Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part Sportsman Boat Showcase. Next month, top aluminum boats will be featured.

Fishing boats are different animals to different fishermen. The same boat won’t work across the spectrum of lakes, inland rivers, coastal rivers, coastal backwaters, the inshore ocean or gulf and the offshore bluewater.

Then, there are individual preferences that separate fishermen. The following showcase includes boats designed to excel at a variety of uses, so take your time and take a good look. One of them might just be the perfect platform to stoke your interest and become your next boating purchase.

When boat-builders begin with a new model with a clean sheet, they have limitless options for layout and equipment. They have advisors, which results in lots of input about which features new models must incorporate and which can be offered as options.    

Advantages in technology and materials appear every year; however, craftsmanship is still the primary ingredient for building boats. Craftsmen must visualize the complex curves of boat design, the eye to see them coming together and the skills to make them happen. 

Technological and material improvements are major resources to create lighter and stronger boats. Strength-to-weight ratios constantly improve and they are the key feature contributing to safety, performance, and efficiency. Computer Assisted Design (CAD) technology allows designing the required features into molds at the locations the fishermen want them. 

 This showcase of new fiberglass boat models is divided into three sections: bass boats, bay and flats boats and center consoles. A showcase of aluminum boats will follow in February. It would be wise to give all of these boats a look. Several of the bay boats are large, with T-tops as an accessory, and they may be able to serve as a nearshore or smaller-water center console. As one would expect, these boats include a thoroughbred’s list of features and options and all have multiple uses and expanded capabilities.

Permission to come aboard is granted.

Bass Boats

Nitro Z19

Stratos 186 VLO

Bay, Flats Boats

BlackJack 256

Blue Wave 2400 Pure Bay

Nautic Star 227 XTS

Ranger 2350 Bay Ranger

Shearwater 260 

Center Consoles

Tideline Boats 235 Hybrid

Bulls Bay 230 CC

Cape Horn 36os