When you’re shopping for your perfect fishing boat, the bay boat is a logical choice. Clocking in at anywhere from 17 to 25 feet in length, they’re the perfect choice for a day spent angling just about anywhere, from lakes and rivers to inshore applications.
But as you’re considering your options, you may wonder what makes the best bay fishing boats so good. And what about center console bay boats?
Following are a few features you should look for in a top-quality bay boat.
A casting deck at the bow is a must-have for any serious angler. It allows you a wide, flat place to stand and gives you firm footing as you get to work.
Additionally, it gives you a flat, safe surface to stand on once you set the hook and start to reel in your catch. Even more, a casting deck gives you more than 270 degrees of area to work in — plus it gives you great visibility into the water.
A great bay boat should have at least two live wells if not three. At a minimum, it should have one fore and one aft, and they ought to be baby blue inside so that your baits stay calm.
Center console design simply means that the topside of the boat is designed with a walkaround helm. All controls are located in the central console, which means if a fish gets difficult (don’t they always) and takes you down the side of the vessel aftward, you can follow without becoming a gymnast.
You probably saw this coming, but the more power, the better. Since so many bay boats are used in an inshore capacity, you’re going to want to be ready for rough waters. Do you have enough power to deal with a six or eight-foot swell? The more, the better.
Bay boats are incredibly fun and versatile, but it’s important that they’re properly equipped. Make sure you know before you buy, and do your research on all of the available options.
These aren’t ski boats — they’re purpose-built for the job they’re meant to do, which is to get out there and catch as many fish as possible.
If your bay boat has what it takes to get that job done, you’ll stay safer, and your guests will have a much better time.