Best type of small boat for fishing a river?

Hey Everyone,
I’m in the military stationed in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and have been doing a lot of pier fishing lately in the James River, but now I’d like to get out on a small boat of my own, but I’m not sure what the best time of small boat would be. A friend told me a jon boat would be a good choice. I looked up more information and liked the idea, except I don’t own a truck or something to put it on, and I’m not sure how well putting a jon boat on top of an Infiniti G35 would work. Would something inflatable be a good idea? I’m flexible on price, would preferably like to stand at times, and would like some sort of portability or something I can easily put on top of a car or something. Not interested in fishing kayaks. Any ideas or suggestions would be great, thanks!


4 thoughts on “Best type of small boat for fishing a river?

  1. BOBBER Post author

    I have a 12ft jon boat that I use on small rivers and ponds. It weighs less than 100lbs and it only needs about 5 inches of water to go on.

  2. Ole Fisherman Post author

    Here’s all the boats I can think of that might work for you. (I’ve included a “fisherman’s ” Kayak. Although you said no Kayaks, you should check out the one I’m including…..)

    Hobie , Mirage Pro Angler- This is the “cadillac” of fishing Kayaks. It has a unique pedal propulsion system allowing you to troll or cast and slowly move. You can stand in it and it is totally “car-topable”-

    Fold Boat/Porta-Bote- This is much better than an inflatable but takes a bit of time to set-up-

    In my opinion, an inflatable boat is not safe or reliable enough to be called a “boat”. However, you can purchase a really thick, expensive, inflatable and be fine. BUT, they have (next to) NO re-sale value. Do you really want to spend a lot of money on something you can’t re-sale for at least half of what you bought it for?

    A Jon boat would be nice, BUT, they aren’t fun to put on the top of a car by yourself. And the “skinny” Jons are more “tippy” than a Kayak or Canoe. (The “wide” Jons are very stable, but tend to be heavier than the skinny’s.) However, Weight is the major issue with a “wide” Jon boat. They are usually in the 100-150LB range. Putting a 150LB cumbersome boat on top of a car by yourself TWICE can ruin your fishing trip…..and one “mistake” can scratch the heck out of your car. Ask yourself, “Am I always going to have help putting this on top of my car?” If No is your answer, then think twice about Jon…..

    Canoes are a compromise between a Kayak and a Jon. Most are under 80-100Lb’s and aren’t too cumbersome for a single man to maneuver onto the top of a car. You can add a trolling motor to a Canoe and comfortable seats. There are many modification you can do to a Canoe to make it more “fish-able” and comforting. Some Canoes are designed for fishing (and standing) and can easily be trailered if need be with a car. Also, you can usually find a very nice used one for under $400. Here’s a nice fishing Canoe-

    Add a cheap trailer (and get a hitch put on your car) and you’ve got a fishing MACHINE! Of all the boats I’ve owned over the years, my tricked-out Old Town was the boat that caught me the largest and most fish!

    Why? I could go places no one else could go, (like small ponds and lakes). I added permanent swivel seating, a fish finder, and a Trolling motor (with a deep cycle battery). That canoe was awesome! Of course I had a trailer as well. And if your gonna get a trailer you might want to get a Jon Boat…………


    Lotsa “angles” on this subject, hugh? (lol)

    Anyway, hope this info helps ya?

  3. Jerry Post author

    Small narrow light weight aluminum john boat, me, I would use a canoe for sure with an outrigger allowing me to stand, its just all around better but for you maybe the john boat is best.

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