2024 Boat Buyers Guide

2024 Fishing Boat Buyers Guide

Welcome to the Fishing Boat Buyers Guide, now in its 11th edition. Over the past 10 years, we have delivered in these pages highlights from the best fishing-boat builders. This year is no different, with 24 models for inshore, nearshore and offshore fishing. We’re also bringing you a wealth of information on some very fishy topics.

One of the best things about the world of boats is how diverse it is, with models for nearly every pursuit or activity. To help you select the right make and model for your favorite fishery, we reached out to a number of respected captains to get their input on the features they look for in a vessel. They share their hard-earned knowledge to take some of the guesswork out of finding the perfect boat for your preferred species and techniques.

This Year's Presenting Sponsor:

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Video Walk-Throughs & In-Depth Reviews For:

Should you find yourself giddy with anticipation at the prospect of buying a new offshore center-console or other fishing boat, join the club. For many saltwater anglers, purchasing an offshore- or inshore-fishing machine represents one of the biggest decisions of their lives. Once the deal is done and outfitting complete, this boat will become your key to adventure, glory and creating memories that last for generations. For that dream to come true, however, you need to put in some due diligence in researching the boat and marine accessories that meet your expectations, style of fishing, and budget. 

In the content below, we feature a wide range of fishing boats. Use these profiles, ­images and video links as starting points. Narrow your wish list to those models that seem to best meet your angling and boating needs and desires. The next steps should include field research. Find out who carries the brands that interest you. Visit as many dealerships and factory-direct builders as possible within your driving range to compare value and premium brands. This will help narrow your list further. These articles are created to help you choose the right power and equipment, and how best to store or trailer your boat between trips. Sea trials are key to pulling the trigger, and in this content, we deliver our editors’ professional tips on making the most of sea trials to evaluate the boat, power and accessories, and whether you should slip, hoist, dry-stack or trailer your new fishing boat.

So, what does this experience and dedication do for you?

  • One, it provides you with performance tests you can trust.
  • Second, you get insightful commentary that can only come from professionals who can view a given boat through three lenses: what it is in itself, how it compares to other similar boats, and where it fits in the universe of all boats.
  • Third, with the compilation of this annual Boat Buyers Guide, our team of staffers and contributors gives you a means to compare a number of boats of the same type.

Featured Video & Articles

Walkthrough videos are a great accompaniment to our in-depth boat reviews. Check out these videos to see some of the top highlights of each model for yourself.

News From Our Sponsors:

Builder Showcases

These offerings from 13 manufacturers represent the best of the best in the fishing-boat world. You’ll see center-consoles, catamarans, bay boats, hybrids and more, complete with all the facts and figures you need.

Aquila 47 Molokai running smoothly
Blackfin 400 CC offshore
Cape Horn 39T idling
Caymas 30 CT blasting through chop
Cobia 301 CC trolling
Contender 44 ST heading offshore
Contender 35 ST running smoothly offshore
Formula 457 CCF out on the ocean
Grady-White Canyon 386 at sunset
Grady-White 281 CE cruising
Invincible 43 Open Fisherman running near shore
Invincible 33 Catamaran on the ocean
Pathfinder 2400 Open running to fish
Pathfinder 2200 TRS cruising
Pursuit OS 405 offshore
Pursuit Sport S 378 cutting through chop
Regulator 31 overhead
Robalo R360 inshore
Scout 357 LXF offshore
Solace 30 HCS running fast
Tiara 43 LS anchored
Yamaha 255 FSH Sport H heading out to fish
Yellowfin 39 Offshore out on the ocean
Yellowfin 36 OS carving turns
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More Resources

We have a variety of helpful advice on rigging your new boat, from power to electronics. We provide insight into some added equipment that can help your boat fish better so you can make each trip more productive. Look for expert guidance on everything from livewells to outriggers. We’ve even offered tips on boathandling.

Yamaha outboards powering a fishing boat
Siren 3 Pro
Running out to tuna fish
Robalo running out for striped bass
Fishing kelp beds in California
Inshore fishing at sunset
Poling a skiff
Fishing skinny water for striped bass
Center console boat running with multiple outboards
Canter console fishing boat with tall gunwales
Contender center-console offshore
Trolling motor with remote
Yellowfin 26 Hybrid
Grady-White Freedom 255
multiple displays on a Regulator Boat
Sailfishing offshore
flats skiff running shot shallow water
Fishing boat with outriggers
Loading baitfish into a livewell
Bonefish caught on the flats