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Hey guys,

 

So I have a bit of a dilemma. My initial plan was to buy a truck and a canoe this year (since I can't seem to get a trailer hitch on my car), but I realized that if I hold off one year and refrain from renting too many boats this summer then I should be able to save enough money to buy a brand new Ranger RT188 or Alumacraft Pro 185 next year (although I will probably get a small loan to keep a healthy savings account).

 

Considering the price of a new Ranger RT 188 and what newish ones sell for used, it seems I'd be better off going with a new one. Alternatively, I could get a used boat as well, but something from the late 90s or possibly early 2000s before the used price drops enough to make it seem worthwhile. I'm assuming I got one with good carpets etc. Naturally, I would expect more work to go into an older boat, so I'm not sure if I should just try and go with a new boat.

 

I am almost positive that I'd prefer an aluminum boat as well. With the cost to run them vs a fiberglass boat, it would allow me much more time on the water. A lot of the lakes I'd fish regularly are also smaller, but there's a larger one I'd be fishing periodically too.

 

Any help is appreciated.

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If you are sure you are going to wait for a year to buy a boat then now is a good time to start making "friendly" with your nearby dealers.  Go get to know the salesman and, more importantly, let them get to know you.  You want them to remember you when a nearly new trade comes in.  In fact, without being pushy, ask them if they have a regular customer that trades his boat every year or two.  This past summer we bought a boat under those circumstances.  Two days after it arrived on trade I bought a 2016 Ranger RT188 with only 10.8hrs on the 115 Mercury.  It's decked out and did not have a scratch on it AND the engine has Mercury's Platinum plan paid for by the previous owner (now mine after a small transfer fee).  The guy that bought it gets a new Ranger every single year.  He bought the RT188 new in 2016 and traded it last summer for a Ranger pontoon.  My son keeps bugging me to go back to the dealer next June to buy the pontoon when it comes in!  LOL  You might get a one or two year old boat and save thousands.  I save $4000.  

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20 minutes ago, BigAngus752 said:

If you are sure you are going to wait for a year to buy a boat then now is a good time to start making "friendly" with your nearby dealers.  Go get to know the salesman and, more importantly, let them get to know you.  You want them to remember you when a nearly new trade comes in.  In fact, without being pushy, ask them if they have a regular customer that trades his boat every year or two.  This past summer we bought a boat under those circumstances.  Two days after it arrived on trade I bought a 2016 Ranger RT188 with only 10.8hrs on the 115 Mercury.  It's decked out and did not have a scratch on it AND the engine has Mercury's Platinum plan paid for by the previous owner (now mine after a small transfer fee).  The guy that bought it gets a new Ranger every single year.  He bought the RT188 new in 2016 and traded it last summer for a Ranger pontoon.  My son keeps bugging me to go back to the dealer next June to buy the pontoon when it comes in!  LOL  You might get a one or two year old boat and save thousands.  I save $4000.  

Thanks. I will certainly do that as was planning on hitting up all the dealers and checking out the different boat options this year as well. I have walked through a few times before but it's different when it might really happen too you know?

 

I think I like the Ranger, but I would also like to check out the Alumacraft and possibly a Tracker Pro, which seems to be a step down but a cost efficient option and there's probably a dozen other manufacturers too. I will probably have this boat for 20 years too so I definitely want to make sure I get one that I like.

 

 

 

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Im currently on boat #9 or 10. After having old used wrecks, good used boats and new boats I can honestly say I will never buy new again. We all want a nice shiny new boat but the fact of the matter is it dont catch any more fish than a used one. I actually catch more fish with a used one cause Im not worried about scratching a $60k boat and I go to spots I wouldnt take a new boat. My last boat was a 17.5 alum bass boat, too tippy, no storage. Had a lot of good points but I sold it 6mo's after I bought it. Now Im back in a nice glass boat. I picked up a 20' Ranger w/225 merc for $5k. It needs a lot of love but if I dump $3k into it and a some elbow grease, Im ahead of the game. Way ahead of the game. Something to think about. BTW, I fish small lakes and ponds too. All I need is a halfway decent ramp. 

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29 minutes ago, Cory Doras said:

Im currently on boat #9 or 10. After having old used wrecks, good used boats and new boats I can honestly say I will never buy new again. We all want a nice shiny new boat but the fact of the matter is it dont catch any more fish than a used one. I actually catch more fish with a used one cause Im not worried about scratching a $60k boat and I go to spots I wouldnt take a new boat. My last boat was a 17.5 alum bass boat, too tippy, no storage. Had a lot of good points but I sold it 6mo's after I bought it. Now Im back in a nice glass boat. I picked up a 20' Ranger w/225 merc for $5k. It needs a lot of love but if I dump $3k into it and a some elbow grease, Im ahead of the game. Way ahead of the game. Something to think about. BTW, I fish small lakes and ponds too. All I need is a halfway decent ramp. 

Hello Cory and Welcome to Bass Resource ~ 

 I have a new one and I really like it.  

Instead of working on it - I'm fishing in it.

:smiley:

A-Jay

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48 minutes ago, Cory Doras said:

Im currently on boat #9 or 10. After having old used wrecks, good used boats and new boats I can honestly say I will never buy new again. We all want a nice shiny new boat but the fact of the matter is it dont catch any more fish than a used one. I actually catch more fish with a used one cause Im not worried about scratching a $60k boat and I go to spots I wouldnt take a new boat. My last boat was a 17.5 alum bass boat, too tippy, no storage. Had a lot of good points but I sold it 6mo's after I bought it. Now Im back in a nice glass boat. I picked up a 20' Ranger w/225 merc for $5k. It needs a lot of love but if I dump $3k into it and a some elbow grease, Im ahead of the game. Way ahead of the game. Something to think about. BTW, I fish small lakes and ponds too. All I need is a halfway decent ramp. 

Yeah, I just figure for the prices I'm seeing for some used boats, I could get a new one with a warranty for only a little more. I'll keep checking though.

 

Odd that your aluminum boat had no storage, maybe because it was 17.5"? I thought aluminum boats could maximize their space better.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

Hello Cory and Welcome to Bass Resource ~ 

 I have a new one and I really like it.  

Instead of working on it - I'm fishing in it.

:smiley:

A-Jay

Ahhh, I cant fish with a foot of ice. At least not with my boat.

24 minutes ago, Boomstick said:

Yeah, I just figure for the prices I'm seeing for some used boats, I could get a new one with a warranty for only a little more. I'll keep checking though.

 

Odd that your aluminum boat had no storage, maybe because it was 17.5"? I thought aluminum boats could maximize their space better.

 

 

Keep your eyes open, cheap boats do pop up every now and again. 

Have you checked out the anniversary tracker? $10k, not a bad deal. 

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9 hours ago, Cory Doras said:

Ahhh, I cant fish with a foot of ice. At least not with my boat.

Keep your eyes open, cheap boats do pop up every now and again. 

Have you checked out the anniversary tracker? $10k, not a bad deal. 

I have as far as online but not in person yet. I have also found a few used Pro Team 170s and Pro Team 175 TF models for around that price as well.

 

My kid has a hockey tournament up in Hookset in March near the nearest Bass Pro shop to me, so I plan on checking out the floor models extensively when I'm there.

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Trick is to find one that is several years old but not used very often.  I bought my latest boat in 2017, the boat and motor were a 2009.  At the time of purchase the engine only had 34 hours on it, the guy that had it never used it.  There was some maintenance up front tho, having sat in his garage so long I had to remove and clean the fuel tank and just to be safe I replaced all the fuel hoses and had a mechanic clean out the fuel system inside the engine and replace a clogged injector.  All that cost an additional $600ish. In the end I paid about half the price as if i had bought the same model but brand new.

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48 minutes ago, Troy1985s said:

Trick is to find one that is several years old but not used very often.  I bought my latest boat in 2017, the boat and motor were a 2009.  At the time of purchase the engine only had 34 hours on it, the guy that had it never used it.  There was some maintenance up front tho, having sat in his garage so long I had to remove and clean the fuel tank and just to be safe I replaced all the fuel hoses and had a mechanic clean out the fuel system inside the engine and replace a clogged injector.  All that cost an additional $600ish. In the end I paid about half the price as if i had bought the same model but brand new.

Of course, I will be checking used listings. There was a Nitro for $7k that was from '97 but insanely clean. On the otherhand I wonder what I'd pay in fuel for that vs an aluminum boat?

 

I'd only get to take it out on weekends and my 3 weeks of vacation I'll use in the summer, but I'm likely to use it every chance I get so that's a factor too.

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I have an Aluminum Xpress bass boat.  I love it, I use my boat almost every weekend.  Its low maintenance and I don't have to worry about the gel coat on the glass.  I'm sure it doesn't ride as nice as a glass boat, but in my case I prefer aluminum(nothing against glass boats of course, just not my personal preference).

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You are on the right track.  As long as you don't venture out in big water on bad days, then there's no better boat to cut your teeth on than an aluminum.  The question is how long to you plan on keeping that tin rig?  That will determine the year and cost.  If you think you might want a glass boat in the future, then I'd keep my sights set on a good used tin rig.  Remember, you still have to tow it and you will have trailer maintenance as well.  Good luck!!  

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1 hour ago, TOXIC said:

You are on the right track.  As long as you don't venture out in big water on bad days, then there's no better boat to cut your teeth on than an aluminum.  The question is how long to you plan on keeping that tin rig?  That will determine the year and cost.  If you think you might want a glass boat in the future, then I'd keep my sights set on a good used tin rig.  Remember, you still have to tow it and you will have trailer maintenance as well.  Good luck!!  

 

I honestly believe I will be fine with an aluminum in the long term. It'll also be nice not getting splashed as much in the colder weather, which may extend boating season for me as I honestly hate the cold. The three boatable lakes within 20 miles of me are all fairly small. There's a slightly larger but narrow lake about 30 miles away that I'd like to check out with a nice long shoreline to drift along and fish. Beyond that, I will definitely take it to Great Sacandaga Lake in NY around 90 miles away somewhat regularly (they also have a nice campground on the lake), and maybe other larger lakes occasionally as well but most of them are so far it's pretty much a summer vacation to get enough time there to be worth the trip. I already have my first summer vacation once I get the boat planned out -- there's a group of small, remote lakes in northern Vermont that I hear have some massive smallies.

 

My oldest son will be looking at colleges in 4 years, so I would hope to pay off my boat by then and hold onto it for a while. And I consistently hear that aluminum boats are notably cheaper to run and tow, which translates into more time on the water.

 

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that there was a Nitro fiberglass boat for sale for $7000 that was insanely clean. I considered buying something like that but being older and fiberglass, would the cost for gas and maintenance eventually balance out?

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Here is my two cents. It comes from fishing over 40 years and owning 11 boats ranging from a 12 foot jon to a 20 foot fiberglass rocket ship.  Your best choice for small to mid sized lakes (read that as Lake Erie is a BIG lake for comparison) is an aluminum bassboat in the 17 to 19 foot range.  There are plenty of new ones to choose from and plenty of good reliable used boats also to choose from. In the case of a used one I would look for something 2005 and up.  Take your time and check dealers, craigslist, boards like ***, and Boat trader.  I am pretty sure that you will need to travel to nearby states for the right deal. Just accept it because your area is going to be limited. 

One good thing about the right boat is it may already have expensive upgrades that a new one won't have, like upgraded electronics, and trolling motors.

 

Here is a boat I consider a good deal if you are willing to go look at it.  I personally know this dealer. He probably took it in on a deal for a brand new Skeeter. 

http://townemarine.com/boats-for-sale/2017-tracker-pro-team-175-txw-bloomsburg-pennsylvania-6375868/

 

Tracker Pro Team 175 TXWimage

 

That is a used 2017 boat for $14,995. I realize that a brand new standard package comes with warranties for $16,495 plus freight and dealer prep ( that is also ALWAYS added to the advertised price and it varies as to your location).  This boat does not have the standard engine but rather the upgrade to an Optimax 75 HP outboard.  That is the max the boat could have on it.

 They also have a really nice 2008 Crestliner 1850 FishHawk. It is a much better constructed deeper V boat with a 150 outboard, a 24 volt trolling motor, on board battery charger, and a 150 hp outboard. If you chose to go out on bigger water this will handle it but should fish very nice in a smaller body of water as well. They wanted $15,995.

Crestliner 1850 Fish Hawk SCimage

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51 minutes ago, fishnkamp said:

Here is my two cents. It comes from fishing over 40 years and owning 11 boats ranging from a 12 foot jon to a 20 foot fiberglass rocket ship.  Your best choice for small to mid sized lakes (read that as Lake Erie is a BIG lake for comparison) is an aluminum bassboat in the 17 to 19 foot range.

Thanks fishnkamp! I might fish Erie or Ontario on a camping trips only, a few mid sized lakes fairly regularly and tons of small lakes in western Massachusetts, Vermont and the Adirondacks. I have assembled a list of dealers for several boats I want to check out and they range from 90+ minutes away in upstate NY, eastern MA or CT so I do expect to travel. I have to travel to buy a car and not overpay by sometimes as much as $10k as well.

 

I would check out those boats except I am not ready to buy yet as much as I want to, still need about a year or so to bank money. I did actually come across that Tracker Pro Team 175 TW before through searching for used boats though. Considering it has the motor upgrade, it looks like it's a great buy!

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Keep your eye on Towne Marine and Highway Marine in PA as well. Both of them get nice boats in on trade and are worth the drive. Highway is near Philadelphia PA and Towne is west of there.

One thing to keep in mind, often these dealers prices are somewhat set but they can and will deal on accessories. So you if they do not accept your first offer below their price you say well I really wanted this depth finder or that wizbang what could we agree on with this or that done. You may be surprised.

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1 hour ago, fishnkamp said:

 

 They also have a really nice 2008 Crestliner 1850 FishHawk. It is a much better constructed deeper V boat with a 150 outboard, a 24 volt trolling motor, on board battery charger, and a 150 hp outboard. If you chose to go out on bigger water this will handle it but should fish very nice in a smaller body of water as well. They wanted $15,995.

Crestliner 1850 Fish Hawk SCimage

If you could talk your way down to $12K, I'd be on this like white on rice

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I guess the most important thing to remember is both you and your boats limits on any body of water and don't push them.  I buy my boats knowing the type and size of water I know I will be spending the majority of my time on.  As current events have shown, even big glass boats are not a guarantee.  :( 

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So I made it down to Cabelas today. They had a Ranger RT 178 and RT 188, a 2014 Tracker Pro Team 175 TXW, and a few Nitro fiberglass boats that are way out of my price range. I really liked both of the Rangers -- especially the RT 188, but I could make do with the 178 as well although I feel like the extra room on the deck on 188 would be worthwhile and I also have more legroom in the 188's drivers seat, which is an issue for me.

 

The Tracker was cheap enough that I probably wouldn't have to wait until next year, but had literally no place to put a 7' rod other than upright. I'm not sure what the max length is, but using myself as a ruler, it seems to be around 6'. Having a rod locker (that's long enough) would make me feel much more comfortable if I ever stop somewhere, and there was also very limited places I could strap down longer rods as well. The Rangers both offered plenty of options for both.

 

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