Recreational boat fishing is becoming more popular around the UK. The Covid pandemic has given people the time or lack of travel to take up new hobbies.
Anglers are also looking a different ways of catching new species and what better way than with a boat. When it comes to recreational boat fishing there are plenty of options for most budgets. Not only do they allow more flexibility with your fishing they can also be used to get out and explore. You will be surprised just how much joy owning your own boat can be. Its great to get out with family and friends when the weather is great
Rods and reels can be bought relatively cheaply, the big costs are for boats and your engine. If needed you can use some of your current fishing gear to tide you over. Check out the following boat rod from by Abu Garcia on Amazon, I use it on a regular basis, can’t fault it for the price. The ugly stick is an upmarket, versatile and hence more costly rod.
As with most things in life the bigger you want the higher the cost. However depending on what you plan on or hope to do you can keep costs to a minimum. Moreover if you have a more generous budget the sky is your limit, just because you can though it doesn’t mean you should.
Many recreational boat anglers go big with the budgets but find their big buy is seldom used. The bigger the boat the more expensive the upkeep is. Secondly storage or towing can be a pain, launching and retrieve is far more difficult. If you have no one who shares your hobby it can severely restrict your time on the water.
My advice is to keep your budget within your means of being able to use what you have as much as you can. By that I mean minimum planning to make the most of the available weather windows. The more of a pain it is to launch the least likely you are to bother.
If you start looking for the perfect boat you will have your mind blown with the choices. All come with their own features and quirks, pro’s and cons. It’s all about getting was is best for you and your budget, sometimes with a little compromise.
When looking to buy a boat for recreational boat fishing you will also need safety equipment. This will have to be factored in to your budget. Check out our article on small boat safety.
Now that’s out of the way, what options are available? Whether you have space at home for a any sort of boat is a factor in your choice, but there are still options available. Let’s take a look below.
Soft inflatable boat. A versatile craft with a high degree of flexibility. They are fully inflatable and can be stored in the home if necessary. Easy to transport within your car and use smaller so cheaper engines. There are different floor types available such as slatted, inflatable, V inflatable, wooden and aluminium. The floor type can effect handling and the weight of the craft. The engine range is usually between 2.5hp and 25hp, depending on the boat. A SIB is the cheapest option available to get you into recreational boat fishing.
Rigid inflatable boat. A hard bottomed V shaped Hull boat with inflatable tubes. Like the smaller boats used by the RNLI. These have better sea keeping ability than the SIB and can use larger engines. You will need somewhere to store it, however sizes start from just 2.2 metres. Though in practical use this is in my opinion too small if taking fishing equipment or anyone else. Some are huge and will take hundreds of horse power outboards.
Small boats come in all shapes and sizes, cuddy or not? The choices and styles are plentiful. Bear in mind not all small boats are designed for use at sea. A boat designed for inland waterways and lakes will be dangerous in the brine. Ones of the many features of small sea boats is Hull design, this should not be overlooked when making your decision. This affects handling of your craft and depending on what you plan on using it for could be a deciding factor for you.
You will also need a larger engines to use with them, starting at around 30hp depending on the model. There are far too many options for me to list, though Seahogs are highly regarded.
As said before your choice of boat all depends on your own personal circumstances and what you plan to use it for. The perfect option for me is a SIB, cost and space to keep it were major factors in my choice I made.
Not just the cost of the boat and engine but boat registration and launch fees. Most authorities don’t charge launch fees for boats under 10hp. I can also launch solo with transom wheels fitted, I can just chuck in the car and I’m off. My compromise is sea keeping ability as well as speed, but it gets me fishing regardless.
Do not forget you will need to have safety equipment, the sea is a dangerous and often scary place. The chances maybe low of something going wrong but if it can it just might, you need to be prepared for any scenario. A boating course is a good place to learn the easy way.