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First time buying a bass boat ( aluminum or fiberglass)

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1 hour ago, Jig Man said:

I can tell you that I fish 4 lakes and normally go twice each week.  With the hundreds and hundreds of boats that I see with “electric anchors “ I have never seen a boat with them deployed.


Two further pieces of advice.  An electric trolling motor is the most important piece of equipment on a bass boat.  It's has more influence on your fishing success than any piece of electronics.  Go 24 volts minimum.  Spot Lock is a wonderful feature. It's not mandatory, but it sure makes things nice.   In my opinion, power poles are made to catch fishermen, not fish.  In all my years of bass fishing tournaments, I have never seen anyone use them except in docking.  Back when I was guiding, I carried two wooden stake out poles so the boat wouldn't swing when shiner fishing.  They worked just as well and cost a lot less.  My son has power poles on his flats boat.  Salt water flats fishing is different, you have tides and the fish are ultra skittish. 

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I love the boat I have. I did research like you between glass and aluminum. I know some people don’t like them. But I am well pleased with my bass tracker  pro team 175 txw. I did upgrade to minnkota terrova 80 lb thrust I-pilot. Boat does all I need and I’m very happy with it. 

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On 12/3/2023 at 10:12 PM, Jmay1002 said:

Wasn’t really wanting to spend more than 45k, that’s why the ranger 188p is what I was thinking. They’re around 34k, and I can do certain upgrades to it to keep it around that 45 mark. Just wasn’t sure how well it would do in the lakes I fish. 

I'm not familiar with the lake you mention, but $45 K will buy a lot of used fiberglass.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good aluminum boat, but Id want to get a Lund or Vexus.  And those will cost more than $45K

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On 12/4/2023 at 8:14 AM, Jig Man said:

Don’t scrimp on the trolling motor if you get a tin boat.  I’ve had 3 of them and they blow around a lot.  Spot lock will help.

This was the number one reason I sold my aluminum Lund that thing blew around so bad. I’m extremely happy with my new glass bass boat.


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On 12/3/2023 at 10:13 AM, Jmay1002 said:

As the title says. I’ve looked and done research for nearly 6 months. This will be my first boat other than a 1980s John boat with a 9.9 on the back. 

I really like the ranger 188p, but I’m not sure how it will handle lakes like okeechobee. 

Im either buying a nice aluminum boat and upgrading the trolling motor/adding power poles or buying something like a nitro17/ triton 18tx and keeping it pretty basic as it comes 


Lakes I will mostly be spending my time at are Lake Harris, Lake Okeechobee, St. John’s river, Lake pan so I’m not really sure how an 18ft aluminum boat will do. Any tips? 


Aluminum hulls are mainly best for rocky environments, places with a lot of stumps or underwater obstructions, and very shallow water where you may scrape bottom at times to get through an area. 

They handle abuse to the hull without catastrophic damage much better.

It's traditionally a lot harder to punch a hole in an aluminum hull than a fiberglass one.

They come in welded or riveted.

Welded is much more expensive, but way more durable then riveted which can leak if abused/stressed too much.

Aluminum hulls are generally much lighter than fiberglass boats.

They also tend to be noisier in rough water, (rattles etc) and typically don't handle rough water very well being lighter.

They often have much less flat deck space, and often the deck is not level with the top of the side rails. But there are exceptions depending on the type/configuration of the aluminum boat your looking at.


Fiberglass hulls are meant for speed and are very delicate and heavy.

I would never beach a fiberglass hull, maybe if it had a full-length keel guard (which lowers speed/efficiency) but otherwise you should ALWAYS anchor offshore and wade/walk in the water to the beach/shore.


I would be very leery to run a fiberglass hull in waters that have lots of stumps/hard underwater obstructions, or rocks.


Fiberglass damage can be repaired in most all cases, but it's costly and time consuming.

Aluminum hulls with major damage/holes are often a total loss as it's near impossible to weld/repair a hole in aluminum hulls from what I have seen.


If you fish mainly lakes and soft bottom deeper water with very little/no rocks, and your VERY careful to avoid stumps, and if your fishing larger bodies of water that can get rough, fiberglass is the best choice.


Me I fish rocky rivers/creeks, stump/tree filled waters, very shallow waters, and open water lakes. Basically, I prefer to be able to go anywhere freshwater. I have and prefer aluminum for this reason.

I stay out of the middle of big rough bodies of water though.

If I was rich I would likely also have a big fast 20ft fiberglass bass boat for big lakes/water only.


On trolling motors:

I also second the fact that a good trolling motor with more than enough power, in 24v or 36v is worth more than all your other equipment to enjoying your fishing time.


Spotlock is also a MUST HAVE for any serious fishermen, foot pedals are a joke.

I find them extremely uncomfortable, difficult to use, and your stuck standing at the pedal at all times.


I just upgraded from an edge 45lb foot control to a 55lb Riptide with spotlock and wireless remote.

My first fishing outing yesterday with it was life changing!


Boat control became a non-concern thanks to spot lock and the remote and I was able to focus 99% on fishing.

With the remote I can move around the boat anywhere at any time front or back, and have full control of the boat still, and spotlock in current or wind is a godsend.


With the foot pedal setup I was 60% dealing with boat positioning and 40% fishing at best.

Very nerve wracking and annoying, not enjoyable at all.

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