The Great Debate: Choosing between a Drifter and a Trawler

Drifters are smaller and lighter, allowing for greater maneuverability, while trawlers provide comfort and stability for longer fishing trips.

What type of boat is a drifter?

Drifters are specially crafted fishing boats that enable anglers to move along with the current while fishing, ideal for locations with strong tidal currents.

These lightweight and maneuverable boats are perfect for open waters, where their flexibility allows for easy navigation in choppy conditions.

Are drift boats stable?

Drift boats are designed with a wide, flat bottom and shallow draft that help to maintain stability on the water.

Furthermore, they have a low center of gravity and allow for weight distribution adjustments, adding to their stability.

Although not as stable as trawlers, drift boats still provide a comfortable and secure fishing experience.

The Pros and Cons of Drifters

When considering whether a drifter is the right fishing boat for you, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons.


1. Maneuverability: Drifters are known for their agility on the water.

Their smaller size and lighter weight allow for easy navigation in rough conditions and tight spots, making them perfect for anglers who enjoy exploring various locations.

2. Versatility: Drifters can be customized to fit your fishing needs.

Whether you prefer trolling, casting, or using bait, these boats can be tailored to accommodate your fishing style.

Additionally, their open decks provide ample space for your fishing gear and equipment.

3. Current fishing: Drifters are specifically designed to move with the current while fishing.

This makes them ideal for locations with strong tidal currents, as they enable anglers to effectively target fish in these challenging conditions.

4. Cost-effective: Compared to trawlers, drifters are often more affordable both in terms of initial purchase price and maintenance costs.

This makes them a more budget-friendly option for fishing enthusiasts who are looking to invest in a boat without breaking the bank.

5. Accessibility: Drifters are generally easier to transport and launch, as they are smaller and lighter compared to trawlers.

This means you can quickly and easily get on the water, maximizing your fishing time.


1. Comfort and stability: Due to their smaller size, drifters may not offer the same level of comfort and stability as trawlers.

If you plan on going on long fishing trips or desire a smoother ride, a drifter may not provide the desired level of comfort.

2. Limited storage: Drifters often have limited storage space, which can be a challenge if you need to carry a large amount of equipment or supplies.

You may have to prioritize and only bring essential items with you.

3. Less protection: Because of their open design, drifters may provide less protection from the elements compared to trawlers.

If you frequently fish in adverse weather conditions, you may need to take extra precautions or consider a different boat type.

4. Smaller capacity: Drifters are generally designed to accommodate fewer people compared to trawlers.

If you often fish with a group or prefer to have more space on board, a drifter may not be the most suitable option.

What makes a trawler a trawler?

A trawler is a specific type of fishing boat that is designed for trawling, which is a fishing method that involves dragging a net behind the boat to catch fish.

What sets trawlers apart from other types of fishing boats is their size, weight, and purpose. Trawlers are generally more substantial than drifters, offering more stability and comfort on the water.

The primary purpose of a trawler is to handle long fishing trips. These boats are built to provide a smooth and stable ride, even in rough waters.

Trawlers are ideal for anglers who enjoy spending extended periods on the water and prioritize comfort during their fishing adventures.

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What size are fishing trawlers?

Fishing trawlers can range in size from small vessels of around 20 feet to massive boats over 100 feet long.

The size of a fishing trawler depends on various factors, including the type of fishing it is designed for and the specific needs of the angler.

  • Smaller trawlers, around 20 to 30 feet, are often preferred by recreational anglers who enjoy fishing in calm waters or near the shore.

These boats offer enough space for a small group of anglers and provide a comfortable experience on the water.

  • Medium-sized trawlers, between 30 and 60 feet, are suitable for both recreational and commercial fishing.

These boats offer more storage space for fishing gear and supplies and can accommodate a larger group of anglers.

  • Large trawlers, over 60 feet, are typically used for commercial fishing purposes.

These boats can handle long fishing trips and have ample storage space for large amounts of fishing equipment.

The Pros and Cons of Trawlers

If you’re considering a trawler for your fishing boat, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of trawlers to help you make an informed decision:


1. Stability: Trawlers are known for their stability in the water. Their larger size and weight provide a smooth and comfortable ride, even in rough conditions.

2. Ample storage space: Trawlers are designed with larger decks and storage compartments, allowing you to carry a greater amount of fishing gear and supplies. You’ll have everything you need within easy reach.

3. Versatility: Trawlers can be used for a variety of fishing methods, including trawling, trolling, casting, and using bait. Their stable hull design allows for effective navigation and precise control.

4. Comfort on long trips: Trawlers are built to handle long fishing trips, providing a comfortable experience even when spending extended periods on the water. If you enjoy fishing all day or overnight, a trawler is a great choice.

5. Durability: Trawlers are typically built with sturdy materials and construction, ensuring durability and longevity. This means you can rely on your trawler for years to come.


1. Cost: Trawlers are generally more expensive than drifters, both in terms of initial purchase price and maintenance costs. They require more fuel, have higher insurance premiums, and may require a larger storage space.

2. Maneuverability: Due to their larger size, trawlers are not as maneuverable as drifters. If you enjoy fishing in tight spots or need a boat that can easily navigate through narrow channels, a trawler may not be the best option.

3. Limited access to shallow waters: Trawlers have a deeper draft, which limits their access to shallow waters. If you often fish in shallow areas or near the shore, a trawler may not be the most suitable choice.

4. Slower speeds: Trawlers are not known for their speed. If you prefer a fast-paced fishing experience or need to reach your fishing spots quickly, a trawler may not be the ideal boat for you.

5. Limited customization: Trawlers are designed with specific features for trawling and may not offer as much customization as drifters. If you have specific fishing techniques or equipment requirements, a trawler may not be able to accommodate them.

Drifter vs Trawler

When it comes to choosing between a drifter and a trawler, there are several key differences to consider. Here are five important distinctions between these two types of fishing boats.

1. Fishing Method

Drifters are designed for drifting with the current while fishing. They typically use drift nets to catch fish that swim into the nets as they move with the current.

On the other hand, trawlers use trawl nets that are dragged along the seabed to catch fish.

2, Types of fish caught

Drifters are often used for catching pelagic fish such as herring and mackerel, while trawlers are more commonly used for catching demersal fish such as cod and haddock.

3. Size and Weight

Drifters are generally smaller and lighter than trawlers.

Their smaller size allows for greater maneuverability and the ability to navigate through tight spots, making them ideal for anglers who enjoy fishing in various locations.

Trawlers, on the other hand, are more substantial, providing stability and comfort during long fishing trips.

4. Stability

While drifters can offer a stable fishing experience, trawlers are known for their superior stability in the water.

Their larger size and heavier weight make them more resistant to rough conditions and provide a smoother ride, especially in larger swells or rougher water.

5. Storage Space

Trawlers have the advantage when it comes to storage space.

Their larger decks and storage compartments provide ample room for fishing gear and supplies, making them suitable for anglers who need to carry a large amount of equipment.

Drifters, on the other hand, may have more limited storage space due to their smaller size.

6. Cost

When it comes to cost, drifters are generally more budget-friendly than trawlers.

They have lower purchase prices and maintenance costs, making them a more affordable option for fishing enthusiasts.

Trawlers, on the other hand, can be more expensive both in terms of initial purchase price and ongoing maintenance expenses.