What makes the ultimate catfishing boat is in the eye of the beholder. Given the vast differences in waters and situations faced by the faithful across whiskerland, it’s a good thing boat makers offer nearly limitless options in size, hull designs, bells and whistles, layout, seating, storage, and more.
To help you find a platform that fits your style of fishing, we’ve assembled a selection of six top picks in various shapes and sizes of catfishing boats. If you don’t see a perfect match, check manufacturer websites, boat shows, and local marine dealers to find the ride of your dreams.
- alumacraft.com - After putting one of these sweet modified V-hulls through its paces on Minnesota’s cat-rich Rum, St. Croix, and Snake rivers last season, I can attest to its prowess as a catboat. At 16 feet in length with a 74-inch beam, the 1650 is perfect for small to mid-sized rivers and lakes. Paired with a short-shaft outboard like the 60-hp four-stroke Yamaha on the back of my test rig, the boat can navigate amazingly shallow water. During the summer of 2013, this was a huge factor as many reaches were knee-deep or less.
I like the center console design, but the boat is available as a side console as well. Both are rated for up to 60 hp, and can haul when appropriately powered. While the 20-gallon livewell isn’t big enough for monster blues or mudcats, it’s plenty big for keeping bait lively as needed, or for keeping a few eater channels gilling until cleaning time. If you choose to add an extra holding tank, there’s room between the console and foredeck.
Like all Alumacrafts, the All-Weld series is one tough customer. Its .102-inch hull is supremely sturdy—I crossed logs, rocks, and other rough terrain with mine, with no ill effects to its seaworthiness. Just keep in mind like any 16-footer, space is at a premium. Thankfully, there is lockable forward storage, additional room beneath the dash, and aft in the battery storage and fuel tank compartment. And, if you need more storage or space for your cattin’ adventures, the company offers All-Welds to 20 feet in length.