A Few Tips for Unfishy Boats

Tips to help you fish from a variety of boats.

November 1, 2001

“Sorry to bother you,” the guy said. “No problem,” I answered. “Talking fishing is my reason for being on this planet. First off, what kind of boat do you have?” His answer? “A 26′ sailbote.” I choked, sputtered, and gagged. Should I help this guy out, even encourage him to fish from his windborne puffamajig?

I always get questions from guys who cruise, dayboat, or waterski but want to keep a line handy for when the mood strikes. Here are a few tips for unfishy boats.

  • AFT-CABIN MOTORYACHTS. You’re high off the water, so when going for bottom fish, use double-strength leaders to swing fish aboard and avoid breakoffs. For larger game, carry a gaff at least 10′ long. You won’t be able to direct fish away from the props, so work them in from amidships or on the bow.
  • BOWRIDERS. No rodholders and no rails in the cockpit to attach them to? Get a clamp-on adapter ($14; Cabela’s, 800/237-4444,, which will accommodate Cabela’s, Scotty, Temptress Fish-On, and Roberts rodholders.
  • SPORTBOATS. There may be too much engine between you and the transom to fight a fish the traditional way. To keep the line from rubbing against the boat or props, the captain must bump the boat in and out of gear, constantly turning toward the side the fish is on.
  • SAILBOATS. Sorry, guys, this is where I draw the fishing line. Call me once you’ve demasted.

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