Walleye Boat Features To Key Your Eye On
Over the past 30 years Walleye Boat designs have become increasingly specialized while walleye fishing grounds have spread out across the country. As a result, today’s walleye anglers want and need a fishing boat to pursue their prey everywhere from small rivers, to large reservoirs, to the Great Lakes. Their deep-V aluminum boats must have high freeboard to handle big water and a versatile layout that accommodates trolling, backtrolling, drifting and casting or vertical jigging from the front platform. Your local Lowe Boats dealer can help you find and select the proper walleye boat for your individual needs.
Whether it’s a basic 16-foot, tiller outboard-powered fishing machine with a 25-hp motor or a tournament-level 20-footer pushed by a 150-hp outboard, ideal walleye boats feature ample storage for gear and rods, one to three electronics stations and are ready to incorporate electric trolling motors front and back. Many walleye boats are also designed to mount a small gas “kicker” outboard on the transom in addition to the main power.
So, while today’s walleye boat offering is many and varied there are several design constants. Here’s a look at the most notable features from bow to stern:
Bow. Most walleye anglers like a bow mount trolling motor to allow bass-style casting or vertical jigging in rivers and along break lines in lakes. The trolling motor for smaller aluminum boats can be a simple 12-volt, while big boats call for a 24- to 36-volt system to deliver sustained, all-day power in varied conditions. Electronics mounted on the bow deck are a sonar fishfinder at the minimum; the more serious breed of angler will want GPS based chartplotter capabilities to keep track of what spots produce bites without moving back to the console to look at the electronics there. The bow deck itself must have ample storage compartments for everything from life jackets to drift socks, extra tackle boxes to rain gear. A large, aerated livewell here keeps the catch fresh; some livewells have a bucket insert to keep minnows and leeches alive and easily at hand.
The walleye boat’s front deck should also feature a center rod locker with tubes to keep rods from rattling against each other and getting tangled. And, a comfortable, sturdy fishing seat is a must for a long day of fishing.
Console(s). Individual tastes dictate whether the walleye angler wants a large, full windshield that keeps the driver and passengers dry and out of the wind or a single or dual console setup, each with its own windshield. Many hardcore walleye anglers feel that a large, full windshield causes the small fishing boat to get pushed around too much by wind, while other anglers are willing to compromise what little boat control might be lost for the increased protection from the elements. Either way, the console in front of the driver must have ample room for easily installing an array of electronics that will likely include sonar units with large displays as well as a dedicated GPS/chartplotter. Also, many walleye anglers want room in or under the console’s dash for a marine radio; they also want a full array of gauges to monitor everything from fuel level to engine RPM. Some anglers also want to deploy, start and control an electric-start kicker motor from the console of their walleye boats.
Transom. Along with the main outboard, walleye anglers might install a transom-mount electric trolling motor or a small, 8 to 15-hp gas kicker outboard—or both. The kicker helps keep hours off the big outboard and saves fuel while trolling. Some anglers use it in conjunction with the bowmount trolling motor to fish and maneuver against heavy wind. Tiller-outboard boats—highly popular among some sets of walleye anglers—have their main electronic array with sonar and mapping capabilities installed on the port side so the angler can observe them with the tiller in one hand on the tiller, fishing rod in the other. “Backtrolling” originated as a walleye technique where precise boat control is called for and it can be done with the main power, the kicker or a transom-mount electric motor.
To get started with finding your perfect walleye boat, for a deep-v check out the Lowe Fishing Machine series and Fish & Ski series, for a mod-v check out the Lowe Stinger series. You can’t go wrong with a Lowe Boat when you are looking to dominate the walleye.