Best Boats for Fishing

Everything You Need to Know to Pick the Right Fishing Boat

At Van Isle Marina we are often asked which are the best boats for fishing. The simple answer is that any watercraft that gets you on the water is a good start, but if you want to buy a boat that enhances and supports your fishing experience there are many options to consider.

Fishing remains a very popular pastime, and there’s no better place to do it than Vancouver Island, famous for year-round salmon and halibut fishing. 

There are numerous types of fishing boats on the market, but some are better than others for specific types of fishing or different locations. You may also want to consider a boat that is suitable for other water-based activities with your family.

In this piece, we’ll look at different types of fishing boats, what makes a boat a good one for fishing and how to choose the best fishing boats for you and your family.

Different Types of Fishing Boats

There are many different types of fishing boats available and they all offer something different.

Fishing boats are usually made from either aluminum or fibreglass and range from 15ft to 100ft in length.

Below are some of the types of fresh and saltwater fishing boats most commonly chosen:


All-purpose fishing boat: As the name suggests, these boats can be used for fishing or other water-based activities such as towing tubes and cruising. They are suitable for use in all bodies of water except offshore as they are usually too small to handle rough conditions. Affordability and easy transportation make these the best small fishing boats to consider.

Centre console: Centre console boats are popular for fishing as they offer maximum deck space on all sides of the boat. With plenty of fishing accessories like rod holders and tackle boxes, these boats are also versatile enough to double as a family ride. Larger models (up to 65ft) may have a cabin and berth and are safe and comfortable in open water. 

Bass boat: The best bass boat is fast with multiple rod holders, large live wells, and is designed specifically for fresh water bass fishing. Note that this type of boat does not work well for other types of fishing or for water sports

Sport fishing yacht: These are the ultimate sportfishing boat for big game fishing as they are built for long offshore journeys and rough conditions. Sport fishing yachts like the Pursuit Offshore 326 Dual Console are a combination of luxurious yacht and fully kitted-out fishing vessel. With plenty of cabin space for guests, sport fishing yachts give you the best of both worlds.

Walkaround: Offering the space and protection of a console cabin in the bow, while still enabling 360 degrees of accessible fishing, these boats are a good option for multi-night fishing trips. Although primarily considered a fishing boat, some more luxurious models such as the Pursuit Offshore 325, can double as a family cruiser.

Jon boat: If you’re looking for a very simple freshwater fishing vessel, one of the best aluminum fishing boats is the Jon boat. Similar to a fishing pontoon boat, it’s a flat-bottomed, open-design aluminum boat with bench seats and a trolling motor which makes it ideal for gentle lake or river fishing.

What Equipment do the Best Fishing Boats Have?

Most fishing boats come with a range of built-in tools and equipment to make life easier for anglers.

Refer to the list below for standard features a good fishing boat should have. Other equipment and tools can be added later if you need them. Make sure you research the basics required for your preferred type of fishing.

  • Anchor: Keeps you in place when pulling in a big one. Important for boat safety too.
  • Rod holders: Rod holders keep your hands free and allow you to manage multiple lines at once without the risk of line tangles. Consider the number and placement of holders you require.
  • Downrigger: Enables control of bait depth for more accurate placement.
  • Live well/tank: Sometimes called a deck fish box, these built-in tanks can be filled with water from your location to hold live catches. Ensure the size and capacity is right for what you aim to catch, especially if you plan to take part in tournaments.
  • Built-in tackle boxes: Usually located near the rod holders, these cool boxes will keep your live bait fresh.
  • Fish finder/ navigation system: A GPS or depth-finding navigation system can help pinpoint the best fishing spots.
  • Built-in cooler: To keep your catch fresh until you get home.
  • Trolling motor: These quiet and gentle motors enable you to move into prime fishing positions without scaring the fish away.

What to Consider When Choosing a Fishing Boat

There is a lot of choice when it comes to fishing boats, so how do you decide which is the right one for you?

By asking yourself the following questions, you can narrow down which style works best for your particular situation.

What size of boat do you need?
You can narrow down which is the right length boat for you by considering:

  • How many people will use the boat with you? There should be enough space for a safe and comfortable ride for everyone.
  • What type of water will you be using the boat on – larger boats are better for rougher waters.
  • How you plan to transport or moor your boat may limit the size you can choose.

Will your boat be for day use only? You’ll need a yacht with a galley and staterooms if you want to do longer trips or entertain on board. Make sure there is plenty of storage space on board and comfortable seating for your guests.

Where will your primary fishing location be? You’ll require a different shaped hull and motor size for offshore ocean fishing than for lake trolling. 

Do you want to do other water-based activities? If you want to do more than fishing, choose an all-purpose boat that supports other activities too. 

A reminder: Whatever boat you choose, remember Canadian anglers must have a saltwater or freshwater licence and ensure you have all the emergency equipment you need on board before you set off. 

Invest in a New Fishing Boat with Van Isle Marina

If you’re thinking of investing in a new fishing boat, let the yacht sales team at Van Isle Marina help in your search.

Based in Sidney, BC, Van Isle Marina deals with new and pre-owned boats and is the exclusive dealer for Pursuit Boats in western Canada.

Don’t let fishing be the one that got away …. Drop by our full-service marina or contact us today to get started on your fishing boat ownership journey.