Small Boats for Angling

This article is based on the small boats that are in use down at my old moorings. I am going back seven years now when I had my last small boat a Shetland 570. However the same 'own boat' mentality rings true still for 'White Maiden', as it did for 'Due South' too, only most of the time on the days I want to go fishing, I am looking after other anglers but still trying my best to find the fish. I can honestly tell you there is the same level of satisfaction when they are being caught, particularly specimen fish, or dissatisfaction when you don't find the fish.

Most small boats or 'dinghies' are ideal for two anglers, at a push, three. They can all be towed, launched and recovered easily. They can travel long distances quickly and are safe boats in sensible conditions. Note wind direction and size of tide can make a BIG difference to sea-state. I would put the Merry Fishers and Orkneys at the top end of this small boat for trailing group of boats.

Why run your own boat? 

There is a saying....to own a boat is like owning a 'Black Hole', you seem to just keep chucking your money into it. You should first be aware that it will be much cheaper to use a charter boat through a well organised club or with a group of trusted mates.

The big advantage of being a boat owner is that you can go when you like and with who you like and of course you can fish where you like. I know many people that go out on their own, most of the time. You make your choice as to where you think (or know) the fish will be and you will be the only one to catch them. How is that for pure fishing.....not very sociable but it's 'horses for courses'.

How many times have you been booked up on a charter boat and had the perfect weather and tide, only to get drawn near the cabin, with all the fish coming from those anglers able to trot way back down tide from the stern? The opposite can be said for Dinghies when the weather is around a F5 and you don't fancy taking on the Needles Bridge and opt to stay inside when all the charter boats power round to the South of the Island.

The downside is that you have to be quite competent at doing this skipper thing, your life may depend on it. Never take the sea for granted or the easy way a professional skipper appears to handle a boat. There is a lot to learn but what a great thing to master. To run your own boat does cost a lot of money. For a day on my own, say at Atherfield Bank or round at Ventnor, on the south side of the IOW, (lets say a 50 mile round trip!) would cost me about 70 in fuel alone!! 

What are the advantages of running your own boat?

bulletYou can go when you like, for as long as you like.
bulletYou can go where you like and with who you like, on your own, if you must.
bulletYou can catch more fish and better quality fish.......... yourself.
bulletYou can fish in the dark and in 4 foot of water, say for just 3 hours, or can fish 16 hours all day/night on a mark where you know quality fish will be around on the best tides.
bulletYou can have the job satisfaction of doing it all your own way.
bulletYou can fish two rods with ease.
bulletYou can have the boat setup the way you want it to be.
bulletYou can teach your kids in comfort, and build them up to handling a boat on their own.

What are the disadvantages of running your own boat?

bulletYou need lots of knowledge to be safe and sound.
bulletYou need more cash to fish the same ground as the Charter Boats.
bulletIt takes a lot of commitment and hard work to keep any boat sea worthy.
bulletYou need somewhere to store or moor your prize possession, and gear.
bulletBeware you can also get in a rut. Charter boats will always teach those willing, to learn Boat Angling in other ways and using other methods to lure those more elusive species.
bulletIt is not as sociable as charter fishing........... not the same crack.
bulletYou have to obtain your own marks.

OK so you want a boat. What about towing your own boat or even mooring your own boat.

The advantages of trailing a boat are:

bulletYou can cut fuel costs by getting closer to the fishing grounds.
bulletThe hull stays clean and shiny, so motoring is more economical.
bulletYou have the Boat all the time at home to work on, if stored in the drive.
bulletThere are no mooring fees.
bulletCan be made more secure.
bulletYou can fish different ports.
bulletYou are not restricted by tides.

The advantages of mooring a boat:

bulletYou can go out on your own, very easily and when you like.
bullet3 hour trips can be worthwhile.
bulletYou can get in and out of your moorings with your eyes closed eventually, which you can be sure will come in useful at some point due to the inevitable surprise fog or slight drizzle on a moonless night.
bulletYou are not restricted to the size of boat the same as you are when considering towing safely.
bulletThere is limited scary towing to be done!!
bulletThere is no waiting at the slipways to get the boat launched or recovered.
bulletThere are no launching fees.

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