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Great forum you've got here, been lurking for awhile and finally decided to ask a question.

 

We are interested in getting a small fishing boat for our family and would like it to meet the following criteria:

 

1.  Would like to spend between 20-25k on a new boat.  We're fine with this being last year's model but would like the all in (trailer, electronics, trolling motor, etc) to come in under this price.

2.  Ability to pull tuber (possibly skier), probably looking at 115?

3.  Hold 3-6 people for when we have friends over

4.  Reliability and durability are utmost.  I've seen a lot of hulls with .10 aluminum on the bottom.  From the "outside looking in" that seems paper thing compared to the .18-.20+ out there.

 

I've seen several brands (express, alumacraft, etc.) that meet these but wanted personal recommendations.

 

Thank you,

-Barry-

 

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.1 is pretty solid hull. I have a 27 year old 21'r that was used on all the great lakes, but mainly Lake Erie, one of the roughest Lakes in North America and as hard on hulls as any body of water. So I would not worry about thickness over that if I found a good deal. @ 5k should buy a 17 or 18'r like you want. But 6 people on any boat I would suggest you get as big as possible, it doesn't take long and if fishing 6 is crowded on a 27 footer!! Just to go for a short ride and staying seated aint bad but all day 6 people is crowded on any boat.

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I agree with Capt Bob, yes the Gr lakes can get very rough.

Pleasure ride is one thing fishing something else.  Back in Michigan had both a 29' & 34', 6 people fishing way too many for me.

I don't own a boat in Florida but I'm a member of a boat club, generally I'm out in a 28' sometimes a little smaller.  3 people is our usually outing, once in a while a 4th is invited, that's really more crowded than I care for.

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I was in the same "boat" last year, picked up a last years model with discounts Pro Guide V17 Combo in that range with a 7 year warranty.  I wanted a boat that was a little more family friendly than a typical bass boat while still being able to fish just as well.  I couldn't find one with the 115 on it close to me so I got the 90, but it pulls great and have had a great time with it.  Pulls a tube well and I can fish it in 1.5' of water all day.

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Thank you for the responses.

 

I guess to clarify, if we had 6 on it we wouldn't be fishing we'd just be cruising around.  For fishing 2-3 would be max.

 

Thanks for clearing up .1 being thick enough.  Sounds like a quality manufacturer is all that matters.

 

Keep tossing out specific ideas on brands/models, I appreciate it.

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I agree with Capt Bob, yes the Gr lakes can get very rough.

Pleasure ride is one thing fishing something else.  Back in Michigan had both a 29' & 34', 6 people fishing way too many for me.

I don't own a boat in Florida but I'm a member of a boat club, generally I'm out in a 28' sometimes a little smaller.  3 people is our usually outing, once in a while a 4th is invited, that's really more crowded than I care for.

 

 

Obviously you wouldn't want to be one of the 2 adults that also had 2 children fishing out of my 12.5' Porta-Bote.  :teeth:  I fish out of a 14' dingy with my brother-in-law when I visit Florida.  It does constrict my casting.  I keep 4 baitcast rods there and one spinning combo....which hardly ever goes with me.  It would be much easier if I only fished spinning rods in this situation.  14" is not sufficient room for 2 when at least one is using baitcast gear.

 

 

I was in the same "boat" last year, picked up a last years model with discounts Pro Guide V17 Combo in that range with a 7 year warranty.  I wanted a boat that was a little more family friendly than a typical bass boat while still being able to fish just as well.  I couldn't find one with the 115 on it close to me so I got the 90, but it pulls great and have had a great time with it.  Pulls a tube well and I can fish it in 1.5' of water all day.

 

Watched a video of the 2014 Pro Guide V175 Combo.  Looks like a nice compromise for fishing and family outings.  Don't think it mentioned how may rods could be put in each 8' rod locker.  Wonder if 20 would fit in each?

 

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Your budget combined with your wants/needs is going to cause you some difficulty in finding the "perfect" new boat. 6 people in  boat is going to be crowded and you will find much difficulty finding a new $20k boat with seating for 6 and just because the boat may have a capacity for 6 doesn't mean it will be enjoyable. I honestly think you're going to have to be in the $30-$35k range. As far as hull thickness, I wouldn't be too concerned. You're not buying a row boat. There is bracing throughout the boat. Find a brand with a good hull warranty. If you're going to do a lot of cruising, a four stroke motor might be the way to go. They are quiet and don't have that 2 stroke exhaust smell. Most of todays motors come with a 3 year warranty standard and you can purchase more warranty at the time of sale. Research your dealer as much as you research the boat. A bad dealer can really screw up your boating season.

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Your budget combined with your wants/needs is going to cause you some difficulty in finding the "perfect" new boat. 6 people in  boat is going to be crowded and you will find much difficulty finding a new $20k boat with seating for 6 and just because the boat may have a capacity for 6 doesn't mean it will be enjoyable. I honestly think you're going to have to be in the $30-$35k range. As far as hull thickness, I wouldn't be too concerned. You're not buying a row boat. There is bracing throughout the boat. Find a brand with a good hull warranty. If you're going to do a lot of cruising, a four stroke motor might be the way to go. They are quiet and don't have that 2 stroke exhaust smell. Most of todays motors come with a 3 year warranty standard and you can purchase more warranty at the time of sale. Research your dealer as much as you research the boat. A bad dealer can really screw up your boating season.

 

If the budget to fit my needs is going to be 30k, what is the recommendation for that range?

 

We also fish 3 right now in a 14' canoe.  We get by just fine but want to move up to a boat.

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I'm not sure of the pricing but I know all these are above the 25k budget

Lund Crossover

Crestliner Sportfish

Mirrocraft Dual Impact

Smokercraft Ultima

Lowe FS

G3 SF

Tracker Targa

 

Now, I currently own a Lund and have owned a Mirrocraft in the past. The difference in quality is huge. Lund, StarCraft, Crestliner and Alumacraft are going to be more expensive than the other brands and rightfully so. That doesn't mean the other brands are no good. If you're going to use the boat and put it thru its paces regularly, spending a few extra dollars now might save some headaches in the future. If it's going to be used casually, any of the aluminum brands should suit you just fine. Research your hull warranty and wood warranty. 

 

When looking at boats, bring the family. Have everybody get in and make sure the room is there. The layout suits your needs. The storage suits your needs. The problem with many fish n ski's is either they are more fish or more ski and a good compromise is hard to find.  Is the boat going to be used more for fishing or more for pleasure? Make sure the layout will suit what you will be using it for the majority of the time. Check out the storage and make sure it suits you. Fish and ski's lack in "fish" storage.

 

You say you fish 3 in a 14' canoe. 2 was the limit without being crowded in my 17' Mirrocraft and more than 3 in my 20' Lund gets crowded. The Mirrocraft was a fish n ski and the Lund is purely a fishing boat

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Obviously you wouldn't want to be one of the 2 adults that also had 2 children fishing out of my 12.5' Porta-Bote.  :teeth:  I fish out of a 14' dingy with my brother-in-law when I visit Florida.  It does constrict my casting.  I keep 4 baitcast rods there and one spinning combo....which hardly ever goes with me.  It would be much easier if I only fished spinning rods in this situation.  14" is not sufficient room for 2 when at least one is using baitcast gear.

 

How and where one fishes has much to do with boat selection.  I would not want a center console for bass fishing, if I did have I would not have a bimini top, casting can be restrictive.  Most down here with center console do have tops, but they mainly drift and troll, casting is not always easy.

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Sorry the quote function won't work for me for some reason:

 

"Watched a video of the 2014 Pro Guide V175 Combo.  Looks like a nice compromise for fishing and family outings.  Don't think it mentioned how may rods could be put in each 8' rod locker.  Wonder if 20 would fit in each?"

 

 

 

There is a large locker in the floor that can hold a bunch (it is divided with holes on either side and a large space in the middle), and there are lockers on either side that hold a ton, the only thing is you will def need to put rod socks on them or they become a tangled mess.  The most I have had in (the side) at one time is ~10 and it wasn't even half full.   

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Your profile does not show where you live.

But knowing your needs, I would pick between 2 manufacturers

Lund, or Lowe

Both are extremely well made and should provide years of trouble free service

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