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An Inflatable Boat for Fishing?

Can You Use an Inflatable for Fishing?

It’s one of those questions which pops up now and again. Can you actually fish from an inflatable boat?  The answer seems to be ‘you can, but choose with caution!’

Why an Inflatable?

Inflatable boats or tenders are small, lightweight boats designed to ferry passengers from a solid hulled yacht or boat to shore.  These boats are meant to be easy to use, can use a motor or oars and are lower in price than a solid hulled tender.  The fact that these small craft are easily stowable onboard a larger craft makes them very popular with pleasure boaters, especially those who don’t have the benefit of a shore-accessible berth for their main craft.

Inflatable tenders are usually of two types, fully inflatable and RIB (Rigid-hulled Inflatable Boats).  With a fully inflatable boat such as the Superlight range from 3D Tender the advantages of light weight and ‘packability’ mean that these are the perfect tender for getting to and from a moored yacht, but it is these attributes which make them a poor choice for a fishing boat!

Even in sheltered bays and close to shore, a fishing boat requires a bit of a beam in order to cut through the water, this being especially important at anchor. Fully inflatable boats usually don’t have any beam at all, which means a thin layer of material between you and the water, not a great idea when you are fishing!  Add to this the fact that you will be using very sharp hooks and knives whilst fishing, is it really a good idea to use an inflatable boat?

Think About a RIB

rib boat
If you really do want to fish from an inflatable boat then think about a RIB boat.  This has the advantage of a solid beam with strenthening, the inflatable sections of a RIB boat are just there to provide additional floatation. Larger RIBs can go at quite a speed across choppy water with ease, meaning you can get out to fish over close-in reefs and wrecks with ease – something you are never going to get to do with a fully inflatable craft.

Some RIBs utilise foam instead of air in the inflatable sections, making these craft a bit of a misnomer – this does mean however that these craft are totally safe to fish from as no chance of popping the floatation tanks with fish hooks.

Carry a Patch Kit with Pump

As with all boating, safety first should be your motto! Always carry a patch kit for your inflatable, whether fishing or not!  Most inflatables and RIBs are designed with many different air chambers, so that bursting one will not sink the entire craft. This means you can fix and re-inflate some of the better designed craft whilst out at sea.  Carrying a patch kit and pump means you can carry out repairs and re-inflate so you can get on your way again.

Know Your Ability!

Finally, remember that water is treacherous stuff! If you think you can buy an inflatable for a few pounds and then get out to deep water wrecks then you’re mistaken and will probably end up with Hypothermia or worse! so be extra careful!