Some tips to take the guesswork out of buying that new fishin rig
If you are in the market for a new fishing rig, there may not be a better time to start shopping than now. Its boat show season in Texas. From now through the end of spring, boat dealers and manufacturers will gather in big cities and small towns alike to display many of their new models and all sorts of accessories.
Show time is prime time for prospective boat buyers, largely because it provides an opportunity to see and compare an assortment of makes and models all under the same roof. In many cases there are some pretty good bargains floating around, too. Particularly for qualified buyers able to take advantage of low interest rates.
Several factors can sway a decision when purchasing a boat. Cost is biggie with most buyers, while others place a whole lot of emphasis on brand, fancy paint jobs or sleek-looking appearance.
These are all elements worth thinking about. Just dont let any of them win you over without taking a long look at the big picture. Here are some boat buying tips to follow before you turn over the cash or sign on the dotted line:
One of the most important aspects to be considered when purchasing a boat is the type of fishing it will be used for.
If you plan to use it for tournament fishing or fishing big water lakes, it would be a good idea to go with a 18-21 foot fiberglass rig, not a 14-foot flatbottom. Not only will a high-performance boat get you to and from your fishing holes faster, but it will be much safer on the larger bodies of water when the wind gets up.
Weekend/pleasure fishermen may be perfectly satisfied with a flatbottom or semi-V made from aluminum long as it is outfitted properly. Metal boats are typically smaller, lighter and less expensive than fiberglass rigs. While best suited for small bodies of water and rivers, they also can be used on large reservoirs provided the navigator keeps a close watch on the weather.
Still another option is the combination fish/ski rig. These family-oriented boats generally provide more room for occupancy, whereas full-scale bass boats lean more towards casting room and storage space. There is still plenty of room to fish, just not as much.
No matter what style of boat you choose, be sure at outfit it with an outboard and meets the maximum horsepower rating. While a smaller engine might save you a few bucks, it will cost you in the performance department.
Dryness, comfort and maneuverability are three things to weigh very heavily in the selection. In my book, a boat that continually gets you wet in rough water or doesnt handle well at high speeds is as counterfeit as one that beats you to death in two-foot swells.
So, how do you know for certain a boat is all its cracked up to be?
Talking to other boat owners would be a good start, but you ultimately wont know for sure until you drive one. Ask the dealer for a test run. Most will have demos on hand for this purpose and will be more than happy to arrange a test drive for someone who is really serious about buying.
I like a boat with plenty of guts. A durable hull built to take a beating is a must. I also like one that offers lots of dry storage for things like tackle, rain gear and other accessories.
Large rod boxes are another feature to keep in mind, particularly for bass anglers who own multiple baitcasting outfits and rods longer than seven feet. The size of casting deck and amount of available floor space are two more elements to keep in mind. A boat with a dual console will naturally have less room to move around in than one with a single console. However, the dual console will provide two anglers with a windbreak rather than just one. You sacrifice room for comfort when choosing a dual console over a single and vice versa.
Price is always a major factor to consider when buying a boat. The amount you can expect to pay for a new fiberglass bass boat rigged for and ready to go will range from around $25,000 for a new entry level rig to $60,000 or more for a top-of-the-line rig outfitted with all the bells and whistles. Fully-rigged flatbottoms and semi-V hull aluminum rigs cost significantly less.