Search This Blog

Size Matters in Fishing Boats!

Mid-sized boats like this Smokercraft Pro Angler XL continue to be popular among fishermen because they are affordable, they can be towed with smaller vehicles and storing them in the family garage is no problem during the off season.
By Mark Romanack

             During the next few months thousands of potential boat buyers will wrestle with the question of boat size. The size of a fishing boat matters a great deal and the reasons don’t always have to do with how many people the boat must carry.
            A fishing boat is a big investment. If towing that fishing boat to popular fishing destinations means the family must also invest in a new tow vehicle, there is a good chance that boat deal is dead in the water. Typical family automobiles including mini vans and small SUV’s equipped with V6 engines can also double as a great “tow vehicle” so long as the boat in question isn’t too large.
            This is precisely the primary reason that the most popular boat sizes in America continue to be 16, 17 and 18 foot models. These medium sized boats dominate in sales because most families already own an automobile capable of towing boats in this class without issue.
            To effectively tow larger 19 to 22 foot boats is a job better suited to a full size SUV, pick up or van. For fishing trips close to home any of these vehicles with a V6 engine is adequate as a tow vehicle. For long distance towing a better choice is a tow vehicle equipped with a more powerful V8 engine.
            It’s interesting to note that vehicles with V6 engines tend to get better gas mileage than those equipped with larger V8 power plants. However, when towing the smaller V6 will be working harder and in most cases it’s actually the V8 that will deliver better fuel economy.

Larger boats like this STX 2050 typically require a full sized vehicle
 and V8 engine for towing and a pole building for winter storage.

            As mentioned before a fishing boat is a large investment. Owning a boat also comes with the responsibility of storing that boat during the off season. Most two car garages are big enough to accommodate a tow vehicle and also a medium sized fishing boat.
            In order to fit both inside the garage may require having a trailer that features a “swing away” tongue and also trimming the outboard into the down position. Another trick home owners can use when storing their fishing boat is to purchase wheel dollies designed to fit under the trailer tires. Simply jack up the boat and trailer, place the dolly under the trailer tire and lower the boat and trailer back down onto the dolly wheels.
            Rigged in this manner the boat can be wheeled around by hand and positioned much closer to garage walls and fixtures than would be otherwise possible. The dolly wheel trick helps a boat owner store their valuable fishing boat during the off season while still having enough storage space for the garage to function as a home for the family car.
            Storing larger boats in the 19 to 22 foot class normally requires a more spacious pole building or the use of an off site storage facility. Because off site boat storage facilities pack boats in like cord wood, once the boat is in storage it normally can not be removed until an agreed upon date.
            If a fishing boat must be stored outside there are some affordable steps boat owners can do to insure the best possible protection for their investment. The biggest threat to outside storage is snow and water pooling on the boat cover, seeping into the boat, freezing and causing damage to flooring and boat fixtures.
            Using 2X4 lumber, some deck screws and a battery powered drill, boat owners can build a simple wooden frame around the boat from which to drape and secure a heavy duty tarp. The goal is to create a tent over top of the boat that is steep and taunt enough that rain and snow shed right off.
            It’s best if the boat has a mooring or travel cover and the tarp provides additional weather protection. The wooden frame work can be taken apart in the spring, stored and used again the next winter.
            When storing boats outside it’s essential to winterize the outboard motor, remove batteries, charge them and store them in a cool and dry location. It’s also essential to make sure no water is left in the livewell, bait well or plumbing. Remove the drain plug, tilt up the bow of the boat using the jack stand and inspect the bilge area to make sure no water remains in the boat.