When I was younger and fished from shore I always knew that I wanted to have a decent sized fishing boat to help increase my odds of catching more and bigger fish. I always assumed that fishermen that had boats were all experts and knew exactly where the fish were, as many of them would come back to the dock with large trophy sized fish. When I grew older and bought my first fishing boat I realized something, that the boat itself at times seemed to be a limitation for catching more fish. My fish counts for the first few years actually went down after I had bought the boat. I was unsure as to why this was. I realized that there were disadvantages to fishing from a boat. I always just assumed that the boat would help to bolster my fish counts for the season. Although there are some definite advantages to owning a fishing boat, I think it is important for people to realize both the advantages and disadvantages for boat fishing vs. shore fishing.
Advantages to Fishing from Shore
Fishing from shore offers a few advantages that a young angler may not realize. When you fish from shore if you are stealthy enough you will actually spook less fish than if you were fishing from a boat. The shadow or noise created from the boat at times scares many of the larger game fish away, especially if you are Bluegill fishing or Bass fishing in shallower waters. If you drop a heavy object in an aluminum boat you are sure to scare away every fish within a mile radius. There is nothing I hate more than to be fishing next to a noisy fisherman. If you do plan to fish from a boat a helpful tip is to put an old rug on the floor of the boat to eliminate the noise being generated from the metal or fiberglass bottom.
The other huge advantage to fishing from shore is time. When you fish from shore you just have more time to fish then if you are fishing from a boat. Boat fishing requires a lot of extra work and time. You have to ensure the boat is in good working condition. You have to buy gas for the boat. The trailer needs to be in good working condition. You have to register the boat and motor, ss well as numerous other items that you need to address before the boat actually goes into the water. When you fish from shore you do not have to worry about any of these things and can just grab your rod and tackle and head for the door.
Here is another scenario that has actually happened to me once before. Suppose you are Striper fishing a few hundred feet from shore when you hook into a 20lb Striped Bass. You fight the fish for 20 minutes when you realize that you forgot your fishing net. Now what do you do? You get the fish right up to the side of the boat and decide that it is too heavy to hoist in by the line itself. You attempt to grab it by its mouth as they have no teeth, but as you do that it takes a dart back to the bottom and snaps your fishing line. You are upset at yourself for not remembering to bring your net as you would have landed the lunker, but if you were fishing from shore it would have also been landed just as easy with no net required. Simply stated landing fish from shore is somewhat easier than by boat.
Advantages of Fishing From a Boat
Now that I have made every boat owner question their investment, let me take a step back and talk about the advantages of fishing from a boat.
The biggest advantage of fishing from a boat is the range that you can cover in a day. If you had to pick up all your tackle every 10 minutes to try a new spot it would get tiring after a while. While when you are in a boat all of your tackle stays with you by default. If you have a long distance cast you can still maintain your distance from where you think the larger fish are located eliminating the chance of spooking the fish. Trying multiple locations over the course of a day is a very important tip that many anglers refuse to utilize.
Also once the boat is in the water, the physical work is greatly reduced. You no longer have to carry your tackle and you can just sit, relax and motor around to where you want to go. It is not until I get the boat in the water and start sailing around do I feel as if all the overhead of owning a boat starts to pay off.
If you want to invest a little more you can also buy yourself a decent fish finder, which is proven to increase your chances of landing more fish. Finding the schools of fish or the large lunker bass sitting on the bottom can be a critical piece of intelligence that can help you to land more fish.
So What is Better?
I honestly cannot answer this question because it all depends on the angler’s preference. It depends upon how much time you want to invest in maintaining a boat and whether you think it will be an asset or a liability to you. All to often I see these big boats sitting in dry dock all year round because someone did not realize the total time investment it would take to actually own a boat. Personally I have found that the small to average size fishing boats suite me the best as they can get me to where I want to be, less to maintain, easy to trail and still offer many of the same perks as what the larger fishing boats offer.