The Baddest Fishing Boats a Man Can Buy for Under $20k

For the “frugal” sportsman

By The Editors

The Baddest Fishing Boats a Man Can Buy for Under $20k
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23 March 2016

We can think of a couple things a six-figure Hydra-Sports 53 Suenos or a Boston Whaler 420 Outrage will get your more of.

Fish, however, are not one of ‘em.

Which is to say: the urge to cast lines from your own licensed and creatively moniker’d watercraft doesn’t have to mean choosing between an Everglades 255c and a down payment on a new home.

There’s hope out there. And value.

To prove it, we tapped the experts at Boats to recommend the seven best vessels on the market that can be yours for under $20k. Something dandy to get a guy in the water, but his bottom line above it.

Image via Crestliner

CRESTLINER KODIAK 16 SC
$10,148

Highlights include a 34 MPH top speed, a reverse-chine hull — good for keeping the spray at bay — and rough-and-tumble touches like full-length piano hinges on the hatches and a bedliner-esque cover on the aluminum decking.


Image via Sun Tracker Boats

SUN TRACKER BASS BUGGY 16 DLX
$11,795

The price is attractive, though note it does not include a trailer. For that you’ll drop an extra $1,995. She’s only working with 20 HP, but the aesthetic here is key. For those who want the sweet pontoon aesthetic with fishing capabilities, the Sun Tracker has rod-holders and a nine-gallon livewell.


Image via Mako

MAKO PRO 17 SKIFF CC
$15,995

At a reasonable price, the Mako still made Boats’s Top 10 Fishing Boats in 2012. The drawback is a plastic console rather than fiberglass, and a tiny livewell that holds only eight gallons. But she’ll get the job done with an “inverted V” hull design that looks mighty nice to boot.  


Image via Carolina Skiff

CAROLINA SKIFF JVX 18CC
$17,000

A simple boat, but that’s not a bad thing. The Carolina is regarded for easy maintenance while still packing a 50-70 horsepower punch.


Image via Starweld

STARWELD 1600 SC
$18,000

The Starweld’s best feature: a generous 25-gallon livewell for long trips and big feasts. For a 16-footer, that’s massive. Other perks include multiple seats in the cockpit, bow deck and aft deck, and 50 ponies of giddy-up that’ll have her pushing 30 MPH.


Image via Bayliner

BAYLINER ELEMENT F18
$18,599

For $18k, you’ll get a four-stroke engine and the whole boat/motor-trailer package. That’s 24-35 MPH of wake-kicking action and all the major components on-board with some cost-cutting (like plastic latches in place of stainless-steel ones) to bring down the sticker price.


Image via Robalo

ROBALO R160
$19,795

Under the tiller: a 50 HP four-stroke engine (an extra $1,000 will take it to 70) and all the basic requirements: no-feedback steering, a battery switch, a flip-back cooler helm seat and an aluminum trailer.

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