This vessel combines the ride and stability of a traditional offshore boat with the shallow draft and running capability of a flats boat. 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.
He is president of the National Soho House Film Club with chapters in Miami, FL, Manhattan, NY and Los Angeles, CA and regularly contributes content to YachtWorld, boats.com and Boat Trader. Design a deeper V in the hull and you may improve ride characteristics, but you’ll likely reduce stability.
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.
Comfort gets a boost with an extending aft sunshade and a huge forward console lounger. 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.
Party boats allow novice and experienced anglers alike affordable offshore fishing options. You can take some guesswork out of America’s favorite outdoors sport by hopping on board a “party boat and heading offshore with dozens of equally eager anglers.
Florida has hundreds of party boats docked from Pensacola to Key West, just waiting to take you, your friends and family on the fishing trip of a lifetime. A trip on one of these offshore vessels costs a fraction of what a private charter costs, making them an ideal outlet for someone who wants to enjoy the blue water experience without spending a lot of green.
Party boats have some major advantages: You have more room to move around, you can bring the whole family and you can take a break from the fishing to relax in an air-conditioned suite. For anglers without a lot of experience or time to research what’s biting, a day on a party boat is an excellent option.
The captain and crew make all the hard decisions, such as where and when to fish, so all you have to do is sit back and reel ’em in. Guests aboard party boats will have to “share the rail” with other anglers.
Party boat fishermen have caught amber jack, king fish and even the occasional sailfish. Once you step aboard a party boat, you will quickly identify the veterans.
If you have a problem or question, don’t be afraid to ask the captain, crew or your fellow fishermen for a little help. Anglers must still comply with normal bag and size limits, which are usually posted on deck.
So searching for blue water beasts may require very different types or sizes of fishing boats depending on whether you live in Miami or Montauk. On the flip side of the coin, many models don’t offer much protection from the weather and salt spray, other than the console and windshield.
Extremely long cruises of up to 100 miles are possible; You can fish for days at a time in comfort (even luxury in many cases); Perks like onboard air conditioning and ice makers are considered common; Plus, the sheer size of sport fishing yachts allow you to go fishing when smaller boats may be forced to remain at the dock due to weather conditions. Having a cabin with a berth and a private head makes it much easier to take a break from the action or get under shelter when a rainstorm breaks out, which can be particularly important if you have kids aboard; Many also have fully protected helms, which means that fishing in less than ideal weather is possible and extending your season into the late fall or winter months becomes a more realistic option.
There is, however, a price to pay in the form of fishing space, since the open bow cockpit you’d enjoy in a center console fishing boat is taken up by the cabin. Whether you dream of battling a big blue marlin or playing tug-of-war with a blue fin tuna, there are a few must-haves which all boats need if they’re going to be used for fishing in the deep.
Built-in tackle boxes are extremely valuable, as they help keep things organized and eliminate the need to carry a big box of gear back and forth from the boat every time you go fishing. Raw water wash downs are considered a necessity by most offshore anglers, since deep sea fishing can get quite messy via either the bait or the catch.
Many experienced offshore anglers go even farther and use the rule “one third out, one third back, one third in reserve,” to be absolutely sure they never end up short on fuel. Most captains would feel comfortable running a 21-foot center console 10 or 12 miles into the ocean to go deep sea fishing on a calm, sunny day in south Florida.
But trying to take that very same boat 50 or 60 miles out into the open Atlantic to reach the edge of the Continental Shelf off the coast of Maryland would be considered by many to be a dangerous over-reach. A boat ’s hull design plays a big role in determining its sea keeping abilities, speed, efficiency, and stability.
But larger sport fishing yachts are often big enough that they handle rough seas well with a semi-V (which has less of an angle in the hull) or a nearly flat bottom. But we have one final bit of advice that’s as good as gold: before you pick out a boat, spend some time out on the ocean on each of the different types.
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