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SunshinePreps

Small Boat advice....

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Didn't know if I should post here or what but I was looking for some advice from you guys on a small boat purchase.  I have checked out a few of the sporting good websites and I am in the market for a new small boat.  I have found some (without motor) for under 1,000 and wondered if any of you had any advice on some of the dos and donts when it comes to making a first boat purchase.

My goal is to have a small 2 man boat that I can bass fish comfortably out of.  Do not need to cover a lot of ground and would be satisfied with a trolling motor only.  

Any thoughts on what I must include to look for when shopping??

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I'm on my second Coleman Crawdad and love it.  Very stable, roomy, lightweight and sturdy.  It's 12' long and only weighs about 135#.  The Pelican looks to be a pretty good one as well.  Wired for lights, livewell and looks like there is plenty of room.

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are you looking for a plastic or aluminum boat?

id recomend either the 8'or 9' pond prowler, it only weighs #100 and could be put in the back of a little truck like the ranger with no problem. it is a very stable boat due to its pontoon design and me and a friend could stand up comfortably without any sudden movements.

id also recomend any of the tracker jon boats, they weigh about #100. the 32' w series are not as stable as the prowler but the length gives you more room. these too can be put in the back of a little truck like the ranger but stick out about 4 feet. the only downside to these boats is that when it starts getting hot, the boat does also, impossible getting it out of the water without burning yourself.

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I purchased the 9' Pond Prowler off of Craigslist for just the same reasons you listed. It's perfect for mid to small lakes & ponds with a trolling motor. It's a little bulky to manage by yourself out of the back of a pickup but not too bad. My subdivision doesn't allow boats in the driveway so I just lean this thing upright against a tree out of sight.

Look around on Craiglist in your area first; lots of people selling boats right now. :) for them :) for you.

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9 ft is simply put, too small for two persons, at least 12 ft. A 12 ft allows you to install lots of goodies ( like seats ) it has enough room for you to load your stuff, your partner 's stuff, a cooler and still be light enough to be powered by a small outboard and a TM to move around.

"LaTinasesina" ( translation "the killer tub" ) is 12 ft, I installed 2 removable seats ( padded of corse ) with their seat caddys, it has a 30 lb thrust TM ( should have purchased a bigger one  ::) ), an Eagle Fishfinder ( Cuda 128 ), rod holders, lure holders and powered by a 6.5 HP. I can load my stuff, my compadre 's stuff, a 20 quart cooler and still have plenty room to swing the rod and not hookin the biggest animal in the lake ( my compadre  :) ). I can store it in a small place and not need trailer ( I just cartop it ). 6.5 HPs don 't sound like much but they do the job for practically any lake, of course it takes you like forever to reach distant hunting grounds but it 's a lot better than having to row ( looking to upgrade for a 9.9 HP ). Everything is removable, time to go ---> remove all the stuff and flip the boat to cartop it.

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Thanks guys.  Some helpful advice no doubt.  Would something like this below be sufficient for the time being??

http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2131689

I figured for 1,000 I could throw a trolling motor on this and it would be OK for two guys.  If you guys think it is too small let me know and I will continue to look around.  Also, should I make an hour trip to a Bass Pro Shop to see what they have in stock or something or what.

Seriously, thanks for the help.

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I'm in the same situation and have looked at the smaller boats too. However, I know sooner rather than later I'll want something a little more comfortable. The boat section of the forum has many posts with details of guys taking a reasonably cheap 14' jon boat and turning it into a nice little mini-bass boat for little more than what you are looking to spend at Dicks. I've been watching Craigs list daily for a couple months and have seen many good deals. Some are just basic jon boats for $300 to $400 that can you could then add your own decking, seats etc too as the money is available, and other boats I seen listed have already been 'accessorized' going for $1000 to $1200 range. Now I just need some cash :-)

That's just my 2 cents. Money not being a issue, I would also like to have one of the small boats that I could toss in the back of the truck and hit some of the small 1 or so acre ponds close to the house. But since one boat is it for me, I'm going for something that I'll be happy with for years.

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Thanks guys. Some helpful advice no doubt. Would something like this below be sufficient for the time being??

http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2131689

I figured for 1,000 I could throw a trolling motor on this and it would be OK for two guys. If you guys think it is too small let me know and I will continue to look around. Also, should I make an hour trip to a Bass Pro Shop to see what they have in stock or something or what.

Seriously, thanks for the help.

Too small, it 's only 8 ft.

I know, it looks kool ....... in pictures, in the real world 8 ft is too small for two persons. My jonboat is 12 ft and it 's barely enough for two. Would I buy one of those ? shure I would, just for me alone.

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Not only is the above too small, but it's also heavy! Are you ever planning on fishing from this vessel ALONE at any time? Think about this, seriously. Something that weighs over 100 lbs. is going to be a workout - not to launch....but get back into your truck! Trust me on that one.

Best bet for one or 2 man fishing is a 12' - 14' aluminum jonboat. A flatbottom boat set-up, on which you can easily fish from, in quite shallow water, or in a slow moving river. You'd be golden with a 4 stroke, 5 HP gas engine. Nothing short of a deep-V hull is safe for heavily boated waters.

If you plan on putting any kind of power to it (electric or gas), you MUST have it registered with the DMV.

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im 5'8 and my friend is about 6 ft tall and we both fit fine in his 8 ft prowler. we can fit two tackle boxes, a small cooler, 3 rods, and a fly rod fine. yes its a little cramp but the boxes fit fine under the seats, and the rods on the side, and his #70 tm pushes us fine

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Is this going in the back of a pickup or on a trailer? If you're able to manage a little over 100 lbs by yourself get the 9' or 10' boat from Dick's. Mind you don't have to dead lift the whole boat into the truck at once but just put the end on the tailgate and push the rest in. Or vise-versa. I'm a decent size guy so it's no trouble for me but I do have to unload stuff from the boat and reload it each time I move it.

If it's going on a trailer, go with an aluminum one; maybe 12' and do check Craigslist for that. Alot of them out there for good prices.

As far as outfitting it for two guys: my 9' pond prowler is fine for me and a another guy my size (6'1" 200 lbs). I don't have the need for a 20 qt cooler out there (a little one to hold 6 cokes is plenty) and as long as you put padded swivel seats on it, you're fine. My lil' 40 lb trolling motor runs it great and you can add rod holders to the sides, etc...

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I have an FJ Cruiser so I am not sure I could fit it on top.  If it fits, I could get it up there although it would not be much fun getting that over my head.  

My situation is this, I would drop some money on a good bass boat but I anticipate this situation.  A year or so from now, I am going to go inshore fishing in saltwater with a buddy or something and I am going to get hooked on that as well.  I'd hate to drop 10K on a bass boat and then not be able to double it up in salt.  So do I go with a fresh/salt boat and just spend the money now knowing that day may come or do I just get a jon boat and deck it out until that day I get into saltwater as well.

I'd prefer to just spend 1-2K and get something I can depend on.  Doesn't need to cover a lot of ground, I just need to be able to drop it in a lake and get after it.

You guys point me in the right direction and that is what I will do.  I can either listen to the guy at the store tell me what I need or I can listen to all of you guys.  You guys tell me what to get and I will go get it.  I have a buddy coming in to town on the 21st and I told him we are going to spend 3 days straight fishing and we will be doing so from a boat, not a canoe...

I will call it the bass resource forum boat and you all are more than welcome to fish in it with me if you get to Pasco County Florida. :)  

Need the boat, trolling motor, possible trailer, battery for motor, and whatever else you guys can think of.  So far based on what I am hearing is I need somewhere between a 9-12 footer.  I have heard pond prowler mentioned a few times so is that the one???  You guys tell me...  

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I have the Pelican Predator 10 ft and my buddy and I are perfectly comfortable in it; I would definitely not go below 10 feet though. I can load the boat with no problem into my F150, as one poster stated, you just get the end on the tailgate and then push the rest in. You do have to empty the boat though, a marine battery is way to heavy to keep in the boat. The truck must be level though; there is one pond I fish with a very steep ramp, I can not load the boat alone there. I use a single ratchet strap through the side handles and down to my rear quarter panels, stays nice and snug with no worries. Also I run a bungy cord through the seats to keep them in position when hauling. (Make sure that the seats you get are swivel seats, folding is a nice option and padded is an option as well.

I have never had mine in a bay or any other large body of water, I don't get the feeling that it would handle chop too well. If you're thinking of double timing in salt, make sure you get a salt ready TM. A 40# thrust is all I find I need.

We can stand in the boat, but only one at a time. When alone, I do not stand (unless I need to see that guy about a horse!). I'm a big guy, 280 or so, and the high center of gravity just doesn't cut it for active fishing. With a buddy in the boat, it is certainly more stable.

Good luck

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I got the Tracker 1436 and it really is very stable for 2 people. You will likely need to stay sitting down, but it is not bad. I put a 8 HP 4 stroke on it and it flys pretty nice to where I want to go.

The was actually a great thread from a guy building a deck onto his Tracker 1436 LW which I am in the process of partially duplicating. Also the Trackers got some reasonable process on them.

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I picked up a 10' Alumacraft jonboat( weighs about 90lbs) and a 50lb Minna Kota trolling motor ( about 25 lbs) mated to a 27 series marine battery (about 50 lbs), and was pretty happy in small lakes. The boat even did ok with me and the wife in it in only about 6" of water. I stopped by the local mega store and picked up plastic folding, cushined seats with accessories and that made the it a bit more liveable. Then I went to a medium lake and have since picked up a small 5hp outboard and a trailer. I'm happy with the room for growth this small boat has and also it's versatility; initially it was purchased because it fit in my pickup bed. Good luck.

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I would check out Academy.... one guy said he had a Pelican Predator which they carry there which is a great small boat....

It is fairly cheap- has 2 livewells- has 2 seats.... and seems to have enough room for 2 people and is relatively lightweight.......

I've fished from the Alumnacraft jon boats they sell there... if you wanted one of those I'd get the 12 ft. version- and it wouldn't be hard to put seats in this boat.......

Good luck in your search...

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