By Josh Boyd
Most anglers began their fishing careers by dipping a cricket or worm in the water of their local lake, while fishing from the bank. Although this in itself is extremely enjoyable, most quickly wished to journey out onto the water by boat, in search of further adventure. This is only natural, as in one’s imagination, the next lunker always resides on the brush pile just beyond your furthest cast.
Out of this ambition, a great many anglers begin searching for an affordable boat that will allow them to live their dreams. However, it does not take long to discover that boat ownership comes with a price tag that is often significant. While this deters some, others forge on searching for a viable option that will not break the bank.
What few realize is that you do not need to own a $40,000 bass boat to have fun on the water. On the contrary, one can find their way onto the water at virtually any price point, if they understand their options, and are patient when seeking out the best buy.
An aluminum boat can be the best friend of a budget-minded angler. These boats come in many sizes and shapes, with perhaps the most popular variety being the jon boat.
An aluminum boat carries several distinct advantages over other types of boats. One of the most significant of these advantages is the boat’s profile, which typically sets high in the water, allowing even the most shallow of depths to be navigated.
Jon boats in particular, utilize a flat bottom to traverse shallow creeks and travel across depths where few other boats are capable of venturing. In many cases, no more than just a few inches of water are needed for a jon boat to make passage.
Another advantage of aluminum boats is their lightweight characteristics. Although these boats come in a variety of sizes, many small jon boats can be easily carried to the water’s edge by a couple of eager fishermen, even when fitted with a trolling motor and battery.
This makes it quite easy to launch an aluminum boat in remote areas, even in the absence of a traditional boat ramp.
Aluminum boats can be purchased at virtually any price point, with some outfitted models costing nearly as much as a bass boat. However, smaller minimalistic 10’ jon boats can typically be purchased for around $1,000.
If you are looking for a boat big enough for several people, larger 12’-14’ jon boats are readily available at a sub-$2000 price point.
If you fancy the idea of traveling rivers and creeks in search of adventure, but have a budget to keep in mind, the purchase of a canoe or kayak is likely right up your alley. These pint-sized vessels can go virtually anywhere, and can be afforded on nearly any budget.
Both kayaks and canoes hold the distinction of being able to be launched from nearly any location, and no boat ramp is needed to get afloat.
One of the major advantages of fishing from a kayak or canoe is the level of versatility that they offer. Kayak and canoe anglers can be found fishing all across the nation, in waterways of varying sizes.
From lazy rivers of the south, to ocean bays, kayaks can be found floating about virtually anywhere in search of hot fishing. Additionally, many accessories are available for those wishing to make their kayaks and canoes more fishing-friendly.
Another advantage offered by kayaks and canoes is their portability. When heading to the lake or river, simply throw these miniature boats into the back of your truck, and take off in search of natural exploration.
When attempting to get started boating on a budget, you will find kayaks and canoes to be among the most economical ways of doing so. Kayak and canoe prices typically fall into the $300-$1,200 price range, with the bulk of options being found at a $400-$800 dollar price point.
If you still have reservations about the expenditure involved with making your first boat purchase, you might consider keeping your eyes open for quality used vessels for sale. Buying used can save you as much as 50% over the price of purchasing new.
There are a number of excellent ways to locate quality used kayaks, canoes, and aluminum boats. One such option is to scan internet buy/sell sites, such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.
Yard sales are also another great place to find smaller used boats, especially kayaks and canoes. In many cases, an individual has grown busy, and no longer uses their kayak or canoe. Therefore, they are now attempting to sell it to free up some additional garage space.
Pawn shops are also known to have used kayaks, canoes, and even jon boats in their inventory. If you are looking to get out on the water, but find yourself strapped for cash, these shops can be worthy of a look.
Boating for Less
Life can be expensive. Unforeseen expenses have a way of making it difficult to put back enough money to justify the purchase of a pricey boat. However, if an individual will take the time to carefully consider their options, boating fun can be had on any budget. By shopping around, and waiting for the right deal to present itself, you can get out on the water at a fraction of the cost that you previously thought possible.