Best Boats For River Fishing | LakeWizard

Are you an avid river fishing angler looking for the greatest way to enjoy the experience? You can buy the best boat for river fishing.

River fishing is popular among anglers because it requires little gear and can be done swiftly from a boat, canoe, or wading. However, using the best boat for river fishing makes everything more straightforward and fun. With so many boats available in the market, the main question is, which is the best boat for river fishing?

Nitro Z19, Carolina Skiff, Bass Buggy Select, LOWE FS 1800, Ranger RT178, and Boston Whaler's 180 Dauntless are the best boats for river fishing. These boats have all the specifications and equipment river anglers will love.

A good boat is vital if you plan to spend time fishing. A good fishing boat can let you access places you can't get to, for example, coves and deep water. Most of these places can be the best places to fish.

It can be scary when buying a river fishing boat the initial time. There are various sizes, components, horsepower, and hull shapes that you can choose from when you buy a boat. It's possible to take the motor off some river fishing boats and replace it with a brand new one. The motors in other boats are part of the hull. With this many things to choose from, it's hard to discern where and how to start!

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6 Best Boats For River Fishing

It’s challenging to choose the best boat for river fishing with so many options available on the market. It's essential to have the best boat for river fishing.

This review compilation of the best boat for river fishing will help you buy the right one. Purchasing the best boat for river fishing can be a lot of guesswork. Boats come with different features and some are optimized for different fishing areas.

Check for the features such as horsepower, size, sitting capacity, and accessories. A boat with more horsepower will be able to move in any river. While the accessories such as trolling motors will make your fishing experience hassle-free.

1. Carolina Skiff

The Skiff fishing boat has a motor with 90hp. Depending on what kind of motor you choose for your boat, the final cost may increase. You may opt for Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, or Mercury motor.

The Skiff is 19 feet, making it roomy, solid, and stress-free to move. The manufacturer uses fiberglass for the boat's transom and body to keep it safe while sailing.

Velcro rod savers on the port side and starboard in the boat's console make it easy to store rods and put them out of your way. The boat has six-rod holders, two drink holders, and a 70-quart cooler that you can take out. Other than that, the boat has a lot of places where you can store things like bags and boxes.

The Skiff has a big stainless steel navigation wheel that makes it easy to steer. Another set of drink holders is at the back of the 19 LS. There are two mount seats, two grab handles for passengers, and two drink holders.

Also, it has a live well containing a capacity of 18-gallon that has a lid for keeping the bait or fish safe. A telescopic three-step ladder makes it easy to get on, as well as off, your boat to swim.

2. Nitro Z19

People looking for the best boat for river fishing will love the Z19. The Z19 has everything anglers need from a fishing boat, and passengers can relish boating the water in comfort.

When you buy the Z19 river fishing boat, you'll get a 4-stroke Mercury 150hp engine. You can upgrade the engine to a 200hp Mercury engine if you want more performance. Since it's a boat with an outboard motor, you can take the motor off and change it with any other outboard motor available.

It also comes with a 12V Minn-Kota motor for trolling consisting of a feet pedal to help you easily explore the coves you want to fish. The motor helps to keep the boat calm even during windy conditions, allowing you to fish stealthily.

The Nitro Sports boat is what you want to buy if you are looking to take part in a fishing competition or tournament. When fishing in a tournament, you have to take off and get to your favorite spot faster than everyone else. You'll require a quick boat to be able to achieve this. The Z19 is aerodynamic and quick to get to your destination in a short amount of time.

Everyone will have room to ride and fish in this 19' 5" boat. The maker uses fiberglass to make the transom, making it easy to move across the river and prevent scratching.

The features of the NitroZ19 boat are as follows:

  • Fishfinder that is flush-mounted
  • Cockpit grab handles
  • Port console containing an insulated cooler and a storage tray
  • AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth compatibility, MP3 and USB ports
  • Switch panels that are water-resistant
  • Front in-floor fishing rod storage with a useful organizer
  • Ski storage and wakeboard in the middle of the boat
  • 44-quart cooler with insulation under the aft seat
  • Live well containing a 16-gallon volume with a pump-out mechanism and timer for aeration
  • Full-width, ski storage or lockable rod in the rear deck
  • Ten stainless steel holders for your drinks.
  • Four cleats made from stainless steel
  • Horn
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Paddle

You should buy the Z19 if you want to fish in a boat that you and your passengers love.

3. Bass Buggy Select

Pontoons are ideal for fishing when you are going to spend time with your friends and catch some fish at the same time. The Buggy Select is an excellent pontoon for this job.

The boat is 16' in length and 8' in width, offering everyone in your group a lot of space to fish and hang out together. There are two fishing seats at the bow of the Buggy Select, making it spacious and easy to fish. You can store the fish in a live well at the forward console during fishing. The boat’s live well can also double as a chair to give extra seating for other passengers.

You may add fishing custom packages to the 16XL Select Bass Buggy. The custom package comes with the Minn-Kota motor for trolling, which you can control with your feet and a fishfinder.

The stock features that come with the 16XL include the bimini top, an AM/FM system that is Bluetooth compatible and audio speakers, an outlet with 12-volt, and several slots to hold drinks.

For people who like to spend time fishing with their families and friends when voyaging across rivers, the Bass 16XL is a good choice.

4. LOWE FS 1800

The LOWE is a good all-around boat for river fishing due to its looks and how it works.

The LOWE FS is 17ft 10inches in length. This boat comes with six chairs so that it can hold up to six people; seated comfortably. Two are pedestal seats (one in front and the other at the back). There are also two backflush seats on the boat’s deck in addition to two captain seats in the console area.

The LOWE 1800 comes with a Mercury engine with 90hp. You can upgrade the engine up to 150hp.

The main features of the LOWE FS 1800 are the following:

  • Six drink holders at the console of the boat
  • An AM/FM system with Bluetooth compatibility (JMS3 stereo)
  • Two speakers, each with 50-watt to help you enjoy your favorite music
  • It has a 24-gallon live well comprising of an aeration system
  • Several fishing rods holders are available
  • Various compartments to store things
  • One horn
  • An outlet for 12 volts

The LOWE FS 1800 is a dual-model boat model that allows you to go fishing and have fun. You may store tow ropes, skis, and wakeboards in the various available storage compartments and places to keep your equipment.

The LOWE 1800 is a good choice for people looking for a boat to use when fishing and having fun.

5. Ranger RT178

No fishing boat can beat the Ranger RT178 in value for money and its offers.

In total, the RT178 can hold four people. It’s a fishing boat that boasts a 17ft 8inches aluminum frame. The RT178 deserves to be on the best boat for river fishing list.

The boat comes with a 60hp gas motor. However, buyers can easily upgrade this motor to a 90hp mercury motor. 90hp is the max that the manufacturer recommends for this boat.

It also comes with an electric Minn-Kota trolling motor, making it easier to move through coves and open water. The motor will give you more control of the boat while fishing. You will be able to stay stagnant in one position without moving.

You can keep your fishing gear and equipment in various storage compartments. There are several rod storage areas, rod holders, and sealable storage units to keep everything out of the way. The live well comes with an organizer for your tackles, several boxes for putting things away, and a timer.

It has a console with three seats and a platform chair at the back. There is a deck at the bow of the RT178 boat. You can easily walk to, and throw your line from, one edge while somebody else casts from the opposite side.

6. Boston Whaler 180 Dauntless

Boston Whaler's 180 Dauntless is another center-console fishing boat. The 180 Dauntless offers everything an angler needs for a day of river fishing.

The boat's center console design makes it a reliable and sturdy option for vast, open waterways. You can use this boat for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

The first thing to note is that it is 18 feet long and can hold eight people. There are eight seats on board with a front console, a reversible pilot's chair, and an aft-facing seat.

In addition, Boston Whaler 180 Dauntless has a 150-horsepower Mercury XL EFI 4-stroke EFI engine. Two drink containers and four stainless steel deck-mounted rod holders are at the boat's rear. Furthermore, there are six more rod holders at the console.

Additionally, the boat comes with multiple storage compartments and spaces. As a result, it's simple to keep your fishing gear and supplies organized on the boat. A live well is part of the 180 Dauntless' essential equipment list. You may also choose to install an optional front living console.

The Best Boat for River Fishing Buying Guide

As far as picking the best boat for river fishing, you'll have to answer some questions to help you thin down your options, as shown in this article.

When and where are you going to go fishing?

The first thing to look for is whether you want to go fishing in freshwater, saltwater, or even both. Knowing this will significantly help you find the right boat that will be able to move swiftly across the body of water you want to be fishing on.

You don't need a center console’s added stability for freshwater river fishing. However, considering how fast circumstances may change in saltwater, boats with center consoles are the most excellent choice for fishing in saltwater rivers. Boats such as pontoons, Jon boats, and bass boats are also good options.

Who do you plan to go fishing with?

Most people never consider this when looking to buy the best boat for river fishing. While it might seem trivial, it may heavily affect how you intend to enjoy your fishing excursion and who or how many people you plan to bring along.

If you and two friends are going fishing, a normal ski and fish or bass boat will suffice. The boat has everything you need for fishing so that you won't need much space.

A different type is necessary if you want to go fishing with more than four people. Since it can only securely accommodate four people, a bass boat is a poor choice. A ski and fishing boat or a pontoon boat is the better option.

Boats that let you cruise the water while fishing are pontoons. Pontoon boats allow you to go fishing while also enjoying the experience. Pontoon boats come with a lot of fishing equipment, storage, and a spot for friends or family to unwind.

If you're going to be tubing, skiing, or wakeboarding while also fishing, you can do both simultaneously by selecting the ski and fish options.

What motor size will you require?

For competitive fishing, the size of your boat's motor is a critical factor. This implies that anglers will begin the event with boats in a river and then have the option of going where they want to go. Sluggish and stable boats do come first during fishing competitions.

You will need to have a boat with maximum horsepower to help you get around and maneuver more quickly. Lightweight, buoyant, and speedy boats use various aerodynamics and materials to make them faster.

While certain boats do not need high-end engines, others allow you to upgrade the motor for high performance and horsepower. To avoid a potential calamity while fishing, always stick to the maximum allowed horsepower for your boat's engine.


Brian Samson

Brian Samson

I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.

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