What Are Outriggers, and Does Your Fishing Boat Need One?

When it comes to fishing boats, there are many different accessories and add-ons that can enhance your experience. One such accessory is the boat outrigger.

Before investing in this fishing accessory, it's crucial to understand what it is and the various available options. In this post, we'll answer those questions and more!

How Do Outriggers Work and What Do They Do for a Fishing Boat?

Outriggers are devices attached to a fishing boat's sides and extend beyond the hull. They are typically made from metal or plastic and feature a series of long poles that are adjustable to different lengths. The purpose is to provide stability for the fishing boat and a platform from which to fish.

By extending beyond the hull, they help to prevent the fishing boat from tipping over in rough waters. In addition, outriggers provide a place to attach fishing lines, making it easier to cast out into the water. As a result, they are an essential piece of equipment for any fisherman.

What Types of Outriggers Are Available?

There are various types of outriggers that are available on the market.

The most common type is the fixed outrigger, which is permanently attached to the side of the boat. This option provides good stability but can be difficult to adjust if you want to change your fishing location.

Another option to consider is the detachable outrigger. This type can be removed from the side of the boat when not in use. In addition, they offer more flexibility but may not be as stable as fixed outriggers.

Finally, there are inflatable options, which can be inflated or deflated as needed. This device offers good stability and is easy to adjust, making them a popular choice among fishermen. 

When Is an Outrigger Needed?

While outriggers are not necessary for all fishing boats, they can be pretty useful in certain situations. 

For example, suppose you typically fish in rough waters. In that case, an outrigger can help to provide extra stability. Or if you want to cast your line further into the water, an outrigger can help to provide a wider platform.

Whether or not you need an outrigger will depend on your unique situation. If you're unsure, it's best to consult an experienced fishing boat expert who can assess your needs and provide recommendations. However, it is certainly something to consider if you're a serious fisherman looking for top performance.

Learn More: Our Guide to All-Purpose Fishing Boats

The Pros and Cons of Outrigger Poles

There are many advantages to having outriggers on your fishing boat. They provide stability and make casting a line into deeper waters easier. Plus, they are relatively easy to install and use, which makes them a popular choice among fishermen.

However, there are also some drawbacks to consider. For one thing, they take up space on the side of the boat.

In addition, outriggers may not be necessary for light fishermen or those who prefer to fish in calm conditions.

Lastly, outriggers can be pretty expensive and require regular maintenance, which may not be worth the cost for some people. 


How to Choose The Best Outrigger For Your Unique Needs

1. Type of Fishing

First, consider the type of fishing you're interested in to determine if purchasing an outrigger is necessary. If you're mostly fishing from a boat, you'll need an easily mounted and dismounted option. However, you'll want a more compact and portable option if you're mostly bank fishing or wading.

2. Water Conditions

Next, consider the conditions in which you'll typically use the outrigger while fishing. If you're mostly fishing in calm waters, you won't need as much stability as someone fishing in rough conditions. Similarly, if you're mostly fishing solo, you won't need as much capacity as someone regularly fishing with a partner.

3. Budget

Finally, consider your budget. Outriggers can range in price from under $100 to over $1000. Due to this, it's essential to set a realistic budget before shopping around. Remember that higher-priced options usually offer better quality and performance, but they're not always necessary for everyone.

If you don't own a boat yet, check out our buying guide. This comprehensive guide teaches you everything you need to know about buying the right boat for your needs.


Outriggers are valuable tools for fishing boats, providing stability and making it easier to cast lines further into the water. There are several different types, each with its own notable pros and cons.
Ultimately, you can become a successful and confident fisherman with the right outrigger and a little practice!

If you need help determining which option best fits your needs, it's always a good idea to consult an expert. By consulting a boating expert, they can assess your boat and make recommendations based on your unique situation.

Freshwater Fishing