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I have a Ranger Reata and love it. I bass fish out of it 90 percent of the time but its nice to just have a fun day in the summer also. Its not as fast and cant store as much tackle as a dedicated bass boat but it rides like a cadillac and is easier to drive.


Matt
 

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I just bought my first boat a few months ago and can confirm a couple things that have been said - dont look for a FIRST boat, get every bit of boat you can afford. It will be a hell of a lot more expensive to have to sell your first boat for the boat you really want two years from now. I joined a local club and rode on a few boats, talked to a lot of folks and spent 6 months on craigslist and various other sites. I rode in 1 fish and ski learned enough to know not to get one. They are not very good to fish out of and not very good for taking people out in. I bass fish 90% of the time and the family can deal with not-optimal seating the other 10% of the time.

Be sure to add in everything you want/need on top of what you are paying for the boat. Taxes, graphs, new trolling motor, carpet, upholstery, repairs, etc. add up in a hurry.

I ended up with a 98 Bass Cat PII with a 200hp vmax. Its 19' (which fishes plenty big) and has a top end I havent found yet (somewhere over 65). It has a removable flipping deck so I can actually put 4-5 people in the boat if needed. I put on some used high end electronics that have enough features to keep me busy for a while too. Trolling motor is a 24 volt 80# (which I thought I couldnt want more - but already think about it on windy days).

That being said I learned a ton about bass boating since owning it and have discovered about 8 things that I should have prior to buying it. I could have negotiated more money off or at least gone with out that bad feeling when you discover a problem later. Look at a bunch even if you know you arent going to buy them. Just practicing talking to people about their boats will help. Take someone along that knows bass boats and/or pay the money and have a shop check out boat AND TRAILER thoroughly. Motor and transom are the big things but things like crappy wiring, rusting trailer, fuel issues, hydraulics, etc. can cost you $ks.

I would say thats true of a lot of fish an ski's but there are a few out there that due both really well. I can take my trolling motor off, put the bimini top on load up with 6 people and have a great day on the lake pulling a tube around wakeboarding, swimming etc. Handles the 3-4 ft waves that you see on Travis during the summer with ease. I can also put the trolling motor back on, take the bimini off throw some poles in the boat then go out bass fishing. It will run 50 mph not 70 mph like a true bass boat so if you are tourney fishing its not ideal. But on the other hand if you are fishing for fun when it gets rough it will run 30mph and cut through the nasty waves that build on the big lakes without breaking your back. You sit deeper in the boat behind a full glass wrap around wind shield so its a million times more comfortable. The back deck is as big or bigger than most dedicated bass boats and the front deck is plenty big enough to fish one. One downside of a bass boat also is how they are typically propped. If you plan on pulling a tube or wakeboard etc with a bass boat you will probably need a second prop. Most of the bass boats are propped with a very large high pitch high rake prop that gives a lot of bow lift and top end efficiency. This will not be ideal and may not get you on plane when you load up with a bunch of people pulling a big tube behind you.
 
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