North to South, cabin fever has countless winter-weary anglers gearing up for warm-weather fishing adventures ahead. For some, that means buying a new boat, while others opt to trick out their current fishing platforms. Whichever camp you fall into, a few simple pointers can help you navigate the sea of choices in boats, motors and rigging options toward a dream machine that fits your needs.
"The process can seem overwhelming," say decorated touring pros, guides and noted freshwater experts Scott and Marty Glorvigen. "But if you start by identifying how and where you plan to use the boat, and stay focused on that, you’re already halfway there."
For starters, the Glorvigens suggest thinking about your favorite style of fishing. "Identify your target species and top tactics for tackling them," Marty says. "Then consider the waters you want to fish, and whether you typically fish solo or with family and friends."
Answers to these questions can guide your boat, outboard and rigging selections. For example, if solo catfishing expeditions on small rivers top your playlist, you probably don’t need a 22-foot deep-V set up for trolling big water. On the flip side, if you plan to chase walleyes on large lakes prone to heavy seas, a 12-foot, bare-bones flatbottom isn’t going to cut it.
"Also consider factors such as how far you plan to travel and the accesses you’ll launch from," he adds. "Don’t forget about your tow vehicle or storage space back home, either." On that note, remember that a trailer tongue and outboard can add several feet to a rig’s total length.
BOATS BY DESIGN
Marty boils boat styles into three basic options: tiller, single console and dual console, and notes that each one shines for different applications.
"A tiller excels for solo anglers and ultimate efficiency, because if you rig it right and load it properly, everything is right there with you, your baitwell, livewell, rod locker, tackle storage, main outboard, trolling motor and electronics," he says. "It’s truly a command center for serious fishing."