Take heart if you are one of these poor souls. You have a lot of company out there. Lots of us get that urge every year.
There are a number of ways to overcome the urge, the most obvious of which is don’t go to the boat show! But if the urge really snags you, there is a method that you need to follow to overcome any emotional decision you may be trying to make.
If you are going to buy or trade boats, take a look at these issues before you go looking, and then apply the answers to any of the boats you find.
BUDGETFirst and foremost, sit down and determine just how much you can afford or how much you plan to spend on a boat. People who go out blindly, particularly when financing agents are on the premise, often spend far more than they originally planned. It’s even a good idea to get pre-approved for a loan if you are borrowing, so you can deal from a position of strength and virtually pay cash for the boat. You also can make a rational decision about how much money you want to spend prior to being influenced by the boats themselves.
USEJust how in the world are you going to use the boat? Are you a pure fisherman, or a family fisherman? Do you need a flats boat for shallow water only, a deep-V model for offshore angling, or a compromise boat – often called a bay boat? Does a bow rider or cuddy cabin better suit the needs of you family, or will they accept a pure fishing machine? You need to plan this out with your family in mind. Nothing is more miserable than a family of four trying to have an outing on a pure flats boat. It simply won’t work.
SIZEWithin your budget constraints, you need to determine just how big you boat will be. Do you plan to trailer it and keep it in your garage? If so, the whole rig can’t be longer than about twenty-two feet or it won’t fit in the garage. If you plan on a really big boat, can it be trailered? Boats over about twenty-five feet in length become very difficult to trailer without a large towing vehicle (at an additional expense!). Do you plan to store it or dock it? What kind of fishing do you plan to do? Offshore trips further than about twenty-five miles almost demand a boat capable of some very heavy seas – if only from a safety standpoint – and that means more size and more money.
POWERDecide before you look, on the power for your boat. Inboard? Outboard? Outdrive? I have a preference for outboards, but your circumstance may allow you to choose something different. For sure you need to consider one of the new four cycle outboards. Pollution and emission reductions combine with super gas economy to make them the right thing to do. Go to an inboard only if you plan to be in deep water at all times. If you plan to fish inshore anywhere near shallow water, strike an inboard off your list.
MAKEIf you have made all the decisions to this point without seeing an actual boat, congratulations! You have more will power than I do! But if you have, you can pretty well describe the size and shape of the boat you want. Know that multiple manufacturers will probably make a boat that fits your needs exactly. The difference will be a choice you will have to make personally. I can’t recommend one brand over another here, but I can tell you that some boats are built better than others. Is the fiberglass hand laid fabric or chopped and blown? A hand laid hull is the superior product – and it will cost more. Is the boat built from a composite material such as Kevlar? Does it have a liner or is it a speckled, rolled-edge boat? Both of these features affect the price. The best policy is to get on the web and find some independent evaluations of various models. Several saltwater magazines offer reports in every issue of boats they have tested. They list the good and bad points.
FINALLYThis last piece of the exercise is where it gets really hard. Remember, sales people are involved in this, and the pressure will be on to sign on the dotted line. Take your time, evaluate, and compare. It’s the only way to make a good decision.
You may note that I have not mentioned haggling for a good price. Just like automobiles, boats have a sticker price and a price at which the dealer will sell. Your job, once you pinpoint the boat you want, will be to get the best price. On that issue, I can’t help! I can only ask you to leave emotions out of it! That particular boat isn’t the last model they will ever make. Your life will go on if you don’t buy it today! So, don’t let the salesman intimidate you into buying.
I hope this helps some wayward soul that has seen the boat of his dreams and can’t let that money burn holes in his pockets any longer! Two last pieces of advice I learned from my father:
- In the long run, it always pays to go first class. Cheap prices usually mean cheap products. You get what you pay for.
- Everything always costs more than you originally though it would! (from Murphy, I believe!)
Types Of BoatsA number of factors come into play when choosing the right boat for you. One of the major classifications for recreational fishing boats is whether they are intended for inshore or offshore use.
Inshore Fishing BoatThese boats are used in shallow waters with land easily in sight. Inshore boats are normally smaller than offshore fishing boats and are a lot more affordable. They often have shallower hulls and lower gunnels, and are used on flats, lakes, ponds, and rivers.
An example of an inshore boat is the Pelican Predator fishing boat. This small lightweight fishing boat can be used to fish for a variety of inshore species. For example, it can be used as a bass, pike, or walleye fishing boat.
Offshore Fishing Boat
Offshore fishing is a lot more complex and dangerous than inshore fishing. An ocean fishing boat needs to be larger and sturdier to withstand the elements. Owning an offshore boat is an expensive luxury and is not affordable for the average recreational angler. For that reason, there are many saltwater fishing boat charters available to cater to the recreational anglers who do not own a boat that is fit for an offshore adventure.
Here is a video that demonstrates some of the excitement of offshore fishing.
Pontoon Fishing Boat
A pontoon fishing boat will normally have a flat bottom with two long tubes (called pontoons) to support it. These are low cost boats and are normally cheaper to insure than other types of boats. Pontoons have a shallow draft, which helps them avoid damage from underwater objects. They are normally better suited for calm waters with very little waves.
Drift Fishing Boat
Also known as the McKenzie dory or Rogue River dory, drift boats normally have a wide flat bottom and are known to be a lot more responsive than a rubber boat. These boats are often used by professional fishing guides and anglers for recreational fishing on faster flowing rivers.
Drift boats are normally constructed of three types of materials. These include wood, aluminum, and fiberglass. Each material is better suited for a different purpose. Aluminum can withstand punishment on quicker rapids, but makes a lot of noise. Wood makes for beautiful boats, but requires more upkeep. A fiberglass fishing boat is lighter than the other two and offers an improved rowing experience over the other two. You should consider these factors and your budget to maximize your drift boat fishing experience.
Jon Fishing Boat
The Jon fishing boat is characterized by its flatness and stability. These boats can range in size from 8' to 20', the most popular ones being around 14' fishing boats that are constructed out of wood or aluminum. The boats are known for their simplicity and ease of maintenance.
Jon boat fishing is practiced mostly in lakes and calm waters because the boat's flat overall design is best suited for such conditions.
Sport Fishing Boat
Sport fishing boats can offer some of the more exciting adventures an angler can have. These are fast and furious machines that take your whole fishing experience to the next level. Sport fishing boats take you far beyond what an inflatable or plastic fishing boat can ever offer. The offshore rigs allow the enthusiast to venture out on that exciting bay fishing boat trip for the giant fish that only the deep seas can offer.
Sport fishing boats can range widely in sizes and price. There is also a variety of designs for different purposes. Some are designed to go into the open ocean for the much larger fish. Other sport fishing boats are more modest in size and power and are meant for inshore lake fishing.
The boats need to be carefully matched to an appropriate fishing boat motor to extract the maximum utility from both. Fishing boat motors differ in size, power, fuel consumption, and intended use. When choosing a motor for your boat, it is highly advisable to consult a professional to match an appropriate motor to your boat.
Here is a video that discusses how important it is to match the boat to the engine.
Jet Fishing Boat
The jet fishing boat differs in its propulsion technology. They boat does not use a traditional propeller. Instead, the jet boat sucks in water and then expels that water through a smaller nozzle at the stern. This creates a jet-like propulsion. These boats can run in very shallow water and are highly maneuverable.
Top 5 Things To Consider When Buying A BoatThe allure of owning a boat is very real. The quality and enjoyment of your recreational fishing experience will be greatly magnified. However, before you make any rash decisions at the local boat show, here are a couple of very important things to consider.
- Your Budget Be rational about your purchase and your finances. A recreational boat is a luxury item, so don't buy unless you can afford one. It is a wise idea to decide on your maximum budget before going to look for the boat. Once you are at the dealer, your decision-making may be clouded by the different bells and whistles that expensive boats offer. Avoid that buyer's remorse by deciding from the very beginning what you can comfortably spend.
- Decide What You Are Buying The Boat For Your fishing ambitions need to be balanced with the needs of those around you. A boat strictly for fishing is a lot different than one purchased for both fishing and family recreation. It is important to decide what kind of boat you want for the budget that you can afford. This will save a lot of bickering later on when you are accused of being selfish in purchasing a boat that only serves your own needs.
- Boat Size Planning Do not get stuck with an elephant in the room. You must plan for storage and transportation of the boat prior to purchase. The boat will need to fit in the confines of the storage arrangements that you decide on. Therefore, if you plan to keep the boat in your garage, measure all the dimensions first, to ascertain that the boat you buy will not disrupt your space and lifestyle.
It is also very important to try and imagine the perfect size of boat for you within your budget. A boat that is too small to serve your needs will not make you happy for too long. You will be wishing that you had purchased the bigger boat instead rather quickly. The same stands for a boat that is too large for your needs. Carefully deciding on the right size of boat for you is of great importance.
- How Much Power Do You Need? When you are looking for a power boat, an important consideration is the motor. This decision often determines how fast you can go, fuel consumption, and the types of bodies of water it is best suited for. It is immensely important to match the motor to the boat. A mismatch will diminish your utility from both the boat and the motor.
- Shop Around It is important to do your research first, before you venture out with the purchase in mind. The internet is a great resource that allows you to browse hundreds and thousands of boats. This will give you an idea of what you may be looking for and the kind of price ranges that you can expect.
Never rush to make your purchasing decision. Some boats can have quite steep price tags, so you must make sure that you do your due diligence before making the purchase.