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Shopping for a boat

by: David Coulson 1/16/2013

This upcoming year promises to be an exciting one.  No more cast on my leg, a granddaughter on the way, I’ve been fishing (some success), moving (downsizing), and slightly smaller, a couple of good shows, and at least one more to attend . . . You get the idea, 2013 has started out well and looks to continue.  To top it off I’m in the market for a fishing boat.

When facing a large purchase I do a lot of research. Part of that process is to list out what is needed/wanted/desired. Over the years I've fished from a lot of watercraft, kayaks to ocean going vessels, which gives me an idea the various styles of “fishing” boats available. 

First off, I’m looking for a fishing platform. Most of my fishing is with a fly rod, but I’m not averse to occasionally using spinning/baitcasting gear.  Fishing for me is cast and retrieve, rarely do I sit and fish, except in float tubes/canoes where standing isn’t an option. Even then it’s cast and retrieve.  Thus, a “flat” surface where I can stand and cast is requirement one.  Fly lines have this annoying habit of wrapping around the slightest protrusion, such as a cleat, thus the deck needs to be as clear as possible, rather like a living room without furniture.

Second, I’ll be fishing primarily lakes and reservoirs with an occasional foray to shallow saltwater flats in the gulf. Most of my fishing will be done in shallow water, under 30-40 feet deep, salt or fresh.

Further, I want something I can fish competitively from, primarily black bass, but other species are not out of the question, especially redfish. So the boat needs to be to have enough engine to get me around fairly quickly, as the boating speed limit on most Colorado waters is 40 mph that’s probably fast enough for my purposes.  And it needs to be large enough to carry two or three anglers and their gear.

Other “necessities” include a trolling motor, live well, depth finder, and gps unit. Adequate storage for fly rods and the excess of other gear I’m known to tote would be a plus. As saltwater fishing is in the mix, it does need to be designed for that.

Based on my “needs” three boat types immediately come to mind, bay, flats, and bass (if salt water ready). Of the three, flats and bass boat have the most appeal, primarily due to their smaller size and shallower draft.

Last weekend was my first time “looking”, rather than “researching.”  I attended the Denver Boat Show, figuring I’d be able to look at lots of boats in one place.  I was correct in that, unfortunately most of the boats where recreational, and the fishing craft, while excellent boats were not what I had in mind.  Plus, the few bass boats there were, of course, their best models and budget busters for me.  No problem, we’ve many days of ice left and the search has just begun.

There was real benefit to attending the show however, that I able to visit with Chad and Dan for a while, both long time boat owners.  Their insights, along with those I’ve gained talking with others have helped me start to solidify my thoughts.  So when I have the monies in hand later this year, I’ll be able to act, rather than shop.

And if you’re wondering, why do I need a boat?  Not sure I do.  It’s a lot like the “why climb the mountain?”  Because it’s there, but in this case it’s “because I can.”

Blog content © David Coulson
Member comments
alanlf5280, CO   1/16/2013 12:02:32 PM
Looking forward to hearing about your purchase. After fishing from Matts boat, I really liked it. Good to bring a kid or dog on board, yet has the platforms to fish from. Then again, I love being able to get my tracker into the shallows and not worried about damaging the hull when in the thickets since it's aluminum. I think the only answer is ...... two boats.
David Coulson (Flyrodn), CO   1/16/2013 12:44:54 PM
Uhm, two, now that would solve my fresh/salt water dilemma. Not sure I can make that sale to the wife, and even if I could the trade offs would be rather costly. Matts is a bay style craft.
Steelhead, CO   1/16/2013 7:14:01 PM
im doing the same thing and think a drift boat (Boulder boat) is the way im going to go. U can fish lakes rivers and off shore. mostly indestructable and lifetime boat. colorado product. multiuse, check em out,
FISHRANGLER, CO   1/16/2013 8:19:19 PM
You are looking for the MAKO 18 LTS INSHORE then, it's the boat you want. Please take a look at it. And Bass pro is having a sale this weekend .They do not have one here in town but you can get it brought to you. The 90 or even the 115 would be fine for you. The 90 is alot less in price but would still get the boat on plain to 30or 35 in CO
FISHRANGLER, CO   1/16/2013 8:21:12 PM
Here is the link
SFMedic, CO   1/16/2013 8:30:24 PM
REALLY?........... 17 degrees and the best thing you can come up with to blog about is a boat purchae 3 to 6 months away....... maybe next week you can guide aus through a canoe trip down the nile for some crock knowledge.
esoxrocks, CO   1/16/2013 8:38:52 PM
My brother owned a flats boat for years, kept it on Boca Grande, but brought it up to WI every summer for our family fish-a-thon. Got a few looks from the cheese-heads (it was totally white after all) but most folks ended up remarking on how well designed is was. Perfectly suited for shallow water fishing. Loved the center console, jack plate, bench seat, huge casting deck and the fact that you could plane the thing in less 10”of water. Don’t know why more fresh water boats don’t have these features.
FISHRANGLER, CO   1/16/2013 8:44:11 PM
I don,t know why either?? But I just bought a 185 Center Console inshore boat myself to use here in CO. I think Im going to love it. I know I'm going to like not having any carpet.
elkinthebag, CO   1/16/2013 11:36:25 PM
Might wanna look at a now fishing boat. Ussaly a double wide Jon boat 16'-18' with a plate form you can build to what ever height you want they are fresh and salt ready can be equipped with live wells. I know the the griz 1800 holds a 150 horse e tech motor easily break all the speed limits in Colorado and with the plate for up front it will plane out in a jiffy.
David Coulson (Flyrodn), CO   1/17/2013 6:43:52 AM
Thanks for the input. The feedback is helpful. Right now I continue to gather a list of manufacturers and sources. Once complete I'll begin the process of weeding through them.
JKaboom, CO   1/21/2013 6:20:21 PM
One day I will get a boat and truck but for now it's the car, shorefishing and the great equalizer - Ice Fishing :) I am sure you will find exactly what you are looking for (I liked the one Fishrangler talked about).
David Coulson
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