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What Is The Best Size Sport Fishing Boat?

By Robert Bowman | Posted On Sep 11, 2023
Updated On Mar 25, 2024

Whether this is your first time purchasing a sportfishing yacht or you're looking to move up from a smaller boat, making the right choice that meets your needs, and is right for the application of how you like to fish, is crucial. Buying a boat that is too big can mean unnecessary expenses with fuel and docking, along with a learning curve of how to safely captain it. If you select a boat that ends up being too small, you're going to be frustrated with its range and space when friends are on board. Of course, we always recommend enlisting the services of an expert, professional yacht broker when searching through all of the sport fishing boats for sale on the market.

Spend some time reflecting on exactly what you get excited about when dreaming of being out on the open ocean. Your yacht broker will ask things like:

  • Do you plan on hiring a captain or will you run the boat yourself?
  • Is this strictly for fishing or do you plan to do a bit of cruising as well?
  • How many people do you anticipate bringing on board?
  • What part of the world do you plan to keep the boat and fish?
  • What type of fish do you plan to target?

The last question in this list is an important one that will narrow down your selection by capability, range, equipment, and other factors. The best size sport fishing boat is dependent upon what species you're hunting. For example, many anglers choose a large center-console boat if they mainly target sailfish due to being able to easily use kites to suspend live bait near the top of the water, while others still prefer a walk-around sportfish for the same purpose.

No matter if you're down in South Florida, fishing the Gulf of Mexico, or running in the Canyons, United Yacht Sales has professional sportfishing yacht brokers within reach to help you through the process of selecting the right boat. We asked several of our expert anglers what type of sportfishing boat they recommend for targeted specific species.



big bluefin tuna off north carolina

(Seen above: UYS broker Steve Castellini with a giant Bluefin Tuna off the coast of North Carolina.)


If you're after big tuna, your sportfish will need to be equipped to run in some of the deepest, and often roughest, water with the ability to handle heavy waves. As Captain Greg Graham explains, "This is a loaded question that needs to be narrowed down. There are too many variables and opinions to have one right answer," said Greg. "But if you're fishing for Tuna, it's good to have a gyro stabilizer on board to keep from rolling too much. For Bluefin and Bigeye tuna, really any boat that's comfortable in rough water is going to be fine."

Greg went on to mention that his preference is simply a boat with a large capacity livewell when targeting Yellowfin Tuna in the Bahamas. Mordy Miltz agreed with Greg, "If you're chasing Yellowfin under the birds off of the Bahamas, a fast center-console with plenty of live wells is my preference," he said. Mordy continued, "But if you're fishing the Canyons in the Northeast a sportfish is a necessity. Overnight trips are common so a sportfish with multiple staterooms is preferred."

Captain Steve Castellini had a different take on it. "I prefer a sportfishing boat with a large cockpit and a wide beam if going far offshore," he said. "Tuna are going to bite in white water, so your prop wash is not that big of a deal. Giant tuna in shallow water like less of a prop wash so a narrow beam is better along with smaller props. Choosing the perfect boat is almost impossible without narrowing down the exact application.

Scott White, the managing broker for United Yacht Sales New Jersey, prefers a Carolina-style Custom Sportfishing boat. "I like the fiberglass-over-wood construction," he says. "Wooden boats seem to absorb the vibrations better and are quieter on the troll. Most Carolina-built boats have a flatter transom deadrise which offer a cleaner prop wash."

Our Example Of A Good Boat For Tuna Fishing: "IN THE GAME" - 2007 Viking 52 Open

viking yachts 52 open sportfish for tuna



united yacht sales customer catches a sailfish on a sportfishing boat

(Seen above: United Yacht Sales customer Gary B. catches a sailfish on his Jersey Cape sportfishing boat off of Jupiter, FL.)


Fishing for Sailfish on Florida's east coast is about as fun as it gets for offshore saltwater anglers. From November through spring time, the Sailfish season is in full swing and whether you're kite fishing with Goggle Eyes or trolling multiple dredges, there's nothing quite like the exhilaration of seeing its sail break the surface of the water.

United Yacht Sales broker Matt Parson has years of experience fishing around Florida and believes it's more about the attributes of the sportfishing boat, than the boat itself, when it comes to what's important. "For sailfish, it's all about the cockpit," said Matt. "Usually you're not going to have a fighting chair, but instead a rocket launcher capable of holding 6-8 lighter tackle rods that are setup for trolling or kite fishing smaller live baits."

Captain Greg Graham echoed Matt's comments and went further in explaining the need for serious live wells with the best plumbing possible. "I was lucky enough to work with the owner of the 45' F&S Boat that I run," said Greg. "We set it up with 6 live wells specifically for targeting sailfish, 4 on-deck and 2 built-in. We have two 4-pump pump boxes that feed all 6 wells. Live, frisky baits are extremely important for being successful at targeting sailfish." Greg went on to mention 3 good options for pumps including Bill Wieteha Bait Solutions, Best Marine Products, and Wicked Wells. "All 3 of them will get you set up with the right products for your boat."

Our Example Of A Good Boat For Sailfish: "SIR REEL" - 2009 Merritt 72 Custom Sportfish

Merritt 72 custom sport fishing boat for sailfish



marlin caught by sport fishing boat team

(Seen above: Team Devotion with broker Matt Parson caught this 605 lbs. Marlin during the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic.)


"There are a few items every sportfishing boat must have, regardless if you're targeting White Marlin, Blue Marlin, or Sailfish," says Mordy. "Having a tower is a huge advantage, ample live bait storage or deck fills, electric reel outlets, teaser reels, and of course having an Omni Sonar is a huge plus."

Broker Matt Parson agreed with Mordy, "The 360° Furuno Omni sonar has become a very helpful piece of equipment for finding Marlin," said Matt. "Both Simrad and MAQ also make a similar sonar. We've been very successful slow trolling 2-3 blackfin tunas, bonitas, or skip-jack tunas for Blues. Seakeeper has also helped the performance of the new 360° sonars by eliminating the roll, which allows a clearer picture of what's around you boat."

"To me, the Viking Yachts 64 Convertible is a perfect platform for Marlin fishing, particularly White Marlin," said UYS broker Frank Wise who regularly competes in major Billfish tournaments. "I like the twin 2000hp MTU engines that can reach up to 40 knots. This is a great advantage when you have to move to another canyon during a tournament and time is of the essence."

Frank seconded the need for a Seakeeper on board, "The Seakeeper 26 keeps the boat stable while trolling or backing down on a fish. The tower is used to keep an eye out to see a marlin coming before it grabs the bait. This advantage will increase the hookup ratio during the fishing season. The ice maker and water maker help with keeping the catch cold!"

Our Example Of A Good Boat For Marlin: "BIG OIL" - 2023 Viking 64 Convertible


United Yacht Sales has the world's largest network of boat buyers and sellers in the industry, thanks to our team of over 250 yacht brokers in 104 different locations. To begin the process of searching for a sportfishing boat for sale, please call our main office at 772-463-3131 and we will connect you with one of our expert yacht brokers.

Whether buying a luxury boat or selling one, we have the right expert on staff to assist you in navigating the brokerage market for your type of yacht. If you're looking at selling a boat, there is no quicker way to get activity than listing it with United. Our entire team is immediately notified every time a listing agreement is made with United Yacht Sales and many boats are sold before they ever even make it online. Our support team is among the best in the industry at marketing your yacht. 100% of our marketing budget goes towards advertising our clients' listings, a claim not many other firms can make. To get started listing your yacht, fill out our online form What's My Yacht Worth?


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