A boat does not make a successful fisherman. A successful fisherman can fish from anywhere. But the success of a fisherman can always be optimised with the tools he or she uses, and this includes the type and layout of boat.
This is one of the most popular style boats in the world, because of its versatility. It has a forward windscreen, a great deal of deck space, and various layouts for seating.
Given the large rear cockpit, runabouts are suitable for any kind of fishing which centres around the stern of the boat. Lure trolling, bottom drift fishing, fishing at anchor, lure casting, etc.
The bow on a runabout is fairly useless, so that is space that is wasted perhaps for a fisherman. You cannot lure cast or cast flies from the front.
The windscreen doesn’t offer much protection in reality, so this boat is a good weather family boat, but don’t expect it to be an enjoyable trip in cold, windy or wet conditions.
A bowrider is like a runabout, but has made use of the bow. A forward seating area in front of the windscreen provides a great area as a casting or fishing deck. The windscreen on a bowrider is generally set a bit further back than a runabout, so there’s sufficient space up the front.
Because the windscreen is further back, some of the stern deck space is sacrificed. For this reason, bowriders can be superb estuary and freshwater fishing boats for casting from the front. But with less space at the back, they are limited if you want to fish at anchor or even for lure trolling.
Our first boat was a centre console, and it is very suitable for fishing freshwater, which was what we were primarily doing. The boat was essentially all deck space, with a small console for steering set as an island just aft of the centre of the boat.
From this boat we could fish 360 degrees. We could cast lures, we could troll, we could fish at anchor, and it was great. The only problem was that there was absolutely no protection from the wind or weather, and we would not put it in the saltwater because it was all carpeted.
We had a bimini, but it was rare that the rain fell straight down! The rain would usually come sideways and combine with spray off the lake that we were on. The wind would howl past us, with no protection but to sit down as low as possible. The bimini offered no protection from windy, and worse still – the poles on the bimini got in the way of our rods!
So whilst the centre console boat gave us lots of good times, when the weather was good, it was time for us to upgrade to something that offered some protection and that would open us up to saltwater fishing.
This is what we have bought now. We have a half cabin in the bow of the boat where we can sleep, and there’s plenty of storage under the seats. This cabin also offers protection from wind, rain, and saltwater spray. We also have a decent deck space in the stern, since our boat is 6 metres.
We haven’t tried fishing off the bow of the boat yet, but may do so in warmer weather. But this boat will change the style of fishing that we do somewhat, by opening up the bay and ocean fishing to us. The boat is all pressed aluminium and vinyl, so there’s no problem with cleaning the saltwater off.
We can cast from the stern deck, we can troll lures, we can fish at anchor, and we can bottom drift.
I see a centre cabin v half cabin the same way as a bowrider v runabout. Because the centre cabin style boat offers the same cabin that a half cabin boat does, but the centre cabin enables use of the bow of the boat, just like a bowrider.
You’ll sacrifice some cabin space so that there is a walk around area on either side, so this style is not ideal for smaller boats. But the bigger the boat gets, maybe the better to have the ability to quickly get to the bow. But whilst we’re young and fit enough, I have no problem jumping up not the side of the half cabin and shimmying around to the front.
So, there’s plenty of options to choose from, and it comes down to the primary style of fishing you want to do, and who you want to fish with.