By Steve Graf, Co-host Tackle Talk Live
Even though 2020 was one of the worst years on record for obvious reasons, boat dealerships had what many would say was their best year ever. As more people turned to the waterways for their quarantine entertainment, bass boat companies could not keep up with the demand heading into 2021 as they were three months behind. Of course, you’ll also need a motor for that new bass boat and these manufactures are four to five months behind. With all this being said, dealerships will still be selling boats. Even though most boat shows will be canceled for 2021, some dealerships will be doing in-house boat shows and offering great deals. Over the next two weeks, I’m going to give you some advice and some really good insight on how to buy a new bass boat.
Know your needs….Are you fishing big waters like Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend or are you just fishing local cypress tree lakes. This will determine what length of boat you need to consider. For big water lakes, you would prefer nothing less than a 20-to-21-footer. The length really makes a huge difference when crossing the big water lakes in terms of ride, comfort and staying dry. But shorter boats (17 to 18 feet long) make navigating smaller cypress tree lake thickets a lot easier.
How big a boy are ya……If you’re 6’3” or taller, the one thing you don’t want is your knees banging on the console. Take the time to sit in the boat (or test drive) to make sure you have plenty of leg room. Also take a good look at the seats; you want seats with good padding like Ranger Boats SRS (Soft Ride Seat system).
Storage capacity….I will go ahead and tell you now, it’s like your house, you can never have too much storage capacity. You want room for all your rods & tackle but make sure the rod locker has guide tubes which really helps protect your rods. I also want lighted boxes and rod lockers. This makes it a lot easier to find things early in the morning when you’re on the water before sunrise. But the one thing that is of the utmost importance is that the storage lockers STAY DRY. Make sure the lids have a good tight seal when you open and close them.
Deck space….one thing that I really like is a wide front deck like the Ranger Z Series of boats. This gives you plenty of room to lay several rods on the front deck without stepping on them. I also look for a boat that has at least a 3-inch rail lip because it keeps you from kicking & losing rods over the side. Beware of boats where the deck is flush with the top of the hull. Also make sure the boat has good rod tie downs on the front deck on both sides.
Dual or single console….I like dual console for several reasons. As a guy that has fished as a co-angler at one time, I really appreciated having that protection in front of me while traveling down the lake in bad weather. It also gives me another storage compartment to put things that I have quick access to. Plus, it also makes for a better-looking boat and can really be an asset when you resell the boat.
Bass boats today are a major purchase and the choices you make now will have a big impact on whether you’ll get a good return when you sell or trade-in this boat. Next week we’ll talk about your motor choices, and accessories. Till next time, don’t forget to set the hook! For great angling tips, tune in every Monday at 12:00 noon to Tackle Talk Live on Facebook or catch us on our You Tube channel.