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So for a while I was looking into buying a kayak to start fishing from, but since I'm getting more interested in trying tournament fishing, I threw that idea out the window and started looking at boats. I'll be fishing mostly as a co-angler on the bigger tournament trails, but I'd like to start fishing as a boater on the smaller local trails as well. Plus having a boat would be great for practicing in the tournaments I'm going to be a co-angler in. 

So here's what I'm looking for... Definitely fiberglass between 17 and 20ft. I'd like to buy something new just because of the warranty, plus I've had bad luck with used boats in the past when I was a saltwater guide down here in south Louisiana. What size would you guys recommend? because I know some tournaments will be held on bigger lakes where a shorter boat will not be able to handle waves. And what are some brands I should look at first. My budget for this is about $35K

Thanks 

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That budget is TIGHT for anything new in fiberglass.  Check out a Phoenix 618 they are really nice, a Nitro z18,  a Stratos maybe 186VLO. I am not sure how close a Skeeter ZX190 is to your budget either.  Otherwise in your position you may end up far ahead to check out a well kept used  boat maybe 2013 or newer.  I have seen  lots of good boats a couple of years old that are $45K+ new that are reselling in your budget.  Coming from the dealer you can have the engine hours pulled and compression checked etc. 

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That budget should get you an 18-19 footer with a 150 adding the bells and whistles will put you over 40k. The 17ft glass boats are rated for 115 and should be under the 28k pricetag. Couple suggestions to get the most bang for your buck. Look for prize boats or boat certificates at the end of the season. Guys got to unload the prizes or pay income taxes on the full MSRP. Or look for a 1-2 year old boat. It will still have some motor warranty and should have a transferable hull warranty.

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That was what I meant by the budget being tight. By the time some good electronics and a few other option are added you are easily at $40K. One thing about the Phoenix 618 besides a really soft riding hull is that the standard  package includes a lot of things that are option on other boats.

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I was looking at the Nitro Z-6 online. They're selling for $22K. It's 17'4" but I'm thinking that will do. Comes with a basic Lowrance unit, but I will definitely be upgrading that. Anyone have any experience with this model boat?

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The Z-6's rod lockers are too short for my liking. I believe they only fit rods up to 7'. If you're spending that kind of money on a boat, get one that fits all your rods in the locker and don't settle. If your budget is 35k, look at the Z18. I just sold my old ranger for a 2016 Z18 /w 150 4 stroke. 

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12 minutes ago, iabass8 said:

The Z-6's rod lockers are too short for my liking. I believe they only fit rods up to 7'. If you're spending that kind of money on a boat, get one that fits all your rods in the locker and don't settle. If your budget is 35k, look at the Z18. I just sold my old ranger for a 2016 Z18 /w 150 4 stroke. 

Thanks for that piece of info. Missed that when I was going through the specs and features and whatnot. That's definitely a deal breaker. Now looking into the Z-7. It has port and starboard rod lockers for rods up to 8'. It comes with a 150 OptiMax but I might upgrade to the 175. Not much of a price difference online between the 2015 Z-7 and the 2016 Z-18 which is surprising. Wondering if it's worth waiting until the beginning of winter and try to save some money. 

I was figuring between $5-6K for electronic upgrades and that would put me right at the top end of my budget. Maybe just over with taxes and all that. Might have to start thinking about expanding the budget to $40K lol. I feel like that extra 5 grand would help me out a lot. 

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The Nitro Z-18 is a fine bot. I got to test run one of the Phoenix 618''s with a 150 ProXS

on Dale Hollow back in April. That boat has the softest ride and basically from the front deck back to the drivers area is the same as their larger 19's.  Take a very close look at them.  A 618 is in your budget and it runs really well.

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3 hours ago, Big Easy Bassin' said:

Thanks for that piece of info. Missed that when I was going through the specs and features and whatnot. That's definitely a deal breaker. Now looking into the Z-7. It has port and starboard rod lockers for rods up to 8'. It comes with a 150 OptiMax but I might upgrade to the 175. Not much of a price difference online between the 2015 Z-7 and the 2016 Z-18 which is surprising. Wondering if it's worth waiting until the beginning of winter and try to save some money. 

I was figuring between $5-6K for electronic upgrades and that would put me right at the top end of my budget. Maybe just over with taxes and all that. Might have to start thinking about expanding the budget to $40K lol. I feel like that extra 5 grand would help me out a lot. 

Best time to save money after the 1st of the year. More incentives from not only the boat manufacturers but also the motor, trolling motor, and electronics manufacturers.

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I started looking into aluminum boats as well simply because of the significant price difference. Anyone have any suggestions as far as manufacturers or models when it comes to a good aluminum bass boat?

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Ranger triton Xpress are 3 good options. Ranger may be coming out with a 150 19 foot boat with a pad hull. Lots of speculation. Honestly I really like the ranger rt188. I'm a salt water guy in fresh water parts so I will probably go with a Ranger rp190. I am leaning on ranger cause of their reputation and it's the closest dealer to me. 

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If i werent a glass guy i would own the ranger 188. I like that tin a lot.

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Xpress X21 length: 21' 3", bottom: 67", beam: 95", fuel: 30 gal

w/ Yamaha F200LB

$32,495.00

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4 hours ago, Big Easy Bassin' said:

I started looking into aluminum boats as well simply because of the significant price difference. Anyone have any suggestions as far as manufacturers or models when it comes to a good aluminum bass boat?

Stay away from the Tracker 195 for now. Even more transoms are coming up cracked

Ranger is coming out with a RT198 for 2017 rated for a 150. The Xpress that Catt mentioned is a performance pad hull and also comes in shorter models if you wanted to put some of the cash into extras like graphs or shallow water anchors. Most of the other aluminum manufacturers use a modified v hull and the hulls are relatively similar performance wise. The difference will be in the layout and options.

A bit of advice from experience. Research and shop around for a reputable dealer. I failed to do this and went thru a nightmare trying to get warranty work done.    

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The X21 is Xpress's Exclusive Series which is their top of the line. You could drop down their "H" series & save money.

Personally I would drop down to a 18' with a 150 hp, if it's to rough for an 18' ya need to get off the lake.

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2 hours ago, Catt said:

The X21 is Xpress's Exclusive Series which is their top of the line. You could drop down their "H" series & save money.

Personally I would drop down to a 18' with a 150 hp, if it's to rough for an 18' ya need to get off the lake.

Loaded the X21 is a $40k boat....gone are the days of the $300 graphs...Got a buddy with a 2014 X19 and 175 Yammie I think he paid the money you're talking which included 1 HB 998 out the door.

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1 hour ago, slonezp said:

Loaded the X21 is a $40k boat....gone are the days of the $300 graphs...Got a buddy with a 2014 X19 and 175 Yammie I think he paid the money you're talking which included 1 HB 998 out the door.

The price I quoted is from their website with the following standard features.

Humminbird PiranhaMax 197c Graph w/ Swivel Mount Bracket
Minn Kota 45 Edge Trolling Motor

The 197c is fine but a 45 lb trolling motor on a 21' boat...ROFLMAO!

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