The evolution of the sportfishing yacht has changed significantly over the past few decades, not just from the materials used in the hull, or the advancement in construction techniques, but from its true capabilities. Anglers move up from center-consoles to larger sportfishing yachts for several reasons, but the main one is that you can simply fish farther out and for longer periods of time. All sportfishing yachts were once entirely made of wood, and while some custom sport fishing boat manufacturers still build wooden boats, the vast majority of sportfishing yachts sold today use a high-quality composite that is resin-infused for maximum durability and performance. Hulls are larger, lighter, and stronger which means today's sport fishing boat can go faster and fit more on it. Many of the Viking Yachts or Hatteras Yachts today feature 3 to 4 staterooms, each with their own head along with oversized salons, enclosed bridges, flybridges, and more creature comforts to make your time on the water more enjoyable. The most popular style of sport fishing boat today has to be the Convertible Sportfish due to its versatility of having the open bridge, along with the amenities of a motor yacht.
There are thousands of yachts available on the United website through our MLS services, many of which are sportfishing boats. There are many different brands, styles, features, and capabilities of both custom and production sportfish sold today, and the team at United has years of experience both selling sportfish and working with the manufacturers on new builds. Our brokers will share with you what they think is the best sport fishing boat available on the market. Let the United team help you in your search to find the perfect sportfishing boat, call our main office today at (772) 463-3131. United is also a dealer for new Hatteras Yachts and Cabo Yachts.
PRE-OWNED Sport Fishing Boats
THE CROWN ROYAL
103' Westship 103 Sportfish 2003
Lighthouse Point, Florida, United States
92' Viking Enclosed Bridge 2017
Panama City, Panama
ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE
92' Viking 92 Skybridge 2020
Clearwater, Florida, United States
92' Sea Force IX Sportfish 2010
North Palm Beach, Florida, United States
92' Viking 92 Enclosed bridge 2017
North Palm Beach, Florida, United States
86' Merritt 2014
West Palm Beach, Florida, United States
86' Hatteras Sport Fisherman 2002
86' Merritt Sportfish 2017
Pompano Beach, Florida, United States
82' Viking 82 Enclosed Bridge 2013
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
80' Viking 80 Skybridge 2022
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
80' Viking Convertible 2018
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
80' Merritt Sportfish 2006
Pompano Beach, Florida, United States
The improvements in construction and added space have paved the way for larger, more powerful engines to be used in sportfishing yachts. Whether tournament-fishing or just a weekend warrior, getting to the fishing grounds quickly is imperative. Today's sportfish boats can cruise anywhere from 20 to 30 knots and exceed speeds of 50 knots with big twin diesel engines. How fast a sportfishing boat can go depends on several factors include engine horsepower, hull shape, the construction of the vessel, and the weight of the entire boat.
It's the amenities on board though that generally appeal to the owner who likes to fish with his family. Comfortable, air-conditioned salons, full galley's with lots of storage for extended trips, hot showers in en suite bathrooms can make any extended fishing trip more enjoyable with kids on board especially.
Below are several prominent custom and production sportfishing boat brands:
- Bayliss Boatworks
- Bertram Yachts
- Buddy Davis Boats
- Cabo Yachts
- F&S Yachts
- Gamefisherman Boats
- Garlington Yachts
- G&S Yachts
- Hatteras Yachts
- Henriques Yachts
- Jarrett Bay Yachts
- Jim Smith Boats
- Luhrs Yachts
- Merritt Yachts
- Ocean Yachts
- Ritchie Howell Boats
- Riviera Yachts
- Rybovich Yachts
- Sunny Briggs Yachts
- Viking Yachts
- Weaver Yachts
- Whiticar Yachts
- Willis Yachts
Sportfishing yachts are typically boats 50ft and over that are purpose-designed and built for offshore fishing in tournaments such as the Atlantic Ocean White Marlin Open of Ocean City, MD—the world’s largest billfish tournament with a multi-million-dollar payout, or for the adventure of chasing pelagic gamefish in remote spots around the world. Kona-Hawaii (Pacific Blue Marlin), Isla Mujeres-Mexico (Sailfish), New Zealand (Striped Marlin), Great Barrier Reef-Australia (Giant Black Marlin), along with Costa Rica, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, are among the finest gamefish destinations.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sportfishing Boats:
What type of yacht is best for fishing?
Although one can cast or drop a line from just about any boat, for the serious sport and tournament fisherman, a vessel designed from the ground up for the rigors of offshore fishing in many conditions and often customized to the owner’s wishes, are the best choice. There are many variations of the two basic types of sportfish boats—the Express Sportfish and the Flybridge/Convertible Sportfish. The Flybridge Sportfish boats (45ft and under) are not technically Convertibles, but distinctions are blurred as they are often marketed as such. Express Sportfish models have two decks, the main deck with helm and cockpit, accommodations below deck and tend to be smaller.
Most likely it will have a tower, but no flybridge. Examples are the Gamefisherman 50 Express, Huckins 45 Sportfisherman, Cabo Express SF. All feature large cockpits that are uncluttered and set up for fishing action and may include in-deck fish boxes, livewells, rod holders, ice machine, fighting chair, aft steering, transom “tuna” doors, tackle storage and more. Many have towers with their own steering stations, outriggers, rocket launcher rod holders, and other features. Convertible Sportfisherman are larger and most often completely custom world-class yachts for tournament and long-range fishing adventures. Examples are Michael Rybovich & Sons sportfishing yachts, Hatteras GT series, Viking Convertibles, Jim Smith, Merritt, F&S, Bertram, Custom Carolina, and many more.
Below is a video of a 85' Jim Smith Custom Sportfish:
What is a Convertible Sportfishing boat?
Convertible Sportfish Yachts are typically 50ft or more with enclosed living area on the main deck and a flybridge with hard top or fully enclosed, in addition to accommodations below deck, and a large cockpit with a mezzanine deck with seating for guests to watch and enjoy the action. These yachts are often a custom build that combines the luxurious amenities of a motor yacht with the proven performance hull of a sportfisher, capable of converting to a cruising yacht, if desired. They will usually have a tower for spotting gamefish and utilize the latest technological advantages and fish-finding electronics, such as Furuno’s real-time 360-degree sonar systems, Seakeeper stabilizers, pod drives, powerful diesel engines and gensets, and much more. Convertible Sportfishers are evaluated on their seakeeping ability, stability and efficiency in speed and economy. Handling and performance underway or in fishing mode are vital, as they must be able to handle all types of conditions; many have redundant systems. The cockpit needs to be well arranged for anglers and crew to do battle with big trophy gamefish!
Example of a convertible sportfish:
How much does a Sportfishing Yacht cost?
How much are you willing to spend? There are too many variables with the vast array of manufacturers and builders of Sportfishing Yachts to put a single price out there. Currently the average cost to purchase a Sportfishing Yacht over 40ft in the Southeast Region of the United States is about $815,500. Sportfishing yachts tend to cost more than a cruising motor yacht of the same length because of the additional specialized equipment, electronics, and build features, especially for a custom sportfish. Convertible sportfishing yachts have both the luxury accommodations of a motor yacht and the specialized features of a high-end “fishing machine.” When considering the cost of ownership, as with any vessel, be sure to factor in dockage/storage, insurance, maintenance, fuel and other running costs, captain and crew salaries (if needed), taxes & fees, and more.
What is the best Sportfish boat?
There are so many excellent makes and models of Sportfishing boats and yachts available today that the question becomes a personal matter: Which sportfishing boat is best for you? Do you intend to enter tournaments, fish recreationally with family and friends, or pursue trophy billfish and other gamefish around the world, or for extended stays in the Bahamas? Your budget will also narrow the field or allow you to have a boat built to your specifics and uniquely reflect your style and taste. Some well-known Sportfish builders are as follows: Albemarle, American Custom Yachts (acquired by Willis Marine Inc in July 2021), BB Boats (especially built for charter use), Bertram Yacht, Bayliss Boatworks, Briggs Boatworks (Sunny Briggs), Cabo Yachts, Davis Yachts, F&S Boatworks, Gamefisherman, Garlington Landeweer, Hatteras Yachts, Henriques Yachts, Jarrett Bay, Jim Smith Boats, Paul Mann Custom Boats (retired 2021), Maverick Yachts (designed by Erwin Gerard, EG Designs and built in Costa Rica), Merritt’s Boat and Engine Works, Ritchie Howell Custom Boats, Roscioli Donzi Intl., Michael Rybovich and Sons, Scarborough Boatworks, Spencer Yachts, Viking Yachts, Weaver Boat Works, Willis Marine (just acquired ACY in Stuart, FL), Winter Custom Yachts, and new custom builder in St Augustine, FL, Vilano Boatworks--introducing a 65ft sportfish designed by noted naval architect, Erwin Gerard.
How much does a 50ft fishing boat cost?
Currently a used 2005 Ocean Yachts 50ft Super Sport is listed at $395,000 in the Florida east coast market, which is about average in the current brokerage market. Current (Aug. 2021) range in the yachting industry’s MLS is $600,000 for a 2000 Viking 50 Convertible Sport Fisher in California to a 1991 Ocean Yachts 50ft Super Sport located in Italy at $199,420. Of course, a new production or custom-built fishing boat will be much more.
What is the largest fishing yacht?
According to The Robb Report and Yachts International, the new 171ft Royal Huisman Sportfish Superyacht will be the world’s largest true sportfish yacht when it is launched. Currently under construction, the yacht will be equipped for the global pursuit of trophy gamefish such as swordfish and marlin that roam the world’s oceans, and a range of sportfishing options. Sportfishing has attracted new owners for the larger boats in recent decades and yachts with tall towers and outriggers dominate the world’s fishing grounds in South and Central America, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Rim and New Zealand.
Some of the other sportfishing yachts that fall into the superyacht strata are Trinity Yachts 131.7 ft BAD COMPANY built in 1998 and MARY P built in the New Orleans shipyard in 2008; McMullen & Wing 119ft MEA CULPA built in 2003; Yachting Developments (New Zealand) 118.5ft 2018 LANAKAI and 99ft AL DUHAIL, world’s largest all-carbon sportfisher launched in 2020; 116ft CIELO MARE built by Townsend Bay Marine. Other noted builders are American Custom Yachts 90ft C’EST LA VIE, Bayliss Boatworks 2014 90ft Singularis, Bertram’s 80ft Sportfisher with enclosed flybridge, Hatteras 90ft built in 1995 one of a series built between 1992-1993; Jarrett Bay 84ft delivered in 2016; Jim Smith Boats 105ft delivered in 2013, one of the largest cold-molded sportfishers built; Merritt’s 86ft DESTINY built in 2011 with enclosed bridge; Roscioli’s 92ft Evolution, capable of scaling up to a 105ft model; Michael Rybovich & Sons custom 88ft currently under construction; Spencer Yachts custom 87ft built in 2012; Viking 92ft Convertible launched in 2014; and Weaver Boatworks 87ft completed in 2013 for fishing the Seychelles Islands.
Seen below: The Viking 92 Convertible.
Is Hatteras Yachts still building sportfishing models?
Recently (2021) acquired by White River Marine Group (Bass Pro Shops family of brands), the Next generation of the legendary Hatteras sportfish yachts will be the focus of White River Marine as they make Hatteras the “finest sportfishing boats ever made,” building on the traditions and innovations that began over 60 years ago in 1959 in North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras coast. The current production and semi-custom Hatteras Sportfish GT Series ranges from the GT45X Express Cruiser, GT45X Flybridge, GT45X Tower, GT45X Open to the GT54, GT59, GT65 Carolina, and GT70—all designed and built in New Bern, NC with the offshore angler in mind. These elegant, updated classic sportfish models are beautifully crafted with the features, rigging and signature Hatteras ride. Built strong (over engineered) to perform well in the fierce currents and swells off Cape Hatteras and anywhere else you like to fish.