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Stock image. Photo credit: Ian Keefe

Tips on buying a freshwater fishing boat

Freshwater fishing boats exist in a wide variety of sizes and designs, ranging from small, one-person self-propelled vessels to stylish bass boats that are powered by hundreds of horsepower. You have a wide selection of boats to pick from. However, before you begin shopping, determine what your particular demands are.

Should you buy an aluminium or fibreglass boat? Are you going to do specialized or general fishing? What kind of a boat will suit your needs? A ski and fish boat, bass boat, cabin boat, skiff and jon boat, or a dual console and side console boat? What does each of these have to offer?

Aluminium or fibre glass

Aluminium

Fiberglass

  • It is a light weight which means it is easy to trailer, load, and launch, but it can also get blown away easily in a tough breeze.
  • Relatively inexpensive, but it does not always look as nice.
  • Lower maintenance and operating costs, but often has wood structural component that can rot.
  • Cause dents instead of shattering on hard impacts.
  • Rarely offers speeds and handling as good as a fiberglass boat.
  • Heavier weight which means you may need a larger tow vehicle.
  • More expensive to buy, maintain, and operate.
  • Can be powered-up to higher horsepower for faster speeds, and a better hole-shot for water skiing.
  • Requires more washing and waxing than aluminium.
  • Has more moulded-in seating, stowage compartments, and comforts.
  • Hard impacts usually result in damage, which is expensive to fix.
  • More options available if you want a cabin boat.
  • Needs to be well-maintained, as it tends to lose its good looks and devalue more quickly.
  • Stern-drive power is more commonly offered.

General or specialized fishing

Do you need a boat just for general fishing or do you want one for specialized fishing? You clearly need a bass boat if you intend to spend all of your time bass fishing. However, keep in mind that these are some of the most specialized fishing boats in existence. They are exclusively made for bass fishing, so if you also want to troll for walleye, fly cast for trout, and drift fish for crappie in addition to bass fishing, a more adaptable design is required. Some of the specialized freshwater fishing boat types that you can consider are the following:

Fish and ski boats

This kind of boat is made for families who want to take their kids water-skiing one weekend and fishing the next. These boats are suitable for both water activities, but neither is their preferred use. They aren't the cheapest option because they frequently have a lot of amenities and prioritize appearance and performance more than many other fishing boats. Additionally, it might be challenging to determine the actual pricing when purchasing one due to the numerous optional features they provide.

Bass boats

These are specialized boats and are typically made for bass fishing with just two persons on board. They have strong motors so you can arrive at the hotspot before the competition, but they also require a good amount of skill to drive. They have low sides to minimize windage, provide unfettered casting, and facilitate straightforward fish landing. They are, however, not the ideal option for choppy waters or for young toddlers who could easily tumble overboard. Top-tier bass boats are fairly pricey, but there are several that are relatively reasonable as well.

Cabin boats

The cabin in the bow of a cuddy boat provides you with significantly more protection from the elements, which is typically seen on bigger freshwater areas of water. A stateroom near the bow reduces both the usable deck space and the fishing space. They are therefore rarely the first choice for those who are only interested in fishing. In general, cuddy boats cost significantly more than open boats of the same size. Most vessels that can carry a cabin are also large enough to be used in open waters, even when the conditions are a little rough.

Skiffs and Jon boats

This kind of boat is as basic as they come with the main purpose to provide a compact, open fishing platform. Their light weight makes them easy to tow. Skiffs aren't typically the vessel of choice for folks travelling into huge quantities of water in a variety of weather conditions because they're typically on the small side. Skiffs are among the most economical boats available because of their straightforward construction. Once you buy a skiff, there isn't much that can go wrong or break. As a result, ongoing maintenance expenditures are quite minimal.

Dual console and side console boats

These highly adaptable vessels, are built to handle a wide range of circumstances, enabling you to fish in everything from small rivers and lakes to open waters. This design can hold up to a dozen anglers, depending on size. No matter what your budget is, there is certainly a dual or side console freshwater fishing boat you can afford. They come in a wide range of sizes with various power options. They have higher sides, and the majority of them provide a good deal of protection. Boaters in cold climates should consider models with full windshields on both the driver's and passenger's sides. Try your new boat out at OppiDam Resort, situated at the Vygeboom Dam in Mpumalanga. For more information, visit their website at www.houseboats.co.za or link onto their Facebook page www.facebook.com/OppidamHouseboats

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