Known for its fighting ability and acrobatics, but not as source of food, this is a catch-and-release sport fish, often referred to as the “silver king of sport fish”. With a bow casting platform, 74-qt insulated fish boxes, ample rod holders, 25-gallon and 12.75 gallon live wells and draft of 14, this is a Florida fisherman’s dream.
This makes it ideal for South Florida ’s sandbars and inshore fishing grounds, but seaworthy enough to handle the waves when the seas pickup. With a draft of a mere 10 inches and a full transom with hydraulic bracket, you can tune your motor and ride safely in the shallows.
Whether you’re fishing in the flats or running 40 miles out for your favorite offshore spot, the Shaffer S240 is the ultimate hybrid bay boat. Capable of both inshore and offshore and prized as a Tarpon fishing boat, this modified V eats up chop and impressively handles turns yet also provides a shallow draft.
Loaded and ready for fishing the Sheerer S240 is the perfect fit for the hardcore Tarpon fisherman, weekend warrior and everybody in between. This vessel has a full tower with all the views that affords, along with a smooth, quiet ride and tons of dry storage, making it a nice family-friendly fishing boat as well.
As an experienced boater he regularly produces and directs on-the-water video shoots for major boat manufacturers, yacht brokers and dealers, as well as independent film and media companies. For those who desire a versatile fishing boat that shines in style and affordability, we’ll be looking at the Sea Born FX22 Bay LT.
For family and friends that like to enjoy time on the water, no matter the activity, we’ll be taking a look at the Release 295 Sport. Based on what you’re fishing for hosts, Rick Reals, Lori Hargrove and George Lamont will help you decide.
In addition to reviewing every type of boat imaginable the hosts will cover the latest in outboard technology and tips on how you can get the most out of your engine. Based on what type of fishing you’ll be doing, where and with how many people the editors will cover key features in each boat helping you determine what’s important to you.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of dual console boats are built with little attention paid to maintaining maximum fish ability. The live well holds a hefty 40 gallons, there’s a 60-gallon macerated fish box in the deck, coaming bolsters line the cockpit, and the helm is designed to house a pair of 12-inch Mods.
From the 188 square foot cockpit, to the mezzanine Mid, to the electric reel outlets under the gunwales, this boat lacks nothing in the fishing department. Offshore anglers who don’t like to burn up all their fishing time with a long cruise will love the Cayman 341 CC, which can run at 60-mph with a brace of triple Mercury V-8 300-hp outboard engines on the transom.
The clincher: the hardtop has a pass-through hatch so you can get up on the hard-top and spot fish from an elevated position whether you opt for the upper station or not. However, that boat is just large and heavy enough that it needs a pair of Yamaha F425 outboards or triple engines to perform up to Grady-White’s standards.
The clincher: 27 rod holders ring the boat, line the hard top, and grace the transom. Fish ability gets a massive leg up due to the cockpit extension which goes back aft of the outboards, while touches like a pair of flanking 45-gallon pressurized live wells, electric reel plugs, and 18 standard rod holders make this boat battle-ready right out of the box.
The Sportsman Open 352 Center Console naturally has that center console deck layout we anglers love, spiffy performance including a top-end of over 58-mph, and all the fishing features one could want including a pair of pressurized 30-gallon live wells, a 22-inch Garmin Mid and CHIRP transducer, and a pair of macerated in-deck fish boxes. Bottom line: not everyone can drop half a mil on a 35-foot center console, and while many competitors run this much, the Sportsman starts at a far more reasonable $295K.
Add to that touches like a Jacuzzi-sized 90-gallon pressurized live well, a mammoth 192-gallon fish box, and gobs of open deck space, and you have an offshore angler’s dream boat. Launching the Valhalla line certainly didn’t occupy all of Viking’s bandwidth, because at the very same time they also developed the new 38 BF.
The World Cat 230 CC has the honor of being the smallest boat we’d qualify as offshore-capable in this round-up, which gives it a number of big advantages: it costs far less than the other boats we’ve included here, it costs less to run and maintain (a pair of 115-hp outboard give it a cruise of around 30 mph and it gets well over 2.5 mpg at that speed), it can be fished with a minimal crew, and you can easily trailer it from port to port and launch it wherever you’d like. Fish ability is up to snuff with a 30-gallon live well in the transom, a pair of 37-gallon fish boxes, four gunwale holders, and eight rocket launchers on the T-top and leaning post.
The clincher: the boat’s diminutive nature should mean comfort levels take a big hit, but the catamaran hull design runs much smoother than almost all monohulls in its class. Lenny is a graduate of the West lawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OW AA writing awards.
There's no doubt about it: Whether you're buying or selling, Florida is the epicenter of the boating world. Willy Sutton told authorities he robbed banks because that’s where the money was.
Want a little flats boat to fish the shallow waters of the Keys or perhaps the Indian River in east central Florida ? If a deck boat to take family and friends out for an afternoon cruise is more your style, there are plenty of those, too.
Even if your tastes run toward multimillion dollar mega yachts capable of roaming the globe, Florida ’s got ‘em. Fort Lauderdale, home to the world-famous annual boat show, is one of the premier mega yacht centers of the world.
Eventually they figure it out and get what they want and need, but not before spending a small fortune owning boats that disappoint them. But my wife Jane and I wanted to do some cruising that included stays of a week or more aboard a boat.
We used it for a few years, then decided that we might eventually want to sail the length of the East Coast, from Miami to Maine and back, and perhaps spend extended time in the Florida Keys. We sold the Sabre 28 and bought a custom 46-foot aluminum ketch, Galaxies, the boat that we’ve had for almost 16 years now.
My friend Bill spends on average about $200 for a day’s worth of fuel to power his twin-engine Pursuit. Another neighbor spends four times that amount to run his much larger Hatteras, and they both wind up catching about the same number of fish.
My sailboat burns a gallon an hour of diesel fuel when the wind abandons me and I have to power. One of the big twin-engine motor yachts I help move up and down the East Coast burns 32 gallons of diesel per hour at full speed.
But that 70-footer weighs many tons and isn’t so easy to maneuver despite twin props and a bow thruster. The owner of said boat just spent several thousand dollars repairing a teak toe rail that he accidentally smashed against a piling.
Don’t buy a boat bigger than you need and take the time to practice maneuvering it in tight spots. The bigger the boat you want to buy, the more you need a surveyor to go over all the vessel’s complex systems and give you an evaluation.
The National Association of Marine Surveyors can give you the names of members both by type of boat you want to buy and the state in which you’re making the purchase. And while you are certainly welcome to set up your new vessel any way you please, it might pay in the long run to keep resale value in mind.
A similar mishap on a new boat might very well be covered by the warranty and cost you nothing, at least for the first year or two. Smaller boats, whether power or sail, are often advertised in the classified sections of local newspapers.
Search the classifieds in the newspapers of the biggest nearby cities, such as Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Tampa/St. It’s much easier to go take a look at and possibly take a test ride in a boat located close to where you are than on the other side of the state.
A final word of advice: If, after all your careful thinking about and searching for a boat, you wind up with one that you realize after a few years isn’t really what you want or need, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger and sell it. Better to get rid of the maintenance, insurance and operating costs quickly and start your new search for the right boat than to keep spending that money on something you aren’t using.