Are you an angler looking for a luxury sport fishing experience? The sports fishing boat brings you a platform offering the best combination of luxury finishes and sports utility. These yachts come in a wide range of sizes, designs, and price tags.
These boats are ideal for longer fishing trips out on the open ocean, giving you living quarters, amenities, and everything you need to enjoy time out on the water. This post unpacks everything you need to know about sport fishing yachts.
- What Is a Sport Fishing Boat?
- Choosing a Sport Fishing Boat Design
- Benefits of Sport Fishing Boats
- Disadvantages of Sport Fishing Boats
- Top Sport Fishing Boat Brands and Models
- Wrapping Up
What Is a Sport Fishing Boat?
The sport fishing yacht model is one of the most popular premium fishing yachts available in the US. The reason why it’s such a popular vessel is due to the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream starts at the US Virgin Islands, spreading up the eastern seaboard. The water brings the ideal conditions for diverse sea life, providing fertile fishing grounds for sports anglers.
Back in the day, the sport fishing yacht was a bare-bones model, lacking the features found in today’s watercraft. However, in recent decades, boat manufacturing brands started incorporating longer lengths in designs, with luxury fittings including accommodations, entertainment setups, and amenities that let anglers enjoy their time out on the water between fishing sessions.
The hull design on sport fishing yachts is the most interesting aspect of this model. Most sport fishing vessels feature a deep V-shaped design for the keel of the boat. The hulls keep getting deeper, allowing for more speed and stability on the water.
As a result, you get stability and speed and a comfortable, smooth ride. There’s limited propulsion, so you don’t have to worry about scaring the fish away. Most yachts run on motors, but some boats rely on sails, with smaller trolling engines that leap into action if wind conditions are flat.
The hull design and deep keel mean that these yachts cruise along the water at decent speeds, with average models reaching up to 35-knots or faster. You get exceptional control and balance, even in rough coastal waters.
The cockpits for sport fishing yachts sit to the aft of the boat, and many designs come with split levels featuring two or three platforms. You have a captain’s deck, a long deck, and accommodations in the bottom level, with large V-berths offering you full bedrooms, kitchens, and lounges, depending on the model and the price tag.
Most sport fishing yachts come equipped with everything you need for sport fishing. There are built-in kill boxes, tuna towers, and spacious tackle stations. You can expect fishing chairs and rod holders positioned strategically throughout the deck, as well as outriggers, live bait wells, and elevated flybridges.
Models can vary in size and design, from 20-feet to 50-feet or longer, with the longer vessels having enormous price tags.
Choosing a Sport Fishing Boat Design
When you’re selecting your sport fishing boat, you have options for design configurations. The most popular setups include the center console and convertible designs.
The center console configuration is the most popular choice for sport fishing boats. These models position the captain’s area in the center of the boat towards the aft. You get plenty of room for moving down the length of either side of the vessel for chasing fish as they swim under the boat.
The center console design is also the most popular for liveaboard fishing. These models typically come with a split-level design featuring the casting deck, liveaboard quarters, and the captain’s deck. They range in price from $100,000, all the way up to over $1-million. The cost depends on the size of the vessel, the liveaboard features, and the customizations you make to the boat.
You get a 360-degree view of the water with no impairment on your visual top one side of the boat like you would expect with side-mounted driving configurations. Most center console models range in sizes between 30 to 45-feet, and they reach open-water speeds of up to 70-mph.
The sportsfish convertible design typically comes with more luxuries and amenities. They are purpose-built for longer trips, and they can stay out on the water for a week for longer without needing to refuel, depending on the tank capacity and ocean conditions placing demands on the motor. Most models are good for 600-nautical miles, giving you plenty of range up the US coastline.
The convertible model is the most luxurious option of the two, featuring luxury cabins, bathrooms, kitchens, and lounges, with plenty of accommodation and entertainment options like TVs and stereo systems. Typically, they are longer and more expensive, with average sizing ranging between 40-feet to 65-feet. Most convertibles come with fish fighting chairs for tackling large game fish like marlin.
Benefits of Sport Fishing Boats
The sport fishing yacht has several advantages for the dedicated sports angler. Some of the top features of these boats include the following.
Speed and Handling
These boats move at high speed, offering you plenty of stability in the roughest ocean conditions. They get you to your fishing sport fast, thanks to the powerful motors and deep hulls and keels, allowing the boat to cut through the water with less drag.
While they don’t have a tight turning circle and less maneuverability than a bowrider or cabin cruiser, you get amazing ride comfort from the sport fishing yacht. Design elements like large, flared bows provide more of a center of gravity to the vessel allowing for smooth movement through the water.
Both the center console and convertible designs come with a v-berth in the bow. Depending on the size and price of the model, you could get anything from small accommodations and basic amenities to luxurious accommodations suitable for up to ten guests or more. These boats come in a wide range of models offering you different liveaboard features.
Apart from the accommodations, the convertible models will also feature lounges for hanging out and a captain’s deck complete with captain’s chairs and an elevated view of the water.
Plenty of Storage Space
The sport fishing yacht has all the storage space you need to spend days out on the water. The top-end models come complete with cupboards in the bedroom, full kitchens with cabinets, and plenty of gear and tackle storage above and below deck.
Live bait stations, kill boxes, and tuna tows are all standard on most models, giving you everything you need for recreational or competitive fishing from the vessel.
The sport fishing yacht is the game anglers’ dream. You have every fishing accessory you can think of to help you maximize your sport fishing experience. There are casting decks, rod holders, and fish fighting chairs for strapping in for a long fight with a game fish.
Jet, Outboard, or Inboard Motors
You have a range of motor configurations available for the sport fishing yacht. Smaller models may feature dual outboard motors with capacities and outputs ranging from 550-HP to 2,000-HP. However, the more expensive models usually come with stern-drive systems or inboard engines that hide out of sight.
Disadvantages of Sport Fishing Boats
The sport fishing yacht has plenty of advantages for the sports angler. However, these boats do come with a few drawbacks.
Expensive Price Tags
The sport fishing yacht is typically a luxury watercraft, with even the smaller models costing at least $100,000. Larger models range from $500,000 to $1-million. The most expensive boats cost anywhere to $5-million or more, depending on the length and luxury options available.
Expensive to Maintain
Since these boats have several motors, they are expensive to operate and maintain. You’ll need to keep your servicing schedule to maintain your warranty, and the boat could cost thousands of dollars in your servicing fees, depending on the model.
Most sports fishing boats are far too large to fit on a trailer. If you need to remove it from the water for servicing or repairs, you’ll need to hire a boat moving company to get it to the shipyard. Some companies offer this service included in your maintenance plan.
Since these boats stay out on the water, you’ll need to arrange a dedicated slip for the vessel at your local marina, and there are annual fees involved with slips.
Large Engines and More Fuel
The sport fishing yacht comes with powerful motors and large gas tanks, with diesel or petrol models. However, the high performance of the engines means they drink fuel readily, costing more to operate than smaller fishing vessels.
Not Suitable for Watersports
The sport fishing yacht is a large boat with minimal maneuverability. While it’s fast, it’s not suitable for watersports activities like skiing and wakeboarding. However, they do make for good dive boats, offering you liveaboard facilities for 10 to 14-day dive trips out on the ocean around the Caribbean or the Florida keys.
Top Sport Fishing Boat Brands and Models
There are dozens of manufacturing brands producing sport fishing yachts. You have plenty of choices when selecting your vessel, and there are seemingly endless customizations you can do to the boat. Here are our options for the best sport fishing yachts available.
Viking 54 Convertible
The Viking 54 Convertible is a top luxury model and a great choice if you have the budget available. You get a 154-square-foot cockpit with a backing plate that allows for the syrup of a fighting chair for tackling large game fish.
The mezzanine level provides you with plenty of comfortable seating, and there’s under-seat storage. You’ll find a built-in freezer and insulated storage under the seats, with a tackle cabinet on the starboard side of the vessel.
The 54C offers you a luxury sport fishing boat, featuring a three-stateroom and dual-head layout below the deck. The salon area on the bottom deck provides you a headroom of 6’4″, allowing plenty of standing room and accommodations for an entire fishing team.
The boat also comes with four fridge-freezer compartments, a built-in cabinet microwave, a cooktop with four burners, and a stainless-steel sink with additional cabinet space. The boat gets its power from dual 1,550 hp MAN diesel motors, achieving top speeds of 41-knots.
Hatteras GT65 Carolina
The Hatteras GT65 Carolina is another top-model sport fishing boat, featuring a 194-square-foot cockpit offering plenty of space for the driver and anglers. You get plenty of room for movement with the swivel-mounted fishing chair, with a dual chair design offering you a rocket launcher.
The mezzanine seating setup is to the port-side of the vessel, and you get air-conditioning for keeping cool in warm weather, along with under-seat storage, including a stainless steel freezer box for your catch. You’ll find a prep station with a tackle center and eight stainless steel drawers with drainage holes and ventilation on the starboard side.
The Hatteras GT65 Carolina comes with dual 1,800 hp Caterpillar C32 Acert diesel motors powering the vessel, reaching top speeds of 33.3-knots in calm ocean waters.
Bertram 61 Convertible
The Bertram 61 Convertible offers you a cockpit featuring 188-square feet, complete with a fighting chair and combatant. You get a 100-gallon, in-transom live well, accompanied by dual fish boxes. You get plenty of rod storage for your gear in the port and starboard sides of the boat, and there’s a flybridge featuring semi-circular seating facing the aft of the vessel.
This boat has luxury accommodations, with three en-suite bedrooms below deck, and a full-beam, queen-berth VIP in the bow, and a twin-berth bedroom in the starboard side of the vessel. The Bertram 61 Convertible gets its power from dual 1,925 hp Caterpillar C32A diesel engines, reaching speeds of up to 44-knots on open, flat water. This model is a great choice for longer trips out on the ocean.
The sports fishing yacht is the ideal choice for the dedicated sports angler. Many sport fishing companies rely on these vessels when taking people out on fishing trips. The sport fishing boat combines the best of luxury yachts with fishing and sports capabilities.
While they have enormous price tags, they are ideal for wealthy anglers or angling companies looking for boats to take anglers out on the water for fishing trips or tournaments. These boats are the best choice for high-performance fishing, with plenty of customizable options.