What to Look for in an Ultralight Fishing Boat
Unfortunately for motor enthusiasts, the American Way has been taking a dim look at motorized boats in recent years. Over 30,000 of its glorious lakes, filled with silver-bellied trout, bass and fresh water drum and perch are off limits to motor craft. However, this is not bad news to the growing teams of kayak and canoe enthusiasts who swear the only way to catch that fish is to sneak up on it with nothing more announcing your presence than the bait dangling from your hook.
Canoes and Kayaks
Canoes and kayaks are certainly the most convenient of all ultralight fishing craft. You don’t need a trailer to tote them to your fishing location, as long as you have a good carriage rack mounted on top of the family vehicle. They can slide into a truck bed with very little assistance and slide out again in the same manner. They are so lightweight, they can easily be carried down trails to slide into that favorite fishing hole. There is also something very satisfying, very peacefully harmonious about the soft, silent paddling along nature’s waterways.
The debate between kayak and canoe enthusiasts as to which water craft is best for stealing up on that worthy fighting fish will probably never end, but both have basically the same advantages. Their shallow bottoms allow them to glide smoothly through weed infested arrested areas and around rock cropping with stones just below the surface, without any structural damage. Either can be purchased within a small budget; with starting price ranges at four hundred dollars. They can both accommodate all the necessary fishing gear; including a beer cooler or snack box on the side. They can both be purchased from several different high quality materials; wood, aluminum, polyethylene; and require only minimal upkeep. The biggest difference is; kayaks have gone through a metamorphose from a highly unstable rig that took rigorous lessons in rolling before attempting a true kayak experience; to a boat so stable, there are even family kayaks with room for the kids, while the canoe, in design and function, remains a canoe.
Of all the ultralight fishing boats, kayaks are probably the number one favorite. When purchasing one, you have the advantage of choosing your fishing style; stand up or sitting down snug in the bottom of your boat. A kayak can be rigged out like a miniature, standard boat, with a fish finder, a GPS system, extra battery storage, and even outfitted with a motor – for the lakes that still allow motorized watercraft.
If you choose a kayak, make sure it is one that will accommodate all your fishing needs, or that you can customize without integral damage to the craft. Kayaks are built in a large variety of sizes, several different styles and for recreational use as well as fishing. A recreational kayak will not serve very well as a fishing vessel, as you need a boat that will allow for rod holders, fishing gear, a fish cooler, and whatever other precautions you brought along for your fishing trip.
Other Boating Options
Ultralight craft are not limited to canoes and kayaks, however. Shallow bottom, aluminum boats can weigh in at under five hundred pounds, and are large enough to carry along two or three fishing buddies. They give you plenty of legroom, the ability for stand-up fishing and will accommodate all your fishing needs, including packing in a full tent for an overnight trip. Generally, for this larger boat, you will need a motor, but for those who don’t mind the old-fashioned way, there are aluminum, easy to carry, old-fashioned styled row-boats.
An ultralight boat rarely talked about is the inflatable, one person fishing raft. It’s actually quite a marvel in modern engineering, and for the person who enjoys solitary fishing, it’s a very satisfying experience. The inflatable fishing raft only has one inflatable part; the floatation devices that bloom out on the sides of the stable runners. The seat is more like a deck chair; enormously comfortable, high enough to see into the water in anticipation of a little fish action. It is the ideal fishing craft for the fly fisherman, as there is plenty of room for arm action without rocking the boat.
Choosing an ultralight fishing boat depends largely on your personal tastes. If you like your boat stripped down to its simplest functions, you’ll enjoy owning an inflatable one person raft, or if you enjoy company; a canoe; which can hold up to five people safely, depending on size. If you want to customize your craft, you’ll probably enjoy a kayak. If you want a fishing boat that will pack down enough to carry you and your friends or family to some serious locations, or want that motorized power, a lightweight aluminum fishing boat is your best answer.