What Are The Best Aluminum Fishing Boats?
When it comes to transportation on the water, the best aluminum fishing boats are on top of the list of both serious and recreational fishers. These boats are fast on the water, easy to maintain and convenient to tow on a trailer. They also provide a platform on which to catch larger fish in the open water.
But with the hundreds of choices available, you may be confused about the best boat for you. For this reason, I will break down some of the most important characteristics to look for in an aluminum fishing boat along with the best accessories you may need when using one.
Factors To Consider When Buying An Aluminum Fishing Boat
While you can just go to a boat shop, browse through its selection and buy the first boat that takes your fancy, it isn’t recommended. An aluminum fishing boat may not be a luxury yacht. Still, it’s a considerable investment as well as your transportation, leisure place, and shelter while on the water. You must then consider several factors when making your final choice.
Set A Budget
Your first decision will likely be whether to buy a brand-new boat or a second-hand one. On the one hand, a brand-new boat will probably be more fuel-efficient because of its new engine, as well as be water-ready and turnkey-ready. You also have the benefit of warranty protection and customization since many manufacturers offer personalization services.
But a brand-new boat will be more expensive than a second-hand boat of the same model or similar features. You have to take the boat’s price into account since it’s the largest expense of boat ownership.
On the other hand, a second-hand boat will likely be more affordable than a brand-new boat with a similar make. It may also already have essential accessories onboard, courtesy of its original owner, which means less expense on these items for its new owner. Its engine and body have also been tested on water.
But while you may get a good deal on it, it may require more expenses than you anticipated. Keep in mind that its engine and body have been used, perhaps too used, by the previous owner resulting in hidden issues. Before you buy a second-hand boat, be sure to ask a local marine surveyor for a thorough inspection of the boat.
Ask yourself about the financing for your aluminum fishing boat. Will you use your savings for it or take out a bank loan? Keep in mind that the loan principal, interest rate, and period, among other terms and conditions, will be dependent on your down payment, credit history, and current assets.
You must also consider the cost of ownership, including the maintenance costs, insurance premiums, and repairs cost. These costs will also depend on your frequency of use, the places where the boat will be used, and the way it’s handled, among other factors. The more times you use it, the higher the maintenance costs will likely be, from fuel to parts replacement.
The bottom line: Before looking at aluminum fishing boats, be sure to set a budget that should include the down payment, monthly loan amortizations, if necessary, and maintenance costs.
Choose The Hull
What type of fish do you want to catch while onboard your boat? Where do you plan on taking your boat? These are just two of the questions that must be answered when choosing between a deep-V and a mod-V hull.
Boats with a deep-V hull have the following characteristics:
- These can withstand larger waves, so these provide more comfort in rough water conditions.
- The passengers can sit deeper, so to speak, in the boat resulting in a feeling of safety. There are also more seating options, including jump seats, pedestal seats, and convertible bows. As many as five people can be accommodated.
- The deep hull provides a larger storage space for fish.
- These are best for catching salmon, walleye, trout, bass, panfish, and catfish.
Boats with a mod-V hull are known for the following:
- These run faster in shallower water and provide more performance in skipping across smaller waves.
- Their larger, higher deck layout means more space for casting.
- These are easier to handle in tight spots and turn tighter corners, as well as easier to maneuver with a trolling motor.
- These are more suitable for navigating blinds and hunting spots.
- These are commonly used for fishing for crappie, bass, catfish, and panfish.
There’s also the matter of the region where an aluminum fishing boat will be used. While both hulls can be used on every body of water, there are boats common to specific regions because of the uniqueness of the geography and fish species, among others.
In Canada and the northern United States, for example, deep-V hulls are more common because these are suitable for rough water and weather conditions as well as for multispecies fishing. It is also true in areas in the northeastern and northwestern United States, as well as the Great Lakes. In the southern United States, the mod-V hulls are more popular because there are more shallow bodies of water, small lakes, and reservoirs.
Look At The On-board Features
Modern aluminum fishing boats have a wide range of on-board features designed for comfort, durability, and functionality, from the padded seats to the dual console filled with digital instruments.
First, decide on the type of console you need:
- The dual console offers maximum protection and coverage for the driver and passengers.
- The side console protects the driver, but not so for the passengers. But if you’re fishing for walleye and bass, it’s a good choice because it means more room to maneuver.
- The center console is best for bay and coastal fishing since it offers 360-degree mobility in the boat.
You can also choose between a tiller boat and a stick steer boat. A tiller boat provides more room since everything can be accessed from a single spot, and you can also fish at the same time. A stick steer boat also offers excellent visibility, control, and steering as well as access to the live wells and storage.
Then, you have to decide on the size of the boat. No, don’t get taken in by the my-boat-is-larger-than-yours one-upmanship! You have to decide based on your own fishing needs and wants, from where you intend to use the boat to what you can afford.
For example, if you want to bring just one or two of your fishing buddies on a trip, then a smaller boat makes sense. But if you plan on tagging along with four of your family members, then go for the larger boat. You should also consider whether the fishing areas demand a smaller and, thus, more agile boat.
Size and power matters but not in the way you initially believed! A few questions that you should ask about it.
- Where will you store the boat? Will it fit in there, such as in the garage or the shed, along with its motor and trailer?
- What is the towing capacity of your trailer? Will you buy a trailer fit for the boat, too? Will it be able to tow the boat safely based on the terrain from your house to the water?
- What are the facilities in your destination – boat ramps or makeshift ramps?
Most important, you have to consider the engine’s power! You may be tempted to buy the aluminum fishing boat with the highest horsepower because, well, the more powerful, the better. Take a step back and talk with the boat dealer about your unique needs and wants in a fishing boat so that the right one will be delivered to your doorstep.
If possible, you should talk with a boat mechanic about the specs for fuel economy, top speeds, and acceleration given the boat-and-engine combo. You will then be able to make a smarter decision based on the engine power that will suit your needs, instead of engaging in a game of one-upmanship with others.
Products You May Also Need When Using Aluminum Fishing Boats
Once you have the best aluminum fishing boat, your next step is to equip it with accessories. We found these must-have fishing accessories that will enhance your experience with your new boat.
Bright Eyes Green & Red Aluminum Portable Marine LED Boating Lights
Being seen by other fishermen is a must in foggy or nighttime conditions for safety reasons. These Bright Eyes portable boating lights are an effective means for greater visibility of your boat, a necessity in relatively crowded waterways in low visibility conditions. These can be easily installed in the bow or stern as well as used as running lights for your boat.
There are three light modes, too, namely, solid brightness, slow blink, and strobe. You can choose the model depending on the situation on the water.
Leader Accessories Bimini Top Boat Cover
When an aluminum fishing boat isn’t in use, it’s advisable to keep it covered from the natural elements. This Leader Accessories top boat cover is an excellent choice with its heavy-duty marine-grade 600D polyester canvas material, double overlapped stitching, and stainless steel mounting hardware.
It’s easy to assemble and install on a boat, too. It comes in six sizes and in 13 fabric colors, including light gray, navy blue, and black, so there’s a cover for every boat and style. When it’s not in use, it can be stored in its zippered storage boot, so it doesn’t come in the way of your fishing activities.
Budge B-621-X6 600 Denier Hard/T-Top Boat Cover
Yet another highly recommended boat cover is the Budge B-621-X6 cover made of 600D polyester, a tough material tested for maximum ultraviolet protection. While an aluminum boat and its components may not seem like these require protection from the natural elements, these do because rust, mold, and mildew can take their toll on them. This boat cover provides protection from condensation and ultraviolet rays that cause these issues.
It comes with a 4-year warranty, too. It fits T-top boats and hard boats up to 22 feet in length and with a beam width up to 106 feet.
SHBC Compact First Aid Kit
When you’re in the water, things can go awry in an instant, and it’s something that you should be prepared for. Even small cuts can become problematic, often due to the interaction between the skin and bacteria in the water and fish! Your fishing boat must then have a first aid kit whenever you’re using it.
This SHBC first aid kit contains everything that you will need for first aid treatment, from gauze bandages to scissors. The 200-plus contents are stored in a durable yet lightweight case, too, which means ease of carrying on and off the boat.
Humminbird HELIX 7 Fish Finder 410940-1
There will be days when even your great fishing instincts developed by years of experience will seemingly fail. This Humminbird Helix 7 fishfinder should point in the right direction, particularly the best fishing spot for the day. You can use it in determining what’s in the water with its sonar technology, as well as see underwater through its two display modes.
You can even customize the details displayed on its screen, as well as account for the water’s temperature, turbulence, and depth. The kit already comes with mounting hardware, power cable, transducer, and gimbal mounting bracket for easy installation and use.
BTMETER Digital Anemometer
While there are apps for wind readings, getting accurate real-time wind measurements wherever you are is possible with this BTMETER digital anemometer. Yes, you may also just use your fishing experience to estimate the wind direction and speed. Still, there’s nothing like accurate measurements for smarter decisions.
It has sensitive dual temp sensors combined with eight vanes designed to measure wind speed and temperature at your location. It can be used for other water activities, too, such as skiing, sailing, and windsurfing, even for target shooting on land.
Overton’s Men’s 4-Buckle Nylon Vest
Safety first while on your fishing boat! Even when you’re a strong swimmer, you should ideally wear a personal flotation device since there’s always the risk of drowning. This Overton’s Men’s nylon vest is recommended because of its closed-cell foam and nylon shell combo.
It is easy to wear, too, with just the right number of buckles. Also, it is available in different colors and sizes. If you’re looking for a pack of four vests, you may want to consider the Overton’s Universal Adult Life Jackets.
MTM Survivor Dry Box with O-Ring Seal
Keeping your things dry even while you’re on the water shouldn’t be an issue with this MTM Survivor Dry Box. Made of rugged materials, it’s an ideal container for the myriad of small fishing items that should be placed in a secure box and within easy access.
It comes in two sizes, namely, large and small, as well as in two colors, namely, orange and forest green. It even has a signaling mirror and a built-in compass for added functionality.
Driftmaster T-250-H T-Bar System
If you’re a bass fishing enthusiast, your boat should have this Driftmaster T-bar system. It holds up to four rods, just enough for your collection, and it’s built to last and easily fits on most boats.
YETI Tundra 50
Keeping your fish fresh should be a cinch with this Yeti Tundra 50 cooler. It features double insulation of 3-inch PermaFrost insulation and a thick wall, which should keep ice frozen. Its latches are made of heavy-duty rubber for safe and secure locking of the fish inside it.
MinnKota Deckhand 40 Electric Anchor Winch
Fishing can take a toll on the body with the bending, pulling, and pushing required. This Minnkota Deckhand electric anchor winch eases the physical burden of these movements, particularly in raising and lowering your boat’s anchor. You can do these otherwise strenuous activities with just the touch of a button.
It can handle up to 40 pounds of anchor, as well as comes with installation instructions and mounting hardware for ease of installation. It can also be horizontally mounted.
Advantages Of Using Aluminum Fishing Boats
While fiberglass boats and wooden boats are also popular choices for fishers, aluminum boats have numerous advantages that make them arguably more popular.
Aluminum is a durable material that can withstand years of regular use on the water, even in rough weather and water conditions. It is particularly true for heavy-gauge, all-welded aluminum fishing boats, which have a stronger quality than fiberglass boats with riveted hulls.
The aluminum boats are also less prone to damage from high-impact collisions, and, indeed, these can withstand puncture risks that wooden and fiberglass boats cannot. Plus, these are easier and cheaper to repair after a collision than boats made of other materials.
The sun’s ultraviolet rays can ruin the gel coating and frame of fiberglass boats over time, especially when these are used frequently in sunny conditions. But this isn’t an issue with aluminum boats since the metal isn’t easily affected by the sun’s ultraviolet rays!
It means aluminum fishing boats have a longer lifespan, with proper use and maintenance, and higher resale value. You may even be able to pass your brand-new aluminum boat to your son, also your grandson, because it’s in such good condition.
Many metals are durable only because of their thickness that, in turn, makes them unsuitable materials for boats. It isn’t true for aluminum, a lightweight metal that can withstand heavy-duty use. It’s lighter than steel by about a third, so the hull of an aluminum boat is typically 50% less than that of a steel-hulled boat of the same size.
With it being lightweight, it has impressive performance on the water. It glides more smoothly, provides a shallower draft and, thus, uses less fuel because of these reasons. It’s also more maneuverable and agile on the water, even on tight corners and with a small engine.
High Resistance To Rust
While aluminum can rust, it has a high resistance to rust and corrosion. Aluminum fishing boats are then suitable for both seawater and freshwater environments as well as for sunny and rainy conditions. These usually have a thin oxide coating for extra protection against the elements, too.
The bottom line: You should seriously consider buying an aluminum fishing boat! You should think of it as a worthwhile investment in your fishing lifestyle that can be used for several years to come, perhaps even passed on to your children.
You will also find a wide range of sizes, shapes, and styles of aluminum fishing boats. You can buy a turnkey boat and then have it customized later on, such as adding more seats or placing more digital instruments.
You have to ask the local authorities, such as the Coast Guard, about the need for passing a boating safety course, getting a safety certification, and a boat license. It is because the rules and regulations concerning these matters vary between states, and it pays to comply with the law.
But you are well-advised to enroll in a boating safety course even when there’s no need for a boat license for the type of boat purchased. Doing so will increase your water safety skills and decrease your boat insurance premiums.
Yes, because, like vehicle insurance, boat insurance protects against third-party damages, among other types of coverage. You should also keep in mind that it isn’t only the cost of physical repairs to the boat that you have to think of in case of an accident. You must also think about the costs of raising the boat, removing it from the site and cleaning up the oil slick, also known as the salvage costs.
It is where comprehensive boat insurance comes into the rescue.
In conclusion, becoming an owner of the best aluminum fishing boat comes with rights and responsibilities that you should strive to exercise and perform. Yes, you have the right to use it whenever and wherever you want, within the limits of the law. Still, you also have the responsibility to use it responsibly. Aside from that, you have to respect the rights and obligations of your fellow boat owners. It is since you’re sharing the waters and their natural resources, including the fish with them.