Types of Fishing Boat Hulls

by Don Kress
Fishing boats may be constructed of aluminum, fiberglass or wood.

Fishing boats may be constructed of aluminum, fiberglass or wood.

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While boating has a large number of different hulls available for a range of boating needs, the world of fishing boats is only slightly less varied. For practically every type of fishing expedition, there is a boat hull designed specifically for the purpose you need. There are specialty hulls, as well as dual-purpose hulls that are appropriate for a variety of different fishing needs ranging from saltwater to inland river use.

Bass Boats

Bass boat hulls are wide and have a shallow V-shaped hull to accommodate fishing in marshy areas on lake banks that deep-hull general-use boats would have a difficult time maneuvering in. Primarily constructed of fiberglass, bass boat hulls may be outfitted with small or large outboard engines, and generally have the steering position on the right-hand side, with a pass-through between the driver's seat and the passenger seat to access the forward fishing position. In addition, bass boat hulls are designed to skim quickly across the water, with very fast models capable of speeds above 70 miles per hour.

John Boats

Aluminum John boats are usually nothing more than hulls with seats and a motor. Like bass boats, they are designed to have a minimal draft so that they can navigate in shallow water. Unlike bass boats, however, John boats are small and typically have flat bottoms, rather than a V-shape. While this does little for the ride of the boat, particularly in choppy water, it does make them easy to build and extremely inexpensive in their simplest outfitting. John boats can be fitted with electric or gasoline outboards to accommodate practically any inland fishing environment.

Center Console Boats

Center console boats are used in primarily two places: lakes and offshore ocean fishing. Most center console boats have deep-V hulls with long, high bows to protect them from large waves. The high sides and rails on the hull permit standing during fishing as well as added safety. To save space, they are typically fitted with one or two outboard motors, as opposed to inboard motors. While many of these hulls were once constructed with steel or even wood, they are predominantly fiberglass today, saving on weight and manufacturing expense.

Multi-hull boats

Multi-hull boats are a segment that is predominantly occupied by catamarans. Typically constructed of fiberglass, these hull designs incorporate two or sometimes even three small individual hulls in place of a single V-shaped hull. These hulls are beneficial in that they are smoother riding in the water and offer the same stability when at rest as traditional V-shaped hulls. This makes them ideal for both freshwater and saltwater fishing needs. In addition to this, their passenger capacity is higher than V-hull boats are capable of, making them ideal in many respects for charter fishing.


  • Discover Boating: Boat Types
  • "The Boat Buyer's Guide to Trailerable Fishing Boats"; Ed McKnew; 2006
  • "Boats for Fishermen"; Tom Earnhardt; 2001

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images