Need boat advice

Any suggestions on what size boat and motor for fishing for SRC's and Salmon in the salt and something that would work in the rivers also? What could a guy get a decent used setup with a trailer for?

Thanks, Ryan

Richard E

Active Member
Ryan, you may not have received any responses because your question needed a little more specifics, like size of boat you're looking to get, where will you be storing it, what rig you'll be using to pull it, whether you like fiberglass or aluminum better, and one of the biggest items, what is your budget? :thumb:

Folks will fish the Sound from float tubes (not advisable except under very specific locations and conditions) to boats costing in the tens of thousands and in the mid 20 feet length.
There was a good thread on this topic a while back.

It really depends on what part of the sound and what rivers you want to fish. My ideal boat for the Sound would be a 17' Boston Whaler Montauk, but that probably wouldn't be a very good river boat. While 12 or 14 foot aluminum boat with a 9.9 is all you really need for SRC fishing, I like to have the ability to buzz to different spots at 40+ mph. The Whaler will probably run you 10 grand though, while you can probably find an aluminum dinghy, motor and trailer on craigslist for less than $2500. Fiberglass is good because it’s easy to repair and it stays a bit warmer. Aluminum is cold on the river. Don’t know if you are thinking of a jet for the rivers, but if you don’t need one, I think I would recommend getting a decent drift boat and mounting an electric motor or small outboard on the back for fishing on the sound. I have seen a few guys fishing the salt in DBs. As long as it isn’t too windy or rough and you don’t need to get around too fast, it would be a great platform to fish for SRCs. Definitely a compromise, but it would do well on the river and there are still plenty of good spots on the south sound that are a short motor/row from the boat launch.

Many thoughts here…
Thanks guys. I probably should be a little more specific. I was thinking of aluminum. Definitely less than 20 ft. I would need to store it outside under cover. My budget is about 2 grand at the most. What is a good length boat and size motor for the salt?

Thanks, Ryan
You'll not find a boat/motor/trailer combo NEW for two grand. Chck the classified section for used items here and in the local newspaper.


IMHO: for semi-protected water minimum size boat 14-15 ft. with a 25hp motor. For open water minimum size boat 16-17 ft. with a 40hp motor. Do a search on WFF on the subject as there is plenty of information about boats in previous threads.



Active Member
seattle boat show is a couple of weeks. i'd suggest you go look at everything at that show. will also give you a different bunch of folks to ask your questions of and maybe even locate a used boat through a dealer.

there are lots of opinions on this subject which have been shared over the course of the last year or more. do a search so folks don't have to repeat themselves. only suggestion on aluminum is to find a welded boat, rivets tend to work loose over time and they will start to leak.
I hope this helps.

I have gone full circle. Here are the boats I have used in Puget Sound

1) 12 foot Zodiac Wood floor 6 Hp 2 stroke
2) 14 foot Smoker Craft Alaskan 12 Hp 2 stroke
3) 17' Boston Whaler Outrage 135 Hp 4 stroke
4) 10 foot Lund John boat, origially bought as a dingy to get to the mooring of the Whaler.

5) the latest boat 11' pontoon boat with a standing platform and 2 hp 4 stock with internal tank.

The zodiac was manuverable and stealthy. Pain to inflate and breakdown. Bumpy ride in chop. Slow in chop But positive flotation. Developed a leak in the floor. Got rid of it. Best feature was the stealth.

The Smoker craft gave a smoother ride with the v hull but just allowed me to go out further and did NOT have real positive flotation. I.e. if it got fully swamped is would stay swamped. Every try to manuver a boad with 4 " of water in the bottom, let alone 8". In chop? Not really safe. So basically the V-hull was negated by the in ability stay afloat in really serious conditions. So I stayed close to shore and on short runs. I gave it to my brother.

The whaler is great. I still have it. I can go anywhere in anything less than a small craft advisory. Also the boat is manuverable enough to get a good anchoring in some tight areas with the current is flowing. Problem in the thing with a trailer is about 3000#s so you need a 5000# towing capacity rig. i.e. I don't recommend a 3000# capcity Highlander or something like that. I also think two people to launch and pull out is best. To fish alone in it is pretty tough. Run the motor, cut it and then fish. You just don't get that much fly in water time.

So the newest boat. Here are the reasons I got it.
- I can launch by myself
- Positive floatation
- With the 2hp I sould be able to get pretty far with little effort. Also internal fuel tank and I will carry extra gas in a small aluminum camping gas can. Way faster than rowing but slow enough to look for fish.
- Shallow draft so I can easily anchor and jump out and fish without beaching it.
-- Low in water for stealth.
- Goes on top 4-runner, no towing so a Ferry trip is the cost of the car not by length which can be rather expensive.
-- I can troll with the oars. Get exercise, but get excellent control.
-- I can kick paddle with fins and keep my hand on the rod.
-- Stand up and cast but still not be high in the water.

This boat should allow me to have the most amount of time actually fishing.

Really consider if you will be fishing by yourself or with someone. IMO the v hull aluminum route was the least Fly fishable. It was really tippy, drifted fast, hard to manage the anchor and had to be towed. Plus they sink. Yeah they are supposed to have positive flotation with foam under the seats etc, but 3 blocks of foam, a boat full of water in chop and a wet motor? That just means you will avoid that possibilty, don't go into those waters under those conditions. So the V hull to cut the chop and the motor to get there are negated.

Like I said, hope this helps.

Lunds are solid. We had a 18 footer with a yamaha 100 4st and it performed great, even in the salt with 8' swells. Im sure you could find a used small one for 2k. idk how reliable the motor would be though.

Richard E

Active Member
jfh9 said:
My budget is about 2 grand at the most. What is a good length boat and size motor for the salt?

Thanks, Ryan

You narrowed it down pretty quickly with the budget.

Ideally, try to find a high sided 14' aluminum boat with at least a 9.9, and preferably a 15hp, outboard. Riveted will probably be what's available in that price range. Oh, galvanized trailer, too.
I was in the same situation two years ago...couldn't find what I was looking for so I built my own. Made lots of mistakes but it's a fantastic fishing craft: 14' long and very wide, three separate casting platforms and flyline friendly, flat bottom for the lakes, absolutely rock solid and very stable...I tow it to Potholes from Olympia on a utility trailer. I build it with my boys who were 8 and 5 at the time, been promising to post pics for a while. Check out for plans...I built the GF14 for around $450 for everything and slapped a suzuki 8hp on it for $800, $250 for the utility trailer.

Better than anything I could have bought used. If you got the time, it's the way to go and I plan on doing it again for a salt water 18 footer this time.