5 Best Inflatable Fishing Boats: Push the Boat Out at a Fraction

best inflatable fishing boats

The best inflatable fishing boats can give you many years of service minus sans the initial cost and ongoing repair and maintenance costs.

Mention watercrafts and the image that comes to mind for most people is that of a sleek speed fiberglass boat screaming through the water. Or probably a Jon boat rocking on the sea.

But who needs a hard hull boat while an inflatable fishing boat can give you all the benefits of the former, plus many more advantages on top, right?

Inflatable fishing boats have come a long way in their design, function and capabilities.

Unlike the old days when an inflatable boat would last only through summer, the models we have today are high quality and can last decades, thanks to advances in technology.

Benefits of Inflatable Fishing Boats

Well, this is not to mean those bad boats of yore no longer exist, but the inflatable fishing boat market today boasts a wide array of options that are top quality while still being incredibly affordable.

And despite their inflatable nature, they are remarkably stable and almost impossible to flip. They can handle heavy loads and are versatile enough to fish in different conditions, from the pond to the ocean, as well as kayak through whitewater or boat around the lake for fun.  The current trend in fishing is to use paddle boards, but an inflatable boats are much better.

Best of all, they have a convenience that normal boats can’t match.

You don’t need a boatload of space on your property to keep them (no pun intended) or a cargo carrier on your vehicle to move the boat around. Unless you are an angler by trade or commute to work by boat, you really don’t need a boat on the water 24/7.

The whole idea of an inflatable dinghy is to inflate and deflate it as appropriate. And that convenience spawns a whole list of other benefits.

The Best Inflatable Fishing Boats Today

If you are boat shopping, whether for a fishing watercraft or something for recreational floating, you might actually be surprised by the types of inflatable fishing boats available.

These include:

  • Float tubes
  • Small pontoon boats
  • Sit inside kayaks
  • Sit on top kayaks
  • Standup paddle boards
  • Dinghies
  • Rafts

As you can tell, these all differ in design. What you need to take away from here is that an inflatable fishing boat should have design features with fishermen in mind.

If you are not fluent in boat speak, it can all get overwhelming to be honest.

But worry not, that is why we are here.

We did some digging around to establish the best inflatable fishing boats on the market at the moment so you don’t have to.

Here is what we came up with.

Classic Accessories Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube

First up on our list of best inflatable fishing boats is the Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube by Classic Accessories.

As the name suggests, this is a float tube. If you are curious as to what the advantages of owning a float tube, it is important to note that this type of fishing inflatable is one of the lightest and most portable.

The notable drawback of using a float tube is that you need to kick your feet in order to propel the boat which consequently compromises on your ability to manoeuver the boat. This also makes it slow, even in calm waters, but some may rather things this way.

The Cumberland Inflatable tries to circumvent this through its hydrodynamic hull shape which makes tracking and steering easier, thus leaving you to concentrate more on the fishing and less on the steering.

As far as float tubes go, this is one of the best float tube fishing boats you will come across.

Coming in at a mere 14 pounds but with an impressive capacity of 350 pounds, you will be hard pressed to find a better option for backpacking expeditions. It even comes with adjustable backpacking shoulder straps for carrying.

catching fish in the inflatable fishing boatOther notable features include two large cargo compartments on each side with double zippers for storage, two fishing rod holders, as well as an integrated fish ruler.

With a padded seat and an adjustable backrest, the Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube is designed to guarantee maximum comfort without straining your back even when out in the water for long periods.

The boat rides high which provides you with a nice vantage point above the water, something you don’t get with many boats its kind.

When investing in a fishing boat, obviously the length of time it will serve you is likely to be a key factor. Nobody wants a vessel they will be replacing in a few years.

This is not the case with this offering by Classic Accessories. It is as tough as they come, with a hardened bottom made from a strong PVC that is resistant to abrasion.

As well, it has a large mesh stripping apron at the front which makes it possible to lure with ease.

You won’t find many complaints about this boat. One sticking point from current owners revolves mostly around the backpack straps whose design could be improved for easier carrying.

Secondly, while the seat foam pads guarantee comfort, they come with the disadvantage of placing them in the compartments.

Other than that, the other downside has to do with the nature of this boat which affects all float tubes: it is not ideal for fast waters and is mostly at home in calm lakes and deep rivers.

What we Like

  • Lightweight with solid weight capacity
  • Boat sits high offering good visibility
  • Comfortable seat with adjustable backrest
  • Ample storage
  • Durability

What we Don’t

  • Backpack strap design could use some improvement
  • Thickly padded seats are cumbersome to pack
  • Only suited for calm waters

Sea Eagle 285 Pontoon Boat

A pontoon boat is one of the best boats anyone could own, and there is a reason their popularity is surging. If you want a small inflatable boat but are not sure what exactly you want, chances are a toon will do yah.

Basically, this is one of those boats that have a little bit of everything. Whether you want to use it for fishing, plain paddling around, quality time with the family, skiing or what-not, a pontoon boat will do.

Its strengths include good handling, speed, comfort, ease of use, longevity and safety.

For fishing, the stability of a pontoon means you can’t spook the fish, and it provides ample room to walk around which allows you to fish in different locations.

man fishing in a sea eagle

When it comes to the top inflatable fishing boats pontoon category, there are a few choices that are contenders for the crown.

Sea Eagle, in particular, is a brand to keep an eye out for. The Long Island-based company has been making inflatable boats since 1968, so it’s fair to say they have had time to hone their craft. Which they have.

They have a long list of inflatables to make a pick from, and as far as fishing is concerned, it doesn’t get any better than the Sea Eagle 285 Inflatable Pontoon Boat.

This is a one-person fishing boat that comes with all the accessories a fisherman would want. Features include a swivel seat, robust motor mount, pump, a pair of rob holders, floorboard, oars, carry bag with shoulder straps, side bag, stripping apron and a stow pouch.

This boat gives you the choice to set it up in two ways. The first is for anyone who wants to maximize their fishing and the second option is for those who fancy a more lightweight watercraft.

The lightweight option does not come with the floorboard and swivel seat. This brings the weight down considerably (32 pounds) but a bit heavier when maximized for fishing.

Still, overall it is lightweight such that even a petite person can easily handle it. And the cool part is that does not compromise on the stability which is superb.

It is 9 feet long on the outside, with the interior measuring 6 feet 2 inches in length and 1’4” in width, which is just about ample space for most people.

The boat can accept both electric and gas motors which is a huge plus.

It is made from 1000 Denier hull material which can endure years of rough pounding, scratching and scraping without tearing.

By comparison, most pontoon boats are usually constructed with rubber bottoms and nylon tops, making them easy to rip at the seams – not to mention the likelihood of losing air pressure following a couple of hours in the water.

The Sea Eagle 285 pontoon is entirely frameless and able to easily fit in a bag. You can have it out of your car trunk (or truck bed) and blown up in roughly 5 minutes.

To top it off, the boat comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty which is testament to its quality.

Unfortunately, pontoon boats cost quite a bunch and the 285 is no different. It is going for $800 on – and that is without a trolling motor battery and trolling motor centre, both of which raise the price to a little over $900.

If you are on the market for a boat for two, a perfect alternative to the Sea Eagle 285 would be the Sea Eagle Stealth Stalker 10.

What we Like

  • Stability
  • Durability
  • Feature-laden
  • Customisable
  • Versatile
  • Good portability
  • 3-year warranty

What we Don’t

  • Price

Classic Accessories Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat

Another entry by Classic Accessories is a pontoon boat known for its ample features and accessories.

The Colorado XT is basically a more superior version of the regular Colorado boat – a beast of a fishing boat itself.

So, what are the upgrades you can expect?

There are several.

Most notable is the integrated transport wheel which makes the transportation of the craft much, much easier. And it’s not like the wheel gets in the way of things. It can be stowed under the seat when you are not in need of it.

As with the normal Colorado, the gear bags on the Colorado XT still have 20 pockets. The good thing is that unlike the previous model, they are now removable which allows you to move them around as you wish.

Colorado-XT-Pontoon-Boat-FeaturesAnother notable upgrade comes in the form of an upgraded mortar which can now be mounted in two different spots – at the back or on the side. There are also two detachable fly patches on each side of the boat to stick your flies as opposed to one.

There are few pontoon boats that can match the Colorado XT in terms of accessories, but these aside, this is also an inflatable fishing boat that boasts a pretty solid build, its inflatable nature notwithstanding.

These include design features like strong pontoons with PVC bottoms that can withstand abrasions, tough nylon tops, bronze oar locks and accompanying two-piece aluminium oars, and a whole lot more.

A sturdy powder-coated steel tube frame makes this boat sturdy, and that’s what we all want in a fishing boat.

The rod holder can be mounted in six different positions, providing plenty of options to position your fishing rod. With this boat, comfort is not something you need to worry about as the well-cushioned seat and footrests are both adjustable to help support different leg lengths.

As pointed out, it’s hard to find a pontoon boat as feature-laden as this. And the upside is that it has an amazing ability for customisation, allowing you to add or remove accessories as you want.

Looking at this another way, it means the Colorado XT can prove a challenge to assemble. It also means these features come at an added cost, although most owners seem to think it’s great value for money.

If you don’t fancy all the bells and whistles and want to keep costs to a minimum, the regular Classic Accessories Colorado (below) is a great choice.

What we Like

  • Steel tube frame
  • Multiple rod mount
  • Adjustable seat mount and footrests
  • Anchor system with mesh bag (fillable)
  • Removable gear bags for customisable storage

What we Don’t

  • Difficult to put together
  • Bladders have been faulted for leaking easily

>> Read also our guide to the best inflatable tents

Intex Mariner Blowup Inflatable Fishing Boat

Intex has been in the inflatable boat business for over four decades. They have made a name as manufacturers of watercrafts with an emphasis on safety, comfort, value and fun – all traits that clearly come to the fore in the Mariner 4.

The Intex Mariner 4 is a large inflatable raft designed for the fisherman who likes to bring the company of a few friends on their fishing trip.

The boat is known for being practical, durable and a proven performer on different water conditions. Whether you are thinking of a tranquil time down the river, a fishing trip in the lake or a more thrilling ocean excursion, the Intex Mariner 4 can handle it all.

The hull is made from a super tough PVC with three separate layers that guarantees maximum strength and durability.

The Mariner 4 comes across as a cross between a raft and a dinghy. It has the comfort of a raft while bringing the durability and stability of a dinghy.

inflatable fishing boat on waterThe 4-person inflatable fishing boat is fitted with a pair of rod holders for fishing, a pair of rotating oar locks, gear pouches and battery to power a trolling motor.

Intex has included an additional motor mount where you can mount an electric trolling motor.

This is a lightweight fishing boat with a relatively short frame, but it is a heavy-duty raft constructed from strong and long-lasting materials that can withstand rocks, hooks and other debris for a long time.

The Intex Mariner 4 can take up to four people and a good amount of fishing gear. Total weight capacity is 880 pounds. It won’t guarantee crazy speeds but will manage just fine in different water bodies – rivers, ponds, lakes or bay areas. Its amazing control especially makes it ideal for areas where maneuverability is crucial.

As far as the most affordable and best inflatable fishing boats suited for a sizeable number of people go, you can never rule out the Mariner 4 from the top contenders.

It is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard I.D. and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

What we Like

  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Extremely portable
  • Amazing versatility
  • All accessories included

What we Don’t

  • Oar quality could use some improvement
  • Squeezed warranty (30 days)

Airhead Angler Bay 6-Person Inflatable Fishing Boat

Last on our top inflatable fishing boats currently on the market is a 6-person watercraft ideal not just for those looking for a high-capacity boat, but also a fun and affordable way to get out on the water.

The Airhead Angler Bay 6-Person inflatable Boat is as affordable as you are likely to find a high-quality, high capacity boat going for. Despite the size, it is perfect for fishing, paddling or floating with the whole family or a group of friends.

And it’s not like there will be any joyriders when you decide to put on your game faces. The craft has several rotating oars that ensure even those seated in the middle can paddle.

The boat has an inflatable floor, movable seat and handy wrap around grab lines. It is mounted with a pair of rod holders ready to go, with plenty of drink holders scattered around the boat. And when you decide to finally call it a day, there are four separate drain plugs to dry out the boat.

The Airhead Angler Bay is constructed from heavy-duty vinyl with welded seam construction that increases its longevity.

It is lightweight which makes it convenient for quick getaways to your local water spots.

For the money, this is probably the best inflatable fishing boat out there, and there are plenty of them.

What we Like

  • Good design
  • Good capacity
  • Ease of use
  • Versatility
  • Bang for buck

What we Don’t

  • Does not include pump

Buy Inflatable Fishing Boats – Conclusion

A fishing boat can change your life in more ways than you care to think. You don’t necessarily need it for fishing, although that is the first objective.

As you are bound to realise, though, there is no better way to relax and while the time constructively than boating an afternoon away. It is an exciting way to spend some quality time with your kids, family in general, as well as catch up with friends.

It also increases your sense of adventure and more poigantly, you get to appreciate the beauty this world has to offer.

By investing in any of the inflatables we have pinpointed here, you can sleep sound, comfortable in the knowledge that you are throwing money at one of the best inflatable fishing boats there are.