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FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS TO WORLD-RENOWNED BRAND

Meet the fleet.

Jarrett Bay Boatworks, a premier builder of custom sportfishing boats, began in 1986 when Randy Ramsey led the construction of a single 52-foot charter boat, the Sensation , in an old tin shed. Since those humble beginnings, Jarrett Bay has constructed & delivered over 100 custom & semi-production sportfish boats and serviced tens of thousands of vessels. Our one-of-a-kind custom construction process allows us to finely balance our customers’ needs for fishing performance, fuel efficiency and luxury – all while never sacrificing the legendary Carolina ride.

World-Class Service

The award-winning Jarrett Bay service department can handle virtually any project on vessels up to 300 tons. Centrally located adjacent to the mid-Atlantic seaport of Beaufort, North Carolina, Jarrett Bay Boatworks boasts highly skilled craftsmen and technicians at the most competitive rates.

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Jarrett Bay Insider takes you behind the scenes to inspect the incredible craftsmanship that goes into the construction of our world-class custom sportfish boats and yacht refits.

Furnishings

In the news, why jarrett bay.

We feel so strongly about our boats, we’ve identified 11 in-depth reasons to build a Jarrett Bay. If you are seriously considering a custom build, we’d love to teach you more about the value of our boats.

Best Sport Fishing Boats

  • By Marlin Staff
  • Updated: May 2, 2019

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Who doesn’t like to look at sleek, gorgeous sport fishing boats? Even those who’ll never have the means to purchase one or ever feel the need to venture offshore in pursuit of blue-water species love to stop and ogle the big pretty sport-fisher at the end of the dock. Gleaming bright work, rich teak and lines that seem to stretch on for days captivate anyone with a touch of saltwater in their veins.

But sport fishing boats haven’t always looked the way they do today. In the not-so-distant past (our sport is barely more than 70 years old), sport-fishers were more or less working boats, and they looked like it. The need to go farther and faster in pursuit of bigger fish or more productive waters slowly pushed builders to the edge of the technological capabilities of the time. Any changes that came about were rooted in competition — one guy wanted to go farther faster and catch more fish than the other guy.

While that may sound simple, it takes a special character to start experimenting with a sport fishing yacht that might cost several times one’s annual salary, with no real way of knowing if something is going to work until it splashes in the water. Of course, sport fishing boat manufacturers now can use computer-aided design software to make models and run simulations that take a lot of the guesswork out of the process, but boatbuilding is still a fine art, which makes each and every builder an artist.

So here’s a glimpse into what makes 30 of the top boatbuilding artists in our industry tick and how they go about creating one masterpiece after another.

Top Sport Fishing Boats

The entire coastline of North Carolina enjoys a long fishing tradition, so it’s no wonder that the state has spawned an enormous number of boatbuilders. Albemarle Sportfishing Boats started building boats in 1978 after Scott Harrell, a Ford tractor dealer, started vacationing and fishing in Hatteras Village, North Carolina. He eventually started selling boats as well, but even so, he wasn’t satisfied with what was available on the market at that time. The rough waters tore apart most of the trailer boats that Harrell sold and fished on, so he decided that he wanted to build a boat that would take a beating and still provide a dry, comfortable ride.

Burch Perry, Albemarle’s general manager and Harrell’s grandson, says that while the company may have left trailer boats behind, they still build boats that are meant to last.

“We are on our 35th year, and we are still a pretty traditional builder when it comes to the construction techniques we use on our boats,” Perry says. “The materials have got a lot better and much stronger. We still build our boats to fish comfortably and to last a long time. In fact, a lot of times we find ourselves trying to sell a new Albemarle to someone and competing with one of our boats that we built years ago.”

Although Albemarle builds boats from 24 to 41 feet, in recent years the company has focused on boats in the upper end of its range — vessels from 36 to 41 feet. “Even though the outboards have gotten bigger and more economical, we felt it would be better for us to build more of our larger boats,” Perry says. “We like the diesel inboard power because we believe it provides the best fishing platform since you don’t have to fish around an outboard. We think the pod drives are really cool, but they are bit cost prohibitive in our size range. We will build you a boat with pods if you prefer them, but we think that we will continue to see a big demand for shaft-driven inboards.”

New owner Scott McLaughlin purchased the company from Brunswick several years ago after admiring the brand for years. “He definitely wants to continue the brand’s legacy and see it carry on,” Perry says. “And his ownership allows us to do just that.”

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Since 1992, when Dominick LaCombe teamed up with the Chouest family to create American Custom Yachts Inc., the company has focused on building boats that can really scoot. The first ACY that Marlin reviewed back in 1994 topped out at 50 mph — incredibly fast by even today’s standards. Today, the company is still going strong, building super-fast boats built to match the specific needs of each customer.

“It’s extremely important to get to know your customers and find out exactly how they plan on using their boats,” LaCombe says. “It’s good to know how they are going to be traveling and what kind of accommodations will be needed for crew and guests. Some customers might come in here and say that they want a 60-footer that they can travel the world in. I might have to tell them that if they made the boat a bit bigger, that they would have better range, more overall efficiency and room to carry spare parts. With our extensive fishing experience, we can give an owner a list of pros and cons concerning all aspects of the boat, and between us, we can usually come up with the best scenario that matches how they want to use it,” LaCombe says. “Every bit of input we can get from the mates, captains, etc., helps us match up the right boat to fit the owner’s needs.”

LaCombe says his customers usually have a pretty extensive knowledge of boatbuilding, so it makes his job a little easier. “You get to really know these people after seeing them around at the boat shows and tournaments. We never build the same boat twice, so we listen to our customers’ ideas and incorporate them whenever possible. From the first time I meet a potential customer, sometimes a year goes by before we sit down and sign a contract. And it should take that long. The customer should check out everybody and look at all the options out there. I prefer a well-educated customer.”

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Most of the boats featured in these pages, while exceptional sport-fishers, were never built to be full-time, working charter boats. Private owners who travel extensively to fish in remote areas have a totally different set of needs than the average charter-boat captain who’s more concerned about staying efficient and being able to fish hard in any kind of weather. Capt. Buddy “BC” Cannady, one of the B’s in BB Boats Inc. (the other being Billy Maxwell) has built more than 132 boats, and some of them have been chartering for a long time. Tuna Duck, Cannady’s oldest boat and one that has been chartering for 35 years, does 150 trips a year or more with Capt. Dan Rokes at the helm. Another BB boat Trophy Hunter was in second place at the Pirates Cove Big Game Tournament at the time this article was being written.

Maxwell met Cannady during the winter in 1989, when Maxwell was repairing a torn-up boat. “After I finished the boat, he asked me to come to work for him during the winter of 1990 because I had worked so hard on that first boat,” Maxwell says. “We became partners in 1999 and built my brother-in-law David Graham the Easy Rider.”

While Cannady has 36 boats at more than 50 feet under his belt, 23 of those were built under the BB partnership with Maxwell.

“The cool thing about working with Buddy is that it’s always been a wintertime project, providing four or five months of work for the working captains and mates that have to quit fishing,” Maxwell says. “Everybody who works in our shop is either a captain, mate or involved in the commercial fishing industry. All of our guys know how to fish and where to put things. They are all experienced watermen … Buddy is a legend. It’s been a pleasure to work with him.”

And both men take pride in the fact that they work on the boats as well. “We have our hands on everything — and that’s the way we like it,” Maxwell says. “Our first priorities are economy, safety and ease of use. We want you to be able to make it back safely, hose the boat off and go again the next day.” As an added bonus, a BB can hit 30 knots while burning just 60 gph — you can’t beat that.

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Bertram Yacht got its start in 1960, when Richard Bertram began racing and winning on an experimental hull called Moppie. That hull went on to anchor one of the most successful sport-fishing models of all time, the legendary 31 Bertram. The company went on to build just fewer than 13,000 boats in its 53-year history, expanding the line and making more history with iconic fishing hulls like the 54 and 60 Bertram.

“We build saltwater sport-fishing boats,” President Alton Herndon says. “And that means we focus on the fishability, ride, speed and comfort on every boat that leaves this facility. Our customers go to sea often enough that they are sometimes going to get caught in rough sea conditions; we build boats that will bring them home.”

Bertram Yacht recently relocated from the Miami area north to Merritt Island, Florida. “It’s been a very good move for us,” Herndon says. “We had outgrown the Miami facility in terms of the size of the boats we could build and launch there. We had to lift our 80-footers over the buildings on a crane to launch them into the canal, so it just didn’t make any sense to stay down there.”

Bertram also benefited from the huge number of skilled boat builders in the Merritt Island area, and Herndon says that they have on file more than 2,000 applications without advertising. “We’ve got a wonderful team here, and the folks we’ve hired were selected from this large group of applicants. It’s really a wonderful area.”

But that’s not to say that everyone is new. Herndon says that quite a few employees made the move to Merritt Island and that the total Bertram team averages 15 years of experience per employee in the boatbuilding business.“They know their jobs, and they know them well, and the quality of the product reflects that. I’m very proud of our team,” he says.

“The other side of being a successful boatbuilder is to take care of your customer after the sale. And that’s actually the most enjoyable part — spending time on the water with them and getting to the know them. We design and build our boats for their intended use, so who better to learn from than our customer?”

Top Sport Fishing Boats

John Bayliss made a pretty big splash in the sport-fishing world in 2002 when he opened up his shop in Wanchese, North Carolina. Like so many builders before him, Bayliss started his career as a fisherman before moving on to boatbuilding. One of his early side trips, a stint as the factory captain at Hatteras Yachts, opened his eyes to a whole different world of boatbuilding and gave him a bunch of good ideas that he would one day incorporate into his own line of gorgeous sport-fishers.

“Boatbuilding is a lot like an arms race,” Bayliss says. “You build a boat with all these good ideas in it, and someone sees those features and says those are great, but how about this, this and this? So then you incorporate those ideas, and it just keeps growing from there. The owners who are really into fishing, like we are, come up with excellent ideas. So it’s a never-ending cycle to make the next boat better than the last one.”

Bayliss says that a passion for the sport and building boats is one of the main reasons behind his success.

“My employees are as passionate about fishing and boatbuilding as I am,” he says. “They might be out with their wife at dinner, but you can be sure that they are thinking about a fix for a little problem on the boat they are working on. Our guys take that level of commitment and creativity to the next level. Creativity fosters more creativity. If the people you surround yourself with share the same passion, then you are going to be successful — and that goes for fishing, football, just about anything,” he says.

“We are extremely committed and will stop at nothing to make sure that we will build the very best sport-fishing boat that we can build. I’m very competitive with myself, and my people are right there with me. If we make a mistake or see something that we need to make better, then we will make it right. We are way more particular than even our owners,” Bayliss says. “Boatbuilding is, in a lot of ways, just like fishing -— you’re not going to make a ton of money doing it, but it sure is a pretty dang cool way to make a living. Between fishing and boatbuilding, I don’t feel like I’ve ever really had real job yet.”

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Like most boatbuilders in North Carolina, Capt. Sunny Briggs got his start working during the winter months in the yard for some of the area’s legendary boatmen, such as Capt. Omie Tillet and Capt. Sheldon Midgett. In fact, Capt. Buddy Davis and Briggs worked side-by-side under Midgett until Briggs broke off to start his own shop in his backyard in 1982.

“We all started out the same way, charter fishing during the spring and summer and then boatbuilding in the winter,” Briggs says. “I was mate for 13 years before I started running boats. That was my whole life … I didn’t do anything else but go to school and fish.

“Most of my customers come to me with a size of boat that they are already interested in, so I’ll sit down with them and draw something up to see what we can put into a boat that size,” he says. “We’ll calculate the range and speed and go from there. Many people think that they can get away with a more reasonable price by building a 50 versus a 60, but that’s not really the case. Those two boats have the same equipment, pretty much the same horsepower, with a bit more fuel and water on the 60. We haven’t added much that would make the price go up. The most reasonably priced part of the boat is the hull. So if you can add a couple of the feet to the hull to get a better running surface and riding surface and pick up a bit more room on the inside, then you are far ahead of the game.”

Briggs says that his 61 or 62 is his favorite size. It doesn’t have excessive power, provides a nice space for entertaining, a big cockpit, and he can still achieve a great look that is appealing to the customer. In his opinion, the 61-footer even rides better than smaller sizes, such as a 57 or 58.

“I look back to the Johnny Harm days, and all the really good guys had a wooden boat and diesel engines. And when the Cummins diesel first came out, you’d seldom saw any of the greats going around in anything other than a wooden hull — it’s just a better ride,” Briggs says.

Top Sport Fishing Boats

In 1988, Henry Morschladt and Michael Howarth sold their iconic sailboat company, Pacific Seacraft, deciding to build what they thought would be the premier sport-fishing yacht on the market. In 1991, Cabo launched its Ed Monk-designed 35-foot flybridge model. Immediately, the marketplace saw a new standard, and the bar was set high. Offshore anglers couldn’t believe that sailors had designed the boat. Several of what would become Cabo’s signature features caught their eyes, including oversize custom hinges, molded-in bait tanks with the first windows to turn the lighted livewell into an aquarium, fully gel-coated bilges and spacious interiors. In addition, the wiring and plumbing runs were true works of art.

In August 2013, Versa Capitol Management, a private equity investment firm with $1.3 billion of assets, purchased Hatteras and Cabo Yachts. Cabo/Hatteras president and CEO John Ward, a 24-year marine executive whose experience includes Boston Whaler and Mercury Marine, will continue to lead the Hatteras/Cabo team.

“Three things define Cabo,” Ward says. “Fishability, the highest quality components like hinges and hardware, and wiring and plumbing that have no peers.”

Other changes have come along as well. A redesigned hull now runs smoother and drier. Overall, Cabo’s sea-keeping ability is vastly improved compared to the first hull. Fortunately, the public took notice of these small, well-built sport-fishers, and they’ve become extremely popular throughout the Gulf states and abroad. “This is a tough segment, suffering huge declines with the advent of big outboards,” Ward says. “Fortunately, the Cabo brand still has an incredible following all over the world and is going strong.”

Morschladt and Howarth pioneered many of today’s styling and construction advances, Ward says. “We’re still waiting to define any new direction our new owners feel necessary.”

Like Pacific Seacraft before it, Cabo’s customer service philosophy has always had the goal of “out-servicing” its competition, no matter what it takes. With Cabo, warranty claims became painless. And it shows in every customer loyalty brand survey.

Ward feels Cabo’s service has never been better. “We treat the two brands the same when it comes to customer service,” he says. “Except in Cabo’s case, I think we are better today, since the boat is now built on the East Coast, and we have our service facility down in Fort Lauderdale, [Florida]. We can react more quickly and efficiently. Plus, when necessary, we’ll get on a plane to fix it.”

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Ira Trocki, a cosmetic surgeon with a passion for boating, created a company that builds some of the most iconic sport-fishing brands in the business. One of the iconic names that Trocki still honors with his builds is Buddy Davis, who died at the age of 62 in January 2011.

Like many builders in the Dare County, North Carolina, tradition, Davis Yachts builds custom Carolina boats. These are purpose-built boats with sharp entries and exaggerated bow flares to meet the strong currents of Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, and the often rough seas of the Gulf Stream.

“Buddy Davis designed boats to handle huge head seas, to perform in a following sea like it is riding on rails and yet be stable on all points,” Trocki says. “The beautiful bow flare isn’t just for looks. The spray from the knife-sharp bow gets blocked by the flare, so it’s beautiful but functional.

“We build each Buddy Davis by hand,” Trocki says. “But we use all the latest technology. In fact, we are more advanced than many, as we employ a resin-infusion process for each hull.” The gelcoat is sprayed onto the mold, and then multidirectional fiberglass, Divinycell composite foam coring and more fiberglass is laid — dry — into the mold. “We cover the entire mold in a vacuum bag and then draw the resin from one end of the mold to the other. This makes for an exact resin-to-glass ratio while eliminating any and all air pockets. It is the most perfect laminate you can muster. It makes for an extremely light, strong and stiff hull. There’s no wood in a Buddy Davis hull,” Trocki says.

And while it gets a lot of lip service in the industry, at Buddy Davis, customer service truly does take priority. “We go a step above just making it important,” Trocki says. “One of our customers had an engine problem on July Fourth. Of course, the engine company didn’t answer its phones. The customer called us and said that he had eight people coming from afar to spend the holiday and was terribly disappointed he couldn’t use his boat. The president of Buddy Davis, Bob Weidhaas, himself a mechanic by trade, left his family’s events and drove two-and-a-half hours to the customer’s home to personally fix the engine.”

Trocki is also a Buddy Davis owner. “Like other owners, I want to be able to look out at my boat and enjoy it as piece of art … except mine can run 40 knots.”

_— Dean Travis Clarke _

Top Sport Fishing Boats

In 1987, Jim Floyd and a friend decided to build a strong, seaworthy sport-fishing yacht based on the variable-deadrise running surface of Floyd’s old 23-foot Seacraft. “I grew up fishing on a 23 Seacraft,” Floyd says. “Coincidentally, the patents on its hull design ran out just about the time that I wanted to build my first boat, so I adapted the Seacraft bottom for larger hulls.”

After 10 years of designing and modeling, Floyd built his first yacht in a barn in Delaware. That boat, the 59-foot Fin-Ally, had perhaps the most unique bottom in the genre, complete with longitudinal steps for improved tracking and roll stability. To date, F&S has built more than 20 large sport-fishing yachts for its truly satisfied owners.

“I want to build the strongest boat I possibly can,” Floyd says. “The ride should be the same — the best possible. Our stepped bottom is superior to other designs on every point of performance.” F&S customers become friends because Floyd pays attention and treats them fairly. “I try to build as much boat as I can for the money allotted,” he says.

Floyd has created boats ranging from his smallest — a 36-foot center console with twin outboards — to his largest so far — a 75-foot convertible currently under construction. All F&S boats consist of cold-molded hulls with Corecell topsides.

F&S occasionally pushes the design envelope, taking lines to a more modern place. However, it also builds exquisitely traditional sport-fishermen. Though he has built one 50-footer with IPS pod drives, Floyd says, “We actually tend to stick with the tried and true on at least 50 percent of the technology decisions. Certainly we use advanced technology like honeycomb and composites for construction. But for other systems, like power, electronics and the like, we generally opt for the tried and true that we know will perform well and last.

“We have all raised the standards over the last ten years. I’d be behind the eight ball if I didn’t keep up,” Floyd says. “We step forward and embrace the latest and greatest — but with hesitation. After all, ultimately, we answer to the customer.”

Floyd also has a refreshingly realistic take on customer service. “We have a warranty,” he says. “However, with that said, we have never turned our back on any problem on any boat anywhere in the world. I have three guys who can be on a plane in no time. We are a microscopic-size business on the global scale. We can’t afford a single unhappy owner.

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Like a lot of boat companies, Gamefisherman got its start when one man saw a need and decided to fill it. While working for Rybovich, Mike Matlack noticed that a lot of people were interested in buying a smaller-size day boat. “Nobody was building them,” he says. “I felt that there was still a demand for little 37-footers, so I left Rybovich, and the first Gamefisherman, a 40-foot flybridge, rolled out in 1986.”

Eventually, Matlack expanded the line, going both bigger and smaller, but he never got away from his true purpose: building smaller, nimble sport-fishing machines. In 2006, he moved the operation to Stuart, Florida. “We still build the smaller boats,” he says. “Everybody else is building 80-footers. I don’t want to get into that market. That’s what they make Holiday Inns for. Our boats are first and foremost fishing boats. There are guys who will build you a nice fish boat slash condo, but our boats are fishing boats. We are trying to start a mothership operation, since it just makes more sense. If you are traveling, it’s better to have the mothership. An 80-footer can get there, but when the boat gets there and the boat has to go fishing, where are your nonfishing guests going to go? They have to get off. With the mothership, the game boat goes fishing and everyone who wants to stay back can relax on the mothership.”

Matlack uses cold-molded, composite construction in his boats, which allows him to build a different boat for every customer. “If somebody walks in here and wants a 39, 46 or 62, I can build it because I’m not using a mold,” he says.

As far as game boats go, only a handful of boats share Gamefisherman’s reputation for nimbleness. “Our boat’s handle very well,” Matlack says. “That’s one of the things we really work at. They are as fast as we can reasonably make them, and they back up and spin real well. We have large cockpits … I build the boats from the back end forward. Out of the 17 40s that exist, there’s only one here in the States, and the rest are all in the hottest fishing spots: three in Panama, Guatemala, Hawaii, etc. They all end up where the serious fishing guys want to be.”

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Peter Landeweer comes from a large fishing family that started out fishing for giant bluefin tuna up and down the East Coast on a 53 Hatteras. The growing family soon outpaced the Hatteras and decided to design and build its own boat, a 67-footer they named Snow Goose. “Garlington came up for sale in 1993, and that’s how we got into the boat business,” Landeweer says.

Richard Garlington started building boats in the mid ’80s, and his boats’ low profiles, clean lines and rounded edges immediately began to turn heads. Landeweer liked the look as much as anyone. “We like the timeless, traditional look -— a boat from 20 years ago doesn’t look old if it has the traditional sport-fish look,” he says. “There’s a certain style that you have to stick with — the S-shear, the split shear — you can’t change it too much. But just like the basic design of the fighting chair, you can make things a bit prettier, but the design doesn’t change much at all. And it really doesn’t need to in my opinion. A lot of people copy the lines of the Garlingtons.”

Landeweer says that the 61 is their most popular model, but that with the new power options now available, the smaller boats like the 44 are starting to make more sense. “You can get 1,400 horsepower out of a 12-cylinder now, which gives you plenty of power in a much smaller and lighter package,” he says. “We started building our 49-footer due to all of the resorts being built everywhere. Why do you need a huge boat when you just leave boat at the end of the day and go stay in an apartment? I’ve built three 80-footers, and most guys still get off the boat.”

Garlington Landeweer utilizes an all-composite, vacuum-bagged, wet-laminate construction. “There’s not a single piece of wood in the construction of the boat,” Landeweer says. “I like the composite. We are not the lightest, but we are stronger. Everybody does it their own way. All of our boats are molded in a female mold.

“We are not the fastest boats either, but we are right up there. We might be the softest-riding. It’s more important to me how she runs in a head sea, since it’s not always calm when you want to go out fishing.”

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Willis Slane dreamed about a boat he could use to fish the rough conditions around Hatteras, North Carolina. He heard about a new material called fiberglass and contacted a young West Palm Beach, Florida, naval architect named Jack Hargrave. Together, they designed a 41-foot trunk cabin sport-fisherman with a 14-foot beam, powered by a pair of 275 hp Lincoln V-8s. She boasted a projected top speed of 30 knots. On March 22, 1960, the first Hatteras Yacht, Knit Wits, was christened.

Hatteras went on to greatness and survived a number of different owners, most recently Brunswick Corp. In August 2013, Versa Capitol Management, a private equity investment firm with $1.3 billion of assets, purchased Hatteras and Cabo Yachts.

“Both Hatteras and Cabo are cornerstone American brands in their respective markets, and both have been affected during the extended economic downturn,” Versa Capital CEO Gregory L. Segall says. “We see great opportunity to build value in these businesses, while retaining the expertise in engineering and Eastern Seaboard production that has given Hatteras/Cabo their well-earned reputations.”

Cabo/Hatteras president and CEO John Ward, a 24-year marine executive whose experience includes Boston Whaler and Mercury Marine, will continue to lead the Hatteras/Cabo team.

“Hatteras has always enjoyed a reputation as a capable, seaworthy boat,” Ward says. “One hallmark of the brand is that it never goes too light. All bottoms are solid fiberglass, some resin-infused and others hand-laid.

“I feel Hatteras sits in the middle of the technology boom. Resin infusion is one technology that we use that makes for a better laminate. Other examples include Seakeeper gyros for added stability at slow speeds and digital switching and breakers. I have no doubt that we will be employing more advanced technology in the future, as long as it differentiates us in the marketplace,” Ward says. “We don’t own an engine company, so we are fortunate that we can work with a variety of fabulous and responsive power suppliers. We rarely encounter problems with customer service there.”

Ward offers his formula for good customer relations. “What we need to do is make the process seamless and totally transparent. We need really good relationships with vendors. We need to step up and handle any vendor problems and then duke it out with those vendors ourselves rather than just handing it over to the customer,” he says.

— Dean Travis Clarke

Top Sport Fishing Boats

When Jack Henriques immigrated to the United States in his 20s, he carried four generations of Portuguese boatbuilding experience with him. He founded Henriques Yachts Inc. in 1977 and quickly launched its first model, the Maine Coaster, a 35-foot downeast-style boat. Upon his death in 1997, Henriques passed the company on to his two daughters, Natalia and Maria, and his son-in-law Manny Costa.

“We are a small, semicustom boatbuilder that listens closely to our customers so that we can easily meet their needs. If you want a custom tackle center or a special interior feature, we can provide those things. We just launched a 50 footer — our biggest model — and we have a 42 under construction right now, which should be completed this spring,” Natalia Costa says.

“We build traditional sport-fishing boats used to fish the Northeast canyons, so our boats can make long runs and bring you back home. Our first boats were no-frills fishing boats, and although they are still strong and durable, we’ve grown out of the more plain interiors to much more nicely appointed staterooms. We’ve come along way since making the old Maine Coasters,” Natalia says.

Each Henriques is built to order, which opens up room to customize interiors and fishing packages. “If there is anything that can be customized, we will do it. We modify our interiors to fit the owners’ needs,” Manny Costa says.

The biggest distinguishing factor on a Henriques is the large cockpit. “We have the largest cockpits of any boats in our size,” Manny says. “The fishermen we build for require space in the two areas in which they spend the majority of their time. Our cockpits and engine rooms are the roomiest in the industry. Our 50-footer has a 210-square-foot cockpit.” This trend works its way down the line. The 42 Express offers 155 square feet of space in the pit.

As technology and building techniques improved over the years, the company philosophy remained the same. “Henriques has always been about building a safe, structurally sound vessel for the most demanding fishermen and the elements they brave when they tackle the sea,” Manny says. “Luckily, we’ve stayed very busy revamping our 50 and building our new 30 Express. We look forward to putting more sport-fishing boats out on the water.”

Top Sport Fishing Boats

After charter fishing for a few years in North Carolina, Randy Ramsey decided that his old boat had had enough and began building himself a new one. “I was building the boat in a old pole barn with incandescent lighting and dirt floors,” Ramsey says. “Before I even finished it, a fellow came along and asked me if I could build him one just like it. I said sure. By 1993, we were on hull number 13 or 14. I had to sell my charter boat and start building boats full time. My life has really been a representation of the American dream. If you have a passion for something, you can still be successful.”

Jarrett Bay makes a true Carolina-style fishing boat, with a beautiful bow flare that appeals to a lot in the sport-fishing crowd. “Most of our buyers are pretty savvy, and we try to sell them much more than just a boat; we want to plant the idea of the great lifestyle that you can enjoy when owning one of our boats. We strive to build something that’s going to work for you,” Ramsey says. “If you don’t like me, then you shouldn’t build a boat here. Relationships are very important in the boatbuilding process, and we need to be friends and family. We want to be able to talk to the people and speak freely so that we build the exact boat that the customer needs.”

Ramsey hasn’t changed the way he builds his boats either. “We want a bulletproof hull, one that is probably a bit heavier than most,” he says. “We glass our hulls both inside and out, which makes the hulls a wooden-cored, fiberglass hull. The houses and interiors get foam coring to keep the weight down. We also like the very conspicuous Carolina look. You can trace our look and lineage back to Omie Tillet. They do have a lot more rake and a little less flare than they did at one time, but we still try to stay true to the Carolina look. We all want our boats to look like they are going 50 mph while they are sitting still … and we try hard to make sure that they do,” he says.

“We’ve been around for 27 years now, through a lot of ups and downs, so we know how important it is to service the customer after the sale — we want people to know that we will always be around to help them out,” Ramsey says.

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Because of Jim Smith’s penchant for building racing boats in his early days, Jim Smith sport-fishing boats were, for a long time, looked at as primarily go-fast boats. Jim Smith Boats Inc. owner and president John Vance says that in the early days, a lot of folks were skeptical about using some of the brand new construction methods that were coming out at the time.

Always a pioneer, Smith originated cold-molded, lightweight construction while working at Monterey Boats, a big reason why he was able to take lot of unnecessary weight out of a boat. “We build an efficient boat,” Vance says. “I don’t even have to talk about the speed because that’s our reputation. It’s been a bit of plus for us that we’ve always been on the leading edge when it comes to increasing the size of boats as well. In 1981, we were building a 50-footer that many said was too big to fish from. Well, we just launched a 105. During the ’90s, when people were building 65s, we were building a 70. We’ve always been a little bit ahead in the market in the size game. If you are looking at building a big boat, our name kind of pops up.”

As with most builders, Vance is very cognizant of what his owners want and takes great pains to ensure that they get it. “These guys have usually owned a bunch of boats, and they like to take all the ideas that they’ve seen on their boats or their friends’ boats and incorporate them into a final package,” Vance says. “We listen and try to give them what they want. Sometimes we can’t due to engineering or structural concerns, but we sit down with a piece of paper and, with respect for their knowledge, make sure that they get what they came here for. Our reputation was built on speed performance, and that was what distinguished the company for many years. However, we went to using professional naval architects in the ’90s, and what that did was make our boats great sea boats. Now, we focus on ride quality in every aspect of the design and engineering of our boats.”

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Like so many of his boatbuilding brethren, Paul Mann made his way in the world as a mate and captain fishing the rough seas out of Oregon Inlet, North Carolina. So he knows what goes into making a good fishing boat.

“I design my own bottoms and understand what differences are needed to accommodate each owner’s individual fishing style,” Mann says. “A client who wants to fish eight hours a day in rough seas but doesn’t want the boat to roll dramatically requires a boat with less deadrise aft, so it’s stable. Conversely, running hard and long in rough water needs a different bottom with more deadrise and convexity for a smoother ride, but it will roll more in a beam sea. Either way, every Paul Mann boat runs perfectly in a following sea with virtually no yaw and very little lag on the back of a big wave. All my running surfaces have some degree of convexity for a better ride and less drag. I design boats that most closely meet an owner’s requirements without going too far in either direction, so they’re happy with the all-around performance.

“I also like to keep the client regularly informed about where the project stands budget-wise to avoid any and all surprises. Ultimately, my goal is to give my client a high-quality boat that does everything required, comes in on budget and on time,” he says.

Just because Mann comes from an old-school line of builders doesn’t mean he’s not quick to take advantage of the modern methods and techniques that will make his boats better. “Today, everyone wants to go faster and spend less,” he says. “With the price of fuel, you have to use advanced composites in your boat to make it lighter. As for the electronic and electrical gadgetry, I find that most times, it’s the owners who push that envelope further. I would prefer to go toward more conservative operating systems. With simple and functional systems, you rarely have issues.”

Mann enjoys great repeat business because he knows that the relationship doesn’t end with the sale. “Customer service is as important as building the boat,” Mann says. “When someone buys a Paul Mann boat, the service comes with it. Our boats often travel far from the Eastern Seaboard and out of the country. Service must follow that. We’ll fly our craftsmen anywhere the work needs to be done. I am always available to my owners and captains via email or phone.”

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For the last 10 years, a small-boat company in Costa Rica has been producing exceptional little fishing boats in the 32- to 46-foot range that have won one tournament after another. (At one point several years ago, there were five Maverick boats in the top five at the Los Suenos Triple Crown. Dragon Fly, a 42 Maverick, won Los Suenos’ first leg and was named overall champion last year, then won the Presidential Challenge in Marina Papagayo, Costa Rica.) The company was started by Richard Lebo and Larry Drivon but was recently purchased from Lebo by Drivon and Gary Mumford, an expat who has been living in Costa Rica for the last 14 years. “Richard decided it was time to retire, and he went back to the States, so Larry and I decided to carry on,” Mumford says. “The company is 10 years old, and we’ve built 10 boats; we are working on 11 and 12 right now.”

Maverick boats not only look like the quintessential little sport-fisher, they perform like it too. “We build a light, super strong boat that’s made to fish every day,” Mumford says. “One of our boats, Spanish Fly, which was built in early 2004, has over 30,000 hours on it. We took a potential customer out on that boat the other day, and he was amazed how tight it still was — no squeaks, nice and quite still. These cold-molded boats will last forever when taken care of properly.”

Maverick is the process of retooling its shop and hired long-time Capt. Parker Bankston as shop foreman to oversee the new changes. Bankston has worked through several builds at the Viking Yachts plant and spent some time at Merritt’s Boat and Engine Works as well, so he’s spent a lot of time in the boatyard and knows how to build sport-fishers right. Bankston also runs the plant’s new computerized numerical control machine and is the head of new product development.

“We triple plank our hulls and stringers using a combination of Okoume plywood and laurel mahogany, but we are now building all our decks and houses with Divinycell core and using Alexseal coatings,” Mumford says. “We are also starting to get some good cooperation with engine manufacturers like Catepillar, Yanmar and Cummins, which are stepping up to the plate.” If you want a super tight fishing boat with a good value for your dollar, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than a Maverick.

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Few builders enjoy the decades-long reputation for excellence that Merritt’s Boat enjoys. The Merritt family moved to Pompano Beach, Florida, from Long Island, New York, in 1947, and opened the boat shop in 1948 in order to take care of the family’s charter boats. Soon, Merritt’s quality workmanship and high-level customer service thrust the company into the forefront of the South Florida boatbuilding boom.

“We are doing real good,” Roy Merritt says. “Business is as good as it’s ever been. We’ve built so many boats over the years that they keep coming back. We are working on hull 101 right now, and we’ve got four 86s and a 72 being built right now.”

Roy Merritt’s time in the business has shown him that you don’t want to mess around with the tried-and-true shape of a sport-fisher. “Most of our customers are second-boat guys, and we are usually going to build them a boat around what we have. If they want something that we aren’t comfortable with, then we won’t do it,” he says.

“There are a lot of man-hours that go into making things right; the boat had to look special and hold up. The boats we build now, with the new materials and composites, will be around for 100 years,” Roy Merritt says. “We have all these different materials going everywhere: composite hull, outside skins made of Kevlar and e-glass, carbon-fiber decks and carbon-fiber cores — we do everything we can to make them light and make them perform. Our 86 cruises 29 knots and burns 135 gph an hour … that’s the sweet spot for that hull. Other boats that size might burn another 40 or 50 gallons per hour to do the same speed. No matter how much money you have, you don’t want to waste fuel, so we do what we can to make them light. The length of the boats just seems to keep getting bigger. Traveling fishermen like the feel of their own mattress and have their favorite pillow — you don’t have to get another room onshore when you own one of our boats.

“I have a great job; it’s like I have a hobby shop where I can do all these experiments to try to make boats that are bigger, go faster and go farther,” Roy Merritt says.

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The Leek family built the first Ocean Yacht, a 40-foot flybridge model, in 1977. Since then, they have christened hundreds of boats in the 40- to 70-foot range.

“Ocean Yachts are beautiful boats,” general manager John Leek IV says. “But we mean them to be comparatively more affordable than other brands.” Ocean has always prided itself on having many owner/operators in its stable rather than boats with professional hired captains and mates. “We design our boats so as to make [do-it-yourself] work as easy as possible for those owners who want that,” Leek says.

“We provide a high-quality finished product. We fill a niche where customers feel they’re getting great value for their dollar. Our design team has always had great taste, and our interiors have always spoken to women in a family. First and foremost, the interior design has to be functional. But then the materials must speak to women — they are warm and inviting. Selling a boat to a family is infinitely easier when the wife loves it too,” he says.

“In some instances, advanced technology is just not useful when you try to make an affordable boat,” he says. “Every element you install raises the price. While Ocean is early to embrace new technology, it still has to be sensible for the end user, be affordable and both simple to own and operate. We absolutely lean toward simplicity at Ocean Yachts. With that said, we will certainly customize any boat the way the owner wants it. Gone are the days of straight production. So I guess our philosophy is that we embrace the tried and true and simplicity.”

Obviously, no company that charges hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars for a product can simply kiss the customer goodbye after the sale. But Ocean seems to have struck an even-handed attitude toward customer service.

“Our customer service department isn’t 24 hours a day,” Leek says. “But we know our customers and their spouses — and even their children and dogs — by their first names. They have all our staff’s personal cellphone numbers, and they can call us directly. Our customer service is built on a personal relationship. If the dealer is able to help them, we encourage that. If not, we will respond immediately and resolve any issue.”

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It’s funny how life can throw a few curveballs at you from time to time. John Patnovic, the new president and owner of Post Yachts, wound up buying the venerable boatbuilding company after a visit to the old Post plant to purchase some of its unused lumber. “The old owner of Post keeps his boat in my marina, so when I heard that they had a bunch of wood lying around, I went over to see if I could pick it up cheap,” Patnovic says. “I ended up buying the whole company –— my wife was thrilled.”

After the purchase, Patnovic moved the operation from New Jersey to Chestertown, Maryland, where he could keep a close eye on things. Now, he’s ready to start building boats. “We are all ready to go,” he says.

“Post has always been a build-to-order company, and we will remain that way,” he says. We can build hulls ranging from 42 to 66 feet, and we should have some coming together shortly. Our bet is that the boating industry is going to be a lot different than it was in past, and we think that a small, nimble custom manufacturer is going to have a place at the table. We can make any changes you want at a reasonable cost and will provide the finished boat at a more than reasonable cost.”

Although Post is an old name, that doesn’t mean it is stuck in the past when it comes to the building process. Post boats feature resin-infused hulls and a deck house with the same bottoms that made Post famous. “They were well-regarded and good sea boats, but the new ones will be a little bit lighter for more speed and bit more range. Everybody wants to go faster these days,” Patnovic says.

Post will continue to service its two primary customers, sport fishermen and cruisers. “We will continue to cater to both parties. If you want a hard-core fishing boat with cockpit freezers and tuna tubes, we can build it. We now have all the boats digitized and put into 3-D CAD programs, which allows us to easily add staterooms or make any changes whatsoever. Give us 24 hours, and we will give you a photograph of your new boat,” Patnovic says. “We have the ability to build a superior, proven boat at a great price. Everyone will have my personal attention because we are not going to be building a whole lot of them at once. We just want a shot at your next boat.”

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After charter fishing for 16 years in Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, Ritchie Howell started building smaller boats in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Soon, he found himself hook-and-line commercial fishing with none other than Paul Spencer. “We put or money together on the first couple of boats we built … me, Billy Holton, Paul Spencer and Irving Forbes,” Howell says. Spencer eventually persuaded Howell that he had what it took to be a boatbuilder, so Howell started a shop of his own. “I had a lot of help,” Howell says. “I got to learn from a lot of great guys. I wasn’t a smartass to them, and I listened to what they had to say.”

That ability to listen, Howell says, also allows him to make a boat that will satisfy the customer. “The more details a potential owner can provide to me, the better the end result. It’s like Burger King: You can have it your way, but we have to know what they want,” he says.

“I’m confident can give someone the best product for their dollar. We build only yacht-quality boats, and it wasn’t like that when we started out. I’m not in a place where we can go back and build a charter boat, and we are very price competitive for a yacht-quality boat,” Howell says. “The things that set our boats apart are the performance and the ride. On the last five or six boats we’ve built, we’ve been able to build them with a sharp entry and a stabilizer that keeps the boat from rocking. It’s really the best of both worlds.”

Howell still prefers to build plywood and fiberglass hulls. “I really think that this combination makes the strongest hulls,” he says. “Everything else has Corecell core. I don’t just want to rely on foam for the hull. With that said, we are looking to maybe build an all carbon fiber boat. I think the attraction of the carbon fiber is its incredible strength-to-weight ratio. We should be able to build them bigger, with less power to make them even more efficient,” he says.

“Everything’s about speed and performance and fuel burn. Our boats are fast and burn half the fuel at the same speed of a production boat.”

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Bob Roscioli began his 51 years in the boating industry by pumping gas as a dock boy at Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After several stints in various boatyards as a painter and prep man, Roscioli struck out on his own and started his own paint business. Roscioli built up the business and soon became known as one of the best brush painters around. “I went on to build some of the prettiest sport-fishers in the world, but I’m still known as painter,” Roscioli says.

Roscioli got into the boatbuilding business proper when he purchased the big boat division of Donzi in 1987 after seeing the 65 Donzi that Jack Staple and Dick Kent had built for themselves. “That big fiberglass boat with those big 1692 engines in it was an animal,” he says. “But they didn’t really know how to market it, so I decided to buy them out and give it go.” The rest is go-fast boating history.

Always a pioneer in going bigger and faster, Roscioli says he still feels that the most important thing to consider when heading into a boat is building a good relationship with the customer. “The first thing I want to find out is to see if there is a synergy between the buyer and our company,” he says. “We love building boats, and we want to have fun doing it. We want to make sure that the client who buys our boats feels like they are part of our family. The boats actually speak for themselves when it comes time to make the sale. I encourage our clients to ride on our boat and then ride on the others they are considering — our boat sells itself.” Besides their remarkable efficiency and speed, Roscioli boats are known for their exquisite fit and finish that extends to every part of the boat, including the engine room. “When we started building boats, going down into the engine room was a bit taboo … but I wanted to make an engine room that the ladies wouldn’t mind going into,” he says. “I saw a pair of show engines at the Detroit booth at one of the boat shows that sported a $20,000 metallic green paint job, so we were the first boats to have stand-up engines rooms and engines painted with urethane.”

Roscioli just introduced a new design called the Evolution, which will come in sizes ranging from 82 to 92 feet. “This boat is like nothing you’ve ever seen before,” Roscioli says. “This one is going to be for the brave people.”

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Michael Rybovich and Sons Boat Works is the fulfillment of Michael Rybovich’s long-time dream. “We have a new family-run boatyard,” Rybovich says. “From the time we sold our yard in the ’70s, up until two and a half years ago, it was dream of mine to put the Rybovich family back into a boatyard. After a few twists and turns over the past several years, we finally got where we wanted to be.” Rybovich opened up a full-service and new construction yard in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, about 10 miles north of the old Rybovich facility.

It didn’t take long for the Rybovich name and reputation would work its magic. “We have two boats under construction right now and two more under letters of intent,” Rybovich says. “We are building custom, cold-molded sport-fishers just as we always have. We are a one-off builder that builds directly to the needs of each individual customer.”

Although Rybovich is an old name in boatbuilding, its newest build is a unique departure from the norm. “Our first hull out of this shop is a very interesting project — a 64-foot walkaround. We built two walkarounds in the ’80s and found them to be extremely practical, especially for sail fishing in the Palm Beach area. We have taken that concept to a three-stateroom, three-and-a-half bath sport-fisherman. It’s a really exciting project,” Rybovich says.

The company also has an 86-footer under construction. “It’s a more conventional flybridge sport-fish with as much power as we can put into it,” Rybovich says. “That boat is being built for one of our customers that has one of our boats right now. That kind of return business contributes greatly to the success of our yard. It’s a special thing when guys come back to you because they were happy with the first project and relationship that you have built together.”

Rybovich strives to build boats that perform at a superior level in all sea conditions, and the quality of the workmanship has to be top notch. “We like to think that our fit and finish is second to none. It’s one thing to develop a reputation for quality, but it’s another thing all together to be able to maintain that level of quality. We can do that, and that’s essentially why we are still here,” he says.

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Born in the small fishing village of Wanchese, North Carolina, Ricky Scarborough Sr. did what seemed natural: commercial fishing, hunting and building boats. Boats and boating were not just a hobby but a way of life. Determining what made a boat sit the way it does in the water, ride the way it should and look the way it should all but consumed him.

In 1977, Scarborough, in need of a worthy vessel to commercial fish in but without the funds to purchase one, built his own in the downstairs portion of his home. When he began, a fellow fisherman approached Scarborough and asked to purchase the boat, but Scarborough needed it for the summer season. He agreed to sell it come fall and then began another. That was the start of more than 32 years and 80 custom projects from 25 to 85 feet, with the majority between 50 and 75. No one in North Carolina — and few anywhere else — have built more custom projects over the same time period.

In 1993, Ricky Scarborough Jr. came to work for his father after receiving a business degree from East Carolina University, and he has been building boats ever since. Ricky Jr. believes in taking the Scarborough boat to a new level while keeping the legacy and quality of what puts Scarborough boats in a league of their own. “Our boats have more traditional Carolina lines, and we can look back at 30 years of experience to help keep us on the right path. We’ve been in the same spot for over 30 years with a really low overhead. That allows us to provide a good value per dollar without sacrificing quality,” Ricky Jr. says.

“A custom boat build is as much about the relationship with customer as it as about the end product. I try hard to make the building process as easy and as pleasant as possible,” Ricky Jr. says. “With the flexibility provided by the cold-molding process, the customer can really get involved in every aspect of the build, and it wasn’t always that way. If you like the boats that we’ve put out, if you like they way they look, if you like the way they ride and you like working with us, then we are going to make a great boat together. I never take it for granted that there might not be another customer coming along, so we try to make our customers very happy.”

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Few builders enjoy the reputation that Paul Spencer has earned over his long career, both as a charter captain and premier boatbuilder. Spencer got into the business like many of his North Carolina contemporaries — by building a boat of his own to go charter fishing. He’d grown up looking at the boats built by Buddy Davis, Omie Tillet and the rest, and since his father-in-law at the time was Sheldon Midgett, it was just a natural evolution for him to try his hand on his own boat. That first boat performed so well that he immediately began getting orders for more.

But even though Spencer comes from a strong North Carolina background, his boats are a bit of a departure from the style. “We have a little bit of a different look,” Spencer says. “Our boats tend to be a bit leaner and longer than most. This creates the look that we like and also helps them perform really well. I got to visit a lot of the shops up here as I was coming up, so I got to see what they were doing. I also liked some of the things I saw coming out of Florida, so I started mingling the ideas a little bit. Taking a bit of the bow flare out, lowering the bow, making my own style.” The marriage between the two styles proved to be an unmitigated success, and Spencer is now working on hull number 95.

“It’s really important that when we start a build that we sit down with the client to find out just what they plan on doing with the boat,” Spencer says. “I might ask them what kind of accommodations they may need and where they plan on taking the boat to fish. If they need four staterooms and three heads, then that means it’s going to be a pretty long boat for me … a 66- to 69-footer. The challenge is building a boat that will go as fast as the client wants to go and still have enough space for all the fuel they need to have a good range. Over the years, we’ve found ways to use every bit of space, including building integrated fuel tanks instead of metal ones.

“The second challenge is to get all the equipment on the boat that the client wants and still stick to your budget. They all start out with a budget, but when they see some of the stuff out there that they can get, they can get excited and want it all. Since the build represents this person’s dream boat, we try to make sure they get what they want,” Spencer says.

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Tribute Performance Boats’ lineage starts with Rich Scheffer Sr., who was the foreman at Jim Smith until Smith passed away. Scheffer started Tribute in Smith’s memory 21 years ago. The quest for performance, one of the key ingredients in a Tribute, started in those early days when rocket ships were offered by only a few builders in South Florida. “Only a few guys were able to build a 40-plus knot sport-fish in those days without the benefit of advanced composites and today’s bigger horsepower engines,” Scheffer says. “Not only were these early Tributes fast, but they also caught fish and traveled the globe extensively when only a few boats were doing it. For example, in 1997 the Manleys caught one of the first-ever fantasy slams on the 58 Tribute Escapade in Venezuela, catching a blue, white, swordfish, sailfish and spearfish.

“Each Tribute is built with a purpose and posses her own distinct personality since we start with a clean sheet of paper. It all starts with the wish list and a good understanding of how your boat will be used and where it will go,” Scheffer says.

Tribute has indeed produced some boats that vary greatly in personality — from the more contemporary 72-foot Alican to the spaced-age 86 enclosed-bridge Double Down. With many in the fleet measuring more than 70 feet, the larger Tributes are built with the plan to travel extensively, stay on the troll and follow the fish without coming back to home port for major service for years. Superb engineering and longevity is something on which Tribute prides itself, and that becomes pretty apparent when you step into one of its engine rooms.

“We are a family business at Tribute and have grown to be very close to our owners throughout the years — over half of our owners have built two or more boats with us,” says Rich Scheffer Jr., the founder’s son and the man now leading the construction efforts alongside industry veteran Dennis Close. “We even have a few boats running around with nearly 20,000 hours on them. Constant improvement and seeking out new innovative processes is something we pride ourselves on, so our boats will last as long as you will love them.”

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The Healey family started building boats in New Gretna, New Jersey, in 1964, when brothers Bill and Bob Healey purchased Peterson-Viking Builders. Forty-nine years later, the company enjoys a stellar reputation as one of the premier production builders in the world. However, just a glance at any Viking on the dock tells you that Viking Yachts is much more than a typical production boat company. In fact, its boats are about as custom as you can get in many respects.

“Basically, the first thing I want to get across to our customers is that we are boatbuilders; I’ve grown up doing only one thing in life. I live it, eat it and sleep it, and so do all of our managers,” executive vice president Pat Healey says. “We all started young as a team, and we apprenticed under some of the great ones like Bruce Wilson. Guys like Lonni Rutt, our [vice president] of engineering; and David Wilson, the man in charge of new product development; Bill Gibbons, our propulsion man; and Ryan Higgins, our company captain, are all very involved in the design and engineering of our boats. It’s all about the people and having the proper team together … most of them are 20-plus-year employees of Viking.”

One thing that’s remarkable about Viking is its incredible consistency. While a lot of builders build one or two very good boats a year, Viking somehow manages to do it 60 or 70 times a year. “Over the last 15 years, we’ve become arguably one of the best … no one is building a boat at our level and with the numbers of boats we are building,” Healey says. “And we ship them all around the world. A good 30 percent of our business comes from our international sales.”

Healey is also grateful to the high quality of customers that choose a Viking. “We’ve got great customers … they are the best of the best. We’ve got customers who purchase one of our boats over and over again, and they are a big part of why we are celebrating our 50th anniversary on April 1, 2014,” he says.

Healey is also proud of the service and dealer network that the company has put together over the years. “Having those key components, with all of dealers like HMY, Galati and Bluewater, are all part of what makes Viking the best of the best,” he says.

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Jim Weaver never imagined he would end up building boats for a living; however, after years on the water and with his experience in the construction business, he decided to build a boat for himself in 1998. The vessel turned out so well that he got an offer to sell it, which he did. He then built another, and before long, Weaver Boat Works began to take shape.

“Most of the customers who come our way have already made their mind up about buying one of our boats,” Weaver says. “We have a reputation for doing what we say we are going to do, when we are going to do it and for how much. I’m not much of a salesman and don’t try to be. If you build a nice boat for a fair and reasonable price, people are going to want to buy it.”

Weaver makes fast boats, and he attributes a lot of his boats’ speed to the work of his naval architect, Donald Blount. “All of our boats have been fast,” he says. “We’ve never built anything that didn’t run at least 40 knots. When you build a boat that can go fast, that means it has a very efficient hull design. Our 80 hits a top end of 48 knots and cruises at 30 knots while burning 100 gph. At just 1,200 rpm, that boat is up on plane and doing 25.8 knots.”

That efficient hull also comes into play when it’s time to slow down and start trolling. “Our boats have a very clean wake because they are not as heavy. It’s the same when backing up; our boats are more of a sports car than a pickup truck,” Weaver says.

In 2007, Weaver built its first 80-footer and has built six more since then. “You usually sell a boat off another boat,” Weaver says. “They will see it fishing, or get passed by it, and have to have one too. We’ve been very fortunate. Out of the 25 or 26 boats that we’ve built, six of those were repeats. It’s a great feeling when a man buys your boat and 10 years later, comes back and buys another one.”

To meet the strength requirements with those speeds, Weaver uses Kevlar to reinforce the inside and outside of each cold-molded, one-off hull that comes out of his shop. “We build every boat as strong as we can make it,” he says. “They’re really over-designed and intended to take punishment.”

Top Sport Fishing Boats

Willis Marine Inc. is one of the few companies that got its start in North Carolina but then relocated Florida. “I started building boats up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in a little town called Frisco,” owner Mark Willis says. “I fished professionally for several years up on the Outer Banks and decided to build myself a little 30-foot charter boat. Well, as soon as it was done, somebody bought it. Then I got real busy building boats. My ex-partner, Buddy Smith, and I started Island Boatworks up there, and after we built a few, I left and came down to start my own shop in Stuart, [Florida].”

Willis brought the lessons he learned in North Carolina to Florida and started building sport-fishers using a variety of different methods. “We specialize in building cold-molded boats out of triple-planked Okoume plywood,” he says. “Today’s plywood is always consistent, and it makes a light, strong hull. But I really don’t have a preference when it comes to building methods. If someone came to me and asked for a plank-over-mahogany hull, I would gladly do it for him, because I know it also makes a great hull. We can also build an all-composite hull if that’s what you want — we are pretty well-versed in all of it.”

No matter what materials or technique you choose, you can rest assured that when choosing a Willis, everything inside will be in the proper place. “We pride ourselves in good planning and strong, dependable systems. Some builders will rush to get a boat sold and will just start shoving stuff into the hull to appease an owner. You have to pay attention to the planning so that you can get to, and repair, anything that goes wrong without having to disassemble the whole boat to do it. It’s just commons sense,” Willis says.

“We are working on hull number 14 right now, and it’s a 77 with a cold-molded hull. All of the topsides are carbon-fiber composite, a little departure from what we have done the past, but this boat should be a very lightweight, high-performance boat,” Willis says. “We went with a much more modern look on our new one; she’s got a lot of sex appeal … a different look for us. We’ve done all of our styling in house, which is a source of pride for us on this one.”

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Winter Custom Yachts specializes in building modern, Carolina-style sport-fishing boats. Capable of building custom boats ranging from 24 to 75 feet, owners Tim Winters and Will Copeland came to the business with engineering backgrounds, and their meticulous attention to detail reflects that ethic. “I think the main thing that separated us from the pack is our willingness to take the design aspect to a much greater detail,” Winters says. “Since we all come from engineering backgrounds, we are probably more methodical than most with our layouts. We are also a bit modern with our styling. We like a more subtle look and pair it with a more hybrid bottom that’s designed by Rhodes Yacht Design.

“We incorporate a lot more curves in our boats and a lot more belly in the transom. They back up better when you put some belly in the transom, and it also lets it spin and move side to side much better. They are much more nimble, and you can really see the difference,” he says.

“Everything is 3-D molded now, which allows you to jig every structural component. This allows us to mock up the boat and let the owners see exactly what they are going to get. When we hit the floor, this makes everything go as smooth as possible. This also allows you to customize even the smallest details, including each piece of hardware and all the finishes that will go into your vessel,” Winters says.

This combination of modern styling and advanced planning has worked out well for the company, even in the hard economic times of late. “We’ve got nine in the water, five under construction and three waiting to be built,” Winters says. And not all of those boats fit the conventional mold. “We recently built two single diesel boats and equipped them with an oversize bow thruster. You can really make those things dance, and you wind up using a lot less fuel. Maybe this will be my niche going ahead,” he says. Winters embraces all engine and layout configurations; he’s got a 43-foot convertible on the floor with Zeus Caterpillars, a 35-foot walk around with a single 360 Cummins and a 46-foot walk around with conventional inboard power. In short, if you want it, Winter can build it.

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13 Best Sport Fishing Yachts of 2023

  • By Patrick Sciacca
  • August 30, 2023

It is possible to fish from any type of boat, but a sportfishing yacht is purpose-built for angling aficionados to chase fish of all sizes and species, whether it’s fun fishing for mahi-mahi off the beach in South Florida or campaigning a pro-level crew from the Bahamas to Bermuda and back pursuing billfish during tournament season. The best sport-fishing yachts combine rugged, blue-water construction with performance, range, agile handling, and the comforts of luxury-yacht living. On the outside, sportfish yachts are notable for their dance-floor size cockpits for fish fighting; livewells to keep baits fresh; in-deck fish boxes to keep the catch stowed and cold; and an armada of rod holders for drift fishing, kite fishing or trolling. They also are known for big diesel horsepower and speed, sometimes north of 40-plus knots. Sportfish yachts are also known for luxurious interiors with supple leathers, granite countertops, high-end galley appliances and en suite staterooms. These are highly self-sufficient angling platforms geared for life beyond the horizon where the water is deep and the fish are big.

Top Luxury Fishing Boats

The following 13 sportfish yachts are all vessels we’ve reviewed. They are listed in no particular order.

  • Hatteras GT65 Carolina : A customizable sportfish yacht with Caterpillar diesels
  • Viking Yachts 64C : An eye-watering 42 knots of fish-chasing speed boat 
  • Royal Huisman Project 406 : The biggest sportfish yacht ever built
  • Rybovich 94 : A superyacht-sized angler’s dream
  • Viking 38 Open : A family-sized express sportfisherman loaded for offshore fishing
  • Bertram 61 Convertible : A tournament-ready battlewagon with a distinct look 
  • Hatteras Yachts 45EX : Entry-level sportfish yacht with all the angling amenities of its larger siblings
  • Huckins 45 Sportfisherman : Built for bluewater angling with the patented and sea-taming Quadraconic hull form 
  • Jarrett Bay 46 : A mid-size custom-Carolina sportfisherman with a yacht-level finish
  • Viking Yachts 92 : Designed to travel the world’s oceans chasing behemoth billfish
  • Merritt 72 : An iconic Florida boatbuilder’s high-end fishing boat
  • Bertram 35 : This 35-foot flybridge sportfish pays homage to the builder’s legendary roots.
  • Viking 54 Open : This express-style fish boat also comes in a Sport Tower and Coupe version

Hatteras Yachts GT65 Carolina

The Hatteras Yachts GT65 Carolina falls in the middle of the New Bern, North Carolina, boatbuilder’s three-model GT lineup, which also includes a GT59 and GT70 . This sportfish yacht has a solid-fiberglass hull bottom built for blue-water duty and comes with a variety of diesel engine options, which starts with twin 1,622 hp Caterpillar C-32A diesels.

Like all Hatteras GT models, the GT65 has notable bow flare to beat back tempestuous seas as well as a high freeboard to keep decks dry in the slop. The Hatteras GT65 also represent a design evolution for the series with a “stepped-back flybridge” an element found on in earlier Hatteras models, as well as a new window treatment and hull-side vents. With yacht-level luxury on the inside and a fishing-mission design on the outside, the Hatteras Yachts GT65 is a formidable sportfish boat.

Hatteras Yachts GT65 Carolina

Quick Specifications

65’2”
20’
1,900 Gal.
270 Gal.
5’
103,000 lb.

Viking Yachts 64C

With its 180-square-foot, dance-floor-size, teak cockpit, options for a fighting chair or rocket launcher, a mezzanine perched perfectly for spotting prey in the spread and enough livewell space to keep a gaggle of goggle-eye baits frisky, the 42-knot Viking Yachts 64C is built for battle with big fish.Its impressive speed, which comes via optional 2,022 hp MTU M96X V-12 diesels , ensures that the Viking 64C is likely to be first boat with lines in the water. Cruise speed: 36 knots at 80 percent engine load. (Base powerplants are twin 1,550 hp MAN V-12 diesels.) For the traveling tournament crew, the Viking 64C has four staterooms, including three en suite guest staterooms, plus a crew cabin with upper and lower bunks.

Viking Yachts 64C

63’10”
18’11”
2,201 Gal.
302 Gal.
5’7”
99,738 lb.

Royal Huisman Project 406

A 171-foot sportfisherman? Yes. That’s exactly what the six-deck, Royal Huisman’s Project 406 is. The interior and exterior design of Project 406 is from noted Dutch yacht-design firm Vripack . Vripack calls the vessel a “sportfisher on steroids.” The hull and superstructure of the supersize sportfish is Alustar aluminum, a material known for its strength and relatively light weight.

Even with six decks, Vripack has managed to create sleek lines for Project 406. It starts with a high freeboard forward that seemingly dares the ocean to approach. Transitioning from the bow, the sheerline slopes downwards in a steady cadence. The flowing sheerline resolves seamlessly at the cockpit. The vessel’s raked house and stacked deck are juxtaposed against the long profile, creating a sinewy aesthetic, which is no simple feat in this 171-footer. Add in all of the expected angling accouterments and 30-knot speed, and you have a sportfish yacht ready to chase fish around the world.

Royal Huisman Project 406

171’
Aluminum
Vripack Yacht Design
6

Rybovich 94

Size, speed and agility is a unique trifecta in a sportfish boat, but the 94-foot, 41-knot III Amigos from Michael Rybovich checks all those boxes as well as a few more too. The sportfish boat , designed by Patrick Knowles with naval architecture from Dusty Rybovich, is built in cold-molded mahogany. Prop pockets help keep the boat’s half-load draft down to a Bahamas-friendly 5 feet. The Rybovich 94’s impressive speed is helped by a pair of beefy 2,600 hp MTU diesels . 

The owner of II Amigos also owns a 196-foot Feadship superyacht and, while he wanted the sportfish to be all business on the outside, he wanted luxury-yacht finishes on the inside.  “Subtle but telling touches are the solid doors to the staterooms; each mimics the owner’s Feadship with ¾-inch thickness. The doors close flush (each has hidden hinges), and the sound is of a Rolls-Royce door closing.”

Rybovich 94

94’
22’
4,400 Gal.
600 Gal.
5’
165,000 lb.

Viking Yachts 38 Open Billfish

The Viking Yachts 38 Open Billfish is the builder’s entry point to its diesel-propelled sportfish boats. An owner-operator-size angling platform, the 38 Open is powered with twin 550 hp Cummins QSB6.7 diesels, which gives the sportfish boat 36-knot speed. Notable angling features on board the 38 Open include a 109-swqure-foot cockpit, complete with a mezzanine seating flanking the centerline stairs to the bridge deck as well as a laminated backing plate foe either a fighting chair or a rocket launcher. For overnight canyon trips, there is a forepeak stateroom with a double bunk as well as a single above it. Additionally, the salon’s sofa converts to a berth for guests or crew. The galley is outfitted with Corian countertops, two-burner electric cooktop, microwave/convection oven and drawer-style refrigerators and freezers. Some options include a Palm Beach Towers tuna tower and electronics packages from Atlantic Marine Electronics , both are Viking Yachts’ subsidiaries.

Viking Yachts 38 Open Billfish

38’8”
14’
460 Gal.
69 Gal.
3’4”
30,453 lb.

Bertram 61 Convertible

Bertram’s 61 Convertible leads the builder’s offshore series, which also includes a 35 Convertible and the express-style 50 Sport . Like its 50 Sport sistership, the 61 Convertible has a stepped sheerline, a nod to the legendary boatbuilder’s earlier designs. It also creates an instantly recognizable profile. The 61 Convertible is ready to run out of the box thanks to its twin 1,925 hp Caterpillar C-32A diesels. Top hop is 44 knots.

When it comes to chasing fish, the 61 Convertible has 188 square feet of fish-fighting space. A 100-gallon in-transom livewell is accompanied by twin in-sole fish boxes as well as rod stowage to port and starboard. A tuna door to starboard makes bringing in that bigeye on board a breeze. (Fish not included.) The accommodations layout belowdecks includes three staterooms. There is a full-beam master stateroom amidships.

Bertram 61 Convertible

61’1”
18’3”
1,700 Gal.
280 Gal.
5’
88,000 lb.

Hatteras Yachts GT45X

The Hatteras Yachts GT45X express sports twin 1,150-horsepower Cat C18 ACERT diesel engines that deliver 40-plus-knot speeds. During our sea trial, the GT45X showcased remarkable handling, gracefully leaning into turns without any loss of power from the props. Hatteras has equipped the GT45X with a custom-engineered, sound-deadening system. This feature reduces noise and vibration, ensuring a relatively quiet ride for all aboard. Inside, the yacht has a luxe sensibility with its wood sole, sumptuous leather seating, a fully equipped galley and a spacious forward stateroom. On deck, there are two comfortable helm seats, an undercounter fridge, an ice maker, an inviting L-shaped settee and a table, creating the perfect entertainment area for relaxing after a successful day of fishing. The integrated hardtop enhances visibility with its one-piece windshield and large side windows, offering optimal views of the surrounding waters. To adapt to changing weather conditions, simply install clear curtains across the bridge deck aft, transforming the GT45X into an all-season sport-fisherman. Personalization is key with Hatteras Yachts, and the GT45X offers a variety of optional features. From a bow thruster and additional stateroom to teak accents and a flybridge option, you can customize your yacht to meet your specific needs. With a simple ala carte ordering process, just select your must-have options, start the engines and have your next angling adventure.

Hatteras Yachts GT45X

47’7”
16’6”
800 Gal.
100 Gal.
4’
49,700 lb.

Huckins 45 Sportfisherman

The Huckins 45 Sportfisherman starts with the Florida boatbuilder’s patented Quadraconic hull . The Huckins’ Quadraconic name derives from four conical projections that make up the bottom surface shape. The sport-fisher has a deep forefoot and some measurable flare above the waterline for good buoyancy and dry running. A single chine rises from the waterline and then descends quickly to optimize spray control. The deep-V shape forward warps to a flat running surface far aft for efficient planing and excellent roll resistance.

Power is twin 480 hp Cummins diesels, which give this sportfish boat an easy 28-knot cruise. Top speed is 35 knots, so a 30-knot cruise is easily an option. The owner of the 45 Sportfisherman we got aboard is an avid stand-up angler and set up his boat with three flush-deck insulated fish boxes with macerators, a Dometic ice maker, two 28-foot Rupp outriggers, six gunwale rod holders, saltwater and freshwater washdowns, and a four-rod rocket launcher in lieu of a fighting chair.

Huckins 45 Sportfisherman

Jarrett Bay 46

Originally named Persistence, this Jarrett Bay 46 was built for fishing enthusiast and NASCAR driver Jeff Burton. When creating his fully custom sportfish boat, Burton noted that his vessel would be both a fishing boat and a family boat. Fishing features include an in-transom fish box, a sailfish pod, insulated fish boxes and a tuna door (sans bridge) in the cockpit. Jarrett Bay installed three rod holders in each gunwale and six more across the flybridge rail, plenty of rod room for setting up a trolling spread. With upper and lower helm stations (the latter being an owner request), the Jarrett Bay 46 also gives the skipper options if the weather goes south. The Jarrett Bay 46 has ZF pod drives with underwater exhaust paired to twin 575 hp Caterpillar C9 diesels. At a comfortable 2,000-rpm cruise, this sport-fisher makes about 26 knots while those diesels consume 41 gallons per hour. Dial it up to a top-end speed of 35 knots and consumption goes up to 58.3 gph.

Jarrett Bay 46

45’8”
15’4”
620 Gal.
100 Gal.
4’4”
37,000 lb.

Viking Yachts 92

The Viking Yachts 92 is the largest sport-fisher the New Gretna, New Jersey-based boatbuilder has ever constructed. Offered with an open- or enclosed-bridge setup, the hefty sportfish boat (displacing around 205,000 pounds) hits 37-knots-plus when powered with optional 2,600 hp MTU diesels. At 2,100 rpm, this battlewagon cruises easily at 31 knots at 78 percent engine load. Dial it back to 28 knots, and engine load is a mere 70 percent. The 92-footer is also agile thanks to the Viking Independent Programmable Electrohydraulic Rudder (VIPER) steering system, a fly-by-wire setup that lets the helmsman control each rudder individually.

From an angling perspective, the 92 has 55-foot Rupp outriggers , fish stowage large enough for a wolf pack of bigeye tuna, space for a season’s worth of baits, secured gaff stowage and enough tackle drawers to handle all the lures and terminal gear an owner could ever buy. The Viking 92 also has six staterooms to accommodate owners, guests and crew for tournament season and long-haul adventure angling.

Viking Yachts 92

93’3”
24’1”
4,015 Gal.
485 Gal.
5’11”
6

Like some of the other names on this list, Merritt is an iconic Pompano Beach, Florida-based, custom sportfish builder with a current model lineup that includes 66-, 72- and 86-foot convertible designs. The Merritt 72 is a model that has stood the test of time, and one that owners flock to year in and year out, for its fishability, seakindly nature and the ability to tailor the layout to an owner’s angling needs.

Because these boats are custom-built, the specifics can change from one 72 to another, but 30-knot cruise speeds and nearly 40-knot top-end speeds are common in all 72s, as are massive cockpits for fighting Hemingway-worthy marlin, stout construction for chasing those fish in the blue water and superyacht-level finishes inside and outside.

Merritt 72

72’
19’10”
2,280 Gal.
400 Gal.
5’6”
39 Knots

The entry point into Bertram’s three-model Offshore Series⎯spanning from 35 to 61 feet length overall⎯the Bertram 35 blends a familiar profile with modern power and technology to create a 36-knot angling juggernaut. This owner-operator-sized, Michael Peters -penned, flybridge sport-fisher starts with a wave-slicing, deep-V hull form with 22 degrees transom deadrise. The form is supported by a solid fiberglass hull bottom with cored hull sides for added strength without added weight.

The 35 has a 126-square-foot cockpit ready for any fish-fighting fanatic. Bertram sets up the 35 with rod holders, a livewell, in-deck fish boxes, and a transom door for the big ones. Optional teak decking and covering boards add a custom look. Inside, the salon is accented with teak and maple Amtico soles and overhead dimmer lighting. A wainscot-style ceiling houses rod stowage for big-game gear. Power is twin 500 hp Caterpillar C7.1 diesels matched to ZF drives. At a comfortable 27.5-knot cruise at just 68 percent engine load, the Bertram 35 has a 253-nautical-mile range, making it easily canyon-capable.

Bertram 35

35’1”
12’2”
310 Gal.
50 Gal.
2’2”
20,800 lb.

Viking Yachts 54 Open

Many anglers like open- or express-style sportfish designs as they enable the captain and crew to keep in close proximity, and the Viking 54 Open , which also is offered in a Sport Coupe or Sport Tower, does just that. The 54 Open’s bridge deck has a Palm Beach-style helm on centerline, flanked by a double-wide companion seat to port and a single seat to starboard. Abaft the helm and to port is U-shaped seating with a walnut table, creating a respite from the sun on tournament day while still allowing the crew to keep an eye on the spread via the open after bulkhead. Across from that seating is an L-shaped settee.

With a focus on fishing, the 54 Open has 154 square feet of cockpit real estate. Two sets of mezzanine seats offer perches for the crew to watch the spread. Other fishing-friendly features include a transom livewell, an in-deck fish box to starboard (with an optional livewell tub), an insulated in-deck box to port, a deck plate for mounting a rocket launcher or fighting chair, cooler stowage in the mezzanine steps (a bait freezer in the steps is optional), and a tuna door. Power is either twin 1,400 hp or 1,550 hp MAN diesels. For owners who prefer a three-sided fiberglass enclosure to a clear-plastic setup—but still want an open after bulkhead—Viking offers the 54 in the Sport Tower version. The 54 Sport Coupe model closes the after bulkhead, completely protecting the bridge deck from the elements.

Viking Yachts 54 Open

54’6”
17’8”
1,535 Gal.
198 Gal.
4’11”
75,026 lb.
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Blackwell Boatworks

Carolina Dream Builders

We love boats. Whether you want complete luxury, a quality charter boat with work in mind, a project to finish yourself, or someone to finish your project – we have all the resources. Our design is not just an idea on paper, it is a proven product. Our testing has been done in real weather conditions in the real ocean. We use tested core materials to keep the boats light, yet structurally sound. If you are looking for a superior product and a fun building process, give us a call.

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Blackwell 50 xl, new 57′ center console, announcing our new 29′ cc.

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“Why am I building my third boat with Blackwell Boatworks? I believe they provide the best value for the dollar available in custom boats today. Making the decision to build my third boat with Blackwell is proof that I believe in the quality and…

“The new improved entry has greatly enhanced performance in head sea conditions. Blackwell boats provide exceptionally clear trolling alleys for bait presentation. In the last 3 years the Instigator team has placed in numerous tournaments…

“Wherever I go from Nantucket to North Palm Beach… People go out of their way to stop by and ask, ‘Who built that boat?’ In addition to her good looks, Yoka lives up to her North Carolina sea keeping abilities. More than once, I’ve been out in 25-30 kt winds…

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Another great day on Speechless. Looks like another family will be having fish tacos for a longgggg time! 😄🌮 ... See More See Less

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You are reading that right! 199 lb. Tuna in first place and worth about $1 Million😳 #whitemarlinopen #largestbillfishtournament ... See More See Less

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  • Comments: 14

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This fish has already been knocked out of first place.

247 disqualified

Things do move quickly with so many boats at play. Blackwell- apparel and accessories available online please!

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A few pictures of today’s adventure test running the Studio C! ... See More See Less

A few pictures of today’s adventure test running the Studio C!

  • Comments: 22

Jim Laidler Jackie Schlicker Gail Hirst Vanbergen Zach Kane 🍀⚡️🥀✌️🎵 This shirt comes and goes... so if you want one, you better get it now..👇👇👇 platerotech77.shop/exclusive-campaign-shop--482?s=gildan-18500&c=Black&p=FRONT

Beautiful!!! Wish I was on it. Lol

What a Beauty, great job as usual 👏👏👍

Absolutely beautiful

Jackie Schlicker Jim Laidler Gail Hirst Vanbergen Zach Kane Order from here👇👇👇 royel-designs.shop/20230703-215548

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Jackie Schlicker Daniel Lee Zach Kane Jim Laidler Gail Hirst Vanbergen Can for everyone New Apparel has Arrived in Stock Get it now from here⬇️ 🛍 🛒🇺🇸👇https://24espokechoices.shop/20240209-145928

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Shew wee that things purdy!

Congratulations to the crew of Reelin N Dealin with this massive blue! ... See More See Less

Congratulations to the crew of Reelin N Dealin with this massive blue!

  • Comments: 25

Susan Vanbergen Judnick Silas Dexter 🍀⚡️🥀✌️🎵 This shirt comes and goes... so if you want one, you better get it now..👇👇👇 platerotech77.shop/exclusive-campaign-shop--482?s=gildan-18500&c=Black&p=FRONT

Great job excellent Blackwell team

LOOKS LIKE THOUSAND POUNDER. AND A MILLION DOLLARS !!! GREAT CONGRATULATIONS!! EXCELLENT TEAMWORK

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Woah! That’s awesome

Holy cow!!!

What did it end up weighing in at?

Nice fish.. nice boat.

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Handcrafted, customized boats for serious sportfishing

We build your dream boat, exactly how you want it.

Cutting-edge fishing equipment, chosen by you, combined with the legendary F&S hull for a boat as determined as you are to bring in the catch.

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You dream up the boat, Our team does the rest

Experienced craftsmen & designers combine their talents to create your perfect custom yacht.

Our Build Process

Building a sportfishing yacht is a complex, demanding, and fascinating venture.

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What began as a dream of a lifelong waterman and evolved into a company respected around the world for its seaworthy builds.

Learn about our founder, Jim Floyd, and his journey—culminating in the creation of a revolutionary hull design that became renowned for its speed, fish-ability, and extreme durability.

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Why come to Delaware to buy a sportfish?

Because that’s the only place you can get an F&S.

We're located south of Bear, Delaware adjoining the Summit Marina, on the Delaware-Chesapeake Canal F&S Yachts 353 Summit Pointe Circle Bear, Delaware 19701

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Building a better boat every day has been Viking's philosophy for over five decades.

This is why Viking leads the industry today in perfomance, innovations, engineering and luxury.

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The Viking Difference

Building a better boat every day is the mantra of the Viking Yacht Company

Viking prides itself on its renowned manufacturing capabilities. From the initial design to the finished product, Viking’s highly regarded reputation is rooted in the company’s commitment to produce 90 percent of the boat in-house. Except for components such as engines, transmissions, air conditioning units and electronics, virtually everything else is produced in-house by our talented workforce.

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THE WORLD OF HATTERAS

For fisherman, by fisherman.

News, events, owner stories, and more. Experience the world of Hatteras.

Driving the Knit Wits

Unmistakable—thanks to her jaunty flybridge, white paint and teal trim, the 41-foot Knit Wits, the first Hatteras ever built, pulled up to the dock at Pier 66 Marina in Fort Lauderdale where we waited to board her. Thanks to a full restoration by the Hatteras factory team in 2013, she looked just as fresh and feisty as the day she launched in 1960—55 years ago.

The Hatteras Advantage: Superior Hull Construction

You want to be out where the fish are biting, even when it’s too rough for the other boats to leave the dock. That’s why every Hatteras hull is designed and built to give you a smooth, stable ride in turbulent offshore conditions.

The Hatteras Advantage: Onboard Electrical Systems

While Hatteras Yachts’ legendary ride, performance, comfort, and fishability get the lion’s share of attention, the equipment we manufacture for each of our boats also is purpose-built to deliver an exceptional experience. Take the electrical wiring systems and panels that keep your Hatteras lighted, running and safe. Our veteran technicians build them all by hand in-house to ensure your boat always has the electrical power you need when you need it.

The Hatteras Advantage: Interior Design

One of the many reasons owners ultimately choose to purchase a Hatteras is due to our ability to highly personalize their vessel. From slight modifications to general arrangements to installation of over-the-top backlit stonework, we won’t shy away from much. No two Hatteras Yachts are ever the same, as we work closely with our customers to ensure their yacht’s interior and exterior design, as well as overall amenities, embody their individual needs, desires and dreams.

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The Hatteras GT Experience

Sports car handling, sea-kindliness and 40+ knots.

The Hatteras Advantage: Noise Suppression

The Hatteras in-house design and engineering team has made noise suppression a priority for decades.

The Hatteras Advantage: The Engine Room

When Hatteras owners take guests on a tour of their yacht, they often save the best part for last − the engine room. Every machinery space, from the GT59 to the GT70, is Intelligently designed, well-equipped, and surgically clean, showcasing the best of Hatteras engineering, design and construction technology.

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Built By Experts, Fished By Legends

Since 1985, our mission and goal has always been to build fine sportfishing boats. Gamefisherman custom sportfishing boats are now fishing all over the world, from sailfish tournaments in South Florida to chasing blue marlin in Guatemala, Hawaii, and Morocco. Our mission continues to grow deeper as we desire to see the traditional functionality of our vessels meet the quality of time spent aboard with family and friends.

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There are some Gamefisherman owners who know that the best experience is one that is shared. Check out our list of Gamefisherman owners you can charter with!

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Offshore Options | 28 Famous Sportfish Builders

The winter sportfishing season is in full swing. If you are stuck on land dreaming of the perfect sleek boat to get you out on the water, this is for you. We have pulled together a list of 28 famous sportfish builders to jump-start your search for your next dream boat.

28 Famous Sportfish Builders | The List

1. Albemarle Sportfishing Boats Started in 1978, the focus of Albemarle Sportfishing Boats is on building boats that stay dry, provide a comfortable ride, and can still take a beating. Albemarle offers boats ranging from 24 to 41 feet in length with the majority of their boats being diesel inboard powered models from 36 to 41 feet long.

2. American Custom Yachts American Custom Yachts was founded in 1992 to provide anglers with the fastest, strongest boats possible. The team is very customer-oriented with a focus on learning the individual needs of each client and matching them up with the best boat for their unique fishing and boating style.

3. BB Boats If you are looking for a sport fisher that will hold up to full-time charter use, BB Boats should be on your short list. The layouts are done with ease of use, safety, and fuel economy in mind to maximize customer experience and business profitability.

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4. Bertram Yacht Since 1960, the team at Bertram Yacht has been designing and building boats sturdy enough to brave rough seas while retaining fishability, speed, and comfort. The 31, 54, and 60 Bertram models have all made the list of legendary sport fisher vessels. Bertram also prides itself on customer service, providing plenty of guidance and support following the sale.

5. Bayliss Boatworks One of the hallmarks of Bayliss Boatworks is a focus on relentless innovation. After each new model is released, the team actively solicits owner feedback that they can incorporate to make the next model even better. This attention to detail and passion for excellence ensures a line of boats that never stagnates.

6. Briggs Boatworks Inc. The sweet spot for sport fishers is, in the opinion of Briggs Boatworks, 61 or 62 feet. Their models in these lengths offer large cockpits, plenty of entertaining space, and just the right amount of power for an excellent ride. Briggs works with customers to design the length and layout that are the best fit for them and their boating needs.

7. Cabo Yachts Legendary designing Ed Monk was behind the first Cabo Yachts design in 1991. Signature features of the Cabo line that continue on today include molded-in bait tanks with windows, oversize custom hinges, gel-coated bilges, and roomy interiors. Wiring and plumbing are done in notably high-quality components and a streamlined design.

8. Davis Yachts The custom Carolina design is a favorite of many oceangoing anglers thanks to its handling stability in heavy seas and strong currents. Davis Yachts is one of the builders for the custom Carolina design. Look for the signature pronounced bow flare and a multi-directional fiberglass hull that is strong and stiff yet very light.

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9. F&S Boatworks When looking for the signature touch that makes F&S Boatworks sport fishers stand out from the rest, start at the bottom and work your way up. The hull design of F&S boats from their 36 to their 75-foot models is based on that of the Seacraft. Longitudinal steps enhance roll stability and tracking while the rest of the design blends traditional and modern elements drawing on the best components available.

10. Gamefisherman While many builders focus on the larger sport fishers, Gamefisherman went into business specifically to fill the need for smaller day boats in the 37 to 40-foot range. The focus of the layouts is on fishing first with everything being designed around that purpose including the nimble handling characteristics.

11. Garlington Landewee r The design of a Garlington Landeweer sport fisher is traditional and timeless from the clean lines to rounded edges, and low profile. An all-composite hull design provides strength, and the ride is pleasantly soft even in a head sea.

12. Hatteras Yachts Hatteras is one of the early legends in the sport fisher world, getting its start in 1960 with fiberglass hull designs that are solid and sturdy enough to stand up to the harsh coastal waves of unforgiving seas along the Carolina coast. Newer models take advantage of resin infusion techniques and Seakeeper gyros.

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13. Henriques Yachts Inc. Portuguese building techniques came to America with the founding of Henriques Yachts in 1977. Their semi-custom designs are reactive to customer needs both for interior and fishing packages. Expect to find large cockpits for the size and a structurally sound boat that can handle whatever the rough seas throw at it.

14. Jarett Bay Boatworks Another custom Carolina builder, Jarett Bay Boatworks offers a pronounced bow flare design with a sturdy, heavy hull. The hull is made of a wooden core with inner and outer fiberglass for ultimate stability. Meanwhile, the house and interiors are foam cored to decrease the overall weight.

15. Jim Smith Boats Inc. Boats from Jim Smith are known for their speedy, lightweight designs thanks to cold- molded construction. Consider one of their boats if you are looking for a larger vessel up to over 100 feet in length that delivers speed performance along with ride quality.

16. Paul Mann Custom Boats The bottoms on Paul Mann boats are tailored to the customer’s personal fishing style whether they need stability or a smoother ride. Advanced composite construction keeps the weight down and fuel efficiency up while outstanding customer services garners repeat clients.

17. Maverick Yachts Maverick Yachts is another builder focused on smaller sport fisher models. Maverick boats are in the 32- to 46-foot category and offer a light, strong, tight design. Expect to find value and longevity for the price.

18. Merritt’s Boat and Engine Works Started in 1948, Merritt’s Boat is one of the legends in the sport fisher industry. These boats withstand the test of time and harsh seas with light but sturdy construction. Look for the composite hull with e-glass and Kevlar skins plus carbon-fiber decking and cores that maximize fuel efficiency by decreasing overall weight.

19. Ritchie Howell The design team at Ritchie Howell is proud of their ability to provide yacht-quality boats at competitive prices. Most hulls at Ritchie Howell are plywood and fiberglass through they are also open to the idea of an all carbon fiber design. Expect a Ritchie Howell boat to deliver speed and performance with a lower fuel burn than production run vessels.

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20. Roscioli International The two words that define Roscioli International designs are big and fast. Their designs focus on fit and finish with a level of quality and workmanship that owners can be proud of right down to the interior of the engine room.

21. Michael Rybovich and Sons Boat Works Each Michael Rybovich and Sons boat is a custom design with a cold-molded hull catered to the specific needs of the customer. Quality workmanship and superior performance in rough seas are the focus of the design and build teams. This coupled with excellent customer service means that many clients return when it is time for a new boat.

22. Scarborough Boatworks The founder of Scarborough Boatworks grew up boating and analyzing the handling characteristics of the best fishing vessels. When he later started his own boatworks, he focused on quality and value favoring traditional Carolina lines and a cold-molded hull.

23. Spencer Yachts Spencer Yachts vessels are well-known for their stellar performance and unique look. A Spencer sport fisher is longer and leaner than the competition. Every bit of space is maximized so customers can get the most use out of it while staying within budget.

24. Tribute Performance Boats Speed built the Tribute legacy from the early days when Tribute offered one of the only sport fishers capable of 40+ knots. Today, the brand keeps innovating while staying true to its roots. Longevity and outstanding engineering born of clean sheet designs keep each Tribute vessel feeling fresh and new.

25. Viking Yachts Viking Yachts has crafted a reputation for consistency, building more than 60 high quality boats a year after having celebrated their 50th birthday in 2014. While some of the other sport fisher brands cater more to American customers, Viking Yachts has a global following as well with an estimated 30% of sales coming from international customers who are drawn to the brand.

26. Weaver Boat Works The very efficient hull design of Weaver boats supports impressive speed with an equally impressive low fuel burn. An added benefit is a very clean wake. High speed boating necessitates a reinforced hull that can take a beating, and Weaver meets the challenge with Kevlar reinforced cold-molded construction.

27. Willis Marine Inc. With Willis Marine, the focus is on the planning phase of each vessel they design. While they specialize in cold-molded hulls from triple-planked plywood, Willis has also turned out some full composite hulls and can meet other buyer preferences while retaining their keen attention to detail.

28. Winter Custom Yachts Carolina style sport fishers from 24 to 75 feet in length are the specialty of Winter Custom Yachts. Their modern style and attention to the design details stem from the team’s shared engineering backgrounds. Customers can customize everything down to the individual pieces of finishing hardware.

Excited by the prospect of owning your very own sportfish? Check out our current sport fishing inventory . We just may have your dreamboat in stock.

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Top 5 Sportfish Yacht Brands [Buyer’s Guide]

The best sportfish yachts for sale..

Travel further and faster with a sportfish yacht . These unmistakable boats are built with purpose. Fishing enthusiasts enjoy the amenities and speed packed into a single machine, while families enjoy the comforts of a much larger yacht.

Sportfish boats can range in price from as low as $90,000 to upwards of a few million — it depends on the year, size, model, and amenities. If you’re in the market for a new or used sportfish yacht , simply choosing a brand can be overwhelming. We narrowed down the top 5 sportfish brands and examples of yachts for sale with Denison.

1. Bertram Yachts

Bertram 61

Bertram sportfish yachts are legends in the marine industry. Their business history began over 60 years ago when the 31 Bertram won the Miami to Nassau Offshore Race. That boat and her performance set the stage for Bertram’s continued success and reputation. Today, Bertram boats are the result of state-of-the-art construction techniques, incorporating vacuum resin-infused composite construction.

Bertram delivers unmatched performance and luxury while still delivering a tournament-winning fishability. For example, the new Bertram 61 , which revolutionized the deep-V hull. This hardcore fishing machine is constructed using cutting-edge composite materials; it incorporates the raised deck and stepped shear of the past with present day elements for a unique look that is all Bertram. And the ride is better than ever.

2. Viking Yachts

82 Viking 2010

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions the word ‘Viking’? Scandinavian seafaring warriors… and the New Jersey-based boat brand. Viking Yachts was founded by brothers Bob and Bill Healey in 1964. The business soon become a leader in semi-custom fiberglass yacht production with over 4,000 Viking sportfish and motor yachts delivered. Viking’s highly regarded seafaring reputation is rooted in its commitment to producing 90 percent of the boat in-house.

Viking sportfish yachts are characterized by their massive presence and deep-V hull. Like NINA MARIE , an 82’ Viking 2010. Her 5 stateroom, 6 head layout has the interior volume of a much larger motor yacht, yet the seakeeping ability of a Viking sportfish. This used Viking yacht for sale is powered by twin MTU M93 16V2000 2400HP with just 1800 hours.

3. Hatteras Yachts

70' Hatteras 1999

When your slogan is “experience life without limits” then you’ve caught our attention. Hatteras sportfish yachts are designed and built to offer an unmatched boating experience. The business began in 1959 in North Carolina, when founder and marlin fisherman Willis Slane envisioned a fishing vessel that could withstand the unforgiving waters off Cape Hatteras. 

In 1960, the company introduced the Hatteras 41 Convertible, the first all-fiberglass sportfishing boat available in the 40-foot range. What followed were continuous innovations and a remarkable legacy of superior craftsmanship, engineering, and attention to detail that remain the brand’s hallmarks sixty years later.

Hatteras sportfish yachts – such as JUST LIKE THAT , a 70’ Hatteras 1999 – offer plenty of outriggers, rod holders, storage, and spacious lounge areas. This used Hatteras for sale features an aft cockpit that’s a fisherman’s dream with a molded-in transom fish box, updated refrigerator/freezer plates, fresh/salt water wash downs, rod holders, and built in step boxes. The Hatteras modified-V hull delivers a sharp entry and a stable ride. No pounding here.

4. Merritt Yachts

80 Merritt Sportfish Yacht For Sale

Merritt’s Boat and Engine Works is a family-owned and operated business that started in 1948. The yard is located in Pompano Beach, Florida, and has gained a reputation for high-quality work and friendly customer service. The first boats built by Merritt were strictly for catching tuna. But they lacked creature comforts. With enhancements over the years, the small mom-and-pop business became known for building all-around outstanding boats.

EL CHUPACABRA is an 80-foot Merritt built in 2006 that boasts a high-quality composite construction and exceptional craftsmanship. Her unmistakable profile is bound to attract attention on the water as she’s powered by MTU M91 16V2000 engines. Run, don’t walk to this opportunity to own a classic Merritt sportfish .

5. Cheoy Lee

70' Cheoy Lee 1988

Cheoy Lee is backed by five generations of shipbuilding expertise. The company began in Hong Kong in 1936 building merchant sailing vessels during World War II. By the 1950s, the Cheoy Lee began building motor yachts while embracing the latest technological advances. Today, the company builds semi-custom yachts for owners who value performance, innovation, quality, and service.

FOUR ACRES , a 70’ Cheoy Lee 1988, remains one of the more aggressively styled big sportfishing yachts in the late-model marketplace. The ride is soft and dry as she’s built on a double-V bottom and Carolina flare bow. The accommodations of the boat rival those of a good-sized motor yacht thanks to an impressive 20-foot beam. This used sportfish for sale is available with Denison.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or veteran boat owner, a sportfish is an exciting purchase. You’ll gain access to a different world of boating and fishing thanks to advanced technology, amenities, and performance. Contact a Denison yacht broker to find your next sportfish yacht.

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Lanakai-super-sportfishing-yacht

The biggest sportfish superyachts in the world

Related articles, superyacht directory.

The next few years are shaping up well for the super-sportfish market with the Global Order Book reporting 26 projects currently on order or in build. Some special mentions include the Viking 90 flagship, a 24 metre sportfish chase boat underway at Vanquish and Royal Huisman 's mega 52 metre sportfish hull Project 406 which was announced in 2021. As we patiently await this new wave of uber-luxe fishing vessels, we take a look at the biggest already afloat...

1. Bad Company

The 43.9 metre sportfish yacht Bad Company (née Marlena ) was delivered in 1998 and was the largest sportfish in the world at the time. She changed ownership in 2013 and sent to Spain where she received a comprehensive refit and lengthened by six metres to her current length of 43.9 metres. ABS classed and MCA compliant, this all-aluminium superyacht accommodates up to 11 guests in a master suite, VIP, two doubles and one twin with a Pullman berth, all with LCD television screens and full en suite bathroom facilities.

2. Mea Culpa

Despite her size, Mea Culpa can reach a top speed of 23.5 knots thanks to a pair of 2735hp MTU 12V4000M90 diesel engines. The McMullen & Wing superyacht, designed by Jack Sarin , measures in at a hefty 42.28 metres. Mea Culpa can accommodate up to eight guests and six crew in her interiors, which have been designed by Marnell Corrao . She boasts a deck jacuzzi on board for post-fishing relaxation.  Mea Culpa was delivered in 2003.

3. Forty Love

Forty Love , formerly Don Elegante , began life in 1988 when she was commissioned by her first owner. According to BOAT Pro, the yacht ended up being reconstructed on an existing hull built by Westport in 1990 and was finally finished in 2002. Today, the 42 metre sportfish motor yacht sails under the name Forty Love and was the recipient of a two million-euro refit in 2020. Highlights include a main dining area with 360-degree views as well as a swimming platform with steps down into the water.

Lanakai , built by Yachting Developments , is the newest addition to the list of mega sportfish yachts. Delivered in 2017, the 39.5 metre superyacht is constructed entirely from carbon fibre to a design by Michael Peters  and can reach a top speed of 30 knots thanks to the power of two 3100.0hp MTU diesel engines. Spread over four decks, Lanaki can accommodate 10 guests and six crew. Her interiors, designed by Naylor Booth , sport an alliance of finely crafted American walnut joinery and muted fabrics. Lanakai boasts two saloons within her spacious interiors as well as a bar and stainless-steel aft deck barbecue for preparing the catch of the day.

5. Red Sapphire

Dutch shipyard Heesen , known today for its sporty steel and aluminium hulls, launched a series of sportfishing superyachts including Red Sapphire which splashed in 1999. The 39 metre is easy to spot with its distinct triangular form and a red stripe that runs the length of the yacht. Built for speed, she was capable of reaching speeds of 35 knots back in the day, powered by twin MTU 16V4000M90 engines.

6. Obsessions

The 38 metre Obsessions is the second Heesen built to make it into this round-up of supersized sportfish yachts. Launched in 1996, she arrived three years earlier than her sportfishing sister Red Sapphire . She was designed by Dutch studio Mulder Design and can sleep up to 10 guests.

The 37.19 metre sportfish Mary P was delivered in 2008 by Trinity Yachts . Built to satisfy the ultimate fisherman, this custom yacht incorporates a Simrad forward-looking sonar in the bow and a transom specifically designed to back down on fish at 10 knots. Twin 2,550hp Caterpillar diesel engines give her a top speed of 25 knots. Mary P was designed by Doug Sharp  together with Geoff Van Aller and is the only sportfish yacht to be built to ABS class. Her interiors have been designed by Judy Bell Davis and she can sleep up to eight guests and three crew below deck. On board amenities include a skylounge, bar and a formal dining area forward.

Boss was delivered by Dutch shipyard Feadship 1988 under the name Gallant Lady - the fifth in a series of yachts owned by the late Jim Moran. When she was launched she measured 35.35 metres in length but has since been extended to 36.27 metres. The yacht was refitted at Palmer Johnson in 1999 and can sleep up to 10 guests across four staterooms. 

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NEW and USED YACHTS for SALE Image

Used Sport Fishing Boats For Sale

photo of 108' Burger 2001

108' Burger 2001

$ 4,950,000

photo of 103' Westship Sportfish 2003

103' Westship Sportfish 2003

$ 5,095,000

Lighthouse point, United States

photo of 92' Sea Force IX Sportfish 2010

92' Sea Force IX Sportfish 2010

$ 2,745,000

North Palm Beach, United States

photo of 92' Viking 92 Enclosed bridge 2017

92' Viking 92 Enclosed bridge 2017

$ 9,200,000

photo of 90' Hatteras 90 1997

90' Hatteras 90 1997

$ 1,450,000

Cartersville, United States

photo of 82' Sea Force IX Enclosed Flybridge 2005

82' Sea Force IX Enclosed Flybridge 2005

$ 1,950,000

Miami Beach, United States

photo of 82' Sea Force IX Enclosed Bridge 2004

82' Sea Force IX Enclosed Bridge 2004

$ 1,750,000

Coral Gables, United States

photo of 80' Viking 80 Skybridge 2017

80' Viking 80 Skybridge 2017

$ 6,995,000

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

photo of 80' Viking 80 Convertible 2023

80' Viking 80 Convertible 2023

$ 9,250,000

Port Aransas, United States

photo of 80' Palmer Johnson 80 Sportfish M/Y 1997

80' Palmer Johnson 80 Sportfish M/Y 1997

$ 4,599,000

Key Largo, United States

photo of 80' Viking Sky Bridge 2017

80' Viking Sky Bridge 2017

$ 7,000,000

Stuart, United States

photo of 80' Viking 80 Sportfish Convertible 2023

80' Viking 80 Sportfish Convertible 2023

$ 9,695,000

Orange Beach, United States

Description

The evolution of the sportfishing yacht has changed significantly over the past few decades, not just from the materials used in the hull, or the advancement in construction techniques, but from its true capabilities. Anglers move up from center-consoles to larger sportfishing yachts for several reasons, but the main one is that you can simply fish farther out and for longer periods of time. All sportfishing yachts were once entirely made of wood, and while some custom sport fishing boat manufacturers still build wooden boats, the vast majority of sportfishing yachts sold today use a high-quality composite that is resin-infused for maximum durability and performance. Hulls are larger, lighter, and stronger which means today's sport fishing boat can go faster and fit more on it. Many of the Viking Yachts or Hatteras Yachts today feature 3 to 4 staterooms, each with their own head along with oversized salons, enclosed bridges, flybridges, and more creature comforts to make your time on the water more enjoyable. The most popular style of sport fishing boat today has to be the Convertible Sportfish due to its versatility of having the open bridge, along with the amenities of a motor yacht .

There are thousands of yachts available on the United website through our MLS services, many of which are sportfishing boats. There are many different brands, styles, features, and capabilities of both custom and production sportfish sold today, and the team at United has years of experience both selling sportfish and working with the manufacturers on new builds. Our brokers will share with you what they think is the best sport fishing boat available on the market. Let the United team help you in your search to find the perfect sportfishing boat, call our main office today at (772) 463-3131. United is also a dealer for new Hatteras Yachts and Cabo Yachts .

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SPEAK TO A SALES PROFESSIONAL

The improvements in construction and added space have paved the way for larger, more powerful engines to be used in sportfishing yachts. Whether tournament-fishing or just a weekend warrior, getting to the fishing grounds quickly is imperative. Today's sportfish boats can cruise anywhere from 20 to 30 knots and exceed speeds of 50 knots with big twin diesel engines. How fast a sportfishing boat can go depends on several factors include engine horsepower, hull shape, the construction of the vessel, and the weight of the entire boat.

It's the amenities on board though that generally appeal to the owner who likes to fish with his family. Comfortable, air-conditioned salons, full galley's with lots of storage for extended trips, hot showers in en suite bathrooms can make any extended fishing trip more enjoyable with kids on board especially.

Below are several prominent custom and production sportfishing boat brands :

  • Bayliss Boatworks
  • Bertram Yachts
  • Buddy Davis Boats
  • Egg Harbor Boats
  • F&S Yachts
  • Gamefisherman Boats
  • Garlington Yachts
  • G&S Yachts
  • Henriques Yachts
  • Jarrett Bay Yachts
  • Jim Smith Boats
  • Luhrs Yachts
  • Merritt Yachts
  • Ocean Yachts
  • Paul Mann Boats
  • Ritchie Howell Boats
  • Riviera Yachts
  • Rybovich Yachts
  • Spencer Yachts
  • Sunny Briggs Yachts
  • Viking Yachts
  • Weaver Yachts
  • Whiticar Yachts
  • Willis Yachts

Sportfishing yachts are typically boats 50ft and over that are purpose-designed and built for offshore fishing in tournaments such as the Atlantic Ocean White Marlin Open of Ocean City, MD—the world’s largest billfish tournament with a multi-million-dollar payout, or for the adventure of chasing pelagic gamefish in remote spots around the world. Kona-Hawaii (Pacific Blue Marlin), Isla Mujeres-Mexico (Sailfish), New Zealand (Striped Marlin), Great Barrier Reef-Australia (Giant Black Marlin), along with Costa Rica, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, are among the finest gamefish destinations.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sportfishing Boats:

What type of yacht is best for fishing?

Although one can cast or drop a line from just about any boat, for the serious sport and tournament fisherman, a vessel designed from the ground up for the rigors of offshore fishing in many conditions and often customized to the owner’s wishes, are the best choice. There are many variations of the two basic types of sportfish boats—the Express Sportfish and the Flybridge/Convertible Sportfish. The Flybridge Sportfish boats (45ft and under) are not technically Convertibles, but distinctions are blurred as they are often marketed as such. Express Sportfish models have two decks, the main deck with helm and cockpit, accommodations below deck and tend to be smaller.

Most likely it will have a tower, but no flybridge. Examples are the Gamefisherman 50 Express, Huckins 45 Sportfisherman, Cabo Express SF. All feature large cockpits that are uncluttered and set up for fishing action and may include in-deck fish boxes, livewells, rod holders, ice machine, fighting chair, aft steering, transom “tuna” doors, tackle storage and more. Many have towers with their own steering stations, outriggers, rocket launcher rod holders, and other features. Convertible Sportfisherman are larger and most often completely custom world-class yachts for tournament and long-range fishing adventures. Examples are Michael Rybovich & Sons sportfishing yachts, Hatteras GT series, Viking Convertibles, Jim Smith, Merritt, F&S, Bertram, Custom Carolina, and many more.

Read: What Is The Best Size Sport Fishing Boat?

Below is a video of a 85' Jim Smith Custom Sportfish:

What is a Convertible Sportfishing boat?

Convertible Sportfish Yachts are typically 50ft or more with enclosed living area on the main deck and a flybridge with hard top or fully enclosed, in addition to accommodations below deck, and a large cockpit with a mezzanine deck with seating for guests to watch and enjoy the action. These yachts are often a custom build that combines the luxurious amenities of a motor yacht with the proven performance hull of a sportfisher, capable of converting to a cruising yacht, if desired. They will usually have a tower for spotting gamefish and utilize the latest technological advantages and fish-finding electronics, such as Furuno’s real-time 360-degree sonar systems, Seakeeper stabilizers, pod drives, powerful diesel engines and gensets, and much more. Convertible Sportfishers are evaluated on their seakeeping ability, stability and efficiency in speed and economy. Handling and performance underway or in fishing mode are vital, as they must be able to handle all types of conditions; many have redundant systems. The cockpit needs to be well arranged for anglers and crew to do battle with big trophy gamefish!

Example of a convertible sportfish:

convertible sportfishing boat

How much does a Sportfishing Yacht cost?

How much are you willing to spend? There are too many variables with the vast array of manufacturers and builders of Sportfishing Yachts to put a single price out there. Currently the average cost to purchase a Sportfishing Yacht over 40ft in the Southeast Region of the United States is about $815,500. Sportfishing yachts tend to cost more than a cruising motor yacht of the same length because of the additional specialized equipment, electronics, and build features, especially for a custom sportfish. Convertible sportfishing yachts have both the luxury accommodations of a motor yacht and the specialized features of a high-end “fishing machine.” When considering the cost of ownership, as with any vessel, be sure to factor in dockage/storage, insurance, maintenance, fuel and other running costs, captain and crew salaries (if needed), taxes & fees, and more.

Learn more about pricing here:

  • How Much Is A Sportfishing Yacht?
  • How Much Does A Fishing Yacht Cost?
  • Why Are Sportfishing Boats So Expensive?
  • Guide To Buying A Sportfishing Yacht

What is the best Sportfish boat?

There are so many excellent makes and models of Sportfishing boats and yachts available today that the question becomes a personal matter: Which sportfishing boat is best for you? Do you intend to enter tournaments, fish recreationally with family and friends, or pursue trophy billfish and other gamefish around the world, or for extended stays in the Bahamas? Your budget will also narrow the field or allow you to have a boat built to your specifics and uniquely reflect your style and taste. Some well-known Sportfish builders are as follows: Albemarle, American Custom Yachts (acquired by Willis Marine Inc in July 2021), BB Boats (especially built for charter use), Bertram Yacht, Bayliss Boatworks, Briggs Boatworks (Sunny Briggs), Cabo Yachts, Davis Yachts, F&S Boatworks, Gamefisherman, Garlington Landeweer, Hatteras Yachts, Henriques Yachts, Jarrett Bay, Jim Smith Boats, Paul Mann Custom Boats (retired 2021), Maverick Yachts (designed by Erwin Gerard, EG Designs and built in Costa Rica), Merritt’s Boat and Engine Works, Ritchie Howell Custom Boats, Roscioli Donzi Intl., Michael Rybovich and Sons, Scarborough Boatworks, Spencer Yachts, Viking Yachts, Weaver Boat Works, Willis Marine (just acquired ACY in Stuart, FL), Winter Custom Yachts, and new custom builder in St Augustine, FL, Vilano Boatworks--introducing a 65ft sportfish designed by noted naval architect, Erwin Gerard.

How much does a 50ft fishing boat cost?

Currently a used 2005 Ocean Yachts 50ft Super Sport is listed at $395,000 in the Florida east coast market, which is about average in the current brokerage market. Current (Aug. 2021) range in the yachting industry’s MLS is $600,000 for a 2000 Viking 50 Convertible Sport Fisher in California to a 1991 Ocean Yachts 50ft Super Sport located in Italy at $199,420. Of course, a new production or custom-built fishing boat will be much more.

What is the largest fishing yacht?

According to The Robb Report and Yachts International, the new 171ft Royal Huisman Sportfish Superyacht will be the world’s largest true sportfish yacht when it is launched. Currently under construction, the yacht will be equipped for the global pursuit of trophy gamefish such as swordfish and marlin that roam the world’s oceans, and a range of sportfishing options. Sportfishing has attracted new owners for the larger boats in recent decades and yachts with tall towers and outriggers dominate the world’s fishing grounds in South and Central America, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Rim and New Zealand.

Some of the other sportfishing yachts that fall into the superyacht strata are Trinity Yachts 131.7 ft BAD COMPANY built in 1998 and MARY P built in the New Orleans shipyard in 2008; McMullen & Wing 119ft MEA CULPA built in 2003; Yachting Developments (New Zealand) 118.5ft 2018 LANAKAI and 99ft AL DUHAIL, world’s largest all-carbon sportfisher launched in 2020; 116ft CIELO MARE built by Townsend Bay Marine. Other noted builders are American Custom Yachts 90ft C’EST LA VIE, Bayliss Boatworks 2014 90ft Singularis, Bertram’s 80ft Sportfisher with enclosed flybridge, Hatteras 90ft built in 1995 one of a series built between 1992-1993; Jarrett Bay 84ft delivered in 2016; Jim Smith Boats 105ft delivered in 2013, one of the largest cold-molded sportfishers built; Merritt’s 86ft DESTINY built in 2011 with enclosed bridge; Roscioli’s 92ft Evolution, capable of scaling up to a 105ft model; Michael Rybovich & Sons custom 88ft currently under construction; Spencer Yachts custom 87ft built in 2012; Viking 92ft Convertible launched in 2014; and Weaver Boatworks 87ft completed in 2013 for fishing the Seychelles Islands.

Seen below: The Viking 92 Convertible.

viking 92 convertible

Is Hatteras Yachts still building sportfishing models?

Recently (2021) acquired by White River Marine Group (Bass Pro Shops family of brands), the Next generation of the legendary Hatteras sportfish yachts will be the focus of White River Marine as they make Hatteras the “finest sportfishing boats ever made,” building on the traditions and innovations that began over 60 years ago in 1959 in North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras coast. The current production and semi-custom Hatteras Sportfish GT Series ranges from the GT45X Express Cruiser, GT45X Flybridge, GT45X Tower, GT45X Open to the GT54, GT59, GT65 Carolina, and GT70—all designed and built in New Bern, NC with the offshore angler in mind. These elegant, updated classic sportfish models are beautifully crafted with the features, rigging and signature Hatteras ride. Built strong (over engineered) to perform well in the fierce currents and swells off Cape Hatteras and anywhere else you like to fish.

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charter motor yacht Coastal Cowgirl

Length : 15.8 m

... the Mid Pilothouse design configuration the engines are amidships under the saloon sole, this allows for a flatter shaft angle which improves propellor efficiency and lowers draft. Easy access to the engine ...

charter motor yacht

charter motor yacht 53'

Length : 16.15 m

... Our existing engine room layout is the result of listening to our customers and applying what we learned. This is only a small part of what it takes to produce a winner. With FULL access to both engines ...

sport-fishing motor yacht

sport-fishing motor yacht

Length : 24 m

Designed by Michael Peters Yacht Design for Garlington Landeweer Snowgoose (ex-Dreamin’ On) Big Easy (ex-Day Money) Kelsey Lee 24m (80’) Advanced composite sportfishing yachts

cruising motor yacht

cruising motor yacht 530 LXF

Length : 16.28 m

... de-boarding, and the ideal launch pad for water sports activities. When deployed, they create 17’ 10" of beam deck, ideal for entertaining with 150 sq. ft. of cockpit space, or when raised, 105 sq. ft. of fishing ...

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sport-fishing-motor-yacht

A sport-fishing motor yachts is a vessel over 15 meters long and designed for big-game fishing.

These boats can be used for any type of fishing, but are particularly suited for going after big game, thanks to the fighting chair in the spacious cockpit. Most also feature a flybridge offering a panoramic view for spotting schools of fish at long range. They are comfortable, well-equipped and sufficiently large to accommodate a family for rapid cruising.

Most such vessels are built of laminated composites, usually polyester fiberglass. In addition to a flybridge, many have an exterior helm, outriggers to hold lines away from the boat, fighting chairs, fish wells and other specialized fishing gear. The below-decks area usually includes several comfortable cabins, saloon, galley and heads. Some are catamarans. The twin-hull configuration limits rolling and offers extensive living space within the hulls and on the central platform. However, finding a berth in port is more difficult than with a monohull.

A sliding length scale at the upper right of the NauticExpo page enables you to establish minimum and maximum size to facilitate your search. Fuel consumption increases exponentially with the vessel's length, weight and engine power.

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A perfect ride every time

sport fishing yacht manufacturers

Building the toughest, most balanced and smoothest riding center console fishing boats for over 27 years

Image of a Bluewater Offshore Fishing Boat on the ocean

The Bluewater Difference

sport fishing yacht manufacturers

For more than two decades, Bluewater Sportfishing Boats has established a reputation for building the toughest and best riding center consoles out there. Beyond superior performance and fishability, no two Bluewater boats are the same – with endless options and customizations, we’re able to build a boat to meet your unique wants and needs and make sure you get exactly what you want from your vessel. Let's talk numbers – our Bluewater model names follow the old rules, when boats were tough and built to be ran hard, before the corporations and marketers took over most boat companies. We don't include the bracket in our Length Overall (LOA) measurements. This means that our boats are seriously roomier and pack a bigger punch than their names might suggest. For example, the Bluewater 2850 with the bracket stretches to a whopping 31 feet. So when you're sizing things up, think of it as competing with the 31-footers from other brands. We've gone all in on quality during construction. We're talking premium materials and methods that might be more time-consuming, but the results speak for themselves. Unlike assembly-line production boats, our employees are skilled boat builders whose passion shows through the craftsmanship put into each vessel, setting us apart from the crowd. So whether you're aiming to conquer the open ocean or just chill on a sandbar, we're ready to make your Bluewater boat fit your lifestyle. From offshore expeditions to fun-filled family days snorkeling in crystal water, your Bluewater boat is a guarantee of good times ahead and designed to bring you joy for years on end. You’ve heard good things – now experience it for yourself

sport fishing yacht manufacturers

Offshore Models

Our offshore sportfishing boats are designed for serious anglers who seek big-game adventures. With spacious decks, advanced fish-finding technology, and comfortable amenities, these boats are your ticket to deep-sea success.

Image of an inshore model boat by Bluewater Boats.

Inshore Models

For those who prefer inshore fishing, our lineup of versatile boats offers the agility and performance needed to navigate shallower waters while maintaining the same level of craftsmanship and innovation.

Image of Seakeeper system by Bluewater Boats.

SeaKeeper Systems

Looking to upgrade your Bluewater for the smoothest ride you've ever experienced? Check out the Seakeeper RIDE

Boats to Last a Lifetime Join the bluewater family

Our Open Door Policy:  Step into our world of boat craftsmanship and experience the passion and precision that make our boats truly exceptional. Whether you call Florida home or will be traveling to see the shop, we extend a warm invitation for you to join us for a shop tour. Simply reach out to us via phone or email, and we'll ensure your visit is unforgettable.  Come be a part of the Bluewater Family.

sport fishing yacht manufacturers

Join our Owners Group

Don't just take our word for it - join over 8,400+ Bluewater fans in the Bluewater Owners Group on Facebook to learn more about our boats and the people living the Bluewater lifestyle.

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Image of an angling customer holding a large fish while riding a Bluewater 2850 boat.

In 2018 I shopped and sea trialed every boat in the 30’ class and the decision to purchase a 2850 Bluewater was easy. There is not another boat in this class that provides the cockpit space, range, and ride that we need to fish the Mid-Atlantic canyons.

Image of Bluewater 2350 boat by a customer.

We chose the 2350 Bluewater because it had the best ride in its class while offering the ability to carry a significant amount of scuba tanks and gear in the front fish box. We are continually impressed by the ride quality, fishability, and build quality of the 2350 Bluewater as we put this little boat through several tournaments a year.

Image of a Bluewater Boat model boat.

We’ve always been confident in the boat and are constantly impressed with the ride and capability. There are simply no other builders currently making an offshore 21 footer that can compete in this category as far as size, ride, deadrise, closed transom and cockpit space, in deck boxes, and overall performance and build quality.

Image of a Bluewater Boat model boat.

We started out with the 2550 Bluewater. We caught everything you can imagine on that boat from hundreds of Mahi, lots of Kingfish, Sailfish, and even a Blue Marlin. We ran the 2550 boat across to the Bahamas multiple times, and really enjoyed some of the Bluewater rendezvous, giving us a chance to meet many other proud Bluewater owners.

eXPERIENCE THE DIFFERENCE

Advertisement for the Palm Beach International Boat Show, showcasing one of the Bluewater boats

IMAGES

  1. Sport-fishing motor yacht

    sport fishing yacht manufacturers

  2. Sport-fishing motor yacht

    sport fishing yacht manufacturers

  3. New Boat Report: Viking 64C

    sport fishing yacht manufacturers

  4. Bayliss 67' Reel Dream

    sport fishing yacht manufacturers

  5. Sport Fishing Yachts: A Buyer’s Guide

    sport fishing yacht manufacturers

  6. Offshore Options

    sport fishing yacht manufacturers

VIDEO

  1. Super Yacht For Fishing! #boat #yacht #luxury

  2. My boat is no sport fishing yacht

  3. 37 Spencer "Just Enough"

  4. The 10 100m+ yachts from The Netherlands

  5. 2001 80 Donzi Enclosed Bridge Yacht for Sale

  6. Yacht Fishing, Israel

COMMENTS

  1. Custom Sportfish Yachts and Service from Jarrett Bay Boatworks

    Jarrett Bay Boatworks is a world-class boat builder and yacht service facility in the United States. Having delivered over 100 custom sport fishing boats and semi-production models, while servicing tens of thousands of recreational and commercial vessels, Jarrett Bay is renowned for quality craftsmanship.

  2. Best Sport Fishing Boats, Yacht Manufacturers

    321-473-6850. bertram.com Courtesy Bertram Yacht. Bertram Yacht got its start in 1960, when Richard Bertram began racing and winning on an experimental hull called Moppie. That hull went on to anchor one of the most successful sport-fishing models of all time, the legendary 31 Bertram.

  3. 13 Luxury Sport Fishing Yachts of 2023

    They are listed in no particular order. Hatteras GT65 Carolina: A customizable sportfish yacht with Caterpillar diesels. Viking Yachts 64C: An eye-watering 42 knots of fish-chasing speed boat. Royal Huisman Project 406: The biggest sportfish yacht ever built. Rybovich 94: A superyacht-sized angler's dream.

  4. FS Yachts

    Each F&S is custom-built to perfectly fit the owner's needs. Using the latest technology and the highest quality materials, each yacht is created with speed, fish-ability, and durability in mind. With a custom designed yacht you can bring in your catch and handle huge head seas—from F&S Boatworks, the sportsfish manufacturer known for best….

  5. Hatteras Sportfish Yachts

    DISCOVER THE HATTERAS DIFFERENCE. From hull design and propulsion to on-board connectivity and interior design, a commitment to innovation fuels every aspect of our convertible sport fishing yacht business. And in the process, we're creating a legacy for others to chase and an unmatched experience for a fortunate few to enjoy. Our Story.

  6. Custom Sport Fishing Boats & Yachts For Sale

    If you are looking for a custom sport fishing boat or yacht that combines performance, comfort, and quality, look no further than Bayliss Boatworks. They are a leading builder of custom sportfishing yachts, with a full-service boatyard and repair facility in North Carolina. Explore their models, features, interiors, and sonar systems on their website.

  7. Bertram Yachts

    Inspired by tradition and driven by excellence, Bertram Yachts is known for making rugged, versatile boats, including sportfishing and flybridge yachts. ... Bertram 50 Sport. The new era of the Bertram Sportfish Bertram 61 Convertible. Your serious bluewater fishing machine New from Bertram ...

  8. Custom Sportfishing Boats and Service

    BUILDERS OF THE WORLDS FINEST CUSTOM SPORTFISHING BOATS SINCE 1919. Combining the best riding and fastest hull designs on the water, the most innovative methods and systems in the industry, and an uncompromising attention to detail, Michael Rybovich & Sons delivers the most advanced, best riding sportfishing yachts built today. Our never-ending ...

  9. Luxury Yachts and Performance Yachts

    The Luxury Sport Series consists of the first Tiara products, designed specifically around outboard propulsion. With a focus on luxury sport yachting, this lineup offers sophisticated vessels ready to meet the demands of day yachting. LX Series. The Luxury Crossover Series offers functionality and comfort for everyone aboard.

  10. Best Luxury Sport Fishing Yacht Builders & Refit Company

    Luxury Sport Fishing Yacht Builders & Refit Company. Advanced technology. Incomparable quality. "We are committed to being the premier custom sportfish builder and full-service repair facility in the United States through innovation, technology, and exceptional leadership while providing a rewarding work environment for all team members.".

  11. Sport Fishing Yachts & Custom Carolina Boats

    Carolina Dream Builders. We love boats. Whether you want complete luxury, a quality charter boat with work in mind, a project to finish yourself, or someone to finish your project - we have all the resources. Our design is not just an idea on paper, it is a proven product. Our testing has been done in real weather conditions in the real ocean.

  12. Sport Fishing Boat Manufacturers

    Cutting-edge fishing equipment, chosen by you, combined with the legendary F&S hull for a boat as determined as you are to bring in the catch. You dream up the boat, Our team does the rest ... F&S Yachts 353 Summit Pointe Circle Bear, Delaware 19701. 353 Summit Pointe Circle Bear, Delaware 19701; [email protected];

  13. Viking Yachts

    Viking Yachts, the premiere manufacturer of quality yachts ranging from 38 to 90 feet. Skip to Main Navigation. Skip to Main Content. Skip to Latest News Area. ... From 37-foot wooden cruising and fishing boats to the ground-breaking 55 Convertible to the 38-knot resin-infused 90 Sky Bridge, Viking has become the world leader in semi-custom ...

  14. Scout

    Scout Boats has taken steps and is devoting resources to promote website accessibility. If you have difficulty accessing features or functions on this website, email us at [email protected] and we will work with you to provide the information you seek and/or call our customer service line at 843-821-0068.

  15. Experience

    The Hatteras Advantage: Onboard Electrical Systems. While Hatteras Yachts' legendary ride, performance, comfort, and fishability get the lion's share of attention, the equipment we manufacture for each of our boats also is purpose-built to deliver an exceptional experience. Take the electrical wiring systems and panels that keep your ...

  16. Gamefisherman

    Built By Experts, Fished By Legends. Since 1985, our mission and goal has always been to build fine sportfishing boats. Gamefisherman custom sportfishing boats are now fishing all over the world, from sailfish tournaments in South Florida to chasing blue marlin in Guatemala, Hawaii, and Morocco. Our mission continues to grow deeper as we desire ...

  17. Offshore Options

    4. Bertram Yacht Since 1960, the team at Bertram Yacht has been designing and building boats sturdy enough to brave rough seas while retaining fishability, speed, and comfort. The 31, 54, and 60 Bertram models have all made the list of legendary sport fisher vessels. Bertram also prides itself on customer service, providing plenty of guidance and support following the sale.

  18. Sport Fishing boats for sale

    Sport Fishing boats pricing. Sport Fishing boats for sale on YachtWorld are listed for an assortment of prices from $17,659 on the relatively moderate end up to $7,000,000 for the exclusive custom-built yachts. It is advisable to bear in mind the expenditure involved in ownership while contemplating your budget and the listed price of a yacht ...

  19. Top 5 Sportfish Yacht Brands [Buyer's Guide]

    The business soon become a leader in semi-custom fiberglass yacht production with over 4,000 Viking sportfish and motor yachts delivered. Viking's highly regarded seafaring reputation is rooted in its commitment to producing 90 percent of the boat in-house. Viking sportfish yachts are characterized by their massive presence and deep-V hull.

  20. The 8 biggest sportfish superyachts in the world

    1. Bad Company. The 43.9 metre sportfish yacht Bad Company (née Marlena) was delivered in 1998 and was the largest sportfish in the world at the time. She changed ownership in 2013 and sent to Spain where she received a comprehensive refit and lengthened by six metres to her current length of 43.9 metres. ABS classed and MCA compliant, this ...

  21. Sportfishing Boats For Sale

    Our brokers will share with you what they think is the best sport fishing boat available on the market. Let the United team help you in your search to find the perfect sportfishing boat, call our main office today at (772) 463-3131. United is also a dealer for new Hatteras Yachts and Cabo Yachts.

  22. Sport-fishing motor yacht

    sport-fishing motor yacht 61C. cruising flybridge 3-cabin. Contact. Length: 18.59 m. Width: 5.5 m. Draft: 1.52 m. Your serious bluewater fishing machine. Tailor-made for open water, the Bertram 61 masterfully blends seakeeping capability, luxury, and sportfishing prowess. Spacious and elegant, there's room for plenty of family, friends, ...

  23. Center Console Fishing Boats

    Over 27 years of building America's top center console fishing boats. Engineered for performance and made in America. Build your Bluewater today. BLUEWATER MODELS. 2150. 23T. 2550. 25T. 2850. 355e. Ready to get started? ... Unlike assembly-line production boats, our employees are skilled boat builders whose passion shows through the ...