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  1. #1
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    New to Forum and need some advice on boats for tournaments

    Hello! I am Bob (with one O) from Orlando, FL. I am a complete newbie to fishing/boating. My teenage son was the one who has been pond hoping and got me to throw a line in with him a few weeks ago. I am now hooked! He/I wants to start fishing small tournaments around central Fl. We do not have a boat and that's what I am requesting. What is a good solid make/model for beginners with a 10K budget that can grow with us? Not looking to take over the bass fishing scene, just looking to spend time with my boys and catch a few fish along the way.

    Thank in advance and can't wait to learn a new hobby!

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  3. Member
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    #2
    I started with a Tracker 175 aluminum. Used it for seven years before making the jump to a glass boat. Won plenty of tournaments out of that boat and still wish I had it when the bite is super shallow. A tin boat is great on smaller lakes and in less than windy conditions. If you are wanting to fish big bodies of water I would recommend a 19 ft glass boat. It would be much safer on bigger rougher water.

  4. Member
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    #3
    Thanks so much! I appriacte the info. I will start looking and see what we can find.

  5. Member
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    #4
    Hello Bob, When I started out bass fishing I was much like yourself, I didn't really know what I wanted. Yes, I was on a budget too. I started out with a aluminum boat, and caught a lot of fish out of it. Fast forward...... 2 Rangers, and now a Bullet, I would recommend at least an 18 footer, with a 150hp. Just my 2 cents.

  6. Member larryhyco's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    #5
    Bob, you can find a good used bass boat in your price range. Just so you know I live on a lake, I fish out of a 2000 year Ranger. I've had it for several years and it looks and performs like a new one and when I bought it from a Ranger dealer and what I paid was in your price range.

  7. Member Jaxstix's Avatar
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    #6
    Im selling a 17.5 ft skeeter with a Yamaha 130. If you're interested I can meet you and show you all the ins and outs! I'm located in Jax. I used it as a beginner boat myself but I plan on upgrading soon. It's also 4k under your budget. =)

  8. The Kairos Lures Guy Fidgetcranker's Avatar
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    #7
    A buddy of mine has a Tracker with a 60 hp Merc 4 stroke. That thing has a very stable fishing platform. It runs like 35 mph.
    I've seen alot of guys fish tourneys out of those. Some of us (me) are hardcore tourney fishermen, and it's hard for us (me too) to understand why anyone would get a boat for tourneys under a 150 hp.

    That said, since you are just starting, and only fishing small local tourneys, an aluminum 17-18 ft boat with a 60hp would work fine. Keep in mind, you are new so it will get banged up a bit learning to trailer it and controlling it with the trolling motor as well. A windy day can be tough to control sometimes.

    A fiberglass boat is prettier, and most guys want to keep it that way, So learning, in a pretty fiberglass boat, may not be right for a beginner. There will be scratches/gouges that happen...And that can be heartbreaking on a shiny fiberglass boat you just got.

    Then again...Once you get the hang of things, IF you like the tourney thing, you will want a faster boat.
    Just some things to keep in mind.

  9. Member
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    #8
    I started with the small aluminum Tracker (16 footer with 75 hp) long ago and they are decent for beginners but you will quickly find that you will want a bigger boat if you fish tournaments. I strongly recommend finding a good used brand name boat (Ranger, skeeter, Triton etc) with a 150hp. You will be much happier and won't be looking for a bigger, better boat months later. You can find a well kept 10-15 year old boat within your price range. Make sure the boats been garage kept and well maintained. Get a mechanic to check the engine before purchase.

  10. Member
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    #9
    My first boat was used Terry that I got screwed on. Sold it and bought a Bass Tracker 175. That boat taught me about bass boats. I could do most of the work myself. Gave me the knowledge to start moving up. I think that's important. I've had two friends that jumped right in with performance boats and they are clueless and scared to take em out alone. Sold that Bass Tracker for exactly what I gave for it after 4 years.

  11. Member
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    #10
    I started out with 12' with a 9.9 Johnson up north, just picked up a nice 17' Cajun with 100hp mercury with trailer for under $3k. had it checked out the mechanic said was in great shape, don't be to quick to spend 10k when you fine some great boats in Florida cheap especially now when fishing is slow. if you know a marine mechanic have him come with you to check it out before you buy

  12. Member wmitch2's Avatar
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    #11
    I would suggest you and your son join a Bass Club in your area. You can each fish as a co-angler with others who have a boat and can learn different techniques and ride in different boats, and do it all very inexpensively !! Then you can take your time looking for just the right boat for you.
    Ranger Boats/Mercury Motors
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  13. Member J D's Avatar
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    #12
    ^^^This^^^
    \"When My Ship Comes In, I will Probably Be At The Airport\"
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  14. Member
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by wmitch2 View Post
    I would suggest you and your son join a Bass Club in your area. You can each fish as a co-angler with others who have a boat and can learn different techniques and ride in different boats, and do it all very inexpensively !! Then you can take your time looking for just the right boat for you.
    Winner! I inherited a 1985 v-17 bass tracker. I fished out of it til last year. But I was in a club that helped me decide what I wanted/needed Ina boat. You would be surprised at how many times I would get a call the night before a tournament the boater wanting to take my boat so we didn't kill a new ranger , triton or skeeter in the skinny water. But if you have no experience in a boat. Don't jump in a performance boat. Unless you have someone to teach you how to handle it. You can find one to fit the bill in that budget. But keep in mind big water can be rough in a small boat also. I would want atleast 18ft. Like mentioned earlier have it checked out. When you take it out move around the boat. See if it is stable enough for you. When I test drove my blazer I had 3ft. Rollers to deal with so I got a dang good idea how it handled.

  15. Member
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by wmitch2 View Post
    I would suggest you and your son join a Bass Club in your area. You can each fish as a co-angler with others who have a boat and can learn different techniques and ride in different boats, and do it all very inexpensively !! Then you can take your time looking for just the right boat for you.
    ^^What I did for the last 2 years. I had a cheap tin boat for fishing my local electric only lake for fun, but fished tourneys as a non-boater. Now I have my Champion for this year, and it's opening a whole new level. Honestly I'm glad I didn't have a boat 2 years ago when I started tournament fishing.
    2016 Ram 1500 Hemi
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  16. Member LewStulePH.D.'s Avatar
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    #15
    Here is one up in High Springs. The contact there is "Michelle" She also has access to many other boats. If You'd want to stay in that area You might go check out "Toho Marine" and see "Joe"..

    http://www.ltdmotors.net/pre_owned_d...sp?veh=3008736

    ApopkaMarine in Inverness will be having an Open House in which they'll be giving away a Yamaha 150SHO (need to be present) They'll also have a slew of guests and boats priced to sell..


    Edit: If You're ever over this way (Citrus County) I can meet You at the boatramp on 44 and I'll let You drive My Ranger Z-118 if You'd like, to provide You some idea..
    Last edited by LewStulePH.D.; 02-10-2017 at 08:09 AM.
    All Indians walk single file, at least the only one I knew did...

  17. Member
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    #16
    If you have not bought yet do yourself a favor ... 18 ft ... 150 hp or less ... will last you many years to make sure you want the financial burden that comes with our love of fishing ...

    plenty of boats out out there in your price range ... glass or tin are both great when set up properly ... ,,, get engine compression check and a good once over from a merc or what ever brand mechanic before handing money over ... if the seller won't do this then never buy the boat ...


    electronics and trolling motors are expensive so think about that when making offers what's currently on boat ...

    if if it doesn't have side and down imaging you will won't to get that rather quickly if the bug takes hold it's a pretty huge leap in technology ... great units are not cheap

    trolling motors with spot lock and side and down imaging have changed the game

  18. Member
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by wmitch2 View Post
    I would suggest you and your son join a Bass Club in your area. You can each fish as a co-angler with others who have a boat and can learn different techniques and ride in different boats, and do it all very inexpensively !! Then you can take your time looking for just the right boat for you.
    Good advice there. I am returning to tournament fishing after a 20 year layoff and even though I'm an experienced angler I decided to fish from the back of the boat as a co-angler this year in the BFL's and move up next season. If you want to do the tournament thing, find a decent sized local club that you can fish as co's, it will greatly accelerate the learning curve for you and your son.

  19. Member
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    #18
    I tournament fished out of a Tracker PT190 with a 90HP for several years before moving up to a Ranger 519. The PT190 was a great tournament boat with plenty of room for me, but when it came to the big lakes and having more range I needed something bigger. I certainly miss my Tracker in spring when I need to get in the really shallow water, but having the ability to handle bigger water and longer range the Ranger is much better to have in tournaments. If you do go with a tin boat, just focus your tournament fishing practice close to the launch and plan to fish protected areas. Sometimes being in the tin is an advantage and a good starter rig!