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What first bass boat should I buy?


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It's a ways away, but I plan on buying my first bass boat in a year or two. This would be a totally new experience for me as i've only fished from my buddies jon boat and my 10' pond prowler. I'm not looking for anything super fancy, but definitely want something that will serve me well and last a long time. No intentions to speed up and down the waterways, and don't really see myself fishing tournaments. It would mainly be just me, or me and a buddy out fishing. I'm not opposed to used vessels, but at the same time I like the thought of having something new and a warranty to boot. I'd be fishing the Historic James River, Chickahominy Lake and River, as well as some other spots. Also, I have a 2010 Toyota Tacoma, 4x4 so towing shouldn't be too much of a hassle. If any more details from me would help you provide a better recommendation, feel free to ask any questions! I've been looking at the Bass Tracker 175 txw!

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8 minutes ago, Kyle S said:

It's a ways away, but I plan on buying my first bass boat in a year or two. This would be a totally new experience for me as i've only fished from my buddies jon boat and my 10' pond prowler. I'm not looking for anything super fancy, but definitely want something that will serve me well and last a long time. No intentions to speed up and down the waterways, and don't really see myself fishing tournaments. It would mainly be just me, or me and a buddy out fishing. I'm not opposed to used vessels, but at the same time I like the thought of having something new and a warranty to boot. I'd be fishing the Historic James River, Chickahominy Lake and River, as well as some other spots. Also, I have a 2010 Toyota Tacoma, 4x4 so towing shouldn't be too much of a hassle. If any more details from me would help you provide a better recommendation, feel free to ask any questions! I've been looking at the Bass Tracker 175 txw!

I don’t know your price range but apparently Tracker is going to do a 2019 version of what they did with the 40th Anniversary Heritage. You might look into that. I bought one and it has been a positive experience. 

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33 minutes ago, Alex from GA said:

That would be a fine boat, but be sure to get the engine with the most power they offer.  I have a friend with that boat with a 50 and it's not enough for him.

I agree.  Between my brothers and I we've owned 6 trackers from the panfish 16 to the PT190 and all have served us well.  One brother has a 175 with a 50 and regrets the HP.  Get at least the 60 if not the 75 if you with the 175 TXW.  I would also urge buying a 2-5 year old boat for your first boat.  After some time in it you may discover needs or wants that you can fulfill with a new boat.

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First decide if you want glass or tin.  Then we'll go from there.  

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2 hours ago, Kyle S said:

I’m leaning heavily towards a tin boat!

I'll let the local tin guys chime in but where you indicated you want to fish (the James, the Chick River/Lake) be advised you will have to pick your days with tin unless you get up in size to the big water boats.  If you stay in the Tracker size boats, you'll have no problem pulling them with your rig and they come up for sale often.  Just make sure you get a good one.  

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The Tracker would be a very nice option.

 

Just try to get one that does not have the gunnel rail painted black as you will burn yourself in the summer heat.

 

As for fishing the Historic James, Appomattox, Chick River and Chick Lake for starters, a Tracker will serve you well. The Tracker did great on the Rapp, Mattaponi, Potomac, Pamunkey and all the lakes in Virginia. Just remember it is a light boat and if your have wind causing white caps you can't venture out of a creek into the rough water.

 

Just be sure to always check the tide charts and time so you won't get caught in a creek or the Barge Pit. And the weather, especially the wind.

 

I suggest you get the largest motor the Tracker is rated to handle.

 

Also, you will have fun upgrading the boat each year, from a 12 volt to a 24 volt trolling motor; installing the Grass Goat on your trolling motor; adding an Oxygenator to your live well; putting in a three bank charger for your 24 volt trolling motor system; and other things that you can get done easily.

 

Remember to check the rod lockers to see if they will accommodate a 7-foot and longer rods. If I recall, my Pro Tracker 185 could not handle the longer rods in the rod lockers.

 

Check out "Tracker" on this site's search engine to see what others have to say about the boat and motor.

 

Let us know when you get the boat and what you named it. :) 

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Besides a jon boat my first was a 17' Tracker with a 75hp Merc EFI. I would say start with something similar for a year or two until you get comfortable. Trackers (or something similar Xpress, G3, etc) are easy to tow and very forgiving to a new boater. I went through 3 props my first year, forgot the drain plug, hit stumps, etc. during my learning curve. The only downside for that boat was it was a pain to trailer in the wind. If you hit something in a tim boat it is just a dent but a fiberglass boat is an insurance claim. Learn on the water with a tin the lessons that you cannot afford to learn with a glass boat is my opinion. Like everyone mentioned as well 50hp is the bare minimum for a 17' boat so try to find a 60 or 75hp. Besides that get a 24v TM as 12v sucks unless you are fishing a glass lake for 1 hour.

 

Allen

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I own a 2007 Tracker 175 TXW with a 50.  Got it 2 years ago as my first boat.

 

OP, based on your requirements, you'd be fine with a 50.  You're not fishing tournaments and not looking to speed up and down - it will still get you around 30mph which is plenty fast for what you described you will be doing.

 

Additionally, I have a 12v 55lb Terrova TM.  This moves the Tracker quiet well, and with the spot lock and auto pilot, I've had no issues in wind.  As for battery life (mine are from 2012) - I've fished for 7 hours in wind, and had plenty left.

 

Just throwing it out there to say, you don't need a 60/75hp and 24v TM.

 

 

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My first boat was a 17ft Tracker 50HP that bought used in 1989.  It served me very well for over 12 years.  I had a 12V TM with two batteries wired in series and never came close to running out of juice.  I caught a lot of fish with that boat and when I didn't catch them it wasn't the boat fault.

 

Some people like fast boat just like some people like fast cars.  If that's you then get a big motor but I was very happy in a boat with a top speed of 32MPH.  I will say that a good trolling motor has always been money well spent in my opinion.

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1 hour ago, Angry John said:

A 12 fits right in the bed no fuss.  A 14 would need some other support.  My 12 gets the job done just gravy

 

Mine is very supported in a 6 1/2' bed with the gate down.

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2 hours ago, Hook2Jaw said:

A Hobie Pro Angler 14.  ;)

Ironically enough, the idea of a kayak keeps making its way back into my head...especially a foot powered pedal driven kayak such as a Hobie. This past spring I purchased an ascend fs10t from Bass Pro. Fishing from it took some getting used to, but getting pulled around the pond by 2 pounders never got old? haha however I ended up returning it because I knew I wanted a 'big floating tackle box' lol. I LOVE and miss how convenient it was to get out on the water!! Perhaps some day I may venture back into kayaks.

 

Thanks everyone for all of your feedback! There seems to be a million and one things to consider when buying a boat! I plan on continuing my research to try and limit any post purchase regrets... 

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Hello, new to the board, first time poster...    I found this board purely by accident and I have been looking at/ for my first boat as well for 6 mos now.   I read this post and someone made the comment of staying away from older boats, look at 2-4 yr old boat instead for reliability.   It really resonated with me and caused me to do soul searching on what I really wanted and if it really was about money or my trouble finding a boat was really about reliability.  The answer was reliability...

A gentleman approached me with an offer for a all aluminum  2016 Lowe Striker 175  w/60 hp efi Merc. It has upgraded warranty til 2021, upgraded 24v 80# trolling motor, 3 battery bank charger and a 2nd $700 fish finder....  Based on NADA and boat trader prices, its a very good deal.  We had a very good conversation this evening and a deal was struck.  Now its all about the details ...  I'm hoping I will be in possession of this beauty in the next week or two.

 

Thanks for the advice given here...

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On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 9:45 PM, Munkin said:

Besides a jon boat my first was a 17' Tracker with a 75hp Merc EFI. I would say start with something similar for a year or two until you get comfortable. Trackers (or something similar Xpress, G3, etc) are easy to tow and very forgiving to a new boater. I went through 3 props my first year, forgot the drain plug, hit stumps, etc. during my learning curve. The only downside for that boat was it was a pain to trailer in the wind. If you hit something in a tim boat it is just a dent but a fiberglass boat is an insurance claim. Learn on the water with a tin the lessons that you cannot afford to learn with a glass boat is my opinion. Like everyone mentioned as well 50hp is the bare minimum for a 17' boat so try to find a 60 or 75hp. Besides that get a 24v TM as 12v sucks unless you are fishing a glass lake for 1 hour.

 

Allen

Allen, you are right about trailering in the wind.

 

Many times in the summer months I had to get into the water to push the boat or rock it back and forth in order to align the boat with the trailer.

 

I also learned via my Tracker experience to put the plug into my Ranger BEFORE leaving the house. ;)

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On 12/20/2018 at 4:15 PM, Tennessee Boy said:

I had a 12V TM with two batteries wired in series and never came close to running out of juice. 

Ohm not positive, but ohm gonna say that has the potential to cause a series of negative possibly terminal outcomes, watt is the current status?...

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