Not feeling wishy washy about white waters anymore? That’s great to hear! The great outdoors beckons, and you’ve found yourself ready to answer the call. The question is: what makes the best fishing rafts? The right raft can help you navigate unsteady waters, reach a more perfect fishing spot, and easily compact down into dimensions that don’t require a U-Haul.
To answer that question, however, we need to dial in and focus on the two important W’s: what and where. Given that there are countless options on the market, it’s highly recommended that you determine what your fishing raft needs are first. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Determining Which Raft Best Suits Your Needs
The first question to ask before buying a fishing raft is: what do you plan on using it for? Is it for solo trips? Fishing with friends? Something to take the family out in? Answering this will help you determine the ideal size of your future fishing raft. Given the wide range of raft prices out there, knowing how many people will be using your raft will help you begin to narrow down the options.
There are pros and cons related to the size of your raft. Larger rafts enable you to carry more gear, more people, as well as provide additional stability on water. Smaller rafts, on the other hand, provide you with more maneuverability when navigating white waters and rivers (and, in our opinion, are way more exciting!).
The next question you need to ask yourself is: where do you intend on using your new raft? Do you live in the country near calm lakes and streams? Or are you an adventurer who wants to conquer state rivers and discover isolated fishing spots?
Again, pros and cons will play into your decision-making process. There are ‘catarafts’, which are rafts that utilize a metal frame to connect two inflatable tubes on opposite ends. They are nimble, fun to ride, and easier to mount an outboard motor to. Conversely, catarafts require proper distribution of weight for optimal performance. They’re also not very passenger-friendly, so if you’re a fan of moving about on your raft, a cataraft may not be the right choice for you.
Traditional inflatable rafts have a floor, making moving around easier. They’re also not heavily reliant on weight distribution to perform at their best. They’re kid-friendly, paddle-friendly, and ideal for calmer waters, too. On the other hand, traditional rafts are not as maneuverable. They’re also notably bulkier, making transportation to and from your fishing hole a bit more difficult.
Best Fishing Rafts: Our Top Picks
If you’re looking for the perfect fishing raft for your big group of fishing friends, then the Intex Inflatable Fishing Boat is one you should definitely check out. It’s a fantastic raft that’s able to fit 5 adults and has plenty of space for anything you need to pack for a fishing excursion.
The raft is designed with high-quality materials and is built with puncture-resistant PVC for durability. It also contains three air chambers, including an inner auxiliary chamber for extra buoyancy and safety to help prevent you from sinking if trouble should arise on the water.
All in all, the Intex Fishing Boat is an ideal choice for larger groups or fishers that need some extra storage or carrying capacity for their fishing trips.Buy on Amazon
This 9-foot inflatable pontoon fishing boat is an excellent choice for anyone who plans to fish on the river. It can be rowed or trolled and features a motor mount that’s sturdy enough for two positions. The fishing raft also features three oar lock positions that can be used with either 7-foot oars or removable fishing rod holders.
Honestly, this is perhaps one of the best one-person inflatable pontoon boats on the market right now. It has a 400-pound weight capacity and features so many racks and pockets that you’ll never have to worry about not having enough room for all your gear. All together there’s 10 mesh pockets, 12 zippered pockets, and a large capacity rear storage rack near the motor mount.
But I must warn you…be prepared to answer lots of questions about this inflatable pontoon, because you will be the most popular fisher on the river if you choose to go with this option. I can promise you that.Buy on Amazon
Are you a person that knows the perfect fishing spot, but it takes a little hike to get to that point? Well, then you’re in luck because the Sea Eagle PackFish is the absolute best companion for any fisherman that needs a packable raft to accompany them on fishing journeys.
This inflatable raft measures in at 7’x39” when it’s inflated, but drastically sizes down to 5”x20”x20” when it’s deflated — making it incredibly easy to pack away and carry to the next fishing spot. According to Sea Eagle, the raft takes less than 5 minutes to unpack and inflate, which means you’ll be ready to go in no time.
But what about when you’re on the water? Well, it has everything you need for a great day of fishing as well. It’s loaded with features and accessories that are sure to make your friends jealous, including a built-in fishing ruler, four tracking strips, and two built-in rod holders.Buy on Amazon
Hopefully throughout this article you’ve found some helpful information for your buying decision. There are a ton of choices out there, but fingers crossed that now you’re better informed and maybe even found one above that you’re going to buy.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if you have the best, most expensive, or the one with all the bells & whistles — all that really matters is your satisfaction. As long as it keeps you safe, dry, and on the water at your favorite fishing spot…that’s the real winning raft.