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Buying a Bass Boat
by Bud Fields

I received an e-mail recently from an angler that said he was interested in purchasing a bass boat and he had no idea what he wanted to buy and he wanted to get some information from me concerning what he needed.

I will attempt to give you suggestions you should consider when you are "shopping around" for a bass boat. These will be in no certain order of importance but I would consider them all in making a decision.

I would ask myself, "What size water will I be fishing?" If you are fishing small rivers, ponds and lakes, you could easily get by with a smaller boat with a smaller outboard motor. If, on the other hand, you will be fishing a lot of bass tournaments and will often be fishing larger bodies of water, I would suggest you consider purchasing a larger boat with bigger outboard motor.

Another consideration is "Aluminum or Fiberglass Boat?" Once again, an aluminum boat is much lighter weight and a smaller outboard motor will work nicely IF you are fishing smaller bodies of water. Be advised that the aluminum boat will ride rougher, handle rougher and make more noise in choppy water. In smaller lakes, a 16 foot aluminum bass boat with a 40 hp outboard motor will be a great choice.

A fiberglass boat will handle bigger, rougher water and give you a much smoother ride BUT you will need a bigger outboard motor to get the performance you need. Also be advised the fiberglass bass boat will be much more expensive because you have a selection of fancy metal-flake paint jobs and more options available.

Another consideration is whether the boat will be used strictly for fishing or will it be a dual purpose boat for skiing and pleasure riding. If that is a possibility, you may consider what is referred to as a "Fish ands Ski" bass boat. This is normally a fiberglass bass boat that not only has pedestal seats for fishing, but also is designed with "riders" seats for passengers. This type of bass boat is popular with the bass angler that has a family that enjoys pleasure boating and skiing along with fishing outings.

"Do I buy a "new or used " bass boat? This is a great question. I personally purchased a used aluminum bass boat and got 4 years of great service from it. BUT, I knew the boat and the previous owner and I knew he properly maintained the boat. As a matter of fact, that was in the early 1980 era and that old "Stump-Jumper" is still running strong today. I sold it to another angler and bought a bigger, fancier model.

If you buy your boat from a marina, they will often have qualified mechanics that are trained to work on your boat and if and when problems arise, you need a dependable source for repairs and maintenance. Ask around for recommendations.

I have seen many used 16 foot aluminum bass boats with 50 hp outboards sell for approximately $3000 that were fully equipped with electronics, trailer, boat cover and were ready for the water.

I have also seen many fiberglass bass boats in the 16 foot size with 90 hp outboards, trailer, full electronics and ready to go for approximately $5,000. There are "Bargains" out there if you know what you want and where to look for them.

I would also suggest you join a local bass club and possibly for the first year, be a "No-Boater" and you will have the opportunity to fish with a number of different anglers in their boat. You will not only make new friends and learn new techniques, you will have the opportunity to fish from an assortment of boats and talk to the owners and ask them questions about "Why do you prefer Boat "A" over BOAT "B" and where did you buy your boat?...etc.

Also be advised that purchasing a new fiberglass bass boat can be a "MAJOR INVESTMENT" with a cash outlay of well over $30,000. If you are going to spend this amount of money, you better get what you want..unless you are fortunate enough to land a "Sponsorship" with a major boat manufacturer.

Regardless of whether you select an aluminum or fiberglass boat, it doesn't matter to the fish. The boat does not catch the fish and even I will admit, running 70 mph down the lake to get to the fishing spot won't make them bite any better. The bass could care less whether you paid $300 or $30,000 for your boat. It is just a matter of "personal Preference."

If you get the "Boat of your Dreams" and properly maintain it and show it some "Loving Care," it can last you for many years and give you a lot of enjoyable hours on the water. I personally wipe the water and dirt from my boat each time I put it on the trailer and when I get it home, I wash it down and every 3 weeks, I put a fresh coat of quality wax on it and I use protectant s on the seats. I strive to keep my boat looking like new.

I would also like to suggest after you make your purchase that you enroll in a Boating Safety Course and learn the rules of boating and all aspects of water safety. Personal flotation devices are a must and I don't look for bargains when I purchase them. I purchase the best available. You can not put a price on a human life.

Aluminum or Fiberglass? New or Used, How Much Do I spend? There are many considerations but after you get your boat and learn how to operate it safely, you can have many years of reliability and fun with it.

Good Luck and Good Fishing,
Bud Fields Pro-Staff

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