Discover Types & Styles

Sport Fishing Boats For Sale: Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Deals

Sport fishing boats are specially designed vessels for passionate anglers and those seeking an adventurous experience on the water. These boats, often called battlewagons, come in two primary styles: convertible and express. Convertible sport fishing boats typically have a flybridge, while express models feature a sleeker design with an enclosed helm. Both styles prioritize functionality, comfort, and performance for the ultimate fishing experience.

With a rise in popularity, sport fishing boats for sale can be found on various online platforms, catering to a broad range of budgets and specifications. The market offers everything from custom-built luxury yachts to more modest options for buyers on a budget. Prospective buyers should consider factors such as size, engine power, and onboard features before making their choice.

There are numerous online resources for finding the perfect sport fishing boat, including Boat Trader, Sportfish Trader, and YachtWorld. These platforms provide a wealth of information and listing details to help buyers make an informed decision, ensuring they find the ideal vessel to suit their fishing needs and preferences.

Types of Sport Fishing Boats

Sport fishing boats come in various designs and styles, each tailored to specific needs and preferences. This section will discuss the different types of sport fishing boats, including center console, express cruiser, catamaran, and sportfishing yacht.

Center Console

A center console sport fishing boat is characterized by its open deck plan, with a helm station located in the center of the boat. This design offers excellent visibility and 360-degree access to the water for casting and reeling in fish. Center console boats typically range in size from 18 to 50 feet and are popular for their versatility, allowing anglers to venture into different fishing environments such as shallow bays or deep offshore waters.

Express Cruiser

Express cruiser sport fishing boats provide a comfortable combination of fishing capabilities and overnight accommodations. These boats feature a spacious cockpit area for fishing activities, as well as a cabin with basic amenities, such as sleeping quarters, a galley, and a head. Express cruisers maintain the speed and handling anglers desire while offering a more sheltered space for passengers, making them ideal for extended fishing trips or weekend getaways.


Catamaran sport fishing boats are distinguished by their twin hull design, which provides excellent stability and creates a more spacious platform for fishing activities. Catamarans are known for their smooth ride, even in rough seas, and the added stability can reduce the likelihood of seasickness – a significant advantage on long fishing trips. The expanded deck space allows for more rod holders, bait preparation stations, and other fishing accessories, making catamarans a popular choice for avid sport fishers.

Sportfishing Yacht

A sportfishing yacht is a luxury vessel designed for long-range, offshore fishing adventures. These boats are typically larger than other sport fishing boats, ranging from 40 to over 100 feet in length. Sportfishing yachts offer both serious angling capabilities and luxurious accommodations, including multiple staterooms, a gourmet galley, and a salon for entertaining. Additionally, these yachts are built with advanced technology and powerful engines to tackle large, game fish in challenging offshore conditions.

Popular Sport Fishing Boat Brands

Sport fishing boats provide anglers with an exciting and comfortable experience while out on the water. The following are some popular American sport fishing boat brands that are renowned for their quality, performance, and innovation.

Boston Whaler

Boston Whaler is well-known for its durable and versatile center console fishing boats. They offer a range of models suited for both freshwater and saltwater fishing adventures. Their boats are designed with advanced features to enhance performance and fishability.


Viking Yachts is a prestigious American brand that produces high-quality sport fishing yachts. Their convertible and open models come equipped with tournament-ready features, spacious fishing areas, and luxurious accommodations, making them a popular choice among serious anglers.


Bertram Yachts has a long history of building iconic sport fishing boats. Known for their innovative designs and exceptional craftsmanship, Bertram's boats are reliable and capable in various fishing conditions. Their extensive lineup offers something for every angler's needs and preferences.


Scout Boats is a leader in design and innovation, producing top-quality center console fishing boats. Their range includes models suitable for inshore and offshore fishing, with impressive performance and numerous fishing amenities to enhance angler's experiences on the water.


Grady-White is a reputable American boat brand that offers an impressive lineup of sport fishing boats. Known for their superior quality and attention to detail, Grady-White boats provide excellent performance and comfort for both casual and serious anglers.


Chris-Craft is an iconic American brand with a rich history in boat manufacturing. Their boats are known for their elegant styling and exceptional craftsmanship. The company offers various sport fishing boats in its lineup, including center console, cabin cruiser, and express style models.

Sea Ray

Sea Ray is another prominent American boat brand that offers a variety of sport fishing boats. Their models are known for their luxurious interiors, powerful performance, and innovative design features. Sea Ray boats are versatile and well-suited for both recreational fishing and family outings.


Hatteras Yachts is a renowned American brand that specializes in manufacturing luxury sportfishing and motor yachts. Their lineup includes powerful convertible and express style sportfishing boats equipped with state-of-the-art technology and amenities to provide an unrivaled fishing experience.

Ocean Yachts

Ocean Yachts, an American manufacturer, is known for its finely crafted luxury sportfishing yachts. They combine high-performance capabilities with stylish designs and luxurious accommodations, making them an excellent choice for anglers pursuing both comfort and functionality.

New vs. Used Boats

When it comes to purchasing a sport fishing boat, prospective buyers often grapple with the decision to buy new or used. This section will discuss the pros and cons of each option, budget considerations, and tips for searching for the perfect boat, whether new or used.

Pros and Cons

Buying a new sport fishing boat offers several advantages, such as a manufacturer warranty, the latest technology and design, and the ability to customize the boat's features. However, new boats typically have higher prices and may depreciate more quickly than used ones.

Used boats, on the other hand, often come with lower prices and have already undergone initial depreciation. Buyers can sometimes find used boats with good quality and additional accessories included. However, used boats may require more maintenance and might not have a warranty.

Budget Considerations

Before starting the search for a sport fishing boat, it is essential to determine your budget. Begin by calculating expenses associated with boat ownership, such as insurance, storage, maintenance, and fuel. With this information, you can narrow your choices and focus on boats that fit your financial plan.

New boats usually require a larger upfront investment, while used boats might be more budget-friendly. Keep in mind that older boats may have higher long-term maintenance costs.

Search Tips

When searching for sport fishing boats for sale, it's crucial to know where to look and what to consider. Here are some tips:

  • Research boat brands and models online. Websites like Boat Trader and are excellent starting points.
  • Consider the boat's intended purpose (e.g., recreational fishing, tournaments) and required features (e.g., cabin space, fishing gear storage).
  • Inspect potential boats thoroughly, checking for signs of wear, damage, or corrosion. Be prepared to negotiate with the seller based on your findings.
  • When buying a used boat, enlist the help of a qualified marine surveyor to conduct a complete inspection before finalizing the purchase.

By considering the pros and cons of new and used boats, your budget, and utilizing effective search strategies, you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect sport fishing boat for your needs.

Power and Propulsion Systems

When it comes to sport fishing boats, there are various power and propulsion systems to suit different preferences and requirements. This section covers the main systems: Outboard, Inboard, Diesel, Gas, Electric, Outboard-2s, Outboard-4s, and Inboard/Outboard.


Outboard engines are among the most popular propulsion systems for sport fishing boats. These engines are mounted on the transom of the boat and provide easy access for maintenance. They are known for their efficiency, and modern outboard engines often provide high horsepower for better performance.


Inboard engines are mounted within the hull of the boat and are connected to a propeller shaft that drives the boat forward. Inboard engines offer a larger fuel capacity and are typically more suitable for bigger sport fishing vessels.


Diesel engines are known for their fuel efficiency and durability, especially for long fishing trips. They are often seen in larger sport fishing boats due to their capacity to generate greater torque and power.


Gasoline engines are more commonly found in smaller sport fishing boats. They are lighter than diesel engines and offer a higher top speed, making them suitable for fast and agile fishing.


Electric propulsion systems are eco-friendly alternatives, with zero emissions and minimal noise pollution. These systems are gaining popularity due to their low operating costs and the growing interest in environmentally sustainable boating.


Two-stroke outboard engines are designed to provide high performance with a lightweight construction. They are known for their quick acceleration, making them ideal for smaller sport fishing boats.


Four-stroke outboard engines are skillfully designed for better fuel efficiency and lower emissions than their two-stroke counterparts. They offer a quieter operation and smoother ride, enhancing the sport fishing experience.


Inboard/Outboard, also known as a sterndrive, combines the features of both inboard and outboard engines. These systems are preferred for their flexibility in providing the maneuverability of outboards with the added power and fuel capacity of inboards.

Hull Designs and Performance

When looking at sport fishing boats for sale, it is essential to consider the hull designs and their impact on performance, including stability, speed, and comfort. In this section, we will discuss three common hull designs: Deep Vee, Modified Vee, and Planing.

Deep Vee

A Deep Vee hull design offers excellent performance in rough waters, as it provides both a smooth ride and stable handling. With a sharp deadrise angle of about 48 or 49 degrees at the bow and 24 degrees at the transom, this design cuts through waves and helps to reduce the impact felt on board, ensuring comfort for passengers and crew (Sport Fishing Mag).

However, some drawbacks of the Deep Vee design are its higher fuel consumption and reduced initial stability at rest. Despite these limitations, the Deep Vee is a popular choice for many sport fishing boat manufacturers due to its well-rounded performance characteristics.

Modified Vee

A Modified Vee hull design takes the characteristics of the Deep Vee and reduces the deadrise angle at the transom, resulting in a more efficient hull that offers improved fuel economy while sacrificing some of the rough water performance. This design is suitable for boaters looking for a balance between handling, stability, and efficiency.

The Modified Vee design allows for smoother turns and better overall handling due to its more forgiving design, making it a popular choice among boaters who prioritize cruising and fishing potential.


The Planing hull design focuses on maximizing speed, making it a suitable choice for performance boats (YATCO). A planing hull features a relatively flat bottom, allowing the boat to skim across the water's surface, minimizing resistance and enabling high speeds.

While a planing hull may not offer the same level of comfort in rough waters as Deep Vee or Modified Vee hulls, its speed capabilities can be highly desirable for sport fishing enthusiasts looking to cover large distances quickly. However, it's important to note that this type of hull may not provide the same level of stability at rest or while trolling, potentially affecting overall fishing productivity.

Fishing and Cruising Features

Sport fishing boats are designed to cater to both the fishing enthusiast and those looking for a comfortable overnight cruising experience. This section delves into the various features that make these boats ideal for offshore adventures, saltwater fishing, and family getaways.

Helm and Cockpit

The helm and cockpit area of sport fishing boats is typically spacious and well-equipped to provide excellent visibility and control during fishing trips. This often includes larger windows, comfortable seating, and advanced electronics for navigation and fish-finding purposes. Ample storage space for tackle and other gear is also a common feature.


Flybridges are elevated platforms located above the main deck, providing additional seating and an advantageous vantage point for spotting fish or monitoring boat movements. These areas are ideal for saltwater fishing expeditions, as they offer the captain and crew improved visibility and the ability to command the vessel from a higher plane.


One of the essential features for serious anglers, a well-designed livewell is crucial for keeping bait alive and fresh during fishing outings. Many sport fishing boats come equipped with built-in, insulated livewells that allow for easy access and maintain the necessary water temperature and circulation.

Towers and Outriggers

Towers and outriggers are common accessories on sport fishing boats, enhancing the overall fishing experience. Towers provide an elevated platform for spotting fish at a greater distance, while outriggers aid in stabilizing the boat and increasing the trolling spread during offshore fishing.

Sonar and Other Equipment

Modern sport fishing boats often come equipped with advanced sonar systems and other fish-finding equipment, allowing anglers to locate fish more effectively even in challenging conditions. This, paired with additional technologies such as GPS and autopilot systems, make these boats an excellent choice for families seeking adventure on the open sea.

Top Locations for Sport Fishing Boats

There are several destinations worldwide known for their exceptional sport fishing opportunities. This section highlights some of the top locations, focusing on Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Mexico.


Florida is a premier destination for sport fishing, thanks to its vast coastline and diverse marine life. Its coastal waters are home to a variety of fish species, such as tarpon, snook, and redfish. Anglers can also venture offshore to the Gulf Stream for gamefish like marlin, sailfish, and tuna. Some popular spots for sport fishing in Florida include the Florida Keys, Miami, and the Gulf Coast.


Michigan, bordered by four of the five Great Lakes, provides abundant opportunities for freshwater sport fishing. Anglers can target bass, walleye, and trout in these massive lakes, as well as in the many inland lakes and rivers across the state. Some notable locations for sport fishing in Michigan are Lake Michigan, the Detroit River, and Saginaw Bay.

North Carolina

North Carolina's coastline boasts some of the best sport fishing on the East Coast, with both inshore and offshore opportunities. Anglers can target species like red drum, speckled trout, and black sea bass in the inshore waters, while offshore fishing focuses on blue marlin, white marlin, and yellowfin tuna. The famous Outer Banks region is a popular spot for sport fishing enthusiasts.


Wisconsin is known for its thousands of lakes, making it a prime destination for freshwater sport fishing. With ample opportunities to catch bass, walleye, and muskellunge, anglers can find productive fishing grounds in the state's numerous lakes and rivers. Popular locations include Green Bay, Lake Winnebago, and the Wisconsin River.


Mexico's diverse coastline offers a unique sport fishing experience for anglers. On the Pacific side, the Baja Peninsula provides fantastic opportunities for targeting sailfish, marlin, and dorado, while the Caribbean side boasts excellent bonefish, tarpon, and permit fishing. Some notable locations in Mexico include Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta.

Boat Size, Capacity, and Usage

Sport fishing boats come in various sizes, passenger capacities, and can be used for different purposes. In this section, we will cover length, passenger capacity, trailerable vessels, and suggested usage.


Sport fishing boats can range from small 15-foot vessels to massive 82-foot luxury yachts, as mentioned on YachtWorld. The boat's size can significantly impact the boat's performance, storage options, and suitability for different fishing conditions. Medium-sized sport fishing boats, typically around 30-40 feet, tend to provide a good balance between handling, storage capacity, and fishing capabilities.

Passenger Capacity

Depending on the boat's size, sport fishing boats can accommodate varying numbers of passengers. Smaller vessels usually carry around four to six people, while larger boats can comfortably carry eight to ten passengers or more. When considering a boat to buy, make sure it can accommodate the desired number of passengers while providing adequate and comfortable seating and fishing areas.

Trailerable Vessels

Some sport fishing boats can be easily transported on trailers, depending on the boat's size and weight. Typically, boats up to 30 feet can be considered trailerable vessels. Having a trailerable boat offers flexibility in terms of fishing locations, as it allows you to easily travel to different bodies of water. It also saves on docking and storage fees, as you can keep the boat on your property when not in use.

Suggested Usage

The ideal usage for a sport fishing boat depends on its size, capacity, and the angler's preferences. Here are some suggestions based on the boat's length:

  • Small Boats (15-25 feet): Suitable for inshore and nearshore fishing trips, targeting smaller game fish species like snapper, flounder, and redfish.
  • Medium Boats (25-40 feet): Ideal for offshore fishing trips targeting larger game fish species like marlin, tuna, and wahoo. These boats are also suitable for comfortable day trips with friends and family.
  • Large Boats (40+ feet): Perfect for extended fishing trips, hardcore anglers, and those who desire to live aboard during long-range fishing expeditions.

Choose a sport fishing boat based on the angler's fishing needs, desired passenger capacity, and transportation options.

Navigating the Buying Process

When shopping for a sport fishing boat, it's essential to follow a thorough process to ensure you make the best decision for your needs and budget. This section will cover important steps, including market research, connecting with boat dealers, and negotiating and closing the deal.

Market Research

Understanding the current market for sport fishing boats is a critical first step in the buying process. Start by familiarizing yourself with the various types and features of these vessels by browsing listings on websites like Boat Trader and YachtWorld. Take note of the average pricing, and keep an eye out for trends and deals in the market.

At this stage, be sure to also determine your budget and requirements, considering factors such as preferred hull design, propulsion systems, and whether you want a new or used boat. This information will help you narrow down your search and connect with the right sellers.

Connecting with Boat Dealers

Once you have a clear understanding of the market, it's time to reach out to boat dealers with a proven track record in the industry. When connecting with dealers, inquire about their inventory, expertise, and customer service. Consider attending boat shows to meet dealers face-to-face and see the boats in person.

A trustworthy dealer will provide valuable guidance and answer any questions you may have. They will also assist you with arranging a personal inspection before making a final decision.

Negotiating and Closing the Deal

When you've found the perfect sport fishing boat that meets your requirements, it's essential to negotiate a fair deal. Prepare to discuss pricing, optional equipment, and any necessary repairs. In some cases, you may be able to arrange a price reduction or additional services, depending on the boat's condition and market demand.

During the negotiation process, always remain patient and open to suggestions. If all parties agree on the terms, be ready to close the deal quickly to avoid missing out on your desired boat. Ensure all necessary paperwork is in order, and work with a reputable dealer to finalize the transaction smoothly.

Maintenance and Experience

Sport fishing boat ownership requires proper maintenance and utilizing the right equipment to enhance the overall experience on the water. This section will discuss proper care, equipment and safety, and how to enhance your sport fishing experience.

Proper Care

Keeping your sport fishing boat in good condition is essential for ensuring its longevity and performance. Regular maintenance tasks include cleaning the hull, inspecting and repairing any damage, checking the engine and electrical systems, and servicing the helm and other critical components. Boat owners should also be mindful of proper storage, especially during offseason periods when the boat is not in use.

Equipment and Safety

Having the right equipment onboard is key to a successful and enjoyable sport fishing experience. Essential items include:

  • High-quality fishing gear
  • State-of-the-art navigation systems
  • Rod holders and tackle storage
  • Marine radio for communication and emergency situations
  • Life jackets and other personal flotation devices

Additionally, captains and their crew should understand the importance of following safety guidelines and always be prepared for unexpected situations. This includes regular training in emergency procedures, keeping updated on weather forecasts, and ensuring proper communication onboard.

Enhancing Your Sport Fishing Experience

Experienced captains know that understanding their boat and equipment is crucial to making the most out of each sport fishing trip. Taking the time to learn and perfect skills at the helm, as well as mastering the different fishing techniques and strategies, can greatly enhance the overall experience. Furthermore, networking with fellow sport fishing enthusiasts, attending workshops, and participating in tournaments are all excellent ways to improve skills and make lasting connections within the sport fishing community. 

© 2024 SeaMag. All rights reserved.