Pump it up: 7 great new inflatable boats for anglers

These portable, versatile and easy-to-use vessels are true fishing machines

Inflatable boats have come a long way since the days of flimsy rubber rafts that could be sunk by a stray pop-can tab. Today’s styles include traditional dinghies, plus kayaks, pontoon boats and stand-up paddleboards—all designed specifically for anglers.

5

STRAITEDGE ANGLER

Advanced Elements, US$799.99

Key features: Wide-beam, nine-foot kayak with built-in aluminum ribs for better tracking; removable accessory frame; high-back seat with two rod holders and inflatable lumbar support.

The promise: “Designed for the needs of the kayak angler.”

7

TIOGA

Classic Accessories, US$449.95

Key features: Nine-foot framed pontoon boat with padded seat, two rod holders, anchor system, multiple storage pockets, stowable transport wheel, electric motor mount and battery platform.

The promise: “Loaded with technical features and advantages.”

1

OSPREY

Creek Company, US$1499.99

Key features: 11-foot-long stand-up paddleboard with EVA foam deck for solid footing; three PVC pods for mounting Scotty accessories; packs compactly enough to check as airline luggage.

The promise: “The most stable and versatile fishing-specific SUP.”

2

FISH CAT SCOUT

Outcast Sporting Gear, US$649

Key features: Frameless pontoon boat with kayak-style seat, two carry handles, built-in gear pocket and rod holder; weighs 35 pounds, with 400-pound capacity; five-year warranty.

The promise: “Ultimate portability and simple, no-hassle set-up.”

 

6

STEALTH STALKER 10

Sea Eagle, US$1249

Key features: Frameless 10-foot boat with 1,200 pound, two-person capacity; rated for four-horsepower gas or 74-pound-thrust electric motor; two removable swivel seats; four Scotty rod holders.

The promise: “A truly stable and functional fishing craft.”

3

FK396 FISHING SERIES

Saturn Inflatable Boats, $895

Key features: 13-foot kayak with double-layer PVC on floor and top of tubes to guard against hooks; two removable aluminum accessory platforms; storage space in bow; optional Bimini sunshade.

The promise: “Easy to carry and store”

4

FISH HUNTER 4-PERSON

Sevylor, $319.99

Key features: Nine-foot boat with Berkley Quick Set rod holders, swivel oarlocks, inflatable seats, bow and stern fittings for electric motor; 700-pound capacity; multiple air chambers that stay inflated if one is punctured.

The promise: “Rowing is natural and easy.”

STAYING ALFOAT

When selecting an inflatable, make sure its size, speed and manoeuvrability match your angling style, as well as the type of water you fish. And for long-time enjoyment, here are some tips for keeping both you and your boat in fine form.

Safety

Always follow the manufacturer’s weight and passenger limit recommendations. Remember that inflatables used in open water are considered pleasure craft, and subject to the same rules as other vessels when it comes to PFDs, bailers and other safety equipment. And if your inflatable is motorized, you need a Pleasure Craft Operator Card.

Care

Don’t store an inflated boat on asphalt, sand or gravel, especially in direct sunlight. Heat from hard surfaces can cause it to over-expand, stressing the seams and fabric lamination. Also keep in mind that when an inflatable first makes contact with cold water, it loses some air pressure.