Outriggers for Fishing Boats: What are they used for?

Are you a fishing enthusiast looking to enhance your fishing experience? Outriggers for fishing boats may be the solution you've been searching for. Outriggers are vital accessories for fishing boats that enable fishermen to cover more water and increase their chances of catching more fish. But what exactly are outriggers, and how do they work? Let's dive into the world of outriggers for fishing boats and explore their importance in fishing.

outriggers for fishing boats

What are outriggers?

Outriggers are long poles extending from a boat's hull to the side, used to hold fishing lines away from the boat. They are typically mounted at a fixed angle, although telescoping and clip-on models are available. 

The primary purpose of outriggers is to keep multiple lines in the water at once, allowing fishermen to cover a larger area and increase their chances of catching fish. Outriggers can also help prevent lines from tangling and improve the visibility of fishing lines.

Types of outriggers for boats

There are three main types of outriggers for boats: fixed outriggers, telescoping outriggers, and clip-on outriggers. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right type for your boat and fishing needs is important.

Fixed outriggers

Fixed outriggers are permanently mounted to the boat's gunwale or transom. They are typically made of aluminum or fiberglass and come in various lengths and widths. Fixed outriggers are durable, long-lasting, and can withstand harsh marine environments. They are ideal for larger boats and commercial fishing operations that require a lot of fishing lines in the water.

Telescoping outriggers

Telescoping outriggers are ideal for smaller boats and recreational fishermen who need a versatile and easy-to-use outrigger system. Telescoping outriggers are adjustable and can be extended or retracted as needed. They are typically made of aluminum and are lightweight, making them easy to handle and store.

Clip-on outriggers

Clip-on outriggers are the most portable and easy-to-use type of outrigger. They attach directly to the boat's gunwale or transom without needing permanent mounting. They are typically made of lightweight materials such as aluminum or plastic and are easy to install and remove. Clip-on outriggers are ideal for small boats and fishermen who need a quick and simple solution for increasing their fishing capability.


Benefits of outriggers for fishing charters

Outriggers are a must-have accessory to improve your fishing experience on a charter boat. Outriggers can provide various benefits for fishing charters, from increasing your fishing opportunities to improving your trolling ability and ensuring your safety and stability while on the water. Let's take a closer look at each of these benefits.

Increased fishing opportunities

One of the most significant benefits of outriggers is that they increase your fishing opportunities. With outriggers, you can cover more water and present multiple baits at different depths and distances from the boat. 

This can increase your chances of hooking various fish species, including those that may not typically bite close to the boat. With outriggers, you can troll more lines and target more fish, making for a more successful and enjoyable fishing charter.

Improved trolling ability

Trolling with outriggers can be more efficient and effective than without, allowing you to cover a larger area and maintain more control over your lines. Outriggers can also improve your trolling ability by spreading your lines and reducing the chances of tangled lines. Outriggers also help you maintain a consistent trolling speed, which can be crucial for catching certain fish species.

Increased safety and stability

Outriggers can provide increased safety and stability on fishing charters by reducing the risk of capsizing or swamping. By keeping the fishing lines spread out, outriggers can prevent sudden movements or jerks that can cause the boat to tip over. Additionally, outriggers can help stabilize the boat in choppy or rough water, providing a more comfortable and safer fishing experience.

outriggers for boat

How to choose the right outriggers for your boat

Choosing the right outriggers for your boat ensures the best fishing experience. There are several factors to consider when selecting the right outriggers for your boat, including the size of your boat, the types of fishing you'll be doing, the different outrigger materials available, and your budget.

Consider the size of your boat.

When choosing outriggers for your boat, consider the size of your vessel. Larger boats may require longer outriggers to cover more water effectively. In comparison, smaller boats may require telescoping outriggers for better storage and maneuverability. Measure your boat's width and gunwale height to ensure the outriggers you select fit properly.

Determine the types of fishing you'll be doing.

The types of fishing you'll be doing can also impact the type of outriggers you need. Suppose you plan on targeting larger fish species. In that case, you may need sturdier and heavier outriggers to support the weight of multiple lines. On the other hand, if you plan on doing light-tackle fishing, you may need smaller and more flexible outriggers.

Evaluate the different outrigger materials.

Outriggers come in different materials, including aluminum, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Each material has pros and cons, such as durability, weight, and flexibility. Aluminum outriggers are durable and affordable, while fiberglass and carbon fiber outriggers are lightweight and flexible. Consider the material that will best suit your needs and budget.

Decide on your budget.

Finally, it's important to consider your budget when selecting outriggers for your boat. Outriggers come at different prices, from affordable clip-on models to more expensive fixed outriggers. Set a budget and look for outriggers that offer the features you need at a price that works for you.

outriggers for fishing

How to install outriggers on your boat

Whether a seasoned angler or a beginner, you must install outriggers properly to ensure a successful and safe fishing trip. Let's look at the steps involved in installing outriggers on your boat.

Gather the necessary tools.

Before beginning the installation process, ensure you have all the necessary tools. This may include a drill, screws, wrenches, measuring tape, and a level. Ensure you have the correct size and type of tools to match your specific outrigger installation requirements.

Locate the optimal placement for your outriggers.

Choosing the right location for your outriggers is crucial for proper function and efficiency. The ideal location will depend on factors such as the size and shape of your boat and the type of fishing you plan to do. Consult the manufacturer's instructions or a professional to determine the optimal placement for your outriggers.

Follow manufacturer instructions for installation.

Once you have determined the location, follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation carefully. This may involve drilling holes in the boat and mounting brackets or poles to secure the outriggers. Use the correct hardware and fasteners, and double-check your work before proceeding.

Tips for proper maintenance and upkeep

To ensure your outriggers continue to function properly, it's important to perform regular maintenance and upkeep. This may include rinsing them with fresh water after use, lubricating moving parts, and inspecting for any signs of wear or damage. By keeping your outriggers well-maintained, you can extend their lifespan and avoid costly repairs.


Installing outriggers on your boat may seem daunting, but it can be a breeze with the right tools, knowledge, and attention to detail. By following the steps outlined above and properly maintaining your outriggers, you can enjoy increased fishing opportunities and improved performance on the water. 

So don't let the thought of installation hold you back from experiencing the full benefits of outriggers. As the saying goes, "Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to install outriggers, and he'll catch fish for a lifetime!"