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Discussion Starter #1
Long story short my Dad passed away in May and after my family sold his boat I found myself not really happy that myself and my family no longer have access to said boat, something that I had really always taken for granted until now. So I received some of the proceeds from the sale and I feel the only way to turn what is an already crappy situation into a better one is to take said proceeds and buy a boat. So I've found myself with ball park $4K. I've surmised that my best value will be some sort of aluminum bass fishing vessel and I've been slowly learning the various brands. I'm somewhat familiar with Bass Tracker, Lowe, Xpress, Alumacraft, and G3. But I'm sure there may be some other worthwhile manufacturers that you guys might be familiar with that I am an unaware of. And I've also found that it's much easier to search for things specifically rather than just searching around for "bass boat" which can lead you in all different directions. So, if anyone has a boat like this for sale, or either knows of some brand names that are lake worthy please toss 'em out so I can perhaps not miss out on one of those should the cross roads of price and condition cross paths favorably. I've got time and intend on finding something at a good price and I know they are out there because I've seen at least 3 boats that I had a close eye on get snapped up in a relatively quick manner of time, which makes me feel at least like I'm getting a pretty good idea for the true market value of these boats, whereas many, many of the people who are selling them seem to have no cluse.

Also, any other tips for would be boat buyers that you guys want to share I'm all ears. I grew up fishing salt water my whole life but living out in Cedar Creek now we're a bit too far from the gulf for me to consider that a realistic possibility at least at this point in my life, but I'll be damned if my 2 little boys aren't going to learn how to fish from somewhere other than the side of a bank if I can help it, and thanks to my Pop, looks like that's going to be a possibility sooner rather than later.


Thanks,

Tommy
 

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Tommy all the boats you named are good ones, IMO ONLY buy welded no rivets, they will leak! get the heavy gauge metal.
 

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^^^^What he said^^^^. All welded, heavy gauge aluminum. I've had my 1999 Xpress H56 (18') for 11 years, and it remains as solid as ever. You may be able to find a late 90's Xpress H54 (17') in your price range. If you go Xpress, try to stick with the performance hyperlift hull, denoted by being an "H" or "X" hull. Handles great and gets up on the step and on top of rough water better than the more conventional alum hull designs IMO. Good luck.
 

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I have a few questions:

1. are you 100% locked in on aluminum?
2. what kind of vehicle are we towing said boat with?
3. (probably most important) what are your goals with the boat and what attributes are most important to you? (maneuverability, comfort, room, economic, speed, etc)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input. I know there are two schools of thought on both fiberglass and aluminum. So while I wouldn't say I'm 100% locked on aluminum my thinking is that for my price range aluminum will get you the most bang for your buck and I can live with the differences. I'm towing with a 2010 Toyota Tacoma so I can tow anything in the 16-19 ft range no problem. My goals are to have a good into-fishing boat that will have good longevity, a relative amount of comfort (no plain jane Jon boats or duck boats) and fuel efficiency would be good, don't have to show boat around hey as long as it will get up and go that sounds good.
I have a few questions:

1. are you 100% locked in on aluminum?
2. what kind of vehicle are we towing said boat with?
3. (probably most important) what are your goals with the boat and what attributes are most important to you? (maneuverability, comfort, room, economic, speed, etc)
 

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I ended up in a smokercraft Amazing boat all around. Right amount of storage, roomy, versatile, great horsepower and speed. My kids love it and it has nice high sides. I would also look at polar Kraft and especially Lund for resale. My boat is 16.5 feet with 90hp. If you can go up in length I would do so. That way you should be able to up the hp. Mine fits in the garage. That is the only reason I have the 16.5

Good luck
 

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The Pro's and Con's after your feedback (this is just my opinion).

The Pro's to Fiberglass over Aluminum is easily the ride. Not to say Aluminum doesn't ride well, but if you're dealing with wake,wind, or traffic your ride in fiberglass is much less painful and a tad more safe. The fiberglass will generally support larger motors so if things like quicker hole-shot and top end speeds are important keep this in mind. Also consider the deck space and storage is generally more abundant in fiberglass but not in all cases.

The Pro's to the Aluminum is obviously the durability, less care required (no buffing or waxing), more fuel efficient, and generally aluminum boats can get in places the larger fiberglass boats have a hard time getting to (small creek channels, deep in standing timber, etc).

Towing obviously wouldn't be an issue with either at the length's listed. If you can go 18 or 19 foot in length in either the fiberglass or aluminum and the boat can do 30 to 35 mph or better you would probably be much happier with your purchase.

The better bang for your buck doesn't necessarily apply, older boats a lot of times you can find just as good a deal on either, the difference is the fiberglass may be a 1995 instead of a 1998 in aluminum, but could have a larger motor and more features.

Finally, I would say weigh your pro's and con's and don't settle if it doesn't have something you want or couldn't add later. $3000 dollar boats can catch fish just as well as $50,000 boats if you can find the fish (just don't be suprised if the $50k boat is already sitting on your spot when you get there:)). Plenty of boats out there, you're the one holding the cash and the patience for the right one to come along. If your willing to drive a little bit for a good deal it will benefit you in the long run(T-Dub's advice when I was looking). Good luck and keep your eye out on ABF, TFF, BBC and Craigslist, one is bound to tickle your fancy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, definitely seen some scams out there. See something on CL that sounds really good, just throw it into Google and there the same boat is in Minneapolis and Miami.
 

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I fished out of a 21 ft. center console on the coast for years. Age started creeping up on me so I transitioned to fresh water. Sold the bay boat and spent several months looking for (1) boat I could handle by myself (2) low maintenance (3) safety (I have two grandsons). I finally chose a Grizzly by Tracker powered by a 40 hp. Merc (tiller). (Suggest that you check with Tracker Marine on 183 - they might get one on trade - Jim is the mgr.) It is wide, stable, high gunnels (sides) and will cruise 28-32 mph all day long. A 6 gallon gas tank will provide 3-5 trips. The middle is wide open which I like. Storage under the front deck for life jackets & troll motor battery. I bought an old, ugly but sound trailer for $150.00 with ok tires. Rewired it with $45 led lights. Downside is rough ride but I just throttle back in rough water. The Grizzle is an all welded boat which is a must in my opinion.

This boat is perfect for me and my grandkids and a couple of old fart fishing buddies. As previously advised, look at Craigslist, particularly different cities and one will come along.
 

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^^^^What he said^^^^. All welded, heavy gauge aluminum. I've had my 1999 Xpress H56 (18') for 11 years, and it remains as solid as ever. You may be able to find a late 90's Xpress H54 (17') in your price range. If you go Xpress, try to stick with the performance hyperlift hull, denoted by being an "H" or "X" hull. Handles great and gets up on the step and on top of rough water better than the more conventional alum hull designs IMO. Good luck.
I was actually with Tommy a few weeks ago at Tracker looking at an Xpress they have out front. Seems like those cost higher than the average tin can. Is it because of the Hull? It did have a sweet yammie.

+1 on the all weld. I've got rivets and that's the first thing I would change about my boat if I could.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You'd be surprised but maybe it's because there isn't a distributor around here but Xpress boats, at least in price point are pretty rare around these parts. I'm seeing lots of good deals up near Ft. Worth Dallas, I guess because more people up there have bass boats and therefore there's more supply. And that's really just a guess but seems like similar boats up that way go for $1000 less than the same stuff I've seen down here. As far as these boats go in the Austin area (aluminum, $4000 ball park) there is very little to choose from and what I have seen have all been really overpriced. Which is exactly why I keep seeing the same boats.
 

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You'd be surprised but maybe it's because there isn't a distributor around here but Xpress boats, at least in price point are pretty rare around these parts. I'm seeing lots of good deals up near Ft. Worth Dallas, I guess because more people up there have bass boats and therefore there's more supply. And that's really just a guess but seems like similar boats up that way go for $1000 less than the same stuff I've seen down here. As far as these boats go in the Austin area (aluminum, $4000 ball park) there is very little to choose from and what I have seen have all been really overpriced. Which is exactly why I keep seeing the same boats.
I think it's Austin is just ridiculously overpriced. That's why when a good deal actually comes around it sells in 15 minutes.
 

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Triton also makes a good all-welded aluminum boat. I have enjoyed the heck out of my 2004 173 Sport. It is a 17ft with a Mercury 50 on the back. It will run just over 30mph with 2 people in it, and is very good on gas. It is a great boat for smaller lakes like Bastrop and Decker, but I've had it on Travis and Amistad as well. They are not as common as the Trackers and such, but if you run across one in your search you should take a look at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Adding Triton to the LIST.

Triton also makes a good all-welded aluminum boat. I have enjoyed the heck out of my 2004 173 Sport. It is a 17ft with a Mercury 50 on the back. It will run just over 30mph with 2 people in it, and is very good on gas. It is a great boat for smaller lakes like Bastrop and Decker, but I've had it on Travis and Amistad as well. They are not as common as the Trackers and such, but if you run across one in your search you should take a look at it.
 
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