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Hello out there, I will explain my situation a little bit, I am a recent college grad just started my first "career" job. By no means rolling in the money, but I am looking to get out on the water. Any *** would be appreciated. 

As my title foreshadowed I am looking into buying a boat for primarily bass fishing. I have decided to buy used due to budget, and I know that I will want something different sooner rather than later so instead of buying new and deal with depreciation I'll buy used and enjoy! My needs are big enough for two people to comfortably fish out of, ability to do some small local tournaments. In my area there are very few options as far as used boats go. Many of the used boats are deep V. The options that are present are older 1980s to 1990s bass glass boats, or used trackers. once in a while something different will pop up but these two options are the ones usually present. My question is how do I identify a quality used older bass boat, and are the older trackers (2000-2012) decent boats? Same question as well with the tracker how do I identify a quality tracker boat? 

I live in Iowa and have toyed with the idea of driving to Tennessee, Kentucky area to actually purchase a nicer/newer Bass glass boat. What are the thoughts about this idea as well? At this time specifically there are a couple used Skeeters 1986 bass boats available here in Iowa, these are the kind of boats that pop up once in a while.  Are these boats quality, or how do you inspect to make sure they are worthy. 

 

I'm sure this is a loaded question, and classes could be taught about this subject, but any help would be awesome!

 

Thank yoU!

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Hi Aaron, Welcome to the agony all first time buyers go thru.  It is funny you are in Iowa because I helped another member find and buy a really nice used boat out there a year ago. Boy we worked to find him what he wanted, but we persevered and he loves his rig. First, I am going to ask a few questions that you need to think about and answer. 

What type of water do you most see yourself fishing? Is it small lakes, larger lakes, but not huge bodies of water, is it small rivers or perhaps rocky rivers, maybe really big rivers?  All of these help draw a picture of what will work for you.

If you are looking to mostly fish local it looks like you have a few mid sized lakes around Des Moines and a series of rivers there as well. Please let us know those answers as well as what would your budget might be.

 

Now lets tackle the question "how to find a good used boat" That takes a willingness to be a detective. You need to check with dealers, Craigslist, and places like Boat Trader, etc.  Because of your location you will find the deep V boats most of the time. Do not dismiss all of them. Lund, Alumacraft,Tracker, Lowe, Crestliner all make good deep vee side console boats as well as the typical Mod V bass boats you regularly think of as a bass boat.

I did a few seconds of looking and found several boats I would look at.

 https://cedarrapids.craigslist.org/boa/d/2002-lowe-180w-bass-boat-for/6458220247.html

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https://cedarrapids.craigslist.org/boa/d/2007-triton-vt-17/6444558362.html

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Anyway I would be happy to help you further. Give me an email a fishnkamp@comcast.net

Here is one more thing. A friend of mine wrote the best article about buying a used boat I have ever read. Now, when you read this it is important to understand he is a Ranger fanatic but also was looking for a BIG bass boat. It does not matter his process, and information on aluminum and fiberglass bass boats is spot on.  Check out Bryan's article.

I would get a glass of my favorite beverage and sit in a comfy chair and enjoy this article, it is in depth but worth evey second of the time spent.  http://www.baybass.com/node/200 

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Hey Fishnkamp,

first of all thank you for the information I really appreciate it! I lost my grandpa and my dad in the last 2 years (my fishing teachers if you will) so I don’t have the old wise knowledge to turn to so it helps tremendously to have some wisdom from those of you that have been there before. I will mostly fish small to medium lakes. Never large bodies, at least not in the near future. I fish in Iowa mostly. I am planning on a once a year trip to Texas but that’s about it. My favorite lake is 2000 sq ft. No rivers at all. Top end budget at this time is 10,000 5000-7000 is preferred but I also want something as quality as I can get for the money.   

 

I will absolutely read that article thank you!!

 

(that Triton looks very nice)

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Boy my heart goes out to you! That kind of loss so close together is a huge blow to anyone's balance in life.  There are some great members here that enjoy helping others and not for just a second. I know I enjoy it when I help someone and hear back from them much later with info how they are doing.  Someone helped me learn and I get to do the same and pass it on.

Well bodies of water need to be considered when choosing a boat.  If you had said you might make the occasional trip to say Lake Michigan, then my suggestions would be totally different. That size lake being so close to you is why you see so many deep V boats with full walk through windows I am sure. There are lots of guys on here that will chime in with their knowledge. One of those is slonezp. He runs a bigger deep V style boat than I do. Mine is very much like the two boats I pictured. The first one is nice, but I would have a professional check out the motor since it is an older Evinrude using Fichte fuel injection. They had a lot of trouble with those motors,  However, there are many owners who love them.  It is a nice boat so if you were interested I would talk to the owner and arrange to get a ride on it once your water turns soft again.  I did not do a ton of research but dug them up in just a few minutes.

I think the boat that fits your needs and fits your budget will be a 17 1/2 to 19 foot aluminum bass boat like those, but if you can find a deeper V bass boat like a Lund  then jump on it. Something like a Lund Impact or if you find a Lund Renegade that would be awesome too. The Renegade is more or less the same basic boat as I showed you just built much better. Of course I am not sure how long they have made them, so I am not sure how easy it would be to find one in your budget. There are plenty of Lowe, Chrestliner, Alumacraft, Triton VT, G3, Polarcraft etc. to find.  If you see a Sea Ark they are nice to.  It is easier to find these boats a little south of you, but if you are really ready we will find you something nice.

 

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You seem to be getting some pretty sound advice.  If it were me I'd concentrate more on the aluminum than the glass simply because there are lots of older glass boats on the market that have transoms rotting from the inside out and you for sure don't want to get stuck with one of them.

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Renegades have only been out for around a year so it would be sort of tough to find one in your price range, but I think another great boat, the Ranger RT series has been out for a few more years than that, and you may have better luck looking for an RT188 or 178. That would be an excellent choice if you can find one. 

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Thank you all!! 

I have been looking around the Kansas City area there seems too be much more to choose from in that area. I did come across a person at work that is selling a 2002 pro team tx bass tracker. He’s a 60 year old guy has it since new. Has all records of maintenance since new. Has a 40hp “tracker” motor ( two stroke) I assume is built my mercury. But not sure if you all opt against tracker If possible or if it’s something to consider. Comes with minn Kota power drive 2 and hummingbird 898. Carpet looks new, seats are good. Hull has no scratches or dents. Now looks solid. There’s no mildew on the hull looks like it’s been kept clean. Price is 4000. I’ve heard trackers bad rap and I wouldn’t mind having a Triton or Lund but this also fits the budget. Any thoughts?  

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There were more Trackers built probably than other brands. The quality is good but not the same as some of the other brands.  I say that, but tons of fish are caught on them. The difference many times is attention to detail or quality of components chosen for a package. Notice they usually are packaged up with 12 volt trolling motors saving Tracker money, and the owner has to buy it that way, then pay to upgrade it later. Your coworker has already done that.  He has also upgraded the electronics as well as the trolling motor.  The price is right and the condition is good. I would definitely take a good look at it.  The "bad rap" has more to do with the packaging and some components than overall quality.  The hull is not going to split or anything like that for sure.  The Nitro boats get the same "bad rap" per say ( also owned by the owner of Bass Pro Shops) and yet there are tons of guys running Nitro boats that really like them and chose them over more expensive boats.  My friend Andy runs one and really likes his. He upgraded all the electronics, added power poles, and made a few other upgrades. His Nitro is about 9 years old and runs and looks great. Something I would consider is this will be your first boat. That engine should push that boat to maybe 25 mph.

You can easily learn on it and in a few years from now sell it for nearly the same $4000.  Then you will have more experience and know what you prefer or would like.

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I agree with fishnkamp on the Tracker. I think the tracker is a good price and the current owner has already done some of the common upgrades. I also think at the price he is asking you would be able to get your money back after a few years of running/learning. 

 

How about the Triton Fishnkamp posted. Not sure on the price of it, but those are great boats as well. Triton tend to hold value a little better than Tracker and I believe they are 100% alumn construction (decks in all) where as Tracker's are pressure treated wood decks. 

 

I grew up in the midwest as well and had a Lowe 1648 for almost 10 years. She was a tank. Never had a single issue with it.  Actually it was my first every boat too. Lowe's are very popular around your area. 

 

 

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Hey guys,

it looks extremely clean and can tell it was taken care of. I guess that was my biggest concern is structural quality of the boat. At this point function is more important than show in my life. If it gets me fishing and having fun then it’s doing it’s job. It’s a great stress relief and good for mental health. Also a good remembrance for my dad and grandpa.  I would love the Triton at this point that would be at top of budget. I’d like that have some wiggle room for tackle or accessories etc.     

Even after a couple years I’d be financially able to finance a ranger, Lund, or Triton 18 or 19. 

Jbuchanan-

did you find the 1648 big enough? 

 

Thank you you all again! 

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Sorry to double reply but I was reading about the new heritage tracker post. I could probably drop 3000 on a down payment and make double payments each month to be upside on the loan. I would be able to make reasonable upgrades in the fall (budget wise). Do you all think this is a good value? Or should I stick with used? 

 

Thank you!

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No I would stick with the used boat. That Heritage is a limited package and will cost you more overall.

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Aaron Trotter said:

Hey guys,

it looks extremely clean and can tell it was taken care of. I guess that was my biggest concern is structural quality of the boat. At this point function is more important than show in my life. If it gets me fishing and having fun then it’s doing it’s job. It’s a great stress relief and good for mental health. Also a good remembrance for my dad and grandpa.  I would love the Triton at this point that would be at top of budget. I’d like that have some wiggle room for tackle or accessories etc.     

Even after a couple years I’d be financially able to finance a ranger, Lund, or Triton 18 or 19. 

Jbuchanan-

did you find the 1648 big enough? 

 

Thank you you all again! 

The Lowe 1648 I had worked out well when I fished solo or had a buddy in there. With 3 people it would be rather crowded. Being 16' it isn't going to be as stable as the 17' or larger boats, but it wasn't bad at all. As far as big enough you can fill it up rather quickly. I would only load the gear for what I was targeting that day. Two people with each's own tackle/rods and cooler would have the boat full quickly. Solo trips it wasn't bad. However I would suggest a min 17' boat if your budget can swing it. The 16'ers typically don't have storage compartments if they do your life jackets and misc required boating equip take them up. So rods, tackle and reg gear will be left to be loose laying throughout bottom of boat. This can be a pain. Numerous road tip breaks or tripping over tackle boxes/coolers.

 

The one I had was rigged with 9.9hp kitted to 15hp. We had a great deal of 10hp below lakes back where I grew up in Southern Ill. I never hesitated to take it on big lakes either. (Kentucky Lake, Galveston Bay, Lake Texoma and various others). I would just have to pick my days and where I would launch. 

 

One big factor to keep in mind is boat storage. Do you live in neighborhood where you will have to keep it in garage or pay for storage unit. This is the biggest limiting factor to me at the moment. I don't live in country anymore so I am limited to 20' of total boat length (back of motor to front of trailer). If you have to pay storage this can get pricey over time. 

 

I am 50/50 on the Heritage. I think it is a good deal. Being brand new, you get the warranties and a little more peace of mind things shouldn't need fixed for a bit. However the upgrades I would want to do on the Heritage to be rigged like I would perfer would make it a $15k boat quickly. Like Fishnkamp mentioned try to stick to used. There are plenty of used rigs that come up for sale at good prices. And they will typically be rigged closer to what you would prefer at cheaper price or you will have room in budget to rig it as desired. 

 

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Sounds good guys. Just wanted to throw that idea out there. My moms husband owns a large building where he keeps his semis that i have permission to keep the boat. So it has a climate controlled free space! 

I could afford payments on a nice used boat I’m just not sure how the bank reacts to used boats for loans. If I were to go close to the 10,000 dollars range for a newer equipped 17.5 or 18.  

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You will find that they will make those loans if they are new enough. It depends on the bank or saving and loan. Shop around for the loan too, since there was differences between them when I did mine.

 

 

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If you or a close family member are current or former military USAA gives out boat loans. I was able to get a loan for an 8 year old boat at an interest rate that was about 2.5% lower than any other bank I looked into.

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I'm going to check into some loan options this week. I don't mind financing if its something I'm going to keep for a while. My girlfriend knows me well enough and said "a while like a few months". She's a part time comedian. I hope looking this early I will find something by the time the ice is melting. Last year I was fishing up here in February.

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If I go to a dealership to look at a used boat would it be common practice or acceptable to ask them to start and run motor?

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Absolutely if you are otherwise ready to spend money on it.  They will be happy to do so if you say yes I really want this boat.  Lets start the papers but I want to hear it run first.  In fact some dealers will test run it with you during non winter seasons.  That usually requires a down payment and a commitment that you are serious.  I have done it several times.

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6 hours ago, Aaron Trotter said:

If I go to a dealership to look at a used boat would it be common practice or acceptable to ask them to start and run motor?

You can tell them you want to test drive it also.  While you are at it ask for a written compression test.

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Depending on the age of the motor, they can even run a diagnostic check and tell you how many hours the motor has and if it has any issues that is being detected by the ECM.

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Is a great topic and a lot of awesome information shared that helps out us new boat buyers.  Thanks all for sharing.

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Well things took an unexpected turn today. My Trailblazer transmission went out. I diagnosed the problem myself and took it to the stealership for diagnostic confirmation. So a new GM 4l60e transmission is coming (with a heavy duty tranny cooler)but that takes some serious funds out of the boat fund. However this would be my towing vehicle so glad I’m fixing It before I’m towing my new boat home?? Anyways stay tuned a boat will be purchased might be closer to spring than I wanted though. 

 

Wanted to to say thank you again very much for all the comments. There will be more questions coming as boats and fish are on the mind! 

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Aaron too bad on the tranny, but you are correct you need the tow vehicle in tip top shape before the boat.

Often times things happen to us and we do not know the reason until later. It seems a terrible time to have this happen. However, from a money situation, you may have been in rougher spot if you had spent your cash on the boat and not had it to pay for repairs.

Just save a bit longer or perhaps put a deposit down and finance a small payment on a nicer-newer boat.

Anyway feel free to hit us up for more help in the future.

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Hello y'all,

Little update I got the transmission in the back of the Trailblazer. Its going to be installed next week! I have a close friend that is parting with his Fishing Kayak, Feel Free Lure 13.5 (last years model). He used it two times, and the Kayak fishing thing is not for him. He is willing to sell it to me at 25% of new cost. My question is, is kayak fishing good practice for big boat fishing? I have always been interested in kayak fishing and there is a very cool local tournament trail. My view of the pros are 1. it gets me on the water fishing. 2. I can try it out before I buy it to see if its something I'll like. 3. fishing practice 4. I get some tournament experience 5. I will be able to save up $ to get the boat I want while enjoying some fishing. 

I thought I'd run it by you all because you all have good unbiased input!

 

Thank you all!

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