I live near the Cumberland River, which is a 688-mile-long river which drains almost 18,000 square miles of southern Kentucky and north-central Tennessee. A series of dams along the river create impoundments and tailwater fisheries. Despite all of this water, shore fishing options are surprisingly limited due to industry, periodically dry river beds, and landowner rights. Without a motorboat, my fishing time would be limited to when I travel. Fortunately, there are a lot of good options available to get me on the water.
Like other river systems, the Cumberland has a bottom that varies greatly in depth. Being able to see any debris or shallow shoals ahead is imperative. The Sportsman 17 SS allows me to sit higher in the water than a traditional john or bass boat and gives me a lot of extra room for gear. In addition, this lightweight boat requires a smaller outboard to power it safely, which saves me a lot in gas money, and it can be pulled with my everyday SUV. My current Highlander has over 375,000 miles on it and I know it will get me on the water for many years to come.
Like getting the perfect oars for your drift boat to accommodate your size and body style, the right trolling motor is key. I’m not the most coordinated person, so using a foot pedal trolling motor and fly casting at the same time is brutal. The i-Pilot Link allows me to be able to do all the above without tangling on the foot pedal or feeling like I’m about to fall out of the boat.
By Minn KotaMSRP - $969.99
If you think double hauling is hard, try operating a foot pedal trolling motor while trying to double haul. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best trolling motor operator on the planet, so I love using the Terrova with the i-Pilot GPS trolling system. With i-Pilot I can choose to use the foot pedal, remote or Minn Kota App, allowing me to hold the boat in place with the touch of a button (instead of a foot on the pedal), or better yet, pre-program the course I want to fish, letting the motor do all the work. How’s that for simplifying your day on the water?
Sportsman 17 SS
By G3 BoatsStarting at - $17,995
One of the largest space grabbers in a motor boat is the console. The Sportsman 17 SS uses a joystick-like steering system allowing me to sit up front and safely navigate a river system while eliminating the tiller handle, which always manages to catch my line. As an added bonus, the lockable storage compartments securely stow away all my safety equipment and provide a nice casting platform.
Highlander Hybrid Limite Platinum
By ToyotaStarting at - $48,480.00
I currently drive a 2006 Highlander Hybrid with 377,692 miles and counting. I love it. I find that a mid-sized SUV is a great vehicle for everyday driving and for towing my boats. This model has a 5,000lb towing capacity and a ton of cargo room, so I can tow my boat anywhere while keeping my gear safe and dry inside the cabin. The in-dash navigation is helpful when I’m fishing areas with no cell service, and because I’m not the best at backing up a trailer, the backup camera is a must.