Fishing From a Boat: Techniques, Tips, and More!

Fishing from a boat can be one of the most thrilling and rewarding experiences. Not only do you have the chance to catch a variety of different fish, but you also get to enjoy the beautiful scenery from out on the water.

So, what does fishing on a boat entail? This article will cover everything you need to know about fishing from a boat, including the different fishing boats, the best fishing spots, and the type of equipment you need.

What Do You Need When Fishing From a Boat?

Serious anglers bring a fishing license, a life jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses and these boat fishing equipment: 


Bait is any natural food that is used to attract and catch fish. You need to use the proper bait when fishing from a boat. The type of bait you use will depend on what kind of fish you are trying to catch. 

For example, if you are fishing for trout, you will want to use live bait such as worms or night crawlers. If you are fishing for bass, you may use shad or shiners.


A lure is a type of artificial bait used to attract fish. Lures are made to resemble prey fish, insects, or other small animals that fish would eat. They are often brightly colored and have feathers, fur, or other materials that make them look lifelike.

There are different types of lures: spinners, jigs, spoons, poppers, and flies.


The rods you use when fishing from a boat should be designed for boat fishing. The best fishing rods are usually longer and have a larger diameter than traditional rods. This is because they need to be able to cast further and handle the weight of the fish you are trying to catch.

Fishing Line 

If you’re fishing from a boat, you’ll also want a fishing line. There are three types of fishing lines – monofilament, braided, and fluorocarbon. 

Monofilament is the most popular since it is affordable and applicable to many fishing methods. On the other hand, braided fishing lines are tougher and best used when targeting aggress fish or if fishing in rough waters. Lastly, fluorocarbon is commonly used as a leader line because of its near transparency in the water.


The hooks are the most critical tackle in your boat fishing arsenal. There are many different types and sizes of hooks, and the type you use will depend on what kind of fishing you intend to do. 

For smaller fish, like panfish or trout, use a small hook. For larger fish, like bass or catfish, use a larger hook.


Reels store the line, deploy, and retrieve the bait or lure. The reel is connected to the fishing rod and provides a mechanism for the angler to cast the line out, then wind it in. Various reels are available, including spin-cast, baitcasting, spinning, and fly fishing. Check our post about the three types of fishing reels to learn more.  

Tackle Box

A tackle box is a box that is used to store fishing tackle. It is usually made of plastic or metal and has compartments or trays for holding lures, hooks, lines, and other fishing gear. A good tackle box will have a place for everything and keep your tackle organized and easy to find.


A cooler is a must-have when fishing from a boat. It’s important to keep your fish cold so they don’t spoil, especially when you intend to fish from a boat all day long. Some of the best fishing coolers even double as a chair. 

When choosing a cooler for your boat fishing adventures, ensure that it has solid insulation and a durable build to withstand being jostled around on a boat. You’ll also want a cooler with a draining system so you can easily get rid of any water that gets inside.

What Rigs to Use When Fishing From a Boat?

There are many different types of rigs that can be used when fishing from a boat. The most popular include the float rig, dropper rig, three-hook rig, and sliding rig.

Float Rig

Diagram of a float rig, one of the best rigs when fishing from a boat.

The float rig consists of a fishing line, bait, and a float. The bait is attached to the bottom of the line, while the float is attached at the top. Since the float keeps the bait suspended in the water, it is easier to see when a fish is biting.

The most important part of the float rig is the fishing line. The type of fishing line you use will determine how well your rig works. Monofilament fishing line is the best option for boat fishing because it’s strong and resistant to abrasion.

A fluorocarbon fishing line is also a good choice because it’s nearly invisible in the water.

Dropper Rig

With a dropper rig, the bait is attached to the line above the sinker. This rig is often used when fishing from a boat because it allows the bait to be presented at different depths. You can vary the depth by changing the size of the sinker or attaching bait to the line with a swivel.

A dropper rig is made by tying a loop in the line above the sinker and attaching the bait to this loop. The size of the sinker will determine how deep the bait will be presented. A small sinker will allow the bait to float near the surface, while a larger sinker will sink the bait to the bottom.

Three-Hook Rig

As its name suggests, a three-hook rig requires using three hooks. This rig is made up of two dropper lines and the main line. The main line is tied to the boat, and the two dropper lines are each tied to a hook. The three hooks are then baited and cast into the water.

This rig is best used when multiple anglers are fishing from the same boat, as each can watch one of the lines.

Sliding Ledger Rig

This boat fishing rig is ideal for targeting fish that like to feed on or near the bottom. The rig involves attaching a weight to your line, followed by a bead and hook. You can use bait such as worms, lugworms, mackerel strips, squid, or cuttlefish.

The key to this rig is to have the bait off the bottom so the fish can find it easily. You also want to ensure that your weight is heavy enough to keep your bait in place – but not so heavy that it drags along the bottom and snags on objects.

What Are the Different Types of Fishing Boats? 

There are many different fishing boats, each designed for a specific type of fishing. They are categorized by size (small, mid-sized, and large), and this list of fishing vessels are just some of the most common ones:

Pontoon Boat

picture of a pontoon boat

The word pontoon originates from the Latin word “pontonem,” which means “flat bottomed boats,” and they are that. They have a large, flat deck perfect for fishing, and their pontoons (or tubes) make them very stable in the water. 

You can find this fishing vessel in various sizes, from small models that can only accommodate two people to large ones that can seat up to 12. They are great for trolling, casting, and jigging. The only downside is that they are not the fastest boats on the water.


photo of a trawler

If you want to go deep sea fishing, you will need a trawler. Trawlers are fishing designed for long-distance fishing trips and can stay at sea for days or weeks. 

Their fuel capacity is large, and they have all the amenities you need for a comfortable trip, including a galley, berths, and a head (bathroom). However, they are not the best boat for fishing in rough waters, as they are designed more for calm conditions.

Cuddy Cabin

When it comes to boat fishing, you have two main options: an open boat or a boat with a cuddy cabin. The name cuddy cabin comes from the nautical term “cabin,” which means a small room or space on a boat.  

Cuddy cabin boats usually have a small area in the front of the boat that is enclosed and can be used for storage or sleeping. They are great for fishing in rough waters as they provide more protection from the elements.

They are also good for boat fishing with children as there is a place for them to sit and stay out of the sun. The downside of cuddy cabin boats is that they are usually more expensive than open boats, and they can be more difficult to maneuver.

Deck Boat

Deck boats have an open deck design, which is why they’re also sometimes referred to as “party boats.” This design makes them incredibly versatile and ideal for various activities like sunbathing, swimming, fishing, and more. 

Deck boats also tend to be quite spacious, so they’re perfect for larger groups. A deck boat is a great option if you’re looking for a boat that can do it all. They have a lot of storage space and can accommodate anywhere from 9 to 14 people.

Bass Boat

photo of a bass boat

As the name suggests, bass boats are designed for fishing for bass. They are usually quite small, so they can maneuver in tight spaces and reach those hard-to-reach spots. Bass boats also have a very shallow draft, which means they can are ideal for fishing in lakes and rivers with a lot of vegetation.

The downside of bass boats is that they are not very comfortable for long fishing trips as they don’t have a lot of space or amenities.

Bay Boat

A bay boat is typically used in bays, inlets, and nearshore areas. Many fishermen use a bay boat because of its maneuverability, versatility, and stability in shallow water fishing spots and deep fishing areas. Bay boats are usually between 19 and 26 feet long and have a lot of storage space for gear and fish. 

Center Console Boat

A center console boat has the helm station in the center of the boat instead of the front or rear. This type of boat is popular for fishing because it allows the captain to have a 360-degree view of the area around the boat. 

Center console boats are usually between 18 and 28 feet long and can have either an inboard or outboard motor. They usually have plenty of seating and fishing space and can be used in fresh and saltwater.

What Type of Fishing Can You Do From a Boat?

There are many different types of fishing that you can do from a boat. Depending on your boat type, you may be able to do jig fishing, angling, bottom fishing, and trolling.

Jig Fishing

Jig fishing involves using a jigging rod to drop the jig down to the bottom of the water. The boat should be moving forward at a slow speed, and you will need to use your reel to keep the line tight. 

You must lift the rod up and down when the jig hits the bottom. This will cause the jig to bounce up and down, attracting fish.


Trolling is a method of fishing where you tow bait or lures behind your boat. This is a great way to fish for bigger fish, such as salmon or trout. As your boat moves through the water, the bait will move around and attract fish.


Angling is a type of fishing where you use a baited line and fishhook to catch fish. You can angle from a boat by casting your bait out into the water and waiting for fish to bite. After a fish bites, you must reel it using your fishing rod.

Bottom Fishing

In bottom fishing, the boat is used to drift over the area where fish are thought to be present. The boat is anchored, and the anglers cast their lines to the bottom. 

You can do this type of fishing with various boat types and rigs; some common rigs used in bottom fishing are the Carolina rig, the three-way rig, and the fish finder rig.

Enjoy the Waters

Fishing from a boat can be a great way to catch fish. There are many different types of fishing boats, and each one is designed for a specific type of fishing. Before fishing from a boat, make sure you know what kind of boat you need and what type of fishing you want.