Are you looking for a versatile boat for fishing? The all-purpose fishing boat is a great choice for any fishing activity, and many of them also act as crossover boats for watersports. The all-purpose fishing boat is ideal for fishing in all waters, from inshore coastal seas to lakes, estuaries, and rivers.
Typically, these boats as smaller models with shallow hulls, allowing them to cruise through shallower waters without hitting submerged rocks and logs or running aground. Most of these boats measure between 15 to 24-feet in length, making them easy to maneuver in tighter spaces, like rivers.
The only problem with the all-purpose fishing boat is its performance in bad weather and rough water conditions. It presents a sinking risk due to the lower sides of the vessel. However, if you’re looking for the best entry-level boat for fishing, you can’t go wrong with this model.
All-purpose fishing boats are available in various models at different price points, but they remain one of the most affordable models available. This post looks at everything you need to know about these watercraft.
- What Is an All-Purpose Fishing Boat?
- What are the Types of All-Purpose Fishing Boats?
- Benefits of All-Purpose Fishing Boats
- Disadvantages of All-Purpose Fishing Boats
- Top All-Purpose Fishing Boat Brands and Models
- Wrapping Up
What Is an All-Purpose Fishing Boat?
All-purpose fishing boats are smaller vessels ideal for day fishing trips. They don’t have any accommodations making them unsuitable for staying out overnight on the water. These boats can operate in freshwater and saltwater, making them versatile boats with flexible fishing use.
The all-purpose fishing boat has a high freeboard allowing it to sit higher on the waterline. These models can navigate deeper and rougher waters than the bass boat, with a simple driver configuration and deck layout.
These boats come equipped for fishing with plenty of under-seat storage and rod holders positioned strategically around the vessel. These boats also feature rod lockers and live wells, and they cater to outboard or trolling motor setups.
These boats have deeper hulls than models like the bass boat or flats boat, giving them more stability at higher speeds for crossover watersports or racing to your fishing spot. Anglers can use these boats for freshwater fishing or offshore use for game fishing, and some models come with fighting chairs for tackling large gamefish.
An all-purpose fishing boat is also a good option for taking the family out on the water for a day of fun. You get decent passenger capacity, with larger models accommodating up to eight passengers.
What are the Types of All-Purpose Fishing Boats?
There are several types of all-purpose fishing boats available. Here are the primary models and the differences between them.
If you enjoy saltwater fishing in estuaries, coastal waters, or offshore, the all-purpose fishing boat can accommodate any sea-going adventure, provided the water conditions are not too rough. They suit fishing in shallow waters, but they lack the reach of bass and flats boats that have very shallow hulls.
Freshwater fishing models usually come with flatter hulls allowing them to reach very shallow water in rivers, lakes, and estuaries without striking ground or submerged hazards. Bass boats are expensive, featuring custom configurations and electronics suited for bass fishing. The flats boat is another popular shallow water fishing vessel, providing you access to shallow waters.
Many of the bass boat and flats boat models come with aluminum hulls. So, if you damage the hull by striking a submerged rock or log, or you run the vessel aground, you can beat the dent out of the hull easily.
The center console is one of the most popular all-purpose fishing designs. These boats feature a center position for the driver console, giving you a better 360-degree vision of the water and superior control over the boat compared to side-mounted consoles seated to the aft of the boat. They come in a huge range of designs suitable for freshwater and saltwater fishing, and many are excellent crossover boats for watersports.
The cuddy cabin all-purpose fishing boat is a good choice for anglers who want more storage space and accommodations to spend the night out on the water. The cuddy allows storage of your gear, and some models have a V-berth with heads and beds for spending long periods out on the water.
Benefits of All-Purpose Fishing Boats
There are several benefits to owning an all-purpose fishing boat.
Affordable Price Tags
Typically, the all-purpose boat is a smaller model, ranging up to 24-feet in length. Since they are entry-level boats, you can pick them up for an affordable price. However, dedicated models like the bass boat are an exception, coming with huge price tags due to the accessories and customizations available for these watercraft. There are plenty of models available in the $10,000 to $30,000 price range, but a dedicated bass boat could run you over $200,000, depending on the customizations to the vessel.
Speed and Handling
The all-purpose fishing boat usually comes with a deeper V-hull, allowing for superior control and maneuverability out on the water. These models rely on outboard motors, propelling the crafty to speeds of up to 60-mph. You have options for different driver configurations, and many come with either a side-mounted driver cockpit or a center console. The craft is exceptionally easy to steer, and it’s a great choice for first-time boat buyers.
The all-purpose fishing boat also features windshields that keep the spray out of your face when moving at higher speeds. The windshields have a tilted low profile that helps with the aerodynamics of the boat.
Various Hull Designs for Specialty Fishing
The all-purpose fishing boat comes in various hull designs, with v-hulls being the most common. However, there are options like the bass and flats boats with shallow hulls, which let them reach very shallow waters in estuaries, rivers, and lakes. The v-hull is the better choice for saltwater fishing, giving you more stability in choppy waters.
Gear and Fish Storage
The all-purpose fishing boat features plenty of storage for your fishing gear. You have rod lockers, rod holders, and plenty of under-seat storage for coolers and your equipment. Some models also include accommodative live wells for extended storage and onboard coolers for your catch.
Almost all models of all-purpose fishing boats are trailerable, and you don’t need a special permit or license to operate the trailer. Most dealers will include a trailer with your purchase. The boats are easy to launch and trailers from the water, giving you easy transportation. However, it’s important to note that some states require you to register your boat, so check with the dealer when making your purchase.
Jet, Outboard, Inboard, or Trolling Motors
The all-purpose fishing boat comes with several motor configurations to suit your fishing requirements and your budget. Outboard motors offer you plenty of power, and they are the favorite choice for these models. However, you also have options for inboard and jet motors, and they are trolling motor options to reduce noise and churn in the water that scares off the fish.
Multiple Sizing Options
The all-purpose fishing boat typically comes in lengths from 15 to 24-feet, with the larger models offering more seating.
Disadvantages of All-Purpose Fishing Boats
The all-purpose fishing boat is a versatile platform suiting a variety of watersports and fishing activities. However, they do come with some drawbacks.
Apart from cuddy cabin models, most all-purpose fishing boats don’t include a v-berth or living accommodations. As a result, they suit to day trips. However, the more expensive models may feature spacious live wells offering you more storage space and heads.
The all-purpose fishing boat gets its versatility from the hull. If you’re looking for a flexible model, you’ll need a craft with a v-hull, but these vessels may struggle in the shallows. Conversely, the flats boat has a shallow hull for reaching shallow waters, but they lack the ocean-going capacity of models with V-shaped hulls.
Limited Watersports Capability
Most dedicated fishing boats like the flats and bass boats don’t have any crossover capability for skiing and wakeboarding. However, some of the premium models featuring larger motors and deep hulls may allow for a T-tower setup for wakeboarding or skiing. It’s a versatile setup offering you plenty of performance and versatile capability for anything you want to do on the water.
Due to the driver position in the rear of the boat, and the heavy outboard motor, these boats create bow lift during intense acceleration. As a result, it may make it hard to see over the bow and present a hazard for anything in front of you.
Top All-Purpose Fishing Boat Brands and Models
There are dozens of boat manufacturers producing all-purpose fishing boats. Some of our top choices include the following models.
Lund 1650 Angler SS
Lund is a boat brand synonymous with quality and performance. The 1650 Angler SS is a great example of an all-purpose fishing boat, featuring seating arrangements for up to five people, and you get a 40-HP outboard motor that’s flexible for saltwater and freshwater use without scaring off the fish.
You get a side driver console configuration and a live well. This boat is affordable, with a price tag of around $15,500.
The Starweld 16 Fusion DC
The Starweld 16 Fusion DC offers you jump seats for casting and fighting, as well as folding seats that convert into casting decks. You get plenty of room accommodating up to eight passengers and plenty of accessories and features dedicated to anglers.
There is a 30-gallon live well and a bait bucket included with a Humminbird Helix 5 GPS fishfinder. You also get a locking rod box for safekeeping on your rods on the way to the fishing spot. This boat comes with a Mercury 50 Four-Stoke motor, and it retails for around $24,500.
The Ranger RT188P
Ranger makes some of the best recreational fishing boats available, and the RT188P is our top choice from the range. It’s a great choice for bass fishing, featuring a 115-HP outboard motor configuration and a trolling motor mounted in the bow of the boat.
You get plenty of storage with rod lockboxes, and there is a live well offering you tackle storage, and you have a fishfinder mounted into the console with a trickle battery charger included. This model retails for around $27,000.
Mako 18 LTS
The Mako 18 LTS is another premium all-purpose fishing boat model retailing for under $30,000. You get enough room for carrying up to five passengers, and the boat comes packed with accessories and features useful for fishing in all water conditions.
There are flush-mounted vertical rod holders, an 18-gallon live well, and plenty of under-seat storage for your cooler and gear.
The Robalo R160 is another great choice for your all-purpose fishing boat. This model comes with an affordable price tag, retailing for under $23,500. The boat comes complete with all the accessories you need for fishing, including crossover capability for watersports.
You get a center console design allowing for walkaround capability on the deck if the fish swims under the boat, and you get plenty of performance from the outboard motor.
The all-purpose fishing boat is a great choice for anglers. With so much variation, you have options for models that suit all fishing conditions in all water types. The powerful motors offer you easy movement, and the deeper hulls provide exceptional stability in the water.
These boats come with all the accessories and features you need to enjoy a day of fishing out on the water. You get excellent storage capacity, fishing accessories, and some models even include fighting chairs for game fishing.
If you’re looking for more of a dedicated model, flats boats and bass boats offer you a way of reaching shallow waters in lakes, rivers, and estuaries. These boats are trailerable and easy to transport between water bodies inland and on the coast.
With affordable price tags, they make a great boat for the first-time buyer.