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So I am in high school and I have a big passion for bass fishing. I am working on getting a job. i have been looking around online and I really want to get myself a used bass boat. I have found some Ranger Comanches for 3 grand and some tracker for the same price. I know it will take months of saving but I feel like it is worth it. Please give me honest feedback if it's a good idea or if I should just get myself a nice kayak.

 

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I would look at what you want to do with the boat and work backwards from there. If you want to fish ponds or small lakes without ramp access, a kayak would be a nice choice for a good price. If you want to fish small to medium sized lakes, you could save some money and get a medium sized aluminum boat or get a fiberglass boat. If you're looking to fish large lakes, fiberglass (or a deep-v tin) would be the way to go, but for the price you're looking at it would be fairly old with high engine hours.

 

Personally, for that price range, I would be trying to get a nice deal on a tracker or some other tin boat with bass boat features (casting deck, some storage, live wells etc). For that price if you bought a fiberglass you would be bound to encounter rotting transoms, engine troubles, or fiberglass issues. There's nothing wrong specifically with older boats, but they're a lot more likely to have significant problems than newer boats.

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I'd be all over a nice tiller with finished floor if I were you. I miss my old Sea Nymph. Caught lots of fish in it and cost nothing to run.

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I would get a Jon boat and make it a bassboat. I bought a tracker 1542 and am about to get the deck on it during the holidays. You can get the boat motor trailer etc all at once and then slowly build it into what you want it to be. You may even be able to find a tracker grizzly ready to go for less than your budget. Aluminum boats like these are pretty cheap and easy to maintain and wont suck gas towing or when you're on the lake. They can also be stored easily which is another benefit. I wouldn't do it differently if I had the chance, its a great way to learn the whole boating thing.

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There's a lot more money involved in owning a boat than the initial price tag. J Francho gave some good advice

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There's a lot more money involved in owning a boat than the initial price tag. J Francho gave some good advice

Like always. Lol

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I'm all for a kayak. But I'm biased, LOL.

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You would be surprised what 3000 would get you as far as a boat goes. You can get a great little starter. Be careful though, because that is just the start-- and we aren't just talking about maintenance (used motors on craigslist can actually be very cheap if you need to do any serious work). Depending on your state, you might need to license the boat, almost assuredly the trailer, and maybe even insure it. Watch out for extra fees. If you are prepared for all of this, go for it!

I've been toying around with the same idea, but my suv doesn't have a tow package. Rest assured the next one will. I think that I have just settled on a square stern canoe that I plan to outfit with a trolling motor and some outrigger/stabilizers. I'm too clumsy to operate in the tight quarters of a kayak.

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Don't get hung up on the idea of owning a "bass boat". I made that mistake and bought a used Ranger for 4k when I was 16. After months of irritation and getting to use it on nothing but small lakes because the motor never ran, I'd sank close to 2k more in it and ended up selling it for 4,500 to get rid of the headache. 

 

Right now I'm fishing out of a 15' johnboat with a deck built on the front and a 15hp tiller. I can't fish the big waters out of it but it gets me off the bank and I'd be willing to bet there were more fish put in it than a lot of the shiny bass boats that I come across. 

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Unless you live in an area that has big water/bad weather....a  heavy glass rig IMHO is not practical or cost effective. I fish the western finger lakes (Honeyoe, Conesus) and other misc. smaller lakes in the area (Silver, Cuba, Waneta- Lamoka) outof a 17' tin....it's plenty good enough.........in fact, my next boat will not even be as "fancy" as my current one. In the next few years, I am going to get an 17' aluminum,  mod-v, plain jane, all welded jon boat hull, and rig it up the way I want. I am sick of carpet, compartments, through hull fittings, and wires/cables running in impossible to get at places. All I need is a front casting deck with a decent TM LOL

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That's what I'm doing, getting 16' mod v tin with a decent tiller, open floor plan, trailer, and build it the way I want it. Probably end up being a Grizzly all welded. Perfect for me my son, and my wife... if I let her.

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A good friend of mine bought a 16' aluminum sea ark hull about 20 yrs ago. He/we put some decks, carpet, electronics, and a Yamaha tiller steer on it. He intended to "upgrade" to a glass boat once he got through college. He fishes that boat to this day and can out fish me any day of the week from it. He's done basically nothing to it but replace the decks and change the waterpump. Remember that no fish are caught at 70mph. Minus rough days and big water his boat performs just fine. If I were in your position I'd go the route he went.

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Keep in mind I fish big rough water ;)

I think small boats force you to learn your body of water better & faster. I know just about every public & private boat launch on Toledo Bend.

Alweld 1652VZ

Hull: Mod-V Tunnel

Length: 16'

Bottom: 52"

Beam: 72"

2014 Tohatsu MFS40AEFTL

3-cylinder, fuel injected, 4-stroke

Hummingbird Piranha 195c

Minn Kota Riptide 55#

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Keep in mind I fish big rough water ;)

I think small boats force you to learn your body of water better & faster. I know just about every public & private boat launch on Toledo Bend.

Alweld 1652VZ

Hull: Mod-V Tunnel

Length: 16'

Bottom: 52"

Beam: 72"

2014 Tohatsu MFS40AEFTL

3-cylinder, fuel injected, 4-stroke

Hummingbird Piranha 195c

Minn Kota Riptide 55#

Hey Catt, is that what you're running now, or is it one of those "My other boat is a 20' Ranger" deals?

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Hey Catt, is that what you're running now, or is it one of those "My other boat is a 20' Ranger" deals?

Well my other boat is a 15' 8" Stratos with a 70 hp, its being completely rebuilt.

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Absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a used bass boat. There are a few very well cared for older bass boats that you can probably get in you price range. It might take some hunting to find a good one though. If it were me, unless I found a great deal, would start out smaller. They are cheaper to run, and allow you to get your feet wet in boat ownership before you make the bigger step. 

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My other boat is a 12' kayak, lol.

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Honest feedback:

1.  Have motor's compression checked by a certified mechanic of the brand of motor on the boat.

2.  Have a boat service shop check the hull for cracks, dents, scratches, etc. and obtain their input on the condition of the hull.

3.  Check out all pumps.

4.  Make sure the live well does not leak.

5.  Check all hoses for cracks.

6.  Obtain the motor's repair manual from the Internet or the motor's manufacturer and learn how repair and maintain your motor.

7.  Obtain two or three extra ignition keys to the motor.

8.  Will you have to replace the carpets in the near future. Know how to do that?

9.  Crawl under the boat on the trailer and check out the bunks and if there is any rust.

10. Check out the trailer's tiers and spare. Good condition?

11. What electronics are on the boat and do they work.

12. Check out the trolling motor and the foot pedal.

13. Lights on the trailer work OK. Changing them is a pain in the fanny.

14. Buying from a dealer or a private individual?  How much do you trust the person selling the boat?

15. An older boat allows you to learn how to take care of it; make minor repairs; winterize it; change the lower unit oil; learn the electronics and where the fuse panel is located; find out what tools you need; how the electronics work; is the trolling motor in good condition; etc.

 

I could add a lot more but I think you get my drift.

 

An older boat's hull and carpet can be in very good condition and you and the dealer can ascertain if those areas are acceptable.

 

 

Your major goal is to have the motor checked out.

 

No how pretty the boat and trailer look, if the motor is a problem you will have problems.

 

This is why you need to take the boat to a repair shop that works on the brand you are considering (Ranger) and the motor (Mercury) and the trolling motor (Motor Craft) and hav the motor compression and motor's history from its computer (if it has one) checked by a professional.

 

If you can take the boat for a test ride please do that as well and get a "feel" of how the boat steers and how the motor sounds.

 

Good luck and please let us know what you do.

 

Merry Christmas.

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As other have said. Think about what you want, and where you are going to fish. If you are going on big bodies of water a small John boat can get scary.

Think about options such as rod and tackle storage. Live wells, and lastly your comfort features such as a larger engine, cover, and electronics.

Other things to keep in mind such as how many people you want to go with. Bringing three people on Skeeter, or Ranger is not going to work as well as say a Crestliner.

One thing you might not be thinking about that isn't even related to the boat is your vehicle. Trying to pull a heavy boat with a focus, or geo is going to earn you a bad day.

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