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Is There a Best Boat to Own?

Can one boat serve both inshore and offshore anglers?


Those of us who live along the coast face a dilemma when it comes to choosing a boat. Either we are well enough off to afford two or more boats, or we try to choose a single boat to serve all our needs. Is there really a best boat to own?

We fish offshore and inshore, depending on the weather and fishing conditions. Inshore means bays, creeks, and marshes, and those areas mean shallow water and the need for a small boat. Offshore usually means heavy seas and the need for a bigger boat to handle those seas.

Ideally, we need to own or have access to two significantly different boats to be able to fish both inshore and offshore.

Several years ago the boating industry come out with the “bay boat” design. Lot’s of anglers, including myself, looked long and hard at what we called a “compromise” boat. I owned one for a few years, pictures of which you may have seen in some of my articles.

The compromise was big enough to get offshore on a good day and yet small enough to fish inshore in most areas. The problems came up when I wanted to fish offshore and the day wasn’t quite as “good” as I would like it to be. That meant a slow pounding ride at best, given that the bay boat was not designed to cut the waves, rather to ride on top. I also had several inshore areas I could not fish simply because the boat was too long or drew too much water.

Astute readers will notice that I am writing in the past tense. The bay boat is no longer in my possession. I opted for a smaller inshore boat that simply cannot be taken offshore. I did that because my son, who I fish with, had an offshore boat. We simply used whichever boat we needed on a given day.

Today, however, I have another dilemma. My son has his offshore boat on the market, and has already purchased a new inshore boat! What’s a father to do!?

I have friends that fish offshore, and I generally do more fishing with a guide than with anyone else, so it really won’t be that bad.

But, it does have me thinking and looking – wondering once again whether there really is a ‘best boat’ to own.

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