5 Best Used Saltwater Fishing Boats To Keep An Eye Out For

There are tens of thousands of listings for saltwater fishing boats on BoatTrader, and that can make it tough to whittle down your choices. In the world of used saltwater fishing boats there are, however, some stand-out models that for one reason or another offer something special to potential boat shoppers. If you’re on the lookout for a used saltwater fishing boat, be sure to keep an eye out for these five unique picks.

1. Cabo 31 Express Fishing Boat

A 1998 Cabo 31 Express

Above: A 1998 Cabo 31 Express in Huntington beach, CA. Photo by Denison Yachting in Long Beach, CA.

In the modern boat market it’s very difficult to find twin inboard diesel powered express style fishing boats under 35 feet of length, but in the late 1990s and early 2000s one of the most popular models from Cabo Yachts was the 31 Express. These boats were commonly purchased for bluewater fishing, and as a result, tend to be fully rigged for big game action. Half or full towers with upper-station controls, outriggers, and generators are commonly included. Most also have full electronics packages which have usually been upgraded at least once or twice since the boat was first launched. Common fishing features include a transom fishbox/livewell, in-deck fishboxes, tackle stowage, and fresh and raw water washdowns. The Cabo’s cabin was known for being large considering the boat’s relatively small footprint, with sleeping accommodations for up to four, a compact but complete galley, and a stand-up head with shower.

Today, on the used boat market you can find 31 Expresses ranging from slightly under $100,000 to around $125,000. Since these boats were mostly owned by serious anglers making offshore runs they tend to be well-maintained and in good mechanical condition. Most still carry their original engines, either Caterpillars or Yanmars in the 350- to 385-horsepower range, which commonly provide a cruising speed in the mid-20-knot range and a top end close to 30 knots.

View all used Cabo fishing boats for sale on Boat Trader today.

2. Boston Whaler 170 Montauk

1987 Boston Whaler Montauk Center Console Boat

Above: A used 1987 Boston Whaler Montauk with a Yamaha 90HP outboard engine. Photo by All Season Marine Works in Norwalk, CT.

First introduced way back in 1973 as the Cohasset and later dubbed the Boston Whaler 17 Montauk, this model is still produced today and is in every sense of the word a classic. Known for its unsinkable nature, the Montauk 170 has served countless inshore saltwater anglers for generations. Their all-around utility, shallow draft, and versatility means they also make great boats for watersports, day-tripping, and gunkholing. While they’ve certainly gone through many changes through the years, common fishing features include rod holders, forward fishbox/stowage compartments, and flip-back cooler seats. Most are powered with 90- to 115-horsepower outboards (with cruising speeds in the mid to upper 20s and a top-end approaching 40 mph), and when looking at older models it’s very common to find boats that have been repowered once or multiple times through the years.

Despite the Montauk’s long history it can be difficult to find boats of some vintages on the market, because they are virtually always in demand. As a result, they also tend to command top dollar and even boats with 20 years of age on them regularly sit above the $20,000 mark. In fact, older boats can cost more than some newer ones due to their value as classics. While this can increase initial purchase price for Montauk 17s of all ages, however, it also means that the boat can be expected to uphold its value through the years — as long as a Montauk is kept in good shape it generally devalues significantly less than other boats of similar size.

View all used Boston Whaler Montauks for sale on Boat Trader now.

3. Ranger 2400 Bay Ranger Bay Boat

2008 Ranger 2400 Ranger Bay Boat

Above: A used 2008 Ranger 2400 Bay Ranger at the dock in Naples, FL. Photo by Gulf Shores Marina in Naples, FL.

The Ranger 2400 Bay Ranger offers inshore and bay anglers an unusual opportunity to step into a very large, high-end, relatively modern bay boat under the $50,000 mark, as boats just a hair over a decade old commonly run in the upper $40,000s. They’re commonly equipped with a trailer, carry a hefty 250-horsepower powerplant, and are generally armed to the teeth for inshore fishing.

With a draft just a hair over a foot the Bay Ranger has proved popular among saltwater flats and bay anglers. Unusual for this genre of boat, however, it also has a steep transom deadrise at 19.5 degrees. Combined with the copious 72-gallon fuel tank this puts the 2400 in the “big” category when it comes to bay boats, providing the capability for long runs to distant hotspots and jaunts outside of the inlets when the weather cooperates. As such, it’s an ideal choice for anglers who tilt towards inshore fishing but want to find a used fishing boat that gives them the ability to engage in all sorts of angling when the opportunity arises.

View all used Ranger fishing boats for sale on Boat Trader now.

4. Regulator 26 FS Center Console Boat

2005 Regulator 26 FS Center Console Boat For Sale

Above: A used 2005 Regulator 26 FS center console boat at the dock in a marina in Cape May, NJ. Photo by United Yacht Sales in New Jersey.

Known best as a stand-out among the crowd for its exceedingly smooth ride in rough seas, the Regulator 26 went into production in 1988 as Regulator’s very first mode. Over 1,000 hulls were built before Regulator bracketed the 26 with a 25 and a 28 and retired the model. The “FS” version has forward seating and took over as the most popular version in later years. The hullform features a sharp 48-degree entry and a 24-degree transom deadrise Deep-V, with seakeeping enhanced by keeping the outboards far aft via bracket-mounting. Anyone who’s been aboard a Regulator 26 in rough conditions will attest to the boat’s unusual ability to chop through large waves with minimal impact.

Even the FS version, intended to be more family-friendly than the original 26, was still sold rigged to fish and fish hard. Although early versions may not have integrated livewells, most of any vintage have extensive flush-mount and rocket launcher rodholders, tackle stations, coaming bolsters, and washdowns. Many of the models you’ll find on the used market also have outriggers and extensive electronics packages. You can also expect to find a head compartment in the console. Common power packages include twin 200- to 250-horsepower outboards which provide cruising speeds up to and above the 30-mph mark and a top-end approaching 50 mph. Note that Regulators hold their value well, and newer models and/or older ones that have been repowered in recent years are often priced well above the $100,000 mark. However, older models with dated powerplants can be found for significantly less.

View all used Regulator fishing boats for sale on Boat Trader right now.

5. Triumph 190 and 210 CC

2002 Triumph 210 Center Console Boat

Above: A used 2002 Triumph 210 center console boat on a trailer while listed for sale on Boat Trader. Photo by a private seller in Riverside, CA.

Triumph boats, which went out of production around a decade ago, are one of the few saltwater fishing boat model lines that was constructed out of a form of polyethylene (which Triumph called Roplene) as opposed to aluminum or fiberglass. Since the 19 and 21 are both constructed in this unique way, for the purposes of this round-up we’ll consider them together. And thanks to that unique construction, they enjoy the unique ability of being virtually indestructible as a result of normal use (though the manufacturer is now out of business, they were originally sold with a lifetime hull warranty). When striking fixed objects they tend to bounce off as opposed to shattering or cracking, and the semi-flexible material is also said to absorb some of the impact when hitting waves, producing a smoother ride than usual for boats of their size.

The down-side to this construction material is lower tolerances and looks that don’t quite match fiberglass, which may be why Triumphs on the used boat market tend to be surprisingly affordable. The 19-footers commonly go for less than $20,000, and 21s for only slightly more. They are, however, well-outfitted for saltwater fishing. Stock features generally include a livewell, insulated fishboxes, flip-up or molded-in aft casting deck seating, and raw water washdowns. Most will be sold with a trailer included too.

View all used Triumph fishing boats for sale right now on Boat Trader.

Used Fishing Boats In Summary

All anglers have their own specific needs, wants, and desires when buying a used boat. These selected five best used saltwater fishing boats may or may not represent the exact type of boat that will best suit your own personal requirements. If you’re still not entirely sure what sort of fishing boat would make you happiest, be sure to check out Fishing Boats: The Ultimate Guide.

Written by: Lenny Rudow

With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld, boats.com, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.