Boat Buyer’s Guide for 2021 and Beyond

We’re almost halfway through 2021 so now it seems like a great time to release a boat buyer’s guide.

The Most Important Thing

If you take nothing else from this blog, understand this, you need to ask yourself what you want to do and how many people that you want to do it with. Boating and/or fishing is defined by compromise. There is no one size fits all boat. There are boats that will do a lot, there are boats that under the right conditions can punch above their weight class so to speak, but nothing does everything.

Skinny Water

If you want to get up shallow to target tailing fish you need a technical poling skiff. A shallow running bay boat can get in thin water and allow you to fish for a myriad of shallow water species, but if you want to go for fish in the shallowest of shallow and skinniest of water, you need to pole.
This is best for two people, you can get a third person on and depending on your vessel, but try to keep these to two people – you and your closest fishing buddy.
Mosquito Lagoon Fishing Boats | Tail Hunter Charters

Shallow Water

So you like shallow water fishing; oyster bars, docks, the mangroves, flats – a shallow water skiff or small bay boat is for you. I fish out of an 18 foot SeaPro and I can fish a ton of places and catch a lot of fish; granted, not tailers.
SeaPro boat for boat buyer's guide
I’ve caught a ton of fish out of my SeaPro
This is best for fishing two to four people max (granted if you’re doing a sandbar day you can get five on here).


Where I live, there is great fishing nearshore. There are wrecks and reefs within four and 10 miles from shore. Here is where the compromise comes in, on the calmest of calm days I could take my SeaPro to a reef four miles offshore, but I cannot take it ten miles offshore (same with a poling skiff).
That being said, if you have a small offshore boat (22-26 footer), you can easily hit these spots. You won’t be hitting the flats unless it’s the right tide and you certainly won’t be fishing for tailing reds.
I’d say that six to seven people is adequate here.


You want to go into the blue. You don’t care about the flats, tailing fish; all you care about is getting over the horizon. Great, get yourself a 27+ footer and send it. With a rig like this, you can hit those nearshore spots and go deep.
Seven people+
Contender offshore boat for boat buyer's guide
This Contender is a great example of an offshore boat
Note**: All these are just estimates and my personal experience. Check the recommended weight and number of passengers provided by your manufacturer. Always err on the side of caution.

Boat Buyer’s Guide Wrap Up

There are a ton of boats out there, but just like cars they’re personalized. You don’t need a massive truck to drive to the mall (although it can), but a Civic can’t go off-roading.
Be honest with yourself, your desired activity and your price point and picking a boat is easy.
Until next time, Tight Lines.

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