Fishing boats are made for one thing – fishing, duh! And the primary objective of fishing is not comfort. It’s not even a secondary or tertiary goal. So when fishing boats are designed, they’re built for performance.
While comfort might not be the underlying objective of fishing boat design, it can certainly be improved upon with a little strategic planning and a few upgrades.
Here are several suggestions for doing just that:
1. Upgrade Your Boat Seats
The first item on your to-do list should be upgrading your boat seats. And as you could probably guess, there are dozens of different styles, materials, sizes, etc. A lot depends on the type of boat you own and your specific preferences.
There are pontoon boat seats, bass boat seats, boat bucket seats, deck chairs, offshore seats, helm seats, and more. You can also simply purchase seat covers or reupholster your existing seats to give them a little more plushness.
When upgrading your seats, think about every aspect. This includes lumbar support, armrests, padding, and more. You want boat seats that are not only comfortable, but also supportive for fishing. You can find several good options here.
2. Invest in Some Bean Bag Chairs
For the casual angler or ride-alongs, bean bag chairs have long been a secret option. But up until recently, you didn’t have many options. You simply purchased the same type of bean bag chair that you would use in a bonus room. Today, they come specifically designed for fishing boats.
“I’ve been using bean bags for years, but the updated designs and construction are really the ticket,” tournament fisher Marcus Kennedy says. “The chair shapes with contoured armrests really make them more comfortable. Ocean-Tamer and E-Searider are quality products with marine-grade vinyl that lasts longer and doesn’t mildew easily. I carry enough for everyone on the boat.”
It’s a good idea to keep several bean bag chairs at your boathouse or dock. Because they take up a lot of space, you can simply toss the appropriate amount onboard before going out.
3. Add Anti-Fatigue Mats
What, me sit? If you’re not the kind of person who sits down while fishing, a good boat seat is about as worthless as Monopoly money. However, there are still ways to stay comfortable while on the water.
One option is to purchase anti-fatigue mats. These mats, which are made from thick cushioning material, absorb both the movement of the boat beneath you and the pressure on your feet. This makes it more comfortable to stand for long periods of time.
4. Install More Rod Racks
Nothing makes for a more uncomfortable fishing trip than a lack of space. If you’re constantly trying to duck and bend just to move around the boat, you’re not going to have a great experience. Other than getting a bigger boat, the best way to address this is by getting more organized.
Try installing a few more rod rocks in different locations to free up valuable space and keep rods within reach at all times. It’s a small touch, but can have a pretty significant impact on the overall experience.
5. Weigh Down the Front
We’ve all been a part of miserable fishing trips where the bow just seems to pop up and down – forcing us to fight the movement of the boat and hurting our chances of reeling in a big prize.
Many experienced anglers, like TV show host Capt. Frank Crescitelli, load as much as 500 pounds of ice into the fish box on the front end of the boat to keep the bow down. This leads to a much more level and steady experience (especially in choppier waters).
6. Improve Your Driving
As a general rule of thumb, you want to work your way into the prevailing wind in the morning. (This is when breezes are light and seas are typically as small as possible.) Toward the end of the day, you’ll usually have gustier windows and white-capping waves. Try going down-sea during this time to speed up your pace and create a smoother ride.
Sometimes, however, you just can’t escape an uphill run. For example, the wind doesn’t always cooperate. When this happens, smooth out your ride by adjusting the boat’s trim angle so that the bow is forced downward. This creates a sharper angle at the front of the boat, causing the hull to “knife” through rough waves and create a smoother ride.
7. Upgrade Your Speakers
Fishing isn’t always going to be the most comfortable experience in the world. However, if you’re having fun, it doesn’t really matter. We don’t do it for relaxation – we do it for the thrill. One way to improve the overall ambiance and experience is by upgrading your speakers to produce a stronger sound.
When choosing speakers, focus on two primary elements:
- Waterproof. As strange as it might sound, some marine speakers are actually more waterproof than others. That’s right, there’s such a thing as one speaker being waterproofer than another. Moisture resistance is measured on a spectrum of varying degrees. Some speakers are best in sheltered boat cabins, while others can withstand a monsoon.
- Sound quality. Having a speaker that’s waterproof enough to withstand the conditions is a good start. However, you also need good sound quality. You want high output and a dedicated woofer and tweeter (if possible).
- If you aren’t planning on going far offshore and simply plan on trolling around lakes or inlets, you can get away with a basic Bluetooth speaker. Bose makes some pretty good waterproof speakers, though you can’t go wrong with any of the highly rated options on Amazon.
Upgrade Your Fishing Boat
If you’re having trouble making your boat comfortable (even with the upgrades highlighted in this article), it’s possible that you don’t have the right boat to begin with. Some boats are more conducive to comfortable upgrades than others.
Pay attention to the boat’s interior layout, engine type, weight distribution, and other factors. If comfort really is a primary goal for you, it may be time to make a change.