Fishing Boats, Low Cost Vs High Cost: 3 Part Series
Part 3: Low Cost Vs High Cost Fishing Boats
Welcome to the 3rd part of the series where we are going to look at the options and facilities available on budget boats and high cost boats.
Let's paint a picture - you've been an angler all your life and have thoroughly enjoyed using the services of charter boats out of various ports in the UK. However, your circumstances changed when last Saturday you won the lottery, you then quit your 9-5 at the council and have the opportunity of purchasing the fishing boat of your dreams with a budget that rock stars would envy.
So, what are your options - where do you start and what's important to an angler fishing both inshore and offshore around the UK?
Firstly, we must consider how much experience we have in motor boats? The bigger the vessel the more expense but also the more experience that's required in all aspects of being safe afloat. The difference in mooring costs, crew expense and the general upkeep and maintenance can be huge when comparing a 30 meter fishing boat against a 6 meter boat.
As fishermen we all want the best tackle to increase our chances of success, but the best isn’t always the biggest and most expensive. The big expensive boats are mostly recognised as being designed for the big game angler. These are the big fish guys who are looking at catching billfish (swordfish, marlin & sailfish), larger tunas (bluefin, yellowfin and bigeye) and of course shark (mako, great white, tiger and hammerhead).
Throughout the world, big tournaments take place every year and the super rich can literally travel from tournament to tournament chasing the big money that's available and on offer to the winners. These boats are without doubt, superb quality through and through, they need professional skippers and crews and can range from £1,000,000 to £6,000,000 with ease. But, unfortunately the UK isn’t positioned geographically to take advantage of these big buck tournaments and consequently the need for a 20+ meter boat just doesn't exist in the UK.
The fishing that's on offer from the UK revolves around completely different species of fish (cod, bass, rays, pollock, plaice, turbot, smoothhound) that certainly don’t grow to the immense sizes that are available abroad. Consequently the need doesn’t exist in the UK or justify itself for these amazing super sized expensive crafts. With that said though, some great options are available to the UK angler that can be purchased through main dealerships, but lets understand what makes a fishing boat different and what you should be looking for in regards of deciding on the right boat for yourself.
1. Forward Cabin - This area is normally used for sleeping in overnight during longer sessions. However, from experience they get rammed full of fishing tackle. It's also important to have ventilation and daylight, which is normally achieved by having a hatch.
2. Wheelhouse - This needs to be bright and airy with good visibility. Don’t forget in the winter months you'll have additional clothing and you don’t want to struggle to be comfortable with lack of manoeuvrable space.
3. Deck Space - Consider how many anglers are going to be on the boat, privately owned boats in UK are normally comfortable with 2 to 4 at the very most. Space needs to be taken into account especially when you consider tackle etc.
4. Engine - They say the most important part of your boat is the engine; therefore you need to consider how far you're going to fish from the coast and what engine whether inboard or outboard is best for you. The main dealerships will be able to offer advice and options. It's worth investing time and researching into this, as 2 outboards not only can offer better fuel consumption but also offer safety especially if you're fishing long way offshore.
5. Fixtures/Fittings - Rod holders, live bait well, echo sounders and fish finders all of which are going to be needed at some point. You need to consider layout and where these items are going to be fitted.
Now let's look at few models varying in price and why they have had such great reviews in the angling press.
Without doubt if you're an experienced boat angler then you'd almost certainly come across the Smartliner range of boats. Built in Poland and imported into the UK this boat offers a perfect combination of cabin and deck space. They're ideal for fishing as well as day cruising with the family. The boat fishes as well on the drift as well as at anchor. Rated at CE Category C for carrying up to 7 people but realistically fishing 2-3 anglers is perfect.
Tohatsu 150hp £12500.00
This is a truly lovely fishing vessel and just as versatile in taking the family out. The Jeanneau range are known for their quality of build, although it's a French company the boats are manufactured in Poland . Whenever a new model is launched the interest from anglers is always strong. This particular model can accommodate 3-4 adults in the berths due to its clever design and layout. This particular model commands a very good second hand value and hasn’t seen depreciation values like other boats, perfect if you're to perhaps upgrade later. The ventilation is as good as things get eliminating any condensation which isn't too friendly on your fishing tackle. Onboard safety is increased by a stainless steel pulpit rail and stainless grab handles. A perfect fishing boat!
Yamaha 115hp £11200.00
Available with either a hard Bimini top or not, this dedicated fishing boat will turn heads at every port of call. Ideally suited to those that are fishing for shark or even those that enjoy diving, access is fantastic with a built in tuna door for hauling your fish aboard. Designed by an angler for anglers but just as comfortable for taking the family out with a removable cocktail table. Fitted with rod rests and livebait wells. Can be used with either a single or double outboard rig, for those travelling any distance at sea perhaps you should opt for the double engine option for safety reasons.
Cost £45000.00 inclusive of a 135hp Honda
A lot of boat and engine for not too much money. Built in Portugal these boats are designed from scratch without using other hulls that are already being used. This is one of the most stable fishing boats on the market. Dave Barham quoted “one of best small fishing boats on the market” and Dave is someone you should listen to.
Cost £25000.00 including Selva Killer Whale 150hp.
These are only a few of the boats that are available and possibly of interest, but do your research and talk to the dealers that also may have second hand models available. A few boat brokers even offer open days, this means you can actually test them prior to purchase.
So, in summary fishing the UK waters there's no need in my opinion to buy the prestigious expensive boats. We don’t have the fish to warrant the costs and expense. However, there are really good reasons as to why so much fun can be had afloat. The socialising and opportunity to take home dinner whilst having a battle with a decent cod or bass makes your day memorable. If you're new to boat fishing then book yourself on a charter boat, there are over 400 registered in the UK and these offer the beginner a fantastic platform to start. These charter boats also will teach you to fish safely and with that follows the fun and enjoyment of angling afloat.
Tight lines, Colin Etherington.
Missed parts one and two? Check out Colin’s 1st article answering “How much do fishing boats really cost” here and his part two of the series about “The risks of buying second hand fishing boats” here.