It’s true that no fishing boat is perfect and/or capable of doing all the things an avid angler might have interest in. Boats in general and fishing boats in particular are a lesson in compromise.
Fishing boats are a compromise because no single boat design or model is capable of performing flawlessly at the many ways anglers target fish. Case in point, that sleek and speedy bass boat hull that’s ideal for chasing largemouth on in-land bodies of water, is about worthless for trolling up salmon with downriggers on the big pond.
MULTI-SPECIES OR MULTI-PRESENTATION?
Some boats are made to be compromises like the always popular multi-species hulls. It’s true that multi-species models are designed with an eye toward versatility. The multi-species concept is a solid concept for the angler who wants to fish a wide variety of species, but even this boat type has short comings.
The Starcraft STX 2050 is a very capable Multi Presentation boat capable of doing all the primary fishing presentations a multi-species angler is likely to encounter.
Perhaps the term multi-species is misleading? Maybe this type of fishing boat would be better described as a “multi-presentation hull” because the reality is any boat can be used to target different species of fish, but only certain boat models do a good job of performing at a multitude of common fishing presentations.
My point is simple, I see a lot of boats classified as multi-species boats that are clearly too deep to be used effectively at jigging and casting presentations. Those boats aren’t really multi-species boats because they are primarily designed for a single presentation namely trolling.
In my mind, the best multi-species or multi-presentation boats are models big enough to be sea worthy, yet small enough to be trailerable. That means that boats in this class should be 17 to 22 feet in length and more importantly controllable from both the transom and the bow.
The modern multi-species boat is going to find itself equipped with a bow mount electric motor, a transom mount electric motor and/or a transom mounted gasoline kicker motor. These boat control tools are critical to fishing success and they give the multi-species angler the power to be an effective fisherman no matter what species they target or fishing presentation they embark upon.
Another important part of picking a multi-species or multi-presentation boat is how many configurations the boat is available in. Ideally a multi-species should be offered in a walk-thru windshield version, a single console, double console and tiller configuration. When boats are available in all these configurations an angler is more likely to find exactly the boat that meets his or her specific needs.
This Renegade 178 DC is good example of a multi-presentation boat that meets the needs of a wide cross section of anglers.
TEST RIDES PLEASE
Taking a fishing boat for a test ride is surprisingly difficult to achieve. Unlike a new pickup truck, boats don’t show up at dealers water ready. Dealers don’t rig boats before they are sold because different customers require different rigging configurations.
To get a test ride in a specific brand and model of boat requires the consumer to do some homework. Finding an individual who owns the boat in question and who is also willing to give a test ride, isn’t an easy task. This is especially true of newer models that may not have been in the market place for very long.
While tracking down someone who is willing to provide a test ride can be a daunting task, the peace of mind involved is invaluable. Countless boat buyers every year end up disappointed in their purchase because they simply didn’t have the luxury of a test ride prior to purchasing the boat.
This Starcraft 180 Freedom is also available as a Smoker Craft model in both a tiller and side console option.
When setting up a test ride, it’s smart to load the boat with the number of people and approximate amount of gear you plan to fish with. This way you can see how the hull performs when loaded. Not only does this logic identify any flaws in the hull design, it will help in determining what kind of horsepower will be required to make the boat perform as intended.
SUMMING IT UP
No boat is perfect, but with a little research it’s possible to identify the boat that is best suited to the type(s) of fishing you participate in most. Ideally the fishing boat buyer should fall in love once and stay in love for many, many years to come.