The best sport-fishing yachts combine rugged, bluewater construction with performance, range, agile handling and the comforts of luxury-yacht living. These boats are meant to chase the Hemingway-worthy gamefish on all oceans. Here are 12 of the top sport-fishing yachts from some of the more popular fishing yacht brands.
Bertram 61 Convertible
The Bertram 61 Convertible has 188 square feet of space aft for her fighting chair and its combatant. There’s also a 100-gallon in-transom livewell that’s accompanied by twin in-sole fish boxes. Rod stowage is to port and to starboard. On the 61C’s flybridge, there’s semi-circle, aft-facing seating forward of the helm station to port. There are three en suite staterooms belowdecks, including a full-beam, amidships master, a queen-berth VIP forward and a twin-berth stateroom to starboard. Twin 1,925 hp Caterpillar C32A diesels power the 61C to a 44-knot top hop.
The Hatteras GT45X is a flybridge model of the Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish, and she can come with either a half or full tower. On the flybridge, there’s a captain’s seat and copilot seating, as well. Two bench seats on the flybridge also have rod and regular stowage underneath.
Hatteras GT65 Carolina
With 194 square feet of real estate for the cockpit, there’s more than enough room for a battling angler to swivel and maneuver in the combination fighting chair/rocket launcher on the Hatteras GT65 Carolina. There’s mezzanine seating to port with air-conditioning, and there’s a stainless-steel freezer box under the seat. To starboard, there’s a tackle center with a prep station and eight drawers with stainless-steel bottoms and holes for ventilation and drainage. Twin 1,800 hp Caterpillar C32 Acert diesels power the GT65 Carolina to a 33.3-knot top hop.
Viking 54 Convertible
The Viking 54 Convertible’s cockpit measures 154 square feet, and it comes with a backing plate for a fighting chair. Mezzanine seating is on a level above the cockpit, and there’s a freezer and insulated stowage under those seats, with a tackle cabinet to starboard. The 54C is a luxury fishing boat, with a three-stateroom, two-head layout belowdecks. The salon as 6-foot-4-inch headroom, and the galley is equipped to accommodate a traveling tournament crew: There are four Sub-Zero fridge-freezer drawers, an in-cabinet Samsung microwave, a Miele four-burner electric cooktop, a stainless-steel sink and additional cabinets above and below. Twin 1,550 hp MAN diesels power the 54C to a 41-knot top hop.
Huckins 45 Sportfisherman
As she had done hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times before, Cindy Purcell advanced the throttles on a custom-built Huckins, this one the new 45 Sportfisherman called Wombat. The 45 SF, built for a south Florida angler, is more than a fishing machine — far more. Standing beside Purcell and watching the speed-over-ground figures rise on the multifunction display as the boat came cleanly and smoothly out of the hole sans squatting, I marveled at the sense of power and acceleration delivered by twin 480-horsepower Cummins diesels. We were gliding over a light wind chop on the St. Johns River near Jacksonville, Florida, home to one of the oldest custom boatbuilders in the United States that still produces fine yachts under its founder’s name, Frank Pembroke Huckins. To see the rest of this full feature, click here.
Desire something a little smaller for your sport-fishing needs? Hatteras just introduced a 45 Express. Tricked out with a tuna tower, outriggers, cockpit mount for chair/rocket launcher/leaning post, tackle center and mezzanine seating for watching baits, the 45EX is rigged as a serious contender. She is powered by twin 1,150-horsepower Cat C18 ACERT diesel engines, and she delivers speeds topping 40 knots (1,015-horsepower Cat C18s are available too). Our sea trial of the 45EX showed impressive handling, with the boat leaning moderately into turns without bogging down on the props. Hatteras employs a custom-engineered sound-deadening system to reduce noise and vibration. Her interior is all luxury thanks to wood flooring, leather seating, a full galley and a forward stateroom. On deck are two helm seats, an undercounter fridge and ice maker, an L-shaped settee and a table. An integrated hardtop allows for a one-piece windshield, which optimizes visibility in tandem with the large side windows. Install clear curtains across the bridge deck aft, and you have a sport-fisherman for all seasons. Options include a bow thruster, additional stateroom, teak, oil-change system and more. It’s a la carte ordering. Just check your must-have boxes, start her up, and go fishin’. — T.S.
Gamefisherman Explorer 130
The U.S. Navy defines a boat as any model that will fit aboard a ship. Based on that logic, a ship is any vessel that can carry a boat, which should qualify the Gamefisherman Explorer 130 as a ship. To read more about this behemoth of a boat, click here. To see more images of this goliath, click here.
Frank Rodriguez and I have both been salivating to see the new Viking 92 since the middle of 2013. I’ve been amped up since the day I saw the mammoth sport-fisherman just starting construction, stretching beyond my eye’s view with prop tunnels so big that, when one worker lay down inside one to take a break, there was room for at least one more. Rodriguez didn’t need the in-person awe that I experienced at the shipyard. He’s a longtime Viking owner who saw the rendering on a piece of paper and, based on that alone, knew he had to have her. “When my yacht broker and friend Dave Berard sent me an email 1½ years ago with the artist rendering of the 92, I printed it, hung it on my bathroom mirror and told my wife, ‘That’s what we’re going to ride into the sunset with,’” Rodriguez explains. To read the rest of the full feature, click here.
Viking 55 Convertible
The proud bow of Viking’s 55 Convertible pierced the outer edge of Atlantic City, New Jersey’s Absecon Inlet and entered into a near-flat-calm ocean. She was pointed east and I got the sense that this sport-fisherman wanted to bolt straightway for the distant canyons in search of novel-worthy pelagics that could easily span her 17-foot-9-inch beam. I know it’s what I wanted her to do. After all, this vessel is named Business (hull No. 1) and creating big-game boats is what this builder is all about. To read more about this beast, click here.
Bayliss Uno Mas
While the products of builders with long histories tend to evolve, Bayliss started with a fresh piece of paper. Uno Mas is indeed a hybrid and defies even the expert eye attempting to pigeonhole her Carolina heritage. She lacks the distinctive regional features of heavy tumblehome and strong flam or, as locals prefer, Carolina Flare. The complicated compound curves of her deckhouse and bridge are a far cry from the practical charter boats of the past, where ease of construction led to slab-sidedness and radii defined by old coffee cans. The final product is a strikingly beautiful design that is built with a respect for purpose and tradition but is thoroughly modern. To read more about Uno Mas, click here. To see more images of this incredible yacht, click here.
Jarrett Bay 46
One would think that a man who makes a living driving race cars in excess of 200 miles per hour — oftentimes touching the bumpers and doors of those around him — would choose a boat with blazing speed and dramatic modern styling. Not so in this case. NASCAR’s Jeff Burton, who has 21 career wins, 128 top-five finishes and 237 top-10 finishes, chose classic styling, coupled of course with an advanced propulsion system that delivers superb fuel economy and driver-of-the-year handling. To read more about this yacht, click here. To see more images of this beauty, click here.
It all started in 1948 when Franklin and Ennis Merritt opened the doors at the Merritt Boat & Engine Works in Pompano Beach, Florida. Today, almost four generations later, the company still sits atop the list of most respected custom sportfishing boatbuilders in the world. This didn’t come easy. A quest for quality, sound engineering, and damn good looks has ensured the builder will remain on this list for the next 60 years. The 72-foot Brier Patch was built for an experienced owner, who traveled the world on his previous Merritt 58, searching for big game from the Med to the Pacific. When it came to build his next boat, he and his captain knew what they wanted. To finish reading the boat review, click here.