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Best Fishing Boats of 2018

Catch more fish and have more fun aboard some of the best fishing boats available in 2018.

January 4, 2018
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A startling bend in the rod coupled with a reel handle that can’t be turned, followed by the whirring song of a fish peeling off line against the drag comprises the quintessential ­essence of fishing. Add in inky-smooth water as you hurry into the rising sun toward a new day’s angling adventure aboard the boat of your choice and the dream is complete — and the right boat can make it happen. To help you get there, we’ve brought a fleet of fishing boats to your attention. Below, you’ll discover boats made from aluminum or fiberglass and models intended for salt or fresh water. Fish on!

Scout 355 LXF
Scout 355 LXF Scout Boats

Scout 355 LXF
It’s clear that Scout focuses on above-the-cut luxury as staples, and this 355 LXF is no exception.

Scout 355 LXF Review

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Fountain 34 CC
Fountain 34 CC Fountain Powerboats

Fountain 34 CC
The 34 CC we tested clocked 62 mph on dual 350 Verado outboards. The step hull made the most of the horsepower, but the Fountain design stuck tight in turns, defying the nasty rap some step hulls get for sliding out and swapping ends.

Fountain 34 CC Review

Belzona 327 Walk Around
Belzona 327 Walk Around Belzona

Belzona 327 Walk Around
The Belzona 327 Walk Around has one of best setups for walking around that you’ll find on this type of boat. Besides that, it sports some of the most innovative ­features you’ll find on any type of recreational boat, period.

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Belzona 327 Walk Around Review

Regulator 28
Regulator 28 Regulator Marine Inc.

Regulator 28
Courtesy of stout construction and a ­deep-V hull designed by Lou Codega, the Regulator 28 lived up to its reputation. During our test, the ocean inlet waters rose in wind-against-tide 3- to 4-foot seas. Yet at 25 mph, the Regulator 28 carved through with nary a bang, thud or drenching spray.

Regulator 28 Review

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Wellcraft 302 Fisherman
Wellcraft 302 Fisherman Wellcraft

Wellcraft 302 Fisherman
Wellcraft boats lay claim to a rich sport-fishing heritage dating back more than 60 years. Today, the Wellcraft 302 Fisherman Scarab Offshore edition carries that heritage forward in spades.

Wellcraft 302 Fisherman Review

Robalo R302
Robalo R302 Robalo Boats

Robalo R302
With the smooth-riding, proven ­deep-V hull of its predecessor, the new R302 features a versatile interior designed for families that fish and boat together.

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Robalo R302 Review

Cobia 280 DC
Cobia 280 DC Cobia Boats

Cobia 280 DC
Dual consoles may be the fastest-growing segment of saltwater fishing boats. The Cobia 280 DC offers up a platter full of standard features and, for the more refined palate, a buffet of options that make this dual console more exciting.

Cobia 280 DC Review

NauticStar 265 XTS
NauticStar 265 XTS NauticStar

NauticStar 265 XTS
NauticStar calls the 265 XTS a beast of a bay boat, ready to take the most-ardent ­anglers to the action in safety, style and comfort. We say it’s ready for waters ­inshore and off — and most especially perfect for those whose fishing takes them across large, open expanses of water en route to shallow, protected honey-hole hot spots.

NauticStar 265 XTS Review

Sea Chaser 26 LX
Sea Chaser 26 LX Carolina Skiff

Sea Chaser 26 LX
The Sea Chaser 26 LX is a center console bay boat that can get after the fish yet also keep the family comfortable while just having fun on the water.

Sea Chaser 26 LX Review

Everglades 253 CC
Everglades 253 CC Bill Doster

Everglades 253 CC
The 253 CC is a tough fisher, but ­Everglades gives it plenty of fun for ­families too.

Everglades 253 CC Review

Boston Whaler 240 Dauntless Pro
Boston Whaler 240 Dauntless Pro Boston Whaler

Boston Whaler 240 Dauntless Pro
Boston Whaler’s Dauntless series has built an enviable reputation based on versatility. Yet the new 240 Dauntless Pro puts a greater emphasis on fishing than any of its other five sister ships.

Boston Whaler 240 Dauntless Pro Review

Blackfin 242 CC
Blackfin 242 CC Blackfin Boats

Blackfin 242 CC
Our crew has tested three Blackfin boats, and each editor agrees they all operate above their paygrades. The 212 CC delivered big-water handling capabilities, the 272 fished like a much larger boat — and we know because we had a crew of nine on board — and now the 242 CC comes to the water with dual outboards, aggressive fishing capabilities, and family-pampering features to enjoy day-boating, sandbars and beach combing.

Blackfin 242 CC Review

Stingray 236 CC
Stingray 236 CC Stingray Boats

Stingray 236 CC
If there was ever a boat built for the ­coastal waterways, sloughs and rivers of the ­Carolinas to Jacksonville, Florida, or along the Gulf Coast, it would be the 236 CC.

Stingray 236 CC Review

Grady-White Freedom 215 Dual Console
Grady-White Freedom 215 Dual Console Grady-White Boats

Grady-White Freedom 215 Dual Console
Grady-White’s reputation is only enhanced by the new Freedom 215 Dual Console.

Grady-White Freedom 215 Dual Console Review

Yamaha 210 FSH Sport
Yamaha 210 FSH Sport Yamaha Motor Corporation USA

Yamaha 210 FSH Sport
The 21-foot-3-inch Yamaha 210 FSH Sport combines the function of a center console with some key features — most notably its jet-drive propulsion — that make it a boat suited for not just angling but also a variety of general-purpose boating fun.

Yamaha 210 FSH Sport Review

Ranger Z520L Comanche
Ranger Z520L Comanche Ranger Boats

Ranger Z520L Comanche
If Ranger Boats proved anything in the Z520L Comanche, it’s that the company knows how to help serious fishermen have fun.

Ranger Z520L Comanche Review

Bass Cat Lynx
Bass Cat Lynx Bill Doster

Bass Cat Lynx
When we stepped on the Hot Foot throttle, pinned the tachometer and trimmed up the nose, the Lynx was pushing past 75 mph with a fishing crew and gear. And it was a kitten to drive as we nudged the wheel to counteract prop torque.

Bass Cat Lynx Review

Ranger 2050MS Reata
Ranger 2050MS Reata Ranger Boats

Ranger 2050MS Reata
Ranger is one of the world’s most vaunted names in fishing boats, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy other on-the-water activities aboard one. Witness the ­Ranger 2050MS Reata, a dual-console boat ­designed to pursue a wide range of freshwater species and let you ­participate in watersports.

Ranger 2050MS Reata Review

Bass Cat Pantera Classic
Bass Cat Pantera Classic Bill Doster

Bass Cat Pantera Classic
With the advent of the sleek new Pantera Classic, younger anglers can now get into a tournament-grade machine without breaking the bank.

Bass Cat Pantera Classic Review

Princecraft Platinum SE 186
Princecraft Platinum SE 186 Princecraft Boats

Princecraft Platinum SE 186
The Princecraft Platinum SE 186 cuts a nice profile while dashing across a lake. Part of that stems from its sharp entry point and deadrise, which tapers to 17 degrees at the transom, that help it slash through a tight lake chop.

Princecraft Platinum SE 186 Review

Ranger VS1670WT
Ranger VS1670WT Ranger Boats

Ranger VS1670WT
If you’re in the market for an aluminum multispecies, take a close look at Ranger’s Deep V series including the VS1670WT.

Ranger VS1670WT Review

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