inflatable fishing boat on the lake at sunrise

TOP 13 Best Inflatable Fishing Boats Reviewed 2020 (Complete Guide)

You like boats, right?

You like fishing – for sure.

But what if you don’t have the space to own and store a hard shell boat from which you can gleefully fish from until you’re heart’s content?

So, what’s the solution?

You can start by checking out this review of the best inflatable fishing boats of 2020.

Sure, casting a pole in from the bank is great, but to really up your fishing game you need to get out on the water.

And it’s never been easier to do that, as inflatable boat technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years – not to mention affordability.

A buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow, so read on to discover what will surely be the makings of your next fishing adventure.

Note: There are many types of inflatable fishing boats, but in this article I’ve generally covered dingy or raft-style vessels. Follow this link if you’re looking for a dedicated review of inflatable fishing kayaks.

The 13 Best Inflatable Fishing Boats in 2020

Sevylor Colossus 3-Person Boat

Review: Let’s set sail with our first entry, this Sevylor Colossus, heavy-duty PVC inflatable boat. Built to hold a maximum of three people, and NMMA certified up to 680 lbs, it’s designed for recreational lake use, with multiple air chambers so the craft will remain afloat even if one section is accidentally punctured.

The fully air-tight system is guaranteed not to leak, while the double-lock valves use two locking points for super fast inflation and deflation.

Featuring molded oar guards to keep your paddles within easy reach, an inflatable floor for comfort either sitting or kneeling, and a grab line for safety with climbing in and out, there’s a lot of bang for your buck with this budget-friendly boat.

Pros

  • Outstanding price.
  • Oars included.
  • 2 HP motor compatible.

Cons

  • Motor mount sold separately.
  • Not a dedicated fishing boat.
  • Limited onboard storage space.
  • Unsuitable for rougher waters.

Takeaway

For a spot of casual fishing on a calm lake, this is well worth your consideration – especially when you take a glance at the price. Although it’s not marketed as a fishing craft, If you’re on a tight budget, it’s hard to beat this option from Sevylor.

Solstice by Swimline Voyager 6-Person Boat

Review: Our next entry is also made from a rugged PVC construction, with four inner air chambers that will see you safely to shore should you burst a hole in one.

Designed to hold multiple occupants, it’s nevertheless recommended that two adults and two children are the maximum advised – with the adults weighing less than 300 lbs.

Featuring inflatable seats, swivel oarlocks to hold your paddles, a Boston valve for easy inflation and deflation, and the capacity to add a 2 HP motor, it’s another decent inflatable boat at an affordable price point.

Plus, it has a built-in fishing pole holder – to help keep your rod out of the way when you need it.

Pros

  • Great price.
  • Ideal for the kids.
  • Grab lines.
  • Optional motor mount compatible.

Cons

  • Might be a little too lightweight for some.
  • Oars and pump sold separately.
  • Not as large as you might hope.

Takeaway

Again, it’s not going to win any awards for being the best inflatable boat for fishing, but it’s not a bad effort considering it won’t break the bank.

Ideal for easy recreational use, keep to calm waters close to shore just to be on the safe side.

Intex Seahawk Inflatable Boat Series

Review: For just a few bucks more you can be the proud owner of the rather more favorable Seahawk 4, which has been designed for four adults to enjoy being out on the water.

Constructed of heavy-duty, puncture-resistant PVC for added durability, the Seahawk series is an affordable, well-designed line of rugged water-craft that are as popular as they are practical.

For fishing, two rod holders are included, as well as a gear pouch for extra tackle storage, and the inflatable cushions add a touch of stability as well as comfort for when you’re throwing a line in.

Motor mount fittings are included if you want to add a trolling motor (sold separately), and the whole bundle is certified by the US coast guard and NMMA certified.

Pros

  • Amazing price for the quality and what you get.
  • Oars and pump included.
  • Very highly rated.
  • Oar locks and holders.
  • Choice of sizes available.
  • Safety grab lines.

Cons

  • None that are apparent.

Takeaway

I can’t fault this amazing little dingy from Intex. It’s very well-made, packed with features, able to comfortably sit four adults, and all for an outstanding price.

You only have to check out those online reviews if you’re still in any doubt you should buy one.

Sevylor Fish Hunter 360 6-Person Boat

Review: As good as the Seahawk is, we’re rowing into the realms of more professional inflatable fishing boats now with another entry from Sevylor.

This is their six-person model, which has been significantly improved from the 2014 version and offers 63% more room.

It’s not called the ‘Fish Hunter’ for nothing, ruggedly built to seat six people with a total weight of 990 lbs, with plenty of fishy-features to keep anglers happy, including a Berkley quick-set rod holder for hands-free fishing.

Multiple air chambers add safety and stability should one be punctured, and the built-in gear pouch offers an extra space to store extra goodies for your trip.

Pros

  • Large capacity.
  • Tough and durable construction.
  • Quality features throughout.
  • Guaranteed not to leak.
  • Drain plugs to cut down on drying time.

Cons

  • Oars not included.

Takeaway

A very roomy and sizable craft (one of the largest in its class) that has plenty of scope for your own adjustments and improvements – should you see fit.

It’s just a really good inflatable fishing boat for the price, too – which starts to increase significantly from here on in.

Airhead Angler Bay Inflatable Boat

Review: It’s always nice when an inflatable boat is specifically named after something to do with fishing – then you know you’re on the right track to meet your needs.

The ‘Angler Bay’ from Airhead is one such craft, a tough, rugged, and durable dingy that includes an inflatable floor and removable seat.

Made from heavy-duty vinyl with electronically welded seams and finished in an attractive dark green and yellow livery, it really looks and feels the part of a fisherperson’s vessel.

Two rod holders are very useful for storing your poles, and multiple drink storage will keep up to six people hydrated throughout your excursion. And like the Seahawk, it’s also available in a choice of capacity sizes.

Pros

  • Solid construction.
  • Wrap-around grab lines.
  • Motor mount compatible.
  • 900 lbs weight limit.

Cons

  • Oars and pump not included.
  • Might not fit as many as claimed.

Takeaway

This is a well-built angler’s dingy that should satisfy most weekend fisher-people, with plenty going for it to keep you happy.

And have a look at these awesome boat shoes for fishing that can be very helpful for getting in and out of this kind of inflatable.

Sea Eagle PF7K PackFish Inflatable Boat

Review: Sea Eagle needs little introduction when it comes to water craft, manufacturing some of the best lightweight kayaks and other similar vessels in the world.

This is their take on an inflatable fishing boat for one, which is packed with more features than you can shake a carp at. Able to take a maximum load capacity of 300 lbs (one person plus gear), the PackFish package comes complete with oars and pump, as well as soft carrying handles, molded oarlocks, comfortable inflatable seat, molded rod holders, and tracking strips to help with landing the big catch.

Ingeniously, there are even two 36” fish rulers incorporated on the side, so you can see at-a-glance the size of the beast you have just landed (or just make it up when telling your fishing story round the fire later on).

Pros

  • Designed for fishing.
  • Name to trust.
  • Super lightweight.
  • Quality construction and features throughout.

Cons

  • No hardware available to mount a motor.
  • Might be a little slight on space for some.
  • Rowing will need practice.

Takeaway

An inflatable fishing boat designed to be an inflatable fishing boat, this is an outstanding little craft from Sea Eagle. Then again, you would expect nothing less from them, and in spite of a couple of negligible flaws, this still gets top marks.

Sea Eagle New SE9 Inflatable Motormount Boat

Review: We continue with another Sea Eagle product, this time their stalwart S-E9 model which boasts excellent stability in the water thanks to the wide and high hull configuration.

Large air chambers and a high flotation value allows the craft to bear a very heavy load, and it can handle four adults with ease up to a maximum of generous 1200 lbs.

Extra stability and comfort is provided from a removable, reinforced floor, while the built-in motor mount can also be detached and allows a 3 HP gas-powered motor to be used if preferred (sold separately).

But perhaps the real winner here is that for all its quality and durability, it packs down next to nothing for effortless portability.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Highly rated.
  • Oars, pump and bag included.
  • Safety grab line.
  • Excellent stability – ideal for fishing.
  • Floor drains.

Cons

  • No fishing pole holders.
  • Not the most attractive color scheme.

Takeaway

It’s been around since the 1980s, so that must say something for the design and quality of the S-E9. If I was looking for a super-stable inflatable fishing craft that was still within a budget-friendly price range, then this is probably the choice I’d make. But I’d ask if it was available in black.

Classic Accessories Colorado XT Pontoon Boat

Review: Since I’m not doing a ‘best pontoons for fishing’ article any time soon, I’m cheating here and including one in this review. It’s still a boat, anyway.

This clever vessel is designed for one occupant, and has everything you need for a fun-filled day fishing on the water. Removable gear bags provide unbeatable storage, with 20 pockets for your stuff and two drinks holders for the beer.

The comfortable seat mount and leg stirrups are fully adjustable, while the rod holder can be mounted in six different positions depending on your preference.

Made from a tough PVC and powder-coated steel frame, this is a rugged and durable craft that won’t let you down all day long, with far too many notable features to list here.

Pros

  • Weighted anchor system.
  • Excellent storage options – including a platform.
  • Quick-fill valves.
  • Stowable transport wheel.
  • Portable gear bag.

Cons

  • The pontoon style might not appeal to everyone.

Takeaway

I was reaching to find fault with this outstanding fishing craft, expertly designed and built, packed full of practical features – including detachable foam fly patches.

In fact, it’s quite possibly the best inflatable fly-fishing boat in the review – but then it is a pontoon.

BRIS 3 Person Inflatable Boat

Review: Is it a boat? Is it a kayak? Is it a canoe? Do we really care? I’m adding this Bris 14.1 inflatable regardless, because it’s well worth its inclusion here.

Made from premium-quality, heavy-duty materials, including 1,100 Denier PVC and polyester support, this craft is rugged and durable, with strong resistance to damage and puncture.

Seams are heat-welded and guaranteed to last in all kinds of water conditions, and the high-pressure inflatable air-deck is so stable you can be free to stand and walk on it – which is ideal for casting off, fly-fishing, and reeling in a monster.

Three plywood bench seats add stability and seating comfort, and the boat has a maximum capacity of two adults and up to 770 lbs of weight.

Pros

  • Solid, stable design.
  • Trolling or gas motor compatible.
  • Pump, oars, and bag included.
  • Repair kit thrown in for good measure.

Cons

  • On the heavy side.
  • No rod holders.

Takeaway

A versatile recreational watercraft that has multiple uses, it’s as solid as a rock and ideal if you prefer to stand while fishing. For similar options, check out a more detailed view of the best fishing kayaks – if that’s the kind of vessel you would prefer.

Newport Vessels Dana Inflatable Sport Tender Boat

Review: Another dingy-style inflatable boat, this eight foot sportcraft from Newport Vessels comes with all you need to have a great day out fishing on the water.

Made with premium materials, including three layers of US Coast Guard approved 1100D UV coated PVC with heat welded seams, and a durable, four-piece, marine wood floor for stability and comfort.

You won’t need to make your own DIY plywood version with this baby. With a maximum capacity of three people, an inflatable keel for easy planing and control, stainless steel bow rings for towing, an aluminum bench seat, and the ability to hold a 10 HP engine – this is a top quality, versatile watercraft that will last.

Pros

  • Oars, pump, and bag included.
  • Compact and portable.
  • Easy-reach grab rope.
  • High max load capacity.
  • Quality construction throughout.
  • Available in other sizes.

Cons

  • Floor is tricky to install.
  • Compatible with a 10 HP motor might be a bit of an exaggeration.
  • No fishing pole holders.

Takeaway

A solid, general-purpose sports craft that will serve you well in a variety of water-based activities. It might not be the best inflatable boat for river fishing, but there’s still a lot to like with this effort from Newport Vessels.

Aleko Inflatable Fishing Boat

Review: We’re moving into the upper echelons of inflatable fishing boat quality now – with price tags to match. This Aleko model is packed with safety features, as well as being manufactured from premium materials – a step up from the previous entry.

With a V-shaped keel for easy planing, the main material is a 1.2mm polyester reinforced and anti-corrosive coated PVC, making it one of the toughest inflatable boats in our review.

Perhaps its best feature is the aluminum flooring, which is a more stable, comfortable, lightweight, and durable alternative to wood.

With two bench seats, a gas tank and battery box tie down, repair kit, and the capacity to hold up to six people with a combined weight of 1430 lbs – you have yourself one serious water-venturing craft.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality.
  • Mounted carrying handles.
  • Oars, pump, and bag included.
  • 25 HP motor compatible.
  • Choice of camo colors available.
  • One-way drain valve with plug.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • No fishing pole holders.
  • Instructions aren’t the easiest to follow.

Takeaway

A beautifully designed and built inflatable boat that is perfect for anyone looking to spend a bit more for a top-quality fishing craft. Or, if you simply want a boat that’s capable of carrying more weight and more people.

Inflatable Sport Boats Shark 9.8

Review: Our penultimate entry in a list of the best inflatable boats for fishing is this sports craft from the aptly named Inflatable Sports Boats.

The Shark 9.8 is an attractive-looking, streamlined craft made with premium materials, including a 1100 denier reinforced PVC that is UV, oil stain, and puncture-resistant.

It comes with everything you need to get set up, including two aluminum oars with lock-in holders, heavy-duty carrying handles, D-rings for towing, bench seat cushion and removable storage bag, aluminum side rails and five-piece aluminum floor.

Capable of compatibility with a 15 HP motor, the maximum weight load is 1158 lbs, and it can safely carry up to five people, or three and a very fat dog.

Pros

  • Highly rated.
  • Excellent build quality throughout.
  • Pump included.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Adjustable, sliding benches.

Cons

  • No rod holders.
  • Very expensive.

Takeaway

Probably one of the best inflatable dinghies that money can buy, this is an outstanding multi-use inflatable that will last for years to come – and give you a lot of enjoyment while it’s at it. This kind of quality doesn’t come cheap.

Outcast Osg Striker Raft

Review: Now, this looks like the kind of craft that you might expect to see commandos invading beaches in. This version, however, is specifically built for fishing, and is designed to get you and a mate out onto the water as quickly as possible.

Able to be transported fully inflated in the back of your pickup, it features a lightweight, minimal frame and weighs just 102 lbs, so two anglers can easily lift it to the water’s edge.

With a solid, inflatable lean bar at the bow, you can comfortably stand and cast without feeling like you’re ever going to fall in, while the raised, comfort seating gives you an unparalleled view over your kingdom.

It looks like a tank on water, and offers unbeatable performance all round. We all need one of these – even if we don’t fish.

Pros

  • Motor compatible.
  • Solid, long-lasting and premium construction.
  • Four air chambers.
  • Heat welded.
  • Super-fast set up time.

Cons

  • Exorbitantly expensive for an inflatable.
  • No rod holders – really?!

Takeaway

If you’re serious about your fishing game, then this beast will take it to the next level – and everyone is getting out of your way. Now all you need is a beard and wrap-around sunglasses.

How to Choose the Best Inflatable Fishing Boat 2020

There’s a lot of factors to bear in mind when you’re attempting to select the right inflatable boat for you and your needs.

To help keep things simple, check out the buyer’s guide and FAQ section below for what you should be looking out for.

inflatable fishing boat on the lake at sunrise

Type of Boat

In this article, I’ve specifically covered boats that are of the inflatable dinghy variety, but as you’ll no doubt be well aware – they can come in a veritable fleet’s worth of types.

Hard shells, float tubes, sit in and sit on kayaks, pontoons, paddle boards, canoes, dinghies, rafts…you could probably sit in a rubber tire and still catch a fish.

With that in mind, it’s worth thinking about which type of fishing boat you’d like to try, and they all have their own pros and cons, so exploring the merits of each is a good place to start.

Read on to discover more about the inflatable fishing dinghy/rafts covered in this review.

Tip – Dinghies and rafts are very similar, with one important difference. A dingy is a U-shaped flotation tube that is not connected at the stern, whereas the tube on a raft will fully encircle the boat.

Craft Size and Weight Capacity

All fishing boats come in different sizes, and you’ll notice that a few options listed above are available in a choice of a two, four, and six person capacity.

Regardless of the type of craft you decide on, you’ll also need to choose the size that best suits your needs.

How many people are likely to be enjoying this fishing trip? How large or small are these people? How much gear do you want to carry? Are you planning on camping overnight?

And don’t forget about something that is all too often overlooked – having the room to store your catch if you’re not planning to release.

Craft size is also important for maneuverability on the water, with smaller, more agile boats allowing you to go where others can’t.

And finally, size and weight plays a big part in how portable and how easy-to-store your boat is. This is why craft size ranks highly on the list of important considerations before purchasing.

But don’t overlook weight capacity either – if you overload an inflatable, you’ll sink faster than the Titanic. (Which at 2 hours and 40 minutes, wasn’t that fast – but you get my point.)

Materials and Durability

Inflatable fishing boats are usually made out of some kind of rugged, durable, puncture-proof PVC.

Additional strength and stability might be provided by polyester trim, wood or aluminum seating, or possibly some kind of metal/aluminum frame or tubing.

Cheaper options will use vinyl, more expensive will likely utilize a polyethylene synthetic rubber.

Check for materials that have been given certification from the US Coast Guard, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) or other such reputable body or company.

people on boat fishing near foggy forest in the rain

Amount of Use

If you’re a keen, regular fisher-person, you’ll no doubt be trying to get onto the water as often as possible.

If that’s the case, then you should opt for a craft that is going to be able to stand up to a lot of frequent use.

Likewise, if you’re only going out once in a blue moon, perhaps you don’t need to spend upwards of $500 on something that will rarely get an outing?

Use a bit of common sense when purchasing, and order something that suits the amount of use it’s going to get.

Fishing Waters

Careful consideration should be taken when it comes to the conditions you’re going to be fishing in.

For the most part, lightweight dinghies and rafts will be able to handle calm inlets, slow rivers, and sleepy lakes.

For choppier conditions, or even venturing into open bodies of water, you’ll need something a lot more robust.

Why Choose an Inflatable?

There are numerous advantages to selecting an inflatable boat over their hard shell counterparts.

Perhaps the most obvious is the ease of which you can store and transport the thing.

With a hard shell, you’ll need a trailer to get to and from your put-in point, and plenty of driveway space, or water dock in/on which to store it.

And speaking of put-in points, with a hard shell, you’ll need to find a designated boat ramp in which you can safely enter the water.

Inflatable boats can be packed up and thrown in the back of your vehicle with ease. Some are even designed specifically so they can be transported – fully inflated – on the back of a truck.

And even once inflated, they’re much more lightweight and portable than a hard shell.

You can pretty much put-in anywhere it’s safe and legal to do so along the shoreline or riverbank, and you’ll find they’re much more maneuverable than hard shell craft once you’re on the water.

Finally, inflatables are much more affordable than regular fishing boats, and anything that’s budget-friendly yet offers a similar experience to more expensive products will always get my vote.

Fishing Features

You’ll notice that some boats in this review are specifically geared towards fishing. They incorporate a number of useful features that are designed to assist the angler.

Fishing pole holders are perhaps one of the most helpful of these additions, enabling hands-free fishing, rod storage, or to keep a line in the water while you’re trolling.

Gear pouches built into the side of the craft are also advantageous. Every angler knows that storage is key when it comes to organizing bait and tackle.

The ability to stand in an inflatable boat is a huge advantage for a fisher-person – particularly if you’re using fly.

And keep an eye out for vessels that can be modified. Adding trolling motors, swivel seats, fish finders, and other such useful additions is a real boon for turning a good fishing boat into a great one.

For some inspiration, check out the video below on how you can pimp your fishing ride.

Cost

Cheap inflatable boats aren’t good – and good inflatable boats aren’t cheap.

Let’s get down to brass tacks here – if you really want something that’s going to last, is safe to use time and again in a variety of conditions, and is going to give you peace of mind for you and your family, then you need to dip your hand into your pocket.

Sure, inflatable boats under $100 can be a lot of fun for casual fishing, but they’re nothing compared to the more expensive models.

Having said that, you don’t necessarily need to go into thousands of dollars, but always buy the best you can afford and do your research well.

FAQs

person on boat fishing in lake

Are inflatable boats good?

In a nutshell – yes. However, you still need to pay attention to the quality of materials used in their construction.

In this review, I’ve tried to include a variety of inflatable boats at a number of price points – so you can get an idea of what’s available across the board.

But the simple fact is that for most serious fisher-people, anything under $100-200 isn’t going to cut it, and it’s just a toy.

You get what you pay for – and if you want a good inflatable boat – you should stretch your budget as much as possible.

Are inflatable boats safe for fishing?

Yes, they are – providing you use them safely and as intended.

When in doubt, look for boats that are specifically marketed as fishing inflatables, or sports boats that have been designed for more than just splashing around on a calm lake.

Some boats will be better than others, such as the vessels you can safely stand up in for casting, fly-fishing, and reeling in.

At the other end of the scale, they might be fine for throwing a lazy rod in a mill pond, but know their limitations to avoid any accidents or dangerous situations.

And ALWAYS wear a good PFD. Check out this excellent review on fishing flotation vests to find your next potential lifesaver.

What is the best inflatable boat for fishing?

That depends on what you’re looking for. As mentioned in the guide above, there are all kinds of different boats and watercraft available that you can use for fishing purposes.

From kayaks to pontoons, floats to paddle boards, dinghies to rafts and more, it’s really up to you to decide what is right, what you’ll be comfortable piloting, how much weight or how many people you want to carry, and the conditions you’ll be fishing in.

They all come as hard shells, and they all come in inflatable versions, too.

Personally, I would say the best inflatable boat for fishing is something that’s stable, offers the ability to stand comfortably, with plenty of room and high weight capacity for tackle, gear, and your catch.

And speaking of storage, have a look at these fishing backpacks to help share the load of storing and transporting your equipment.

How long do inflatable boats last?

Again, it depends on their quality, and how you treat them over the course of their life.

Even poor quality inflatables can last a fair while with a bit of TLC and the right use.

However, they will all give out eventually. A decent PVC or CSM boat should last anywhere between five and ten years, but with good care and maintenance sometimes much longer.

This is why purchasing second hand isn’t always the best idea – as you can never really tell the paces the craft has already been put through.

For some professional advice on how to make your inflatable last longer, check out this in-depth article from Power & Motor Yacht.

How do I care for an inflatable boat?

Great question. It’s important that you follow a manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to preserving the longevity and condition of your inflatable boat.

Regular care and maintenance is actively encouraged – particularly if you’re getting a lot of regular use out of the craft.

Check out the video below for tips and advice on caring for, cleaning and storing an inflatable.

Can you stand up in an inflatable boat?

It depends on the boat. Some you can, some you can’t.

As a rule of thumb, if the boat has a stable keel and solid bottom (either plywood, marine wood, aluminum or other such material), then there’s a strong chance you can stand with stability and comfort.

However, I would err on the side of caution here and fully check the manufacturer’s specifications, as well as any reviews you can find on that particular craft.

Finally, and one that’s never done me wrong, is if there is a promotional picture (not photoshopped) of an angler or otherwise standing up in the craft, then it’s safe to say it’s designed for that purpose.

Top tip – check YouTube for any helpful videos of anglers actually using the particular boat you’re considering purchasing – so you can see it in action, first.

What is the best material for inflatable boats?

Inflatable boats can be made out of a variety of materials, but by far the best is something called Hypalon, which is actually the trademark name of DuPont’s synthetic rubber.

However, PVC is more widely available, and is more economical. Most of the boats in this review have been made with PVC of varying degrees of quality and thickness.

Also, heat-welded seams are far superior to those that have been glued – so look out for vessels that have used that technology.

Summary

Fishing in an inflatable boat can be an affordable, practical, and fun alternative to buying a hard-shell vessel, but the quality of such craft can vary wildly.

Armed with this review and guide, I hope you can navigate these often confusing waters, and you’re closer to finding the best inflatable fishing boat in 2020 – that’s right for you.

Let me know in the comments section which one you would choose and why.

Happy fishing!