Best Bay Boats

Follow this ongoing collection of the top bay boats in no particular order

No single boat design, except perhaps the center console, has had as much impact on our fishing as the bay boat. We decided to round up some of the best bay boats out there, as well as give credit to some of the better bay boat manufacturers in the game today. A few models listed may be viewed as some of the best bay boats for the money, but by no means is this a collection of the most affordable bay boats. Stay tuned for new additions as we continue to update this list. The models below are in no particular order, and it's safe to say we like them all.

top bay boats
Top Bay BoatsSWS Staff

Yellowfin 24 Bay Carbon Elite

top bay boats
Yellowfin 24 Bay Carbon EliteCourtesy Yellowfin Yachts

The Carbon Elite model takes the immensely popular Yellowfin 24 Bay to an entirely new level of performance. The 100 ­percent vinylester resin infused into a carbon-fiber roving specifically formulated for this hull cuts the hull weight by 25 percent, yielding a shallower draft, increased fuel economy and more top-end speed. A sure favorite among charter captains for its dedicated fishing features, stability and excellent seakeeping qualities in a range of conditions, the 24 Bay racks 10 rods securely and allows plenty of customization, with a huge dash for an extensive electronics suite, an optional console tower, and a range of interior and seating configurations. There’s an additional charge for the Carbon Elite model, of course, but the price includes a full package: engine, jack plate, 8-foot Power-Pole and a tandem-axle trailer.


Length: 24'10"
Beam: 8'6"
Draft: 12"
Weight: 2,400 lb.
Fuel: 72 gal.
Max HP: 350
Price: $95,563 w/ 300 Verado
Yellowfin Yachts

Grady-White 251 Coastal Explorer

Grady-White 251 Coastal Explorer
Grady-White 251 Coastal ExplorerCourtesy Grady-White Boats

True to its North Carolina heritage, the 251 CE is a fishing boat foremost, albeit with a nod for family outings at the beach. Sporting Grady's proven SeaV2 variable deadrise hull with 16 degrees at the transom, the CE quite capably runs to ­nearshore reefs and barrier islands, yet the 14-inch draft letsy ou slip into the back bays and tidal creeks to chase flounder, stripers or reds. The boat comes with a Yamaha F250 or F300 four-stroke outboard, and both provide plenty of oomph. Factory tests with the 250 ­produced a top speed of over 45 mph. With a 300 on the stern test results clocked 51.5 mph at 5,800 rpm with a fuel burn of 26.1 gph. Cruising at 3,500 rpm, the 300 makes 3.46 mpg, which translates into an ­impressive range with the 78-gallon tank.


Length: 24'7"
Beam: 8'6"
Draft: 14"
Fuel: 78 gal.
Maximum HP: 300
Weight: 3,715 lb.
Price: $97,715 w/ F300 Yamaha

Carolina Sea Skiff

bay boats
Carolina Sea SkiffCourtesy Carolina Skiff

Combining durability and versatility with affordability makes Carolina Skiffs' new Sea Skiff an attractive option for anglers who demand functionality and bang for their buck. One of the key aspects of this boat is the amount of storage space. Anglers can stash tons of gear to keep the cockpit free and clear without losing accessibility. The Sea Skiff sports flush jump seats in the stern, a rear center bait well, combing boards to transport all your rods, a large center console (with rod holders) featuring a large dashboard for flush mount screens.


bay boats
BarkerCourtesy Barker Boatworks


Length: 25'6"
Beam: 9'3"
Draft: 16"
Deadrise: 18 degrees
Fuel: 90 gal.
Water: 15 gal.
Weight: 4,250 lb.
Max HP: 400
Price: $109,500 w/ Mercury Verado Pro 300
Barker Boatworks

SeaVee 270Z Bay

bay boats
SeaVee 270Z BayChristopher Balogh

SeaVee 270Z Bay is a platform designed for large bays and coastal areas, as well as the occasional offshore excursion. A hull draft of only 15" allows the 270Z to access skinny water. It features an oversize bow and aft casting platforms connected by wide gunwales. The aft platform is large due to the absence of a space hogging splash well. Rod lockers accommodate fly rods up to 9' and the console holds up to 16 rods vertically. And with the option to convert your 2 rear storage compartments, there are 4 live wells, with 108 gallons of combined capacity.

2000 Carolina Bay

bay boats
2000 Carolina BayCourtesy Tidewater Boats

Roominess is one of the most important aspects of any fishing boat. Tidewater designed their 2000 Carolina Bay boat with this in mind and did everything they could to achieve an oversized front casting deck, which they accomplished by incorporating a more aggressive bow flare. Not only does this flare increase fishing space but it also gives passengers a dryer and more comfortable ride. The boat also features dual livewells, pull up cleats, fold up jumpseats and plenty of places to carry all the rods you could ever need.

Pathfinder 2600 TRS

bay boats
Pathfinder 2600 TRSCourtesy Pathfinder

The new Pathfinder 2600 TRS does it all with style, comfort and high performance. There's cushioned seating for 10 including aft deck seating with flip up backrests and the forward deck can be transformed into a lounge area worthy of a dual console. The console has a fully finished interior with optional pump out potty and the standard deluxe helm seating is perfect for a quiet cruise for two. Even with all this, Pathfinder's angling legacy shines through with full trolling motor capability, lockable storage and a 36 gallon live well.

Sportsman Masters 247

bay boats
Sportsman Masters 247Courtesy Sportsman Boats

The Sportsman Masters 247 Bay Boat is a multi-purpose bay boat for the family and serious angler. It boasts a sleek, clean profile capable of deep-water performance with a smooth ride. Standard features include two 25-gallon aerated live wells, large forward storage box, four flush mounted gunwale rod holders, a swim platform with ladder, large bow casting deck with lockable storage for 10 rods, a trolling motor plug and harness, lockable console storage with room for porta potty, Telaflex Seastar hydraulic steering, rear foldup bench seat with lockable storage, Yamaha digital gauges, and the exclusive total-access hatch providing easy entry to all systems.

Skeeter SX 2250

bay boats
Skeeter SX 2250Courtesy Skeeter Boats

Skeeter’s SX2250 features a newly-designed cap that incorporates ample fore and aft decks for comfortable stand-up fishing, and increased freeboard for added safety and security offshore. Two independently-plumbed livewells — a 35-gallon, double-ram, gasketed, oval-shaped hold in the aft deck and a 17-gallon, gasketed oval beneath the forward-console seat –– hold plenty of live baits. Console rod holders, and a 9-foot rod box stow an array of rigs for any purpose. A tapered 24 degree-deadrise and V-entry ensures Skeeter's signature "Smoothe Dry Ride" in the waves, yet still fishes in 13 inches of water.

Sea Hunt BX 24BR

bay boats
Sea Hunt BX 24BRCourtesy Sea Hunt Boats

The new Sea Hunt BX 24 BR chases redfish in a foot of water or handles all the demands of fishing comfortably offshore for grouper and snapper. The shallow draft designed for inshore access is augmented with a sharp entry deadrise and Carolina flair to maintain comfort and reliability on less than perfect days. The boat is loaded with tackle trays, gear storage and is roomy enough for a porta potty under the console.

Scout 251 XS

bay boats
Scout 251 XSCourtesy Scout Boats

The 251 XS from Scout Boats sports all the valued features of a bay boat, augmented by a proud bow and aggressive lines to transition anglers offshore efficiently and comfortably. Fold-down seats aft create a level spacious casting platform, and the forward deck converts as well with a removable fiberglass insert; the addition of cushions forward creates a gunwale-to-gunwale sun pad. 251 XS also showcases Scout's innovative and patented T-top/glass enclosure.

Sailfish 2100BB

bay boats
Sailfish 2100BBCourtesy Sailfish Boats

The 2100BB from Sailfish incorporates an aggressive 18-degree deadrise for a soft ride in big water, while the wide beam allows shallow draft for fishing inshore and on the flats. The 2100BB, with large front and rear fishing decks, a 21-inch-deep cockpit, multiple helm seating- and leaning-post options, and a three-livewell capability answers the demands of anglers inshore and off.

Ranger 240 Bahia

bay boats
Ranger 240 BahiaCourtesy Ranger Boats

Ranger's new 240 Bahia offers the versatility to fish the shallows and make offshore runs in the same boat without sacrificing features or performance. Appealing to hardcore guides, professional fishermen and families alike, the 240 is based on the popular and proven hull design of Ranger's 220 Bahia, introduced in 2010. The new design highlights Ranger's 45-year commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water.

Everglades 243CC

bay boats
Everglades 243CCCourtesy Everglades Boats

Ever since it hit the scene, the Everglades 243cc has been a hit with fishermen. A 36-gallon circulating livewell, 75-gallon in-floor fish box, 8 rod holders and twin tackle lockers, all standard, contribute to this boat's popularity. A stylish console featuring a patented sliding windshield and combination helm seat/leaning post are added bonuses to an already loaded boat. The boat also has a fiberglass hardtop that incorporates overhead life jacket storage, blue and white LED lights, spreader lights and built-in speakers.

Edgewater 240IS

bay boats
Edgewater 240ISCourtesy Edgewater Boats

At 24 feet, Edgewater's 240IS provides an ideal angling platform for fishing inshore, while preserving the option to venture offshore. The single- piece infusion hull construction of this sleekly designed craft provides durability while the SPI black carbon-fiber hatches add a touch of class to this fishing machine. Multiple live wells, 79 square feet of useable deck space and ample room for storage come standard but Edgewater's list of options allows plenty of room for customizing.

Contender 25

bay boats
Contender 25Courtesy Contender Offshore

Contender maintains a tradition of building hard-core fishing boats, and 25 Bay keeps that promise. Large casting platforms – forward and aft – provide ample room for several fishermen without crowding. Bolster pads the full length of the cockpit are built for fish fights. The twin stepped hull with 15 ½ degree deadrise runs smooth and dry, in a foot of water or offshore. The design provides improved performance at speed and added stealth inshore. An optional jackplate gets the 25 up and out in the shallows.

Century 2001

bay boats
Century 2001Courtesy Century Boats

The Century 2001 Inshore is loaded with all the amenities to handle a serious fishing trip or just taking it easy on the water. The feature packed helm includes lockable console storage and padded deluxe leaning post. In the bow, dual doors open to a 40 gallon fish/storage box with overboard drain. Shown here with a Yamaha F115XA, the 2001 offers strength and durability.

Cape Bay 23

bay boats
Cape Bay 23Courtesy Cape Horn Boats

The new Cape Bay 23 from Cape Horn Boats boasts an aggressive look with nimble handing. With the modern “Even Keel” design. A test drive introduces a new level in performance with no bow rise on take-off. This first-in-bay-boat hull design fills a need to launch in skinny water. It also helps stabilize the hull while under way. It is for those who seek the best of both worlds, rugged and refined. Flush hardware is placed where you need it.The optional hard top gives the Cape Bay an unmistakable look.