Jet Skiing and fishing are two of the best ways to spend a day on the water. For many years, we considered these two pursuits mutually exclusive; you were going to ride your jet ski or go fishing. Today’s top fishing jet ski models beg the question, “why not both?”
Today, we’ll cover all the details you need to know before fishing from your PWC, and we’ll take a close look at the best jetski for fishing options on the market.
What To Look For Before Jet Ski Fishing
Before choosing an ideal jet ski for fishing, consider these essentials below.
Jet skis come in various hull sizes, ranging from around 80” for a recreational stand-up jetski to 140” or longer for a dedicated fishing jet ski like the Sea-Doo Fish Pro. The longer and more pronounced the hull angle is; the better suited for big water fishing the jet ski will be.
You’ll want to strike a balance by selecting a jet ski that provides ample room for fishing but is still easy for you to transport and maneuver.
Gas tanks on jet skis range from under five gallons for small recreational skis to over twenty gallons for luxury or fishing jet skis. The further offshore you plan fishing, the larger the gas tank you want.
While it’s far from a necessity, a trolling motor can make your jet ski immensely more enjoyable to fish. A trolling motor is a small electric motor that helps eliminate factors like wind and current so that you can fish under optimal conditions.
With a trolling motor, you can set an optimal drift speed or lock yourself in place over a productive piece of seafloor. It’s also your secret weapon if you run out of gas while on the water. It might not pack the punch of your main engine, but it can get you back to shore if you run out of fuel.
Considering how large most fishing jet skis are, it isn’t uncommon for there to be a second seat or a large swim platform. Consider whether you’ll be fishing with a partner and how much room you need to have to fish comfortably when evaluating the seating arrangements of a particular personal watercraft.
Even the biggest jet skis are small compared to a fishing boat, and you must maximize every inch of space on the craft for your fishing equipment. Ensure the model you’re considering has plenty of room for jet ski fishing accessories, such as a fishing rod holder, easy-access storage bag, soft cooler, or other essential components.
The 9 Best Jet Skis For Fishing
Now that you have a solid foundation of what to look for in a fishing jetski, let’s take a closer look at nine of the best models on the market today.
Yamaha Waverunner FX Cruiser SVHO
Yamaha’s top-of-the-line FX Cruiser series is ideal for anglers looking for high-end features and luxury performance.
The FX Cruiser SVHO offers a Yamaha 1.8L supercharged Super Vortex engine, which delivers hair-raising speed and power with surprisingly good fuel economy. With a hull length of 140”, this is one of the most fishable platforms, and there’s plenty of internal storage.
This model is also among the most luxurious, with a 7” infotainment system, integrated speakers, and Yamaha’s luxury and comfort packages. There’s also a sizeable watertight glovebox with phone storage, a USB port, and a 12V charging port. The FX Cruiser provides seating for up to 3, which makes for exceptionally comfortable fishing for one.
The Yamaha Waverunner FX Cruiser SVHO starts at $19,399.
Sea-Doo Fish Pro
The Fish Pro from Sea-Doo is the first purpose-built fishing PWC. There’s plenty of room to fish and several fishing-specific features that transform this seemingly regular jet ski into a full-fledged fishing machine.
This model offers the Rotax 1630 ACE 170 horsepower engine, the most powerful offered by Sea-Doo, and it features their intelligently-designed ST3 hull. The hull design is a modified V that helps this craft slice through chop and bigger water with ease, and when it’s time to fish, it provides excellent stability. There’s also a deck extension, providing even more fishable space.
The Fish Pro also offers a 100-watt Bluetooth stereo, plenty of watertight storage, five or more rod holders, Garmin fishing electronics, and a Linq fishing cooler.
The Sea-Doo Fish Pro starts at $16,499.
Yamaha VX Deluxe
Yamaha’s VX platform is designed for recreation, but the Deluxe model also makes a great fishing vessel.
This PWC begins with Yamaha’s 1049cc TR-1 marine engine and has a hull length of 132”, which provides plenty of room to fish. This craft offers 30 gallons of storage space for your gear, a watertight glove box with a USB port, and a 12V power port for storing away electronics and valuables.
Optional accessories include a Bluetooth entertainment system and a Garmin fish finder. The VX Deluxe offers a comfortable and highly fishable platform, but since it’s a recreational ski, you’ll need to add some accessories and upgrades for the VX Deluxe to hit its stride as a fishing jet ski.
The Yamaha VX Deluxe starts at $12,099.
Kawasaki Ultra LX
Kawasaki’s Ultra LX series is among the largest and most powerful recreational skis on the market, and its fast engine and cavernous storage make it an excellent choice for anglers.
Kawasaki equips this ski with their 1.498CC 4-stroke marine engine that delivers 160 horsepower. The engine was adapted from Kawasaki’s legendary ZX-R motorcycles, so this is an excellent choice for riders with a need for speed.
The Ultra LX offers a deep hull that provides a smooth and stable ride so you can get out to the fishing grounds comfortably and safely. There aren’t many fishing-specific features since this is a rec ski, but it does offer best-in-class storage, with over 60 gallons of storage capacity on board. With a few added accessories, the Ultra LX becomes an excellent choice for anglers.
The Kawasaki Ultra LX starts at $12,699.
Kawasaki Ultra 310R
Another powerhouse from Kawasaki, the Ultra 310R, features the same speedy engine as the Ultra LX model, with notable performance and comfort upgrades.
The Ultra 310R features a stepped deep-V hull that offers both comfort and handling when underway and superior stability when fishing. There’s slightly less storage on this model than the Ultra LX, but with 56 gallons of space, you should still have no trouble packing all your gear.
This model provides seating for three, with an ergonomically designed seat that takes up less space, making it easier to move around while fishing.
A 7” touchscreen infotainment system with integrated speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, and onboard power for your electronics ensures your tunes are always with you. There are also multiple docking points for additional electronics and accessories, like a fish finder.
The Kawasaki Ultra 310R starts at $18,299.
Yamaha EX Deluxe
One of Yamaha’s most compact and easy-to-maneuver skis, the EX Deluxe offers many of the features of Yamaha’s pricier luxury models at a price that’s much more accessible.
The EX Deluxe features the same TR-1 engine as their luxury models and a deep V hull that makes for a smooth and comfortable ride. This model offers seating for up to three passengers, although its lightweight design and streamlined form make it much better suited for a single rider.
The EX Deluxe offers little storage, so you’ll need to get creative and mount many of your fishing-specific accessories. But, with a few modifications, the EX Deluxe is one of the best affordable fishing jet ski options.
The Yamaha EX Deluxe starts at $9,999.
Honda Aquatrax F12X Turbo
Honda stopped production on their PWCs in 2009, but if you can still find an older Aquatrax F12X Turbo, you’ll be blessed with a speedy and capable craft for under half what you’d spend on one of the best fishing jet skis available.
This innovative ski was one of the first 4-strokes on the market, and the turbo-charged F12X is still an innovative machine two decades after its debut. This model features a DOHC 1,235cc engine that delivers 163 horsepower with a modified deep-V hull.
The F12X is known for providing an incredibly smooth and comfortable ride, but it’s not as stable as other platforms, which makes it less comfortable to fish on. At 126” long, there’s plenty of room to move about, but like many rec skis, there isn’t a ton of onboard storage, so you’ll need to get creative with mounting.
You can snag one of these on the secondary market for around $5,000-6,000.
Sea-Doo Trophy 170
Arguably the most fishable of all Sea-Doo models, the Sea-Doo Fish Pro Trophy 170 is the jewel of Sea-Doo’s Fish Pro series, and it’s the most comfortable and feature-packed vessel for the serious angler.
This model features the same 170 HP Rotax 1630 ACE engine as the original Fish Pro, with a modified Deep-V hull that provides excellent stability when fishing and a smooth and comfortable ride when you’re underway. At nearly 147”, the Trophy 170 is the largest fishing PWC available.
The Trophy 170 is equipped with a Garmin fish finder, an extended rear deck that holds a LinQ fishing cooler that converts to a live well, and a modular swivel seat that provides 360° of fishability when you’re on the water.
Simply put, there isn’t a better fishing jet ski on the market than the Trophy 170, which starts at $19,599.
The GTX from Sea-Doo is a feature-packed cruiser that’s an excellent choice for anglers who also want to enjoy recreation on the water.
The GTX offers your choice of Rotax engines. The Rotax 1630 comes standard, but you can also upgrade to the 225 HP or, for the real speed demons, a whopping 300 HP Rotax. The GTX has a hull length of nearly 136”, and it comfortably accommodates three riders.
This model also offers the same GT3 fiberglass hull design as the famous Fish Pro series, so you’ll have no worries about comfort or stability on the water. The GTX lacks most of the fishing-specific features from the Fish Pro series, making it a solid choice for anglers looking to customize their accessories.
The Sea-Doo GTX starts at $13,999.
Accessories to Fish on a Jet Ski
A quality ski is only half the battle of PWC fishing. There are also some critical gadgets and gizmos you’ll want to consider to help make the most of your time on the water.
A fishing rack may be the most essential accessory you can add to a jet ski to make it more fishable. Most racks are made from high gauge marine grade steel, providing the angler with several rod holders and a large storage area for a cooler, gear bags, or auxiliary fuel.
Most jet skis include a soft cover made from durable nylon, and a quality cover is critical for storage and transport. A cover will keep your ski clean and free of road grime and debris and protect against UV damage from the sun.
The benefits of having a cooler onboard are myriad. With a cooler packed, you’re only an arm’s reach away from a cold drink or a snack. A cooler also gives you a place to store any fish safely you keep on your steam back to shore.
Nothing will impact your productivity on the water like a quality GPS. GPS makes navigating hazards easier and safer, allows you to save all your most productive fishing spots, and ensures you can easily navigate back to your inlet after a day spent on the water.
A fishing rack is an excellent accessory, and it has integrated rod holders, but they’re pretty expensive. A simple rod holder will do the trick if you’d prefer not to fork over the money for a fishing rack. Look for a model that provides room for at least two rods so that you can bring a spare or a rod with different specs.
An anchor is an inexpensive yet indispensable piece of equipment you’ll want to include on your fishing jet ski. If you’re only looking to anchor your PWC near the beach, consider a screw anchor or an anchor bag to help save space.
If you’re bottom fishing, a mushroom or fluke anchor will allow you to anchor up in most conditions, but their large size makes it difficult to stow away on your craft.
Pros and Cons of Jet Ski Fishing
Compared to fishing from a boat or shore, there are a few significant perks of jet ski fishing. On the other hand, there are also some drawbacks, too.
There’s a world of benefits to fishing from a jet ski. These quick and agile crafts make covering large bodies of water a breeze. Since they’re much more fuel efficient than a boat, you can fish 100 different spots in the day without breaking the bank the way you would fishing from a boat.
Jet skis are also much easier to transport to and from the dock or boat ramp than a boat. Compared to boats, jet skis are also much more affordable, with a lower cost of ownership than boats. This cost disparity is especially true when it comes to deep-sea fishing.
For all the benefits of jet skis, there are a few drawbacks, too.
As far as PWCs have come, fishing from a jet ski will always be more challenging and less comfortable than fishing from a boat. On a jet ski, space constraints and obstacles prevent you from moving as freely as you would on a boat. These constraints also mean you’ll need to leave your fishing buddies at the dock when fishing from a PWC.
Jet skis also don’t provide any shelter from the elements. If you get caught in a storm, you don’t have any of the comforts you’d find on most boats.
Beginner Tips For Jet Ski Fishing
If you’re getting ready to embark on your first jet ski fishing adventure, follow the tips below, and you should have no problems on your fishing trips.
- Let someone know where you’ll be fishing and what your plans for the day are
- Fish in groups with other jet skiers whenever possible
- Be vigilant and watch for water depth changes or underwater hazards
- Familiarize yourself with the weather, wave, and tide conditions before you leave
- Start by fishing on days with optimal weather and calm seas until you’re more comfortable fishing on high seas