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james 14

Bass Boat In Salt Water?

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I've been blessed to have a wife who enjoys boats and being on the water. The caveat, however, is that she likes big water and big boats. I've fished out of jon boats for a good portion of my life and am in the position where I can move up to a decent sized bass boat...especially if I look used. I actually have my eyes on 20+ft Stratos and a Ranger which would be a leap and a jump ahead of anything I've ever fished out of. I could actually make do with something smaller but I want to be sure whatever I get could handle the occassional trip out into the bay (Tampa Bay).

I'm familiar with the precautions needed for traveling into the salt but what I'm not familiar with is the ability of these boats to handle riding around in the bay or possibly even the gulf side on select days. I'm not looking to make this a weekly endeavor and I'm not even looking to fish in the salt at this time (although I wouldn't be against running the flats for snook and reds if I learned how to do it well). I just want to be able to head out in the big water on most days without putting my family in fear for their lives.

I have virtually zero experience here but the bay isn't much bigger than some of the lakes I've fished so I'm thinking I'll be ok with the boats I'm looking at. Compared to my 12ft jon they look like barges.

I've also thought about getting a flats boat but their not as available in the used market and don't look much different than a bass boat. I'm not sure if they're built any differently to handle rougher water or if they're pretty much an uncarpeted bass boat. Plus I'd really rather have a bass boat since I'll be in fresh over 95% of the time.

Any thoughts? Advice?

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i've been out in the chesapeake bay a few times in an 18ft bass boat and on a decently calm day your just fine.. i've even seen smaller aluminum boats out setting crab traps. just be aware of the weather

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Be aware of the weather. Guys fish out of bass boats on the Great Lakes all the time. You may want to consider a muskie/walleye boat also.

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Living in Tampa and having been in the bay...it gets a weird chop to it, and can get pretty nasty quick.

A flats boat is typically self-bailing.

I know people that take their bass boats in the bay, but you wouldn't find me doing it.

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I am not sure about the boat but I would be concerned about wiring connections being corroded by the saltwater. And always flush the motor with fresh water and wash down the boat.

My biggest concern would be the trailer. Saltwater will get to areas that can not be flushed with fresh water. Could cause it to rust from the inside out..................Al

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I see people out in bass boats on a calm day sometimes, something I wouldn't do because weather can change in an eye blink. I don't know much about the gulf, but where I live access to the ocean is going in thru the inlet, which is extremely turbulent, we are dealing with design.

But ya never know....We see an old timer going out the Boynton inlet in a boat fashioned from a box from a pickup truck with smaller outboard. Have seen him many times, works for him.

A flats boat makes the most sense to me, btw fishing for snook or redfish from a flats boat is pretty much the same as bass fishing.

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If you do take a boat out in the salt, use a common yard sprinkler to put under your boat and trailer and let it run for a couple hours afterwards! Will help was the salt off!

Jeff

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Thanks for the info. I have considered a flats boat or an intercostal model like some bass boat companies make but there are far fewer of them out there for sale used compared to bass boats. I'm talking about maybe 3-4 days per year while running the OB for most of it. If I stopped it would be to pull up to an island and spend some time on the beach. Where I live there is a river that exits into the bay and I would put in at the river about 5-6 miles inland. This would prevent salt water on the trailer and give the boat and OB a good wash down while coming in. I would promptly spray down the inside as well and probably even keep several gallons of fresh water on the boat just for washing off feet and wiping down on the ride back down the river. I'm not sure if I can be meticulous enough or not to prevent corrosion but I would give it my very best.

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