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Nate Stonefish

Beginner Bass Boat for Big Open Water (Great Lakes)

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Want to hear feed back from boat owners that live on the Great Lakes. I live on the St.clair river and a stone throw form Lake St.Clair. Really looking into buying a bass boat and wanted to know the pros and cons of running/boat control on the big water. 

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You might consider more of a deep-vee hull for big water like the Great Lakes. There are a few guys on this forum with Lund Pro-V Bass boats, which are deep-vee hulls set up with bass boat deck layouts. That’s where I’d start.

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Depending on your budget Lund makes the top of the line boats for your needs. They also cost more at the original purchase and hold their resale value too. Other companies like AlumaCraft, Polar Kraft,Chretliner, etc. make good deep Vee boats too.

Basically you have to choose your preferred style of boat. You can go with a boat that has dual consoles, or a walk through window. Both of these have the typical drivers console with a typical raised front deck and either a raised rear deck or an open cockpit in the rear.  The other option is a deep vee boat with a tiller control engine.

In this configuration the operator has all the control of the boat sitting in the rear.

I used to own a ProCraft 20 foot fish and ski bass boat. It had the walk through windshield. That boat was awesome on Lake Erie when we travelled up there to fish. It ran better in rough water than a typical bass boat and was much drier since it had higher sides on it too.

It might be worth spending some time watching some reruns of Babe Winkelman's show, and also both In Fisherman and Al LIndner's Angling Edge shows. They all use these type of boats to fish from. Pay attention to how they control their boats too since they utilize lots of the best ways and teach the how to's. Many of their shows are available on their websites.

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I grew up fishing Lake Ontario.  Pretty much any day I'd consider safe enough to go out on Lake Ontario in a deep-V would also be acceptable for a typical bass boat.  Trouble is when you the weather kicks up and you have to get back.  For years, I ran a deep-v tiller, and for years I ran an Xpress Hyperlift aluminum, then a 21' 10" Bullet.  Bass boats were much more comfortable to fish from.  That said, these days, I'm looking to go back to deep-v tiller config.  Newer designs are as fishable as bass boats, and have great storage.

 

Word of caution fishing Great Lakes.  Stuff can kick up fast.  Case in point:

 

 

And in the big Lake:

 

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Please, the first thing you should do is take a safe boating course.  It should teach you more than just the basics and the rules of the road.  It should also give you the fundamentals and more on how to handle a boat in adverse conditions.

 

There is no trial and error learning when it comes to boating.

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On 8/20/2018 at 2:47 PM, Fishing Rhino said:

There is no trial and error learning when it comes to boating.

You couldn’t be more wrong about that! 🤣

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We have been going to St Clair every year for 15 years.  Here are the boats that usually are there for our get together.  Some have been upgraded over the years but in general......

 

17 foot Champion with a 150 efi.

20 foot Ranger with a 250

21 foot Ranger with a 250

16 foot Tracker Deep v with a 90

20 foot Champion with a 250

Others who have fished with us:

20 foot BassCat with a 250

19 foot Ranger with a 200

18 foot NITRO with a 200

22 foot Ranger with a 300

 

The one thing they all have in common......Good drivers.  We have been out in the goo and none of them was any better than the others with a good captain behind the wheel.  The only boat ever not taken out was the Tracker.

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