DUMB QUESTION GUYS..I AM NEW TO THE BOATING WORLD AND STARTED TO RESEARCH SOME BOATS. HOWEVER, I WANT A FISHING BOAT THAT CAN HANDLE BOTH SALT (BAY-OCEAN) AND FRESH WATER (BIG LAKE). BUT THE INTERNET DIRECTS ME TO ONE OR THE OTHER? WILL I BE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH MY WANTS WITH ONE BOAT, OR WILL I NEED TO BUY ONE FOR FRESH AND ONE FOR SALT WATER? AT THIS MOMENT I AM IN NO HURRY TO MAKE A PURCHASE, JUST GATHERING INFORMATION.THANKS FOR YOUR TIME AND ANY/ALL INFORMATION WILL BE GOOD FOR ME!RS
Great question!! I live in knoxville TN and most of my boating is in fresh water, but I travel to the coast about four times a year. I have a 17' center console (cape horn). In my opinion there is no better way to go. The room you have on a center console is great for the length/weight of the boat. Also - center consoles tend to have hulls which are deeper than fresh water boats so they take the rough stuff better. You give up some speed compaired to a "bass boat", but I have never felt the need to go 80 mph.Good luck
Howdy, Rob. I agree with Paintermn, a 17 foot center console is the most versatile fishing boat you can have. There are several boats available with either deep vee or cathedral style hulls.Look at Carolina Skiff, Edgewater, Scout, Grady White, Cape Horn, and, of course, the original: Boston Whaler. Each offers its own package of features in its own price range. There are plenty of used Boston Whalers around, and their quality is so high that they seem to last forever with good maintenance and care. I would expect a Scout, Cape Horn or Grady White to do the same.My Boston Whaler is a 1980 and I like it just as well as my son's 2000.Red sky at night. . . JB
FIRST THANKS FOR THE INFO GUYS.NEXT QUESTION:WHAT ARE THE PROS VS. CONS OF THE CENTER CONSOLE 17' VS. SAY A 20'-23' CUDDY CABIN? (OTHER THEN PRICE)ALSO, WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS OF BOTH, FOR EXAMPLE FORGETTING SEAMANSHIP HOW FAR IS TOO FAR TO GO IN THE OCEAN? ACTUALLY I AM NOT EVEN SURE WHAT I INTEND TO DO WITH THE BOAT...I GUESS THAT IS WHERE MAJOR PROBLEM IS. MY WIFE MAY WANT TO BE ABLE TO WATER SKI SPEND THE NIGHT....ETC,, NOT JUST FISH?
Hmmm..Well, as far as how far you can go...It is apparently possible to go from Cuba to Florida in an inner-tube, but I would not try it. I go out six miles in my CC on a clear day. You can't really compare a 17' anything to a 23' anything eles. You need to buy as much boat as you can afford. There are very few times when it comes to boats when bigger is not better. As for taking a woman with you fishing: This is generally considered to be the height of stupidity.(Just a joke people--------I think)
Hi, Rob.A 17 is going to be lighter, easier to tow, launch and load, handle skinny water, more maneuverable and MUCH easier on your wallet (not necessarily to buy, but certainly to power, operate and maintain).A 22 to 24 Cuddy or CC will require a bigger tow vehicle, be more difficult to launch and load, need more depth, need more space to maneuver, and cost a LOT more to operate and maintain.The 17 will be less comfortable in rough water, have less room, be more likely to get in trouble in rough water (some models are made for offshore use by expert seamen who don't care much about comfort. The BW Montauk is one example) and usually not carry enough fuel for far offshore operation.The 22-24 cuddy will be more comfortable, carry lots of fuel, offer shelter, impress the neighbors.Fishing boats vary a lot in quality and seaworthiness. I would do a lot of things in a 17 Scout, Grady White, Cape Horn or Boston Whaler that I wouldn't do in many 22-24 walk through or cuddy boats.Hope that helps.Red sky at night. . .JB
Rob, I've been both ways, and it's purely a matter of preference. Had a 21' cuddy for 5 yrs. Got it for the same reasons that you mention. Spent the night on it twice, and that pretty much goes for others I've known who made the same choice. You get a lot of storage with that cuddy, but it takes up a lot of deck space, and the boat is more difficult to get around in, particularly if you have to get up to the bow in a hurry, as in "oops". Also, it's impossible to disembark over the bow if you pull up onto a beach somewhere. Actually getting off isn't nearly as diffucult as getting back on. You can get in outta the rain in a cuddy, too, but it sure gets stuffy down there. The best use I found for it was locking the kids below for a nap (other than the storage).Had a 17' Montauk for 5 yrs, too. Wore that thing out on the fresh water lakes and the ocean. Probably was the most versatile boat I've owned, but it sure gets small 30 miles out in the ocean. Wet, too, when the wind kicks up! It's a very small 17 footer. If you like Whalers, check out the 18' or 19'. You can put the Montauk inside an 18 footer, which is also self-bailing. There's a trick to self-bailing the Montauk, but don't believe it. It requires practically sinking it, and everything on deck gets soaked. One good rainstorm, and you'll appreciate self-bailing.Several other boats over the years aren't worth mentioning. I've recently settled into a Hydra Sports Seahorse 212 with a 150 Johnson. This is the best of them all. It's 20'6" long and a whopping 8'9" wide, with a huge center console that stores nearly as much as my old cuddy (I removed the porta-potty that came with it---if ya can't use the bucket, ya gotta hold it). This boat is very seawothy and dry, with tons of room. It jumps up out of the hole, due to the width, and planes within it's own length. There's no wood anywhere in the construction. All composites. Haven't skiid with it, but with a top speed of 44 mph, it shouldn't be a problem (for the kids).Having been both ways, I wouldn't go back. Center consoles are the ultimate in useability. They're so much easier to clean up, too. My wife cruises and fishes with me, and she doesn't want a cuddy again, due to the cleanup chores. The interior of a cuddy mildews badly.One thing you really gotta appreciate, though. The bigger the boat, the less you'll use it, unless you keep it on the water or in a storage facility that will launch it for you. The less you use it, the more work it is. You have to clean it before you go out, then again when you return. Fuel goes bad and gets contaminated by water from condensation. Sometimes you can work on them for hours getting ready to go out, only to have to cancel your trip due to some problem that developed while it was sitting around. I'd rather have a late model rig with lotsa hours on it, than an older one that was never used. I don't mean to scare you off, I'm just saying that the more you use a boat, it seems like the more ready to go it is the next time. It's just the nature of the beast. And trailers..... just let one of them sit around for awhile, especially if it's used in saltwater. You've seen 'em sitting along the side of the interstate with a wheel off. I've been lucky enough to find my way into a house on the water, where the boat hangs in my boathouse. Consequently, the trailer gets infrequent use,and I never know whether I can trust it for a highway trip. Been lucky so far, but I'm pretty meticulous with preventive maintenance.Hope I haven't bored you to tears, but there's a lot to consider, and if you don't use the boat, you'll sour on it in a hurry. If you use it a lot, there's no better feeling. When talking to people, however, remember one thing. People don't like to admit mistakes. Better to use your eyes. Look around, and see which boats are getting used, and which ones are sitting in the yardevery weekend. The story will be different, too, depending upon the section of the country you're in. I took my center console outboard to a lake in Northern Alabama, and people looked at us like we were aliens! Don't think they'd ever seen one before.Be realistic about how you imagine that you'll use the boat. If you make a mistake, admit it, and get something different, before you get frustrated and give up. Took me over 30 yrs to find my "perfect" rig. Who knows, maybe I'll find something better a few years down the road.Welcome aboard! Hope you enjoy it as much as the rest of us.
Thanks for asking a great question. After looking at a LOT of boats new and used, I bought an 18.5' cuddy O/B used. (my first boat) First, there isn't a boat that is perfect for all occations. If you go out in cool weather with a breeze and or fog, a protected helm is nice. The cuddy part of my boat is only good for storing gear and taking a nap. The CC guys are having fun too but are much more bundled up with eyes watering, etc. because the ocean here is usually cool, the fog can drop and the wind kick up. If I could own two boats, I would have one of each but thats probably not gonna happen. Maybe some time in Florida each year?
Lake Shasta with Mt. Shasta in the background, June 2011
OUCH....MY HEAD IS REALLY SPINNING!!!!!!PAINTERMN, JB, BEERNUTZ AND JRJ - IT IS UNBELIEVABLE THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION THERE IS FOR BOATING/FISHING.ALL YOU GUYS HAVE GIVING ME A TON TO THINK ABOUT. I FEEL SORRY FOR THE PEOPLE WHO DON'T DO THEIR HOMEWORK AND JUMP RIGHT IN HEAD FIRST!WHAT MAKES MOST SENSE TO ME UP TO THIS POINT IS TO GET A BOAT THAT I CAN MOVE AROUND WITH THE MOST EASE. (I WONDER HOW MY TOWNSHIP FEELS ABOUT BOATS IN YARD?) ALSO, ONE THAT CAN HOLD HER OWN IN THE ROUGHER STUFF! I FIGURE THERE IS A BOAT SHOW UP MY WAY IN FEBUARY (ATLANTIC CITY, NJ). I WILL HAVE TO GO, SEE AND ABSORB AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. UNTIL THEN I WILL CONTINUE TO DO MY HOMEWORK.ONCE I DO MAKE A DECISION I WILL HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ACCESORIZING HER -OH MY GOD-THANKSROB
Rob, as you can see, your "dumb question" is one that has been nagging the rest of us for years. (Maybe it was 7 yrs I had that Montauk). JRJ is right, the cuddy is a whole lot drier, but it sure is harder to chase a fish all the way around the boat. Don't forget, there's also those "walk-around cuddies". JB has suggested a good group of manufacturers to check out. The Cape Horn is a sturdy "shell boat", and you get a lot for your money. The others have inner liners, and are more finished, quieter, and more rigid. The Whaler and Scout use a "foam sandwich" construction that gives an integrated feel, but limits access below deck and in other ares for mounting accessories and running wires, etc., to anywhere other than where the manufacturer thought you ought to be running them.While you're at it, take a look at the offerings from Key West Boats. They're made by the same family as Scout (I think the guys are brothers, with factories on the same street), but utilize conventional construction. Both are high quality boats, but I think the Key West has a higher freeboard and should be drier and more seaworthy.You've got the right idea, though. "Boat Show". Best way to make visual comparisons.Good luck!
Oh, just thought I would muddy the water even more...and to expound on the great reply by beernutz. I can give you a personal testamony to the difference between hull construction theories. I just replaced a 17 Key West CC with a 17 Cape Horn CC. The Key West is a light weight double hull and the Cape Horn is a heavier single hull. With the light hull you get great fuel savings (I had a 75 hp Yamaha), and an easy tow. It was very responsive to drive, But....It would bob around like a cork. The Cape Horn needs a 115 (Mercury) to do the same work, but is much more stable and comfortable. I like the Cape much better.My advise would be to get out and drive as many as you can. They ALL look good at a boat show.Also...Don't listen to all of the "Whaler-Guys", they are like "Volvo-Guys". They all talk like their boats are the best, but they are only trying to justify why they spent too much money. The Whaler hull is wet and heavy, and WAY over priced.( Oh my God, I can't wait to hear from "Whaler-Guys")
Oh, Paintermn, I just can't let that go. A Montauk weighs 950#, a classic Outrage 18 weighs 1250#. Go compare.Forgot to mention, Rob, that the classic Whalers (all Montauks and others prior to 1991) can be had with a full canvas weather shelter that encloses the bow and helm. Not quite as dry as a cuddy, but foldable.Red sky at night. . .JB
Oh yeah? Well my Mercedes is also "overpriced" and both are worth every penny. You get what you pay for, and the more quality you get, the more satisfied you will be. How many boats can you find that are still selling for more than half what they sold for new over 20 years ago, and more than they sold for ten years ago?And I'll bet my grandsons are better looking than yours, too! Reds sky at night. . .JB
J.B.,J.B.,J.B.------I'll let you know about the grandkids when I have some.Actually, I have a theory about the resale value of Whalers:(Developed as an adaption from an earlier theory I call "The 'apparent value of Volvo's' theory.)A little background: In the early 80's I spent two years selling cars for a Mazda dealership. At which I learned two theories of sales. The one above, and the "We'll beat any deal theory" which simply stated is: If you advertise something as the cheapest, you will attract people who cannot afford what you are selling.Back to the AVOVolvo's theory: At that time the trend in cars for the affluent and wana be affluent was the Volvo. Since they were in demand the Volvo dealers could sell their cars at almost NO discount therefor making a large proffit. The cars were very expensive, but people justified the cost to themselves, even though they were just following a sales trend.When it came time to trade the Volvo, a dealership would only give the amount of money for the car the dealer could buy a similar car at auction. (Wholesale auction)This amount was always far below what the owner THOUGHT the car was worth.( and many times what he owed), BUT it was in fact what the car was worth.bear with me........Volvo owner would then take his over-valued car out and find another individual who he could convince that the car was worth a great deal (More than its real value). and sell the car to the second guy. Who now feels smug because HE owns a Volvo, even though he paid too much for it too. On and on and on and on.........If you can convince people down the line that your Whaler is very valuable because YOU paid too much money for it then you are right the whaler holds it's value. AND you have created another "Whaler-guy" who has now just spent too much for a boat.As the owner of that dealership said to me about the Volvo( After we watched another pissed off Volvo-guy drive off): "Great car, but you know: It's just a bunch of steel and rubber after all"Great boat, but you know: It's just a bunch of fiberglass and stainless steel after all.People, people---don't let this happen to you or you too will have to create another Whaler-guy so you can sell your boat.This all does not apply to the Mercedes, J.B., because it has REAL value. Your car is valuable because it is more costly to build.Peace and Love.
beernutz has summed it up pretty well. I owned a 23' Owens (wooden), a 28' Carver--both very old cabin cruisers, and never really used the cabin much on either. The Carver gave up 2/3 of its deck space to the cabin, but did have a flying bridge. I used the smaller boat more. Now I've just bought a 17' Trophy center console because it had more useable space than even my old Carver. The trophy was also reasonably priced so I bought new instead of paying for costly repairs every month, or break downs on the water. I haven't received my cc yet, but I know I'll use it more. Plus, the size allows me to put it in rack storage, or on its trailer--thus no bottom painting, scraping, cleaning, etc. It all depends how you use it though.
Just to throw a confusion dimension into the fray, don't forget aluminum. Take a look up in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. They have done some real interesting things over the last 20 years or so.On brand worth checking out is Pacific Skiff in Bothel, WA. Another is Almar.For the guy who wants to do a lot of stuff with a boat... Salt, fresh, trailer, ski, etc. A center console aluminum boat is hard to beat. For those who don't want to invest a lot of time do work on their boat, aluminum is also a good choice. I have had my skiff for 5 years and its total cleaning was taking leaves out of it in the spring. I put my efforts in to the motors to keep them in top shape, instead.
Just remember LATENIGHTROB,I know in our neck of the woods the fresh water lakes can develop a good chop which is shorter than at sea. The ocean can be very unforgiving and yet I have often felt safest on the ocean than on a large lake. God I hate the short steep chop our fresh water lakes can throw.In short my suggestion would be to look at the largest boat your purse can afford. And by the way, take your wife with you to the boat show. It'll amaze you how much encouragement she'll get, and how much she'll soon be making suggestions on shape and size. You'll both enjoy the experience.I know because we do!Ross
Latenightrob,Once you go "salt" you'll never go back. Generally, salt water boats work great for fresh, but not visa versa. Once you've had a center console or "walk around", you won't want anything else.As others have said, the self bailing boats with innerliners are a snap to clean up and maintain.JB, listed alot of the popular brands, there are also some regional brands available that are quality boats.I have been thoroughly impressed with the offerings from Scout. They are are a real up and coming company. Great boats, high quality, and great comments about customer service. And this is coming from a BW "Montauk" guy!
After looking at all of this I'd say that you guys have about covered the entire spectrum. I will have to put in my 2 cents though. I agree that you should buy all that you can afford and that if you intend to spend any time offshore you should look at boats designed to do just that. You will give up some of the shallow water capabilities but then thats the choice you have to make. I live on the gulf coast and ended up buying two boats, a carolina skiff and a seacat. The Cat is a fantastic CC boat with the smoothest ride I have ever felt. I personnally think that it out performs many 30 footers and I often run down large 40-50 ft sport fishers in open waters on 3-4 ft chop. It will cost you up front but I think its worth every penny. There are many boat makers out there and many of theme are offering some sort of catamaran these days. You may decide otherwise but you really should atleast look at the Cat option. You will find that they are advertised as the smoothest most efficient hulls on the market and after a year of fishing 30-100 miles offshore I have to agree!