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I am in the market for a big water boat to use primarily for fishing salmon.

Obviously to keep the wife happy it will be used for recreation and taking out potential customers.

Will probably leave it in a slip in the Ludington area.

I owned a Ranger and did a lot of tournament fishing before I was married so I understand all the joys of owning a boat. Lol.

The one thing I wasn't prepared for was how little I know about these boats. They look good and seem competitively priced but that's on the surface. Compared to a 30k bass rig.

I know everyone will have an opinion on what's the best so I guess a better question would be.

1. What kind/brand of boat would you not buy for fishing?

2. What would turn you off about a boat?

3. Whats the best way to buy a boat?

4. Logically speaking now would be the best time to buy a boat with the winter on the way. Is that true?

Looking right around 20k maybe more if I can find a real good value.


Thanks for any info.
 

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Look for a good used dual console. Grady white tournemnt
sea swirl DC
MAKO DC


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1. How do you plan on using it? There are ALOT of boats I wouldn't buy, only a few I would. This comes down to a combination of layout of intended use and Construction. Buat this is alot driven by the amount you want to spend. A Bayliner will never be a Tiara, but a Bayliner doesn't cost anywhere near the price of a Tiara. In boats you get what you pay for.

2. There are alot I wouldn't but, see above. I will give you top five I would stay away from construction wise my personal experince of looking at boats: Wellcraft, Sportcraft, Baha Cruisers, Pro Line, Post 1991 Sea Rays. This comes from 20 yrs of crawling around bildges, the last place most people look in a boat buying purchace, but is the most imporatant.

3. Pick a Price range, determine a size you can handle/ afford to run, Get an Idea on a layout plan, Figure out useage (trailer and Slip, pay for haulout stotrage, etc). Figure out your budget to Maintain and rig the boat, then start looking at as many boays as you can. Plan on traveling alot and spending money on hotels and gas. After you narrow down the search and come down to a few models, do some research on them and look for common problems with certain models to narrow down search. Pick the one you want and look it over one last time before to make sure. Make an offer pending sea trail and survey. I just talked to a guy this weekend who has been on the hunt for 2 months now. $3000 later in surveys on 90's sea rays and he is still boatless.

4. Best time to buy a boaut is just before an owner needs to pay winter storage. Sept-Oct are good months. Then Jan-Feb is a great time to look real hard again, but you need to lock one down by Mid March. Prices will increase as it somes closer to boating months.
 

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I second the Grady White as one of the best designed and built boats for Lake MI fishing.

I'm also a fan of fixed hardtops (once you own one you'll appreciate why!!), but bimini tops can be ok too.

Oh, and the cuddy area with a porta potty will be priority one for any and all women who you bring along.
 

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Here's my take I have only fished the great lakes since the late 60's but also have a wife that used to fish with me. Your wife will want a stand up head with a door and will like a nice seating area as well as a cabin she can stand to spend the night in. If you want to fish it your going to need a flat open rear deck with wash down floors and tall gunnels storage fr your fishing gear is also very important. A auto pilot is also the best way to not have issues with your wife while fishing. Over 2 years of hunting landed us with a 1989 Four Winns 267 Quest which finally has a Auto Pilot. It was not the boat I truly wanted but was one we could agree on. It is also on a trailer I would never buy a boat without a trailer unless I was rich enough to buy any boat out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys that is the kind of advice I am looking for. What is a survey? Some kind of inspection I imagine.

1Maniac what is your reasoning for insisting on a trailer?
 

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I am in the market for a big water boat to use primarily for fishing salmon.

Obviously to keep the wife happy it will be used for recreation and taking out potential customers.

Will probably leave it in a slip in the Ludington area.

I owned a Ranger and did a lot of tournament fishing before I was married so I understand all the joys of owning a boat. Lol.

The one thing I wasn't prepared for was how little I know about these boats. They look good and seem competitively priced but that's on the surface. Compared to a 30k bass rig.

I know everyone will have an opinion on what's the best so I guess a better question would be.

1. What kind/brand of boat would you not buy for fishing? Bayliner, especially older ones, yuk. Thompson, yuk. There are others too. I am picky I like Tiarra, Proline, Welcraft, Cherokee..... a couple others.

2. What would turn you off about a boat? No room on the back deck to fish. Carpet floor. Terrible fuel economy.

3. Whats the best way to buy a boat?

4. Logically speaking now would be the best time to buy a boat with the winter on the way. Is that true?

Looking right around 20k maybe more if I can find a real good value.


Thanks for any info.
First thing you need to decide is how big you need. Trailerable vs not trailerable. 10 foot beam is so much bigger than 8.. so on and so on.
 

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Thanks guys that is the kind of advice I am looking for. What is a survey? Some kind of inspection I imagine.

1Maniac what is your reasoning for insisting on a trailer?
Surevy is an inspection. Kinda like when you buy a home.

Having a trailer is nice, but limits you on size of boat. 28' is about as big as you want to haul around safely any distance. Having a trailer also lets you pull it out if something is wrong, winterize and store where you'd like, move to another port, etc. But you also will need a truck big enough to pull it. It won't do you much good to but a 28' boat for 20k if you need a $50k diesel to pull it but don't already own one. As a point like this its cheaper not to have a trailer and pay $1500 to store it for the winter. That 50k will pay 33 yrs of storage.
 

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1. What kind/brand of boat would you not buy for fishing? For a big lake boat my personal preference is to avoid aluminum hulls. A lot of guys get a 21-23' tin can with the intention of trailering it "anywhere" with a 1/2 ton. That lighter weight boat shoots you in the foot when the lake gets choppy and you feel every wave. I like I/O boats, prefer Mercruiser sterndrives. Parts are plentiful and cheap when repairs are needed, almost everyone knows how to service them. If you can get your hand down into the area of the coupler, powdered rubber residue on the back face is a sign of a worn coupler. Engine has to be removed to R&R a coupler. Depending on boat size, you may be looking at a single inboard or dual setup which would have a transmission as opposed to a sterndrive, which is fine. I like high gunnels - safety thing. My boat's gunnels are just below my belt line when I lean up against it. Makes it harder for kids to fall out, or say you're at the back of the boat and catch a weird wave from an odd angle or something. Just my .02 but I don't like center console boats or those with walk-around setups. The center consoles I have been on (Grady White and Campion) had awkwardly tall seats (and I'm 6'). The walk-around takes away a lot of storage area.

2. What would turn you off about a boat? Poor maintenance records, no receipts but owner claims lots of recent work, obsessively dirty bilge, dented or worn props shake and wear on bearings & seals, lots of stress cracks in the hull. Pull the dipstick on the engine and smell the oil for smell of gas - generally an indication of excessive blow-by. If you can start the engine pull a crankcase vent off and put your finger over it with the engine running - if you feel it puffing a lot it's a possible sign of a tired engine. Look for a smooth idle. If "All it needs is just a tune up", the owner should have just dropped $100 on plugs, cap & rotor and wires... Low hours don't mean anything - it's easy to disconnect the meter or put a new one in.

3. Whats the best way to buy a boat? I like to buy from private individuals as you can get a better deal IF you know about boats and what you are looking at. Buying from a dealer has its advantages (warranty?)

4. Logically speaking now would be the best time to buy a boat with the winter on the way. Is that true? Deals are always out there. If you know exactly what you are looking for start looking now. If you don't end up buying until late in the fall chances are looking around now will have some experience under your belt by that time and give you something to compare your observations and notes.
 

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If you are buying a boat to troll with, inboard engines would be my first choice. clean transoms are the best.

Next would be outboards (hopefully 4 strokes) on the transom with something blocking the opening .. Guys will say that is dangerous but I say then don't go out when it is like that. A single outboard would be OK too.

Eurotransom outboards and IO's would be my last choice.

You also have to understand trolling speed control.

Maybe spend a day in Ludington or somewhere and check out the rigs. Guys love to talk about their boats.
 

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I said trailer required because you said 20k for a boat a trailer makes life much better you can change ports with the fish. My boat is in a slip this year and I actually don't like it I have to drive over to do any maintaince on it. Sitting in my yard on a trailer I can go out and tinker with my gear sort stuff wash it buff it out what ever I want. unless you find a great deal 20 k is going to buy you a nice trailerable boat. A independant survey is going to tell you more about the boat than any owner likely will. For a couple reason first he works for you second he can be held liable if he miss's something.
 

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. A independant survey is going to tell you more about the boat than any owner likely will. For a couple reason first he works for you second he can be held liable if he miss's something.
You are incorrect. If a surveyor happens to miss something, you cannot sue him. You will have to sign a contract stating he will do the best of his ability, but he will not be held liable for anything. I just want to make it clear, a survey is not a garantee, and you will not win if try to sue one.

Also, As it is true a surveyor works for the person hiring him, but his job is not to take sides, but just to state the facts.
 

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Brand isn't as important as condition and layout in my opinion. I stumbled upon my bay liner 2655 with autopilot, radar, 4 electric buck
Jon's....etc for 17000. I have not seen a 30,000 tiara I would trade it for in 3 years of looking.(they don't really exist much). Its a 97 and very good all around boat. Survey is key.


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Brand isn't as important as condition and layout in my opinion. I stumbled upon my bay liner 2655 with autopilot, radar, 4 electric buck
Jon's....etc for 17000. I have not seen a 30,000 tiara I would trade it for in 3 years of looking.(they don't really exist much). Its a 97 and very good all around boat. Survey is key.


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Brand and condition can kinda go hand in hand. Some brands are just gonna be in bad condition due to constrution no matter how well they were cared for. Bayliners are not as bad construstion-wise as many say they have "heard from a buddy". As for finding a Tiara for $30k, that is almost non-existant. Only way that would happen is if it was really old and needed lots of work, like in a hurricane work. Not that bayliner is bad, but thats like comparing a Dodge Neon to a Bently.
 

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Brand and condition can kinda go hand in hand. Some brands are just gonna be in bad condition due to constrution no matter how well they were cared for. Bayliners are not as bad construstion-wise as many say they have "heard from a buddy". As for finding a Tiara for $30k, that is almost non-existant. Only way that would happen is if it was really old and needed lots of work, like in a hurricane work. Not that bayliner is bad, but thats like comparing a Dodge Neon to a Bently.
I would never argue that a tiara isn't a better boat all other equal, my point is I would rather own a good condition 20000 bay liner than a beaten and abused 20000 Tierra. We can't all drive bentleys. : )


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You are incorrect. If a surveyor happens to miss something, you cannot sue him. You will have to sign a contract stating he will do the best of his ability, but he will not be held liable for anything. I just want to make it clear, a survey is not a garantee, and you will not win if try to sue one.

Also, As it is true a surveyor works for the person hiring him, but his job is not to take sides, but just to state the facts.
You are both right and wrong if a surveyor missrepresents a item be it a boat or a house you can sue them. If he does not list it or excludes it then he has no liabilty but he is supposed to be a professional and as such has to truthfully inspect the item. It is also why many shops will make you tow home a vehicle that they consider unsafe for things like brakes. I have worked at many shops that will not even put a car or truck back together with bad parts if you choose to not have it fixed you will pay to have it towed home because we won't put it back together with junk parts for you to drive it. We lose the lawsuit every time it is not worth the risk.
 

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You are both right and wrong if a surveyor missrepresents a item be it a boat or a house you can sue them. If he does not list it or excludes it then he has no liabilty but he is supposed to be a professional and as such has to truthfully inspect the item..
I can tell you of many instances where a purchaser hires a surveyor on work of brokers advice. Broker and surveyor are in Ca-hoots, boat passes survey. Buyer picks up boat and has a DNR inspection 3 months later and find the transom and stringers shot. There is no way the stringers when bad in 3 months, but there was nothing legally he can do. The buyer signed a contract. I do not not know of any cases where a buyer won a lawsuit over a surveyor missing something.

I am in the process of becoming a SAMS surveyor, so I have studied up on this. I can tell you I have\will always be professional and do the best job possible. But there are surveyors out there that can be shadey when money is handed under the table. The reason I am becoming one is my surveyor is retiring and he doesn't trust anyone else to take over his clients.
 

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I don't know this to be true but it comes for a very reliable source. You CAN sue a surveyor but only for the amount you paid the surveyor. A judgement can only be handed down for the amount spent for the service. No damages or other fees related to the judgement.

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