No-Compromise Fish & Ski Boat
By its very nature a true Fish & Ski Boat demands the ultimate in versatility. It’s a fish boat designed to do two very different tasks – fish and tow skiers or water toys. Ideally, it should do both equally well without compromise. When one demands that kind of specialized versatility in a fishing boat, the boat needs some very specific features. Here are the key ingredients:
Storage. More and bigger isn’t just better, it’s essential! The aluminum boat needs long and wide in-deck storage compartments that can handle skis as well as fishing rods. In addition, each family skier will want towels and a cover up when they get out of the water—and a dry place to stow them. Anglers, on the other hand, will need compartments to stow those extra tackle boxes and gear. And, no matter how it’s used, the fish and ski boat will need to carry a life jacket for everyone aboard as well as dock lines, anchors, fenders and a throwable. Simply stated, a fish & ski boat can’t have too much storage.
Swim ladder. A stern boarding ladder for skiers and boarders is an obvious must for a true fish & ski boat. While designs vary from fixed to stowable, the ideal ladder for a fish & ski will incorporate a small swim platform and go deep enough into the water to allow for easy boarding. (For safety, it’s a smart option to install a boarding ladder on any new boat.)
Bow conversion. The most desirable fish & ski boats offer a built-in system to convert the bow fishing platform into a bowrider passenger seating area. Optimally, a quick-release, wireless bow trolling motor can be removed and left ashore when the boat is used primarily for watersports to make the bow area more aesthetically pleasing and more comfy for riders seated up front.
Ski tow bar. It almost goes without saying: A ski boat isn’t a true ski boat if you’re attaching the tow line to a transom eyelet meant to secure the aluminum boat on its trailer. True fish & ski boats feature accessory ski pylons or bars that can be inserted into the aft platform (designs vary) and stow conveniently out of the way when the boat is fishing. Aftermarket towers are also available for serious wake boarders.
Rear deck conversion. The best fish & ski combos have a flat aft deck for use as a dedicated fishing boat that flips-up to create aft seating when the boat transforms into a ski boat, thereby increasing seating for the entire family. This convertible seating varies from bench type to individual seats depending on the brand.
Cooler spot. Iced-down beverages are a key part of boating enjoyment whether skiing or fishing, so the ideal fish & ski boat ought to have a built-in cooler (the neatest option) or a place to tuck-in a portable cooler so it stays out of the way.
“Fishability.” If the small fishing boat will be used as a bow-focused angler, consider how comfortable you will be while sitting on the bow deck and running the electric trolling motor. A comfortable, supportive fishing seat and room to work your prey are critical. Be sure the livewell(s) will be suitable for the size and number of fish you’ll want to put in them. If you’re after lunker musky or trophy walleye this is particularly important.
Size, horsepower and speed. Your knowledgeable fish & ski boat dealer can guide you to the aluminum boat and motor combination that will accommodate the whole family and best tow what you want to tow. He will also provide fishing boat size and feature advice based on your local waters and your family budget.
Creature comforts. Consider a factory-installed sound system option at time of purchase if it’s not included as standard. A factory-installed, built-in system beats an after-thought add on. You may also want to include a porta-potti for ‘all-family’ comfort. And, pleasure boaters as well as anglers might want a folding bimini top to get out of hot sun or cool rain. (An optional top and side enclosures can also extend your fishing season in colder climates.)
Outboard power. Today’s outboards are highly reliable, fuel efficient, quiet and smoke free. In general, outboard motors beat sterndrives for ease of maintenance and overall reliability. In addition, you have a much wider choice of horsepower options. Outboards also extend the fishing season in colder climes where possible water freezing in an I/O could wreck the power plant.
Finding the right boat. The ‘Aluminum Boat Guide’ is designed specifically to assist you in finding the appropriate boat for your family’s needs. With the knowledgeable professional assistance of your local dealer, you’ll find a boat that will ski and fish without compromising either activity.