Choosing the best fishing boats from a very crowded field is no easy task, and if you plan to find a fishing boat rental so you can try before you buy, you’ll want to narrow your search down to some top picks ahead of time.
Among all the top fishing boat brands and all the different models on the market, each of the 10 on this list offers something special (listed from A to Z).
1. Carolina Skiff 21
Carolina Skiffs are straightforward, simple boats, and that’s their greatest asset. They’re easy to run, easy to maintain, and easy to enjoy. Plus, with few systems aboard there’s little to go wrong.
The Carolina Skiff 21 comes in three flavors: an LS version that’s best for all-around utility, a SWS model designed for shallow-water fishing, and an Ultra Elite version that has additional creature comforts like wrap-around bow seating and illuminated stowage compartments.
2. Cobia 220 CC
Anglers with young children will love the Cobia 220 CC for its high sides and deep interior, which are great for containing the kids. On top of that it offers all the fishing accouterments you could hope for, like multiple flush-mounted rodholders, a 50-gallon fishbox, under-gunwale rod racks, and a 26-gallon livewell.
3. Crestliner 1700 Storm
When it comes to finding the best fishing boats made for lakes and reservoirs, aluminum rigs like the Crestliner 1700 Storm often lead the pack. Highlights include integrated tackle and rod stowage, a Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 fishfinder, and a large aerated livewell.
But what sets it apart from the pack is its construction, featuring an all-welded hull, 0.10” thick hull bottom and hullsides, extruded aluminum ribs, and 1.25” strakes.
4. Key West 219 FS
Anglers looking for a 21-foot boat that runs fast but smooth in a choppy sea will want to try out the Key West 219 FS. This model features a stepped 19-degree/24-degree hull design that cuts through the waves better than an average V-hull.
The “FS” in the model name stands for “forward seating,” so there are plenty of places to sit back and relax. Plus, there’s a head compartment in the console adding to the creature comforts aboard.
5. Mako Pro Skiff 17 CC
Few fishing boat brands are as well known as Mako Boats, and their Pro Skiff line has been a huge hit since its introduction. Currently built in a 17-foot model (though previously built from 15’ to 19’), the Pro Skiffs have a unique “Advanced Inverted V” hull design that smooths out a chop while enhancing stability.
As a result, few boats their size feel as capable underfoot. Since the Pro Skiff 17 carries its beam all the way forward, it also has more deck space than most similarly-sized fishing boats.
6. Nitro Z19
You want to blast to the bass at highway speeds, enjoy casting from a purpose-built bass fishing boat, and have enough onboard tackle stowage to fill the shelves of a bait shop? If so, a Nitro Z19 may be in your future.
This boat’s strongest suit may well be its forward casting deck, which offers gobs of space for multiple anglers because the design carries a wide 7’10” beam topsides, even though the hull bottom width is 6’2”.
7. Sportsman Masters 267 OE
If you’re looking for a big, bodacious bay boat, the Sportsman 267 OE will likely fit the bill. It’s 26’7” length and 9’2” beam provide gobs of room aboard, yet even with all this size the boat can still creep into a mere 1’3” of water.
Added bonus: this is one of the few bay boats around to come with a “coffin box” style fishbox in the bow, which not only has enough room for an entire school of fish inside but also has a chaise lounge on top.
8. Robalo R247
Many anglers believe that only center console boats qualify as the best fishing platforms, but family fishermen often disagree. The extra protection and comfort provided by a dual console like the Robalo R247 is a better choice for some people’s needs.
And this model in particular differentiates itself by adding unexpected perks like a wet bar, custom hard top options, and the ability to transform the bow seating area into a casting deck.
9. Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX
If you’ll be fishing in a lake, reservoir, or relatively protected waterway, and you like the idea of a fishing pontoon boat, the Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX will prove ideal. Fishing features include a molded livewell, rod holders, and fore and aft fishing decks with pedestal chairs.
And although this isn’t the fanciest pontoon boat around it a has a different sort of ace up its sleeve: The Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX costs a whole lot less than most fishing pontoons of its size and delivers a tremendous bang for the buck. As a result it’s proved quite popular over the years and you’ll see it pop up when looking for pontoon boat rentals.
10. Yamaha 210 FSH Sport
All of our other best fishing boats are propelled by propellers—but not this one. The Yamaha 210 FSH runs on jet power, thanks to a 1049cc TR-1 engine that blasts water out through a 155mm high-pressure pump.
Handling is uber-sporty, too, almost like that of a personal watercraft (PWC). If you want a jet boat turned fishing machine, this will be your pick.
Which of these fishing boats will prove to be the prime choice for you and your needs? There’s only one way to find out: jump aboard some fishing boat rentals, and try these fishing machines out for yourself.