Fishing Boats Ireland                                     Home                                           Ballycotton

In recent years, sea fishing or sea angling has become one of the fastest growing leisure activities in Ireland. While our economy was booming, it was possible to get loans for boats, or have disposable income to spend on boats, and the rivalry between 'new fishermen' with the biggest, fastest, shiniest boats was a sight to behold on the country's slipways each weekend. Things are slowly returning to normal, and a bit more common sense is once again being brought to bear in the purchase and use of fishing boats in Ireland.

This page is offered by an amateur boatman with many years experience of fishing boats in Ireland. I have had highs and lows and bought great boats and owned some rubbish. It is through mistakes we learn, and I have made a few along the way. Persevere with this page and you might learn in five minutes what it took me a lifetime to learn.     




Whether you are planning a few hours jigging for mackerel or feeling a bit more adventurous and want to get offshore to those secret 'wreck marks' where, you will be told, cod, pollack, ling and conger abound, it is important to have some knowledge of boat construction, boat handling, tides, safety at sea, equipment, navigation etc. It will be worth your while to read the piece on towing and launching your boat, for more boats are damaged being brought to and being put into the water than are damaged at sea.


Orkney Longliner

What kind of Fishing Boat should I buy?
We are not going to go through the merits and demerits of the various makers of fishing boats but in an article such as this it is inevitable that we draw on various makers names to offer as examples. Instead of Fishomg Boat Reviews, we will look at the options available and the types of fishing boats on offer in Ireland.

Open Fishing Boat

There is a lot to be said for the open fishing boat.  I have had a few in my time, and probably had my most enjoyable fishing experiences in them.  On a calm day, they offer more fishing room than their cuddy counterparts; you have better visibilty, they do not catch the breeze and swing around when a breeze is blowing, they drift side on to the breeze when drift fishing, they can double up as lake fishing boats, are easy to trail behind the family car, and are easy to launch.  
The negatives are few but must be mentioned.  Coming in from a one mile fishing trip if you get an evening breeze blowing against you and against the tide, you are going to get a lot of spray.  However safe the boat is, and most are safe when handled with care (see below), the spray blowing in your face is a factor to be considered. As you progress in your experience and expectations of what a day's fishing should offer, you will find that the 'spray in your face factor' might interfere with the day's enjoyment.  However, if you are certain that you just want to do some light fishing and pottering around the harbours and bays of Ireland, then an open boat is well worth considering.  Another negative is that you cannot leave your boat unattended.  It's nice when fishing with the lads to go into a harbour, tie up the boat and pop into a pub for a meal, use the loo, and grab a bottle of non alcoholic beer.  (Alcohol and boats don't mix.)  Sadly, it is a fact of life that fishing gear gets stolen and if you fancy leaving your gear on the boat it really should be secured in a lockable cuddy or cabin. (see below)
Another negative of the open boat is that the are usually - but not necessarily - steered from the back of the boat.  While this is the traditional method used by thousands of commercial fishermen in Ireland over the decades, it does have disadvantages. Such a tiller steered boat will rise at the bow (front) while you are travelling and obscure your vision.  We are all used to driving a car and a wheel somewhere near the front of the boat best replicates the driving experience.

Cuddy/Cabin boat Ireland

Before considering the advantages and disadvantages of cuddy/cabin type boats, it is worth a few words considering the difference between cuddy and cabin.  Essentially the cuddy is a shelter that sits on the front of the boat to provide shelter from spray and rain, to keep the kids save, a place to eat your lunch, or a place to sit out of the breeze if you are at anchor and the rods are fishing themselves.  A cuddy is usually open at the back so that there is free access from the open area of the boat - the cockpit - to the cuddy. However a cuddy can also be sealed up and have a lockable door.  Steering is usually on the outside of the cuddy along with the forward controls for the engine.

The cuddy boat on the left is steered from a steering console set into the cuddy of the Orkney boat.  Two levers on right of the helmsman control the engine speed and the forward and reverse gear.

When does a cuddy become a cabin?  A cabin usually takes up more room than a cuddy.  Cabins very often have cushioned seating which can convert into sleeping berths.  This is a good option if you are considering spending any time on Ireland's canals and inland waterways.  


Hull types
It can be most confusing for newcomers to boating to see the various descriptions of boat-hulls being offered on the 'fishing boats for sale in Ireland' websites or in the advertising newspapers. Here is a simple list of those hull types.

Fishing Boats Ireland Hull Types

Planing Hull:
A planing hull boat is so designed that as power is applied to the boat it lifts out of the water until it planes or glides along the water. These have become very popular in recent years as fishermen need to get further from land due to the scarcity of fish inshore. The big advantage is, of course, the speed with which they can get the fisherman to the offshore marks and back in again if the weather starts to change for the worse.
There is also the exhilaration that is experienced by travelling at speed across the water but it is a subject of debate as to whether or not this exhilaration has a part to play in a relaxing days fishing. Perhaps it is an age thing, but I have always found that a slow leisurely journey to the fish is as much a part of the day out as the fishing itself. Remember too, that when on a river, or canal, or in a harbour in Ireland, there is always a speed limit of just a few knots, so the planing hull and high powered engine of your fishing-boat will be of no use in such circumstances. Of course if your boat is big enough to spend a night or two on, the flatter bottom of the planing hull will provide a more stable base on which to move around and to sleep. This is important to remember if you are planning mixed use for your boat. Nice to have a good fishing boat on a sound trailer that can double as a family day boat on the Shannon or Erne river and lakes or the Grand Canal or Royal Canal.
Planing Hulls are usually Vee hulls or Cathedral hulls. Flat bottomed boats usually define the type of hull we are looking at here but flat bottomed boats have one huge drawback. They slap slap slap the waves at high speeds and can be most uncomfortable. The Vee hull is a development of the flat bottomed hull that allows the boat to cut through the waves rather than slapping them. 
Cathedral Hulls are also planing hulls and are often referred to as multi-hulls. When looking at a cathedral hull face on, you will notice that the hull has a VVV shape. This provides a planing hull with air trapped underneath which gives easier lift. Do remember that your planing hull will be of little use when the waves are high, as you will undoubtedly have to slow down and crawl back to port in the old fashioned way.
Displacement Hull:
A displacement Hull is the traditional type of hull that allows a boat to sit into the water. Such a boat will remain in the water no matter how much power is applied and will never glide or plane along the top of the water as with other hull types. Using the correct power, a boat with displacement hull will prove to be the most fuel efficient means of powered boat propulsion. The word displacement is an apt description, as boats of this type have to displace water equal to the weight of the boat. In rough weather these hulls are regarded by many as safer than other hull types. However, there is a trade-off between getting back to harbour quickly and getting through the waves more securely. Fishermen are divided on best hull types but some point to the fact that a displacement hull type boat will roll more that some of the other hulls. Of course, the rolling motion of a boat is a natural movement of an object IN the water, rather than the bouncing movement of a boat that sits ON the water. 
Engine cost is also a factor, and engines for displacement hull boats do not need to be of large horse-power and so are more economical to purchase and to run.
Semi displacement Hull:
Semi displacement hulls have a small amount of planing or gliding built into them. They incorporate the advantages of being faster than the displacement hull  but with some of the comfort of the displacement, and they feel more secure in the water.



 Fishing Boats Ireland - Planing Hulls - Outboard Engines Ireland - Cuddy Cabin - Open Boats

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