Cabin gives you the best of both worlds. It has a 7 ft. double berth cabin below deck that’s perfect for an overnight stay.
Do Your Homework Before You Pick a Model
There you have it – the 30 best sport fishing boats in the world. The watercraft you pick will depend largely on where you intend to fish and how you plan to do it.
It should also be versatile enough to allow you to enjoy other aspects of the boating lifestyle beyond just fishing. So, if you ever need to get away for the weekend, entertain a few friends, or cruise with the family on a sunny Sunday afternoon, the boat you get should be able to do that.
If you plan to pursue big game to distant hotspots well beyond the continental shelf, ensure that the boat you buy has a massive fuel tank suited to long-range fishing.
Moreover, since it also means that you’ll be out on the water for days on end, the watercraft in question should have enough room to comfortably accommodate a sizable crew. It also needs to come with all the amenities you would need to make the whole trip pleasant.
Finally, ensure that you factor in the costs of maintaining the boat, over and above what you would spend to purchase it. Many people often underestimate all the expenses associated with owning a sport fishing boat, some of which include marina docking fees, insurance, repairs, maintenance, and cleaning.
Good luck, and don’t forget to have fun!
In the meantime, if you’re shopping around for the best walkaround boats, check out our review on the top options for 2020 to consider.