It is possible to fish from any type of boat, but a sportfishing yacht is purpose-built for angling aficionados to chase fish of all sizes and species, whether it’s fun fishing for mahi-mahi off the beach in South Florida or campaigning a pro-level crew from the Bahamas to Bermuda and back pursuing billfish during tournament season. The best sport-fishing yachts combine rugged, blue-water construction with performance, range, agile handling, and the comforts of luxury-yacht living. On the outside, sportfish yachts are notable for their dance-floor size cockpits for fish fighting; livewells to keep baits fresh; in-deck fish boxes to keep the catch stowed and cold; and an armada of rod holders for drift fishing, kite fishing or trolling. They also are known for big diesel horsepower and speed, sometimes north of 40-plus knots. Sportfish yachts are also known for luxurious interiors with supple leathers, granite countertops, high-end galley appliances and en suite staterooms. These are highly self-sufficient angling platforms geared for life beyond the horizon where the water is deep and the fish are big.
Top Luxury Fishing Boats
The following 13 sportfish yachts are all vessels we’ve reviewed. They are listed in no particular order.
- Hatteras GT65 Carolina: A customizable sportfish yacht with Caterpillar diesels
- Viking Yachts 64C: An eye-watering 42 knots of fish-chasing speed boat
- Royal Huisman Project 406: The biggest sportfish yacht ever built
- Rybovich 94: A superyacht-sized angler’s dream
- Viking 38 Open: A family-sized express sportfisherman loaded for offshore fishing
- Bertram 61 Convertible: A tournament-ready battlewagon with a distinct look
- Hatteras Yachts 45EX: Entry-level sportfish yacht with all the angling amenities of its larger siblings
- Huckins 45 Sportfisherman: Built for bluewater angling with the patented and sea-taming Quadraconic hull form
- Jarrett Bay 46: A mid-size custom-Carolina sportfisherman with a yacht-level finish
- Viking Yachts 92: Designed to travel the world’s oceans chasing behemoth billfish
- Merritt 72: An iconic Florida boatbuilder’s high-end fishing boat
- Bertram 35: This 35-foot flybridge sportfish pays homage to the builder’s legendary roots.
- Viking 54 Open: This express-style fish boat also comes in a Sport Tower and Coupe version
Hatteras Yachts GT65 Carolina
The Hatteras Yachts GT65 Carolina falls in the middle of the New Bern, North Carolina, boatbuilder’s three-model GT lineup, which also includes a GT59 and GT70. This sportfish yacht has a solid-fiberglass hull bottom built for blue-water duty and comes with a variety of diesel engine options, which starts with twin 1,622 hp Caterpillar C-32A diesels.
Like all Hatteras GT models, the GT65 has notable bow flare to beat back tempestuous seas as well as a high freeboard to keep decks dry in the slop. The Hatteras GT65 also represent a design evolution for the series with a “stepped-back flybridge” an element found on in earlier Hatteras models, as well as a new window treatment and hull-side vents. With yacht-level luxury on the inside and a fishing-mission design on the outside, the Hatteras Yachts GT65 is a formidable sportfish boat.
|Fuel Capacity:||1,900 Gal.|
|Freshwater Capacity:||270 Gal.|
Viking Yachts 64C
With its 180-square-foot, dance-floor-size, teak cockpit, options for a fighting chair or rocket launcher, a mezzanine perched perfectly for spotting prey in the spread and enough livewell space to keep a gaggle of goggle-eye baits frisky, the 42-knot Viking Yachts 64C is built for battle with big fish.Its impressive speed, which comes via optional 2,022 hp MTU M96X V-12 diesels, ensures that the Viking 64C is likely to be first boat with lines in the water. Cruise speed: 36 knots at 80 percent engine load. (Base powerplants are twin 1,550 hp MAN V-12 diesels.) For the traveling tournament crew, the Viking 64C has four staterooms, including three en suite guest staterooms, plus a crew cabin with upper and lower bunks.
|Fuel Capacity:||2,201 Gal.|
|Freshwater Capacity:||302 Gal.|
Royal Huisman Project 406
A 171-foot sportfisherman? Yes. That’s exactly what the six-deck, Royal Huisman’s Project 406 is. The interior and exterior design of Project 406 is from noted Dutch yacht-design firm Vripack. Vripack calls the vessel a “sportfisher on steroids.” The hull and superstructure of the supersize sportfish is Alustar aluminum, a material known for its strength and relatively light weight.
Even with six decks, Vripack has managed to create sleek lines for Project 406. It starts with a high freeboard forward that seemingly dares the ocean to approach. Transitioning from the bow, the sheerline slopes downwards in a steady cadence. The flowing sheerline resolves seamlessly at the cockpit. The vessel’s raked house and stacked deck are juxtaposed against the long profile, creating a sinewy aesthetic, which is no simple feat in this 171-footer. Add in all of the expected angling accouterments and 30-knot speed, and you have a sportfish yacht ready to chase fish around the world.
|Hull & Superstructure:||Aluminum|
|Design & Architecture:||Vripack Yacht Design|
|No. of Decks:||6|
Size, speed and agility is a unique trifecta in a sportfish boat, but the 94-foot, 41-knot III Amigos from Michael Rybovich checks all those boxes as well as a few more too. The sportfish boat, designed by Patrick Knowles with naval architecture from Dusty Rybovich, is built in cold-molded mahogany. Prop pockets help keep the boat’s half-load draft down to a Bahamas-friendly 5 feet. The Rybovich 94’s impressive speed is helped by a pair of beefy 2,600 hp MTU diesels.
The owner of II Amigos also owns a 196-foot Feadship superyacht and, while he wanted the sportfish to be all business on the outside, he wanted luxury-yacht finishes on the inside. “Subtle but telling touches are the solid doors to the staterooms; each mimics the owner’s Feadship with ¾-inch thickness. The doors close flush (each has hidden hinges), and the sound is of a Rolls-Royce door closing.”
|Fuel Capacity:||4,400 Gal.|
|Freshwater Capacity:||600 Gal.|
Viking Yachts 38 Open Billfish
The Viking Yachts 38 Open Billfish is the builder’s entry point to its diesel-propelled sportfish boats. An owner-operator-size angling platform, the 38 Open is powered with twin 550 hp Cummins QSB6.7 diesels, which gives the sportfish boat 36-knot speed. Notable angling features on board the 38 Open include a 109-swqure-foot cockpit, complete with a mezzanine seating flanking the centerline stairs to the bridge deck as well as a laminated backing plate foe either a fighting chair or a rocket launcher. For overnight canyon trips, there is a forepeak stateroom with a double bunk as well as a single above it. Additionally, the salon’s sofa converts to a berth for guests or crew. The galley is outfitted with Corian countertops, two-burner electric cooktop, microwave/convection oven and drawer-style refrigerators and freezers. Some options include a Palm Beach Towers tuna tower and electronics packages from Atlantic Marine Electronics, both are Viking Yachts’ subsidiaries.
|Fuel Capacity:||460 Gal.|
|Freshwater Capacity:||69 Gal.|
Bertram 61 Convertible
Bertram’s 61 Convertible leads the builder’s offshore series, which also includes a 35 Convertible and the express-style 50 Sport. Like its 50 Sport sistership, the 61 Convertible has a stepped sheerline, a nod to the legendary boatbuilder’s earlier designs. It also creates an instantly recognizable profile. The 61 Convertible is ready to run out of the box thanks to its twin 1,925 hp Caterpillar C-32A diesels. Top hop is 44 knots.
When it comes to chasing fish, the 61 Convertible has 188 square feet of fish-fighting space. A 100-gallon in-transom livewell is accompanied by twin in-sole fish boxes as well as rod stowage to port and starboard. A tuna door to starboard makes bringing in that bigeye on board a breeze. (Fish not included.) The accommodations layout belowdecks includes three staterooms. There is a full-beam master stateroom amidships.
|Fuel Capacity:||1,700 Gal.|
|Freshwater Capacity:||280 Gal.|
Hatteras Yachts GT45X
The Hatteras Yachts GT45X express sports twin 1,150-horsepower Cat C18 ACERT diesel engines that deliver 40-plus-knot speeds. During our sea trial, the GT45X showcased remarkable handling, gracefully leaning into turns without any loss of power from the props. Hatteras has equipped the GT45X with a custom-engineered, sound-deadening system. This feature reduces noise and vibration, ensuring a relatively quiet ride for all aboard. Inside, the yacht has a luxe sensibility with its wood sole, sumptuous leather seating, a fully equipped galley and a spacious forward stateroom. On deck, there are two comfortable helm seats, an undercounter fridge, an ice maker, an inviting L-shaped settee and a table, creating the perfect entertainment area for relaxing after a successful day of fishing. The integrated hardtop enhances visibility with its one-piece windshield and large side windows, offering optimal views of the surrounding waters. To adapt to changing weather conditions, simply install clear curtains across the bridge deck aft, transforming the GT45X into an all-season sport-fisherman. Personalization is key with Hatteras Yachts, and the GT45X offers a variety of optional features. From a bow thruster and additional stateroom to teak accents and a flybridge option, you can customize your yacht to meet your specific needs. With a simple ala carte ordering process, just select your must-have options, start the engines and have your next angling adventure.
|Fuel Capacity:||800 Gal.|
|Freshwater Capacity:||100 Gal.|
Huckins 45 Sportfisherman
The Huckins 45 Sportfisherman starts with the Florida boatbuilder’s patented Quadraconic hull. The Huckins’ Quadraconic name derives from four conical projections that make up the bottom surface shape. The sport-fisher has a deep forefoot and some measurable flare above the waterline for good buoyancy and dry running. A single chine rises from the waterline and then descends quickly to optimize spray control. The deep-V shape forward warps to a flat running surface far aft for efficient planing and excellent roll resistance.
Power is twin 480 hp Cummins diesels, which give this sportfish boat an easy 28-knot cruise. Top speed is 35 knots, so a 30-knot cruise is easily an option. The owner of the 45 Sportfisherman we got aboard is an avid stand-up angler and set up his boat with three flush-deck insulated fish boxes with macerators, a Dometic ice maker, two 28-foot Rupp outriggers, six gunwale rod holders, saltwater and freshwater washdowns, and a four-rod rocket launcher in lieu of a fighting chair.
|Fuel Capacity:||800 Gal.|
|Freshwater Capacity:||100 Gal.|
Jarrett Bay 46
Originally named Persistence, this Jarrett Bay 46 was built for fishing enthusiast and NASCAR driver Jeff Burton. When creating his fully custom sportfish boat, Burton noted that his vessel would be both a fishing boat and a family boat. Fishing features include an in-transom fish box, a sailfish pod, insulated fish boxes and a tuna door (sans bridge) in the cockpit. Jarrett Bay installed three rod holders in each gunwale and six more across the flybridge rail, plenty of rod room for setting up a trolling spread.
With upper and lower helm stations (the latter being an owner request), the Jarrett Bay 46 also gives the skipper options if the weather goes south. The Jarrett Bay 46 has ZF pod drives with underwater exhaust paired to twin 575 hp Caterpillar C9 diesels. At a comfortable 2,000-rpm cruise, this sport-fisher makes about 26 knots while those diesels consume 41 gallons per hour. Dial it up to a top-end speed of 35 knots and consumption goes up to 58.3 gph.
|Fuel Capacity:||620 Gal.|
|Freshwater Capacity:||100 Gal.|
Viking Yachts 92
The Viking Yachts 92 is the largest sport-fisher the New Gretna, New Jersey-based boatbuilder has ever constructed. Offered with an open- or enclosed-bridge setup, the hefty sportfish boat (displacing around 205,000 pounds) hits 37-knots-plus when powered with optional 2,600 hp MTU diesels. At 2,100 rpm, this battlewagon cruises easily at 31 knots at 78 percent engine load. Dial it back to 28 knots, and engine load is a mere 70 percent. The 92-footer is also agile thanks to the Viking Independent Programmable Electrohydraulic Rudder (VIPER) steering system, a fly-by-wire setup that lets the helmsman control each rudder individually.
From an angling perspective, the 92 has 55-foot Rupp outriggers, fish stowage large enough for a wolf pack of bigeye tuna, space for a season’s worth of baits, secured gaff stowage and enough tackle drawers to handle all the lures and terminal gear an owner could ever buy. The Viking 92 also has six staterooms to accommodate owners, guests and crew for tournament season and long-haul adventure angling.
|Fuel Capacity:||4,015 Gal.|
|Freshwater Capacity:||485 Gal.|
Like some of the other names on this list, Merritt is an iconic Pompano Beach, Florida-based, custom sportfish builder with a current model lineup that includes 66-, 72- and 86-foot convertible designs. The Merritt 72 is a model that has stood the test of time, and one that owners flock to year in and year out, for its fishability, seakindly nature and the ability to tailor the layout to an owner’s angling needs.
Because these boats are custom-built, the specifics can change from one 72 to another, but 30-knot cruise speeds and nearly 40-knot top-end speeds are common in all 72s, as are massive cockpits for fighting Hemingway-worthy marlin, stout construction for chasing those fish in the blue water and superyacht-level finishes inside and outside.
|Fuel Capacity:||2,280 Gal.|
|Freshwater Capacity:||400 Gal.|
|Top Speed:||39 Knots|
The entry point into Bertram’s three-model Offshore Series⎯spanning from 35 to 61 feet length overall⎯the Bertram 35 blends a familiar profile with modern power and technology to create a 36-knot angling juggernaut. This owner-operator-sized, Michael Peters-penned, flybridge sport-fisher starts with a wave-slicing, deep-V hull form with 22 degrees transom deadrise. The form is supported by a solid fiberglass hull bottom with cored hull sides for added strength without added weight.
The 35 has a 126-square-foot cockpit ready for any fish-fighting fanatic. Bertram sets up the 35 with rod holders, a livewell, in-deck fish boxes, and a transom door for the big ones. Optional teak decking and covering boards add a custom look. Inside, the salon is accented with teak and maple Amtico soles and overhead dimmer lighting. A wainscot-style ceiling houses rod stowage for big-game gear. Power is twin 500 hp Caterpillar C7.1 diesels matched to ZF drives. At a comfortable 27.5-knot cruise at just 68 percent engine load, the Bertram 35 has a 253-nautical-mile range, making it easily canyon-capable.
|Fuel Capacity:||310 Gal.|
|Freshwater Capacity:||50 Gal.|
Viking Yachts 54 Open
Many anglers like open- or express-style sportfish designs as they enable the captain and crew to keep in close proximity, and the Viking 54 Open, which also is offered in a Sport Coupe or Sport Tower, does just that. The 54 Open’s bridge deck has a Palm Beach-style helm on centerline, flanked by a double-wide companion seat to port and a single seat to starboard. Abaft the helm and to port is U-shaped seating with a walnut table, creating a respite from the sun on tournament day while still allowing the crew to keep an eye on the spread via the open after bulkhead. Across from that seating is an L-shaped settee.
With a focus on fishing, the 54 Open has 154 square feet of cockpit real estate. Two sets of mezzanine seats offer perches for the crew to watch the spread. Other fishing-friendly features include a transom livewell, an in-deck fish box to starboard (with an optional livewell tub), an insulated in-deck box to port, a deck plate for mounting a rocket launcher or fighting chair, cooler stowage in the mezzanine steps (a bait freezer in the steps is optional), and a tuna door. Power is either twin 1,400 hp or 1,550 hp MAN diesels. For owners who prefer a three-sided fiberglass enclosure to a clear-plastic setup—but still want an open after bulkhead—Viking offers the 54 in the Sport Tower version. The 54 Sport Coupe model closes the after bulkhead, completely protecting the bridge deck from the elements.
|Fuel Capacity:||1,535 Gal.|
|Freshwater Capacity:||198 Gal.|