Inshore Fishing: It’s What's Inside The Boat that Counts


That's a Seaswirl live well.

On the left. Look to the left. See? Are you listening to me? Seaswirl is now part of Striper Boats,, and the boat in that photo is probably now made as a 2605 center console. Model not included.

They come from the showroom, all shiny and pretty, fiberglass hull without flaw, motor and trailer spotless. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that your new fishing boat is ready for action.


In fact, veteran inshore fishermen from the Grand Strand area figure that you need to make some additions – and subtractions – before your boat is really up to snuff for those weekend trips in search of flounder, speckled trout, puppy drum or even mackerel.


Veteran inshore fisherman with definite ideas on what a fishing boat should be. There are several areas where fishermen buying boats should pay special attention – especially with their pocketbooks.


If you’re going to fish with live bait for anything – from king mackerel to flounder – you need a good livewell with pumps to circulate the water in and out. Also, it seems one area where many boat-buyers scrimp on is rod-holders and rod storage. You don’t want to be going down the road with two rods sticking out of the sides of your boat at a 45-degree angle – because you don’t have anywhere else to put them except the rod-holders on your gunwales.”


Fishermen should invest in at least one, and possibly two rod racks that will hold at least four rods each. They fit easily on the sides of a center console – a popular inshore boat – and they keep the rod-holders on the gunwales free for the rods they were intended to hold: the ones actually doing the fishing.


You’ll want to make sure that all metal hardware is actually stainless steel – so much of it is now nickel-coated, and that won’t stand up the elements like stainless steel. And fishermen will want to purchase their outboard motor with a stainless steel prop, not only for a better hole shot but also because it’s more durable than aluminum.


Most serious fishermen agree that bow rails are not what a serious fishermen wants on his boat. They just get in the way, especially when you’re trying to throw a cast net for skittish baitfish or shrimp.

And most of those same serious fishermen love storage; they can’t get enough. You’ll want a place to store your cast net, a place to put a tackle box, a place to get other things like foul-weather gear out of the way, not to mention cooler space. You’ll definitely want cooler space. It’s truly amazing how much junk fishermen carry that screams for some out-of-the-way to storage. You’ll see.


Two other areas of a new boat that should draw attention: People also seem to skimp on the T-top when they’re buying a new boat, because they think they can save from $1,500 to $5,000. They think, “I can put it on later,” but a factory T-top will be cheaper than anything they can put on after they’ve had the boat.


And absolutely, positively, ignore the manufacturer’s recommendation for anchor sizes. You’re going to need to get at least one size bigger if you’re going to be fishing anywhere that you’ll need an anchor to hold you. On a 21- to 22-foot boat, you can get away with a 13-pound Danforth style anchor, but they’ll tell you eight pounds will do it. On a larger boat, you’ll need at least an 18-pound anchor. And make sure you get at least six feet of anchor chain.


You’ll want to be sure you have enough rope. Fifty feet is a bow line, not an anchor line. You need at least 100 feet of rope to anchor up in 10 to 15 feet of water, and half-inch rope is easier on your hands than 3/8-inch.


There is some disagreement on one item, however. Some feel that a trolling motor is only in your way 99 percent of the time – especially when you’re throwing a cast net.


On the other hand, some serious fishermen feel like a trolling motor pays for itself when it comes to being able to operate your boat from the bow while sneaking up on bait with a cast net. It’s a more smooth approach than having to have someone else behind the wheel, bumping your motor in and out of gear.


It really depends on what kind of fishing you’re doing. It can be a great tool in many cases, especially puttering around canals and such. But what’s that got to do with serious fishing?


That fine fellow is casting his net from the bow platform on a Trophy 2103 center console. Learn more about Trophy boats at


Pilot Media publishes boating guides providing comprehensive information on boating and waterfront living. Each edition includes an index of boat related businesses, reference maps, marina & boatyard guides, a directory of waterfront & water-access restaurants - The Pilot's Galley - and a Fishing Guide that includes a directory to area fishing service providers.  Read more >

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