There are numerous belly boats that differ significantly in their equipment and handling. Some anglers prefer to sit above the water and others don’t mind a wet bottom. That’s why I took a closer look at a few selected belly boats that are currently available on the market.
What is a Belly Boat?
A belly boat or belly boat is a swimming aid for the angler but is usually considered a boat and is even a real alternative in many situations. The origin of belly boats were simple truck tires and even today Moroccan or Cuban fishermen, for example, go out to sea with them. But of course this has its limits and you can’t go out to sea with every wind and swell.
A belly boat opens up completely new fishing opportunities for us anglers: previously inaccessible places suddenly become accessible and the odd new hotspot opens up. With the boat for the little man, which fits into every car, you can get onto lakes, or even into the Baltic Sea beyond the casting range of the shore angler. The big advantage of a belly boat is obvious: it is very easy to transport and fits easily into any small car. But there are other points that speak for a belly boat and it even has advantages over real boats. It is completely silent and you can even reach very shy fish. The scare effect like on a boat is gone. But of course it also has disadvantages, it is difficult to cover really long distances and trolling is also difficult.
When buying a belly boat you should consider that this is a long-term purchase. I have my first belly boat in over 10 years and it is still in good shape. There are some belly boats that are almost identical in construction, with minimal modifications. Some manufacturers sell an almost identical boat at twice the price of others. I only present the cheapest of these series.
- In this video you get a good impression how to fish with such a belly boat or boat.
Top Belly boats in the comparison table
These boats both have a very high load capacity and keep even heavy persons safely above water. The paddles on the Savage Gear model also make it interesting for occasional trolling. With these two belly boats you’ll definitely feel very safe on the water and you can also use them for targeted vertical fishing for catfish.
Cheap beginner belly boats in the comparison table
Safe and good belly boats do not have to be expensive. These three models are particularly suitable for beginners. With the Roy Fisher Belly boat you even sit above water and keep a warm and almost dry bottom.
Accessories for the belly boat: that’s what you need in addition to the boat
With a belly boat alone you don’t necessarily make progress on the water and even in winter fishing without waders is difficult. There are some things you need to buy in addition to the belly boat to be able to fish with it.
- A lifejacket is obligatory, a self-inflatable (automatic) one is the best, everything else disturbs fishing very much
- Good equipment fins: They fit over the boot of a waders link to mine at Amazon >>
- A waders, if you want to fish in winter and summer, there should even be two. One thin and one with 4-5 mm thick neoprene for winter
- An air pump to inflate the boat
Helpful but not a must is a small foldable anchor.
I take this on the Belly Boat with
In addition to the accessories mentioned under the last heading, I still take a few more accessories with me. One is a wading net with a short handle and the other is a stringer or something else to comfortably carry a fish I want to take with me.
On baits, hooks and swivels etc. I always take only the most necessary and they come in a transparent box with seal. Otherwise you have to fight constantly with rust, because on the Bally boat it can get wet. It is also very important to have a snack and a drink, because Belly Boat fishing is exhausting and it lifts your spirits to have something to eat and even if you are surrounded by water you don’t want to drink it.
This is important when choosing a belly boat
A purchase like a belly boat should be well considered. First of all, safety should play the biggest role. The own weight and the required storage space are important criteria when buying. Belly boats usually have two possible seating positions, namely above or slightly in the water. In both cases the bottom gets a little wet, which is not a problem with waders. Nevertheless, it is more comfortable to sit above the water in winter. Moreover, you are faster on the water, because the water resistance is lower. This type of seating is achieved by having the seat have more buoyancy or by placing it a little higher.
Another important point when choosing a belly boat is the choice of drive. There are belly boats with oars and those without. The latter are the more classic variant, where the drive is provided by fins from the diving industry.
Fins that are made for belly boat fishing are often scrap! I don’t know who thinks up these parts but they are not very good compared to reasonable fins.
U or V shape?
There are two shapes of belly boats, with the V shape you are a bit more agile and faster in the water. This is why it has also established itself on the market. In the past there was even the O shape. But to my knowledge it has completely disappeared.
Transport of the belly boat to the water
The transport of belly boats is quite simple. If you have a car that is big enough, you can even transport it inflated and you won’t lose valuable fishing time on the water. In addition, many belly boats usually have straps or at least pre-installed eyelets to which they can be easily attached. So you can strap the belly boat on your back like a rucksack and walk to the water.
Getting into a belly boat
Getting into a belly boat is not that difficult. Flat water is best for getting into the belly.
- Put the belly boat in the water and put it in water at least 50 cm deep
- The table with spacer must be out of the way and removed
- Walking backwards with fins already fastened into the water with the wader and sitting in the boat
- Reinstall the spacers
- Some belly boats have a belt between the legs, which connects the belt with the spacer and the shelf. This should be clipped together
- Loose paddles and catch fish!
Slowly to the target
A belly boat has one decisive disadvantage compared to a boat: you are much slower on the way. On belly boats with oars things look much better. Nevertheless, you can never get close to a kayak.
Safety on a belly boat
Safety on a belly boat should be a priority and a life jacket should always be worn. You need hardly be afraid of capsizing on a belly boat, because the low centre of gravity and the many air chambers make the boat almost unsinkable and also difficult to capsize.
air chambers are another important keyword for safety. Especially the number of air chambers plays a role. As many of these chambers as possible provide greater safety and models with this design are preferable. If one chamber fails, you still have others that will carry you safely.
Fishing rods for belly boat and kayak
On a belly boat or kayak, long rods are a nuisance. You are no longer dependent on the casting distance and therefore it makes nothing at all with 1.8-2.4m long rods to fish. With the latter the upper limit is already reached, because long rods quickly become unmanageable. You should pay special attention to the length of the handle, otherwise it will be in the way. A short handle has proven itself and should be taken into account when buying.
Fishing techniques and target fish on the belly boat
The classic fishing technique for the belly boat is spin fishing and fly fishing. Even catfish can be fished, but it is best not to be alone on the water and to have taken some safety precautions. Meanwhile, there are specialists who also use the feeder rod to fish from the Belly Boat, so there are almost no limits to your imagination.
The classic target fish are sea trout, garfish and cod in the North and Baltic Sea, as well as pike, trout, pike-perch and perch in fresh water.
Unfortunately, a fishing technique is definitely not for the belly boat, although many anglers have hoped for it. Trolling or trolling is only possible to a very limited extent and hardly worthwhile. With the Belly Boot you are simply not fast enough.
Accessories for the belly boat
Besides a safe life jacket, which is mandatory, there are many other useful things to make fishing on the belly boat more efficient, there are also fishfinders or echo sounders and rod holders.
An automatic life jacket is always preferable. I myself made the mistake of choosing a classic thick lifejacket for price reasons. I know from my own experience that this is no fun, because you are very limited in your movement.
Upgrades for the belly boat
A belly boat can be equipped with many practical fishing aids. Really useful is a rod holder or two, so that you can fish with a dead rod at the same time. Another useful upgrade, even if a bit more expensive, are echo sounders or fishfinders>>. To install these you need some handicraft work. But the reward is always knowing how deep the water is and if there are fish underneath you.
Important manufacturers of belly boats
One of the first belly boats on the German market came from this company. They are rather belly boats for beginners.
This traditional US company actually has everything that the angler’s heart desires in its program and this includes the odd good belly boat.
Especially the V-boat has made Jenzi well known among the belly boat lovers, so it is a cheap boat for beginners
The manufacturer offers with the Fish Cat series for many years one of the best belly boats. They are a bit more expensive than the competition, but you get maximum comfort and safety.