Offshore Fishing is an activity that has been enjoyed by anglers spanning generations, and for those who take it seriously, having the right equipment is key.
One essential piece of equipment for serious anglers with a more substantial budget is a Sport Fishing Boat.
There are many different brands of sport fishing boats on the market, each with its own unique features and advantages. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the top sport fishing boat brands, their history, and what makes them stand out.
Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just getting started, this guide will help you better understand the difference between these storied boat builders.
Types Of Sportfishing Boats- Custom Vs. Production
Before we start naming different brands of sportfish builders, it is important to point out that there are two main types of Sport Fishing Boats:
Custom Sportfishing Boats are exactly as they sound: Custom Built. With a Custom Boat, almost every aspect of the boat is built per the requirements laid out by the owner and their captain, which can include:
- Building Materials Used
- Number of Staterooms and layout
- Number of Heads and Layout
- The layout of the Salon
- Cockpit layout
- Bridge Layout
- Size of fuel tanks
- Number of refrigerators and coolers
- And the list goes on…
Because of the level of personalization in the building process and their high demand, If you want to buy a Custom Sportfishing Boat Manufacturer to build you a new boat, you are going to pay a premium!
Despite the added customizations, a custom sportfish will always have a very unique look that is tied to the builder. To a novice, these differences are hard to spot, but to someone who has been on the water for several years, you can’t miss the differences between tue various custom brands.
Custom Carolina Boats
Custom Carolina Boats get their own section because they absolutely separate themselves from other custom sportfishing boats in the industry.
Custom Carolina Boats are most well known for their large bow, deep V-Hull, and distinct flare, which is meant to help them better handle the rough sea conditions off the coast of North Carolina and South Carolina. Another unique feature of a Custom Carolina Boat is the separated sheer line that steps down where the cockpit and the cabin meet.
Sportfishing Boats in North Carolina have their roots in the commercial fishing vessels of the late 19th century. Recreational fishing emerged from the commercial boats as fishermen would adapt them for summertime charters by removing nets from the cockpit and adding extra seating for clients.
By the 1950s, the demand for boats strictly designed for sportfishing increased, and the Custom Carolina Boat was born. These early boats are reported to have been modeled off the Work Boats and Core Sound Fishing Boats of the early 20th Century.
When you think about Production Sport Fishing Boats, think about cars being built on an assembly line. Although the quality of production boats is still very high, much of a production boat involves molds and getting the boat built as fast as possible.
With a production boat, you don’t really get a say on the materials used, the finish, or the manufacturers of the parts that go into the boat. You do get the opportunity to change how the boat is laid out; however, the layout options are selected for you and not open to customization.
All that being said, production boats are a great value and get you into a new boat at a significantly better price point much faster than with a Custom Sportfish.
1. Viking Yachts
Viking makes it to the top of our list as they are probably the most widely used and popular brand of Sport Fishing Boat currently on the market. Although Viking Sportfishing Boats are Production Boats, their quality and finish are exceptional and essentially as close as it gets to the quality of a built Custom Boat.
Viking has been in the business of manufacturing sportfishing boats since 1964 and has never stopped evolving and modernizing. Today, Viking is known mainly for its Sportfishing line but as well for its Motor Yachts and recently launched line of Center Console Boats known as Valhalla.
Viking Yachts are still built in New Gretna, New Jersey but have a very nice service facility in Riviera Beach, Florida.
Popular Viking Sportfishing Boat Models
Some of the most popular Viking Sportfish models today are:
2. Bayliss Boatworks
Bayliss Boatworks is the next brand of Sport Fishing Boat we are going to discuss, and that’s because, in our opinion, they are unquestionably the gold standard of Custom Sportfishing Manufacturers.
Built and owned by John Bayliss, Bayliss Boatworks has been building boats out of Wanchese, NC, since 2002. The last marker we can find for the number of boats built by Bayliss was 25, but that was as of 2020.
Are you thinking of buying a new Bayliss? If so, get in line. The current wait for a new Bayliss Sportfish could be as long as 5 or 6 years! And if you think you can wait that long, also prepare yourself for the price tag, which estimates say is anywhere between Five and 15 Million dollars.