Offshore Fishing is an activity that has been enjoyed by anglers spanning generations, and for those who take it seriously, having the right equipment is key.
One essential piece of equipment for serious anglers with a more substantial budget is a Sport Fishing Boat.
There are many different brands of sport fishing boats on the market, each with its own unique features and advantages. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the top sport fishing boat brands, their history, and what makes them stand out.
Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just getting started, this guide will help you better understand the difference between these storied boat builders.
Types Of Sportfishing Boats- Custom Vs. Production
Before we start naming different brands of sportfish builders, it is important to point out that there are two main types of Sport Fishing Boats:
Custom Sportfishing Boats are exactly as they sound: Custom Built. With a Custom Boat, almost every aspect of the boat is built per the requirements laid out by the owner and their captain, which can include:
- Building Materials Used
- Number of Staterooms and layout
- Number of Heads and Layout
- The layout of the Salon
- Cockpit layout
- Bridge Layout
- Size of fuel tanks
- Number of refrigerators and coolers
- And the list goes on…
Because of the level of personalization in the building process and their high demand, If you want to buy a Custom Sportfishing Boat Manufacturer to build you a new boat, you are going to pay a premium!
Despite the added customizations, a custom sportfish will always have a very unique look that is tied to the builder. To a novice, these differences are hard to spot, but to someone who has been on the water for several years, you can’t miss the differences between tue various custom brands.
Custom Carolina Boats
Custom Carolina Boats get their own section because they absolutely separate themselves from other custom sportfishing boats in the industry.
Custom Carolina Boats are most well known for their large bow, deep V-Hull, and distinct flare, which is meant to help them better handle the rough sea conditions off the coast of North Carolina and South Carolina. Another unique feature of a Custom Carolina Boat is the separated sheer line that steps down where the cockpit and the cabin meet.
Sportfishing Boats in North Carolina have their roots in the commercial fishing vessels of the late 19th century. Recreational fishing emerged from the commercial boats as fishermen would adapt them for summertime charters by removing nets from the cockpit and adding extra seating for clients.
By the 1950s, the demand for boats strictly designed for sportfishing increased, and the Custom Carolina Boat was born. These early boats are reported to have been modeled off the Work Boats and Core Sound Fishing Boats of the early 20th Century.
When you think about Production Sport Fishing Boats, think about cars being built on an assembly line. Although the quality of production boats is still very high, much of a production boat involves molds and getting the boat built as fast as possible.
With a production boat, you don’t really get a say on the materials used, the finish, or the manufacturers of the parts that go into the boat. You do get the opportunity to change how the boat is laid out; however, the layout options are selected for you and not open to customization.
All that being said, production boats are a great value and get you into a new boat at a significantly better price point much faster than with a Custom Sportfish.
Sportfishing Boat Manufacturers
1. Viking Yachts
Viking makes it to the top of our list as they are probably the most widely used and popular brand of Sport Fishing Boat currently on the market. Although Viking Sportfishing Boats are Production Boats, their quality and finish are exceptional and essentially as close as it gets to the quality of a built Custom Boat.
Viking has been in the business of manufacturing sportfishing boats since 1964 and has never stopped evolving and modernizing. Today, Viking is known mainly for its Sportfishing line but as well for its Motor Yachts and recently launched line of Center Console Boats known as Valhalla.
Viking Yachts are still built in New Gretna, New Jersey but have a very nice service facility in Riviera Beach, Florida.
Popular Viking Sportfishing Boat Models
Some of the most popular Viking Sportfish models today are:
Fun Fact: Michael Jordans Current Fishing Boat is the Catch 23, an 80 Foot Viking.
2. Bayliss Boatworks
Bayliss Boatworks is the next brand of Sport Fishing Boat we are going to discuss, and that’s because, in our opinion, they are unquestionably the gold standard of Custom Sportfishing Manufacturers.
Built and owned by John Bayliss, Bayliss Boatworks has been building boats out of Wanchese, NC, since 2002. The last marker we can find for the number of boats built by Bayliss was 25, but that was as of 2020.
Are you thinking of buying a new Bayliss? If so, get in line. The current wait for a new Bayliss Sportfish could be as long as 5 or 6 years! And if you think you can wait that long, also prepare yourself for the price tag, which estimates say is anywhere between Five and 15 Million dollars.
Previous Bayliss Models Built
Jarrett Bay Boatworks
Brief History and Reputation
Jarrett Bay Boatworks, a name synonymous with quality craftsmanship and innovation, has a rich history that dates back to 1986. Founded by Randy Ramsey, the company started with the construction of a single 52-foot charter boat, the Sensation, in an old tin shed. From these humble beginnings, Jarrett Bay has grown into a world-renowned brand, having constructed and delivered over 100 custom and semi-production sportfish boats and serviced tens of thousands of vessels. Their reputation for finely balancing fishing performance, fuel efficiency, and luxury without sacrificing the legendary Carolina ride is well-earned and respected in the boating community.
Specialties and Unique Features
Jarrett Bay Boatworks is a premier builder of custom sportfishing boats. Their one-of-a-kind custom construction process is a standout feature, allowing them to cater to their customer’s unique needs. They offer:
- Custom Hulls: Jarrett Bay’s custom hulls are designed for optimal performance and efficiency, providing a smooth and comfortable ride even in rough waters.
- World-Class Service: Their award-winning service department can handle virtually any project on vessels up to 300 tons. Located adjacent to the mid-Atlantic seaport of Beaufort, North Carolina, Jarrett Bay boasts highly skilled craftsmen and technicians at competitive rates.
Types of Sportfishing Boats They Offer
Jarrett Bay offers a range of custom and semi-production sportfishing boats. While the specific models and types may vary, each boat is designed with a focus on fishing performance, fuel efficiency, and luxury. Below are a few models currently in the fleet or still in production at Jarrett Bay:
American Custom Yachts
American Custom Yachts was founded in Stuart, Florida in 1991 by Dominick LaCombe and his son, Chris Lacombe. ACY had a great reputation for building high-quality custom sportfishing boats with excellent ride and a long range, with sizes ranging from around 50ft all the way up to 90ft. American Custom Yachts boats were easily distinguished on the water because they lacked the typical engine vents on the side of the hull.
In 2021 American Custom Yachts was acquired by Willis Custom Yachts in a massive deal to get their Stuart facility and assets.
American Custom Yacht Builds
Below are a few models built by American Custom Yachts:
- 68-Foot Sportfish “Mon Chari“
- 70 Ft. Sportfish “Que Mas“
- 90 Ft. “C’est La Vie“