Which brand jet ski is best for fishing from? You may as well go to a Nascar race and ask which is best between Chevy, Ford, and Dodge. Your answers will vary the same based on the person your asking’s opinion of jet ski manufacturers. However, there are distinct design considerations to take into account, especially if you’re looking at offshore fishing. For this article we’ll focus mainly on the 3 major manufactures still in production, Yamaha, Kawasaki, & Sea-doo, and look at the new models and features that work well for offshore fishing. (I’ll do my best to not point out the Kawasaki’s superiority, and give a completely unbiased opinion!)
First and foremost, get a large 3 seater. The two seater models, and small entry level 3 seaters start to become unstable when not under power. If you have a tuna trying to pull your swim bait rod out of your hands, the last thing you need is an unstable platform. Yamaha’s FX line, Sea-doo’s GTX, and Kawasaki’s Ultra models are all good stable fishing platforms with lots of deck space and big water capability.
Within each of those line-ups, personal riding style and intended use is going to play a big part in deciding which model to go with. For the primary purpose of offshore, long range fishing, look at the models without superchargers or turbos. These features while fun, only wreck fuel economy and come with high maintenance requirements. Most of these models with normally aspirated engines will be pushing 150-180hp on a craft that is less than 12 feet long…trust me, that is plenty to get right with it fully loaded.
It is best to have a good idea of what kind of accessories you’re going to end up installing on your new fishing machine prior to deciding on which model. If you intend on installing extra electronics, open the engine and storage areas and get a good idea of where you’ll mount extra batteries, fishfinders, transducers, radios, bilge pumps, nav lights, ect. Heavy items like extra fuel and batteries should be stored as low as possible to not compromise stability. Also take a good look at the deck space, and how it is designed. You’ll need a good platform for mounting catch bags or coolers & rod holders. Imagine how that deck space is going to work with the type of gear storage you intend on using.
Both the Yamaha and Sea-doo come with innovative steering and propulsion features like breaking, cruise control, & neutral which are all nice to have, while the Kawasaki’s models are fairly bare-bone design…less to breakdown. Reliability is huge offshore. Any of these ski’s will last for years with proper maintenance and care of salt water destruction. If you procrastinate routine maintenance, seriously consider a model with the least amount of stuff to break, because it will…and/or drop your ski off at the service shop regularly for inspections and service.
Finally, try to get out and test ride each of the brands. The Yamaha and Sea-doo seem to be the most popular choices for fishing, however, the Kawasaki shouldn’t be over looked, especially in big water.