Fishing during the winter presents added challenges to a day on the water. While winter fishing boats aren’t necessarily established types of boats, there are certain characteristics to look for that will make your winter fishing adventure more comfortable. If you’re in the market for winter boats and plan on doing a bit of fishing, here are a few characteristics and styles you’ll want to consider.
Characteristics of Winter Fishing Boats
- Shallow draft for lower winter tides
- Higher gunwales to block wind and sea spray
- A closed-in cabin to escape from the cold
- Fishing necessities such as rod holders and livewells
Styles of Winter Fishing Boats
A cuddy cabin boat features a closed deck over the bow and a small, enclosed cabin beneath. This provides shelter from the elements and a place to keep warm, if needed. The cockpit typically includes passenger seating with enough space to move about while fishing.
Who doesn’t love a houseboat? This category of winter boats can range from luxurious to practical and can make for longer days on the water. Houseboats are typically fully enclosed with a deck on the roof, a porch area, and some modern amenities. These are great for families, yet are sometimes more difficult to trailer and store.
Walkarounds are the ultimate choice for family fishing boats are popular in many coastal regions. Their versatile design makes them great for cruising, but they are also equipped with rod holders and livewells for fishing. They have a small cabin, similar to a cuddy cabin, and steps to walk around the entire boat across the forward deck which is ideal for fighting fish.
Sportfishers are high-powered boats designed for offshore fishing and cruising and are highly popular with saltwater anglers. These winter boats are outfitted for fishing with a large cockpit, numerous rod holders, livewells and sometimes a fighting chair to fight big fish. There is typically a below-deck cabin with amenities. Sportfishers are a much higher price point than most recreational boats, but are the ultimate choice for serious offshore anglers.
Once you’ve purchased a boat, you’ll need to register your boat with the state, just like your car. Now start planning your winter fishing trip! Check out the five best boating destinations in the U.S. for your winter vacation.