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Discussion Starter #1
I am trying to figure out what type of boat to buy. I want something 16-18 feet. I am not a pure troller, so I want a boat that is versatile and easy and stable. Something that would be 50/50, something that I can just as easily cast from and troll. I prefer not to troll, but I realize that is how many fish are caught. Any suggestions besides buying two boats?
 

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My suggestion is the same I give everyone when buying a boat. First set a budget. That is very important. I would suggest an aluminum boat with no less than 60hp motor and a full windshield. This is the most versatile for CO conditions. Next, Whatever your budget is, reduce it by $1500 and get the boat you want, then put an electric trolling motor with iPilot on it. This is the most necessary piece of fishing equipment on a boat IMO, and will aid in nearly every aspect of fishing.

I would rather have a smaller boat, with a smaller engine and less stuff on it that has ipilot, than I would the bigger, more expensive boat. I can tell you, most that have fished with me would agree.

Last, remember when buying used, you are pretty much buying a motor and getting the hull for free.. get a reliable motor with low hours and you will be a happier boat owner.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I fished on a boat over the weekend that had ipilot. It was awesome. For my budget, I will have to make some compromises, or just save for another year. I have a small boat that works for wakeless lakes, so I am not in a rush to spend money on something.
 

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I am sure you will get many opinions on this subject... Like I said, I give the exact same advice to anyone asking. I have owned my own boat since I was 18 years old (25 years) and my experience has taught me that you want a reliable motor, a full windshield and a top of the line electric motor. Good luck.
 

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I fished on a boat over the weekend that had ipilot. It was awesome. For my budget, I will have to make some compromises, or just save for another year. I have a small boat that works for wakeless lakes, so I am not in a rush to spend money on something.
I practiced yesterday for the C Creek tournament next weekend. Brutal weather and big waves. Even so I was able to sit on a school of eye's and finally catch a decent one. I was really surprised the I-pilot was able to keep my above them in such rough water:thumb:
 

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I agree the I pilot and a decent fishfinder are necessities. I have a 17 aluminum boat. I can take it on smaller lakes and big water. It has enough room for a couple of friends, or it is small enough to take it out by myself.
 

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Since you are looking for a boat that can be utilized for both trolling and active presentations, I would suggest that you occasionally look here: http://muskie.outdoorsfirst.com then click on "Forums" and choose "Muskie Boats and Motors". The Muskie guys do some trolling but more often are actively casting. Consequently, their needs are somewhat different from those of a walleye fisherman- larger, wider front and rear decks and less clutter- who frequently trolls. A larger front deck will often provide a smoother ride by placing the cockpit area further aft. This, of course, assumes that you are focusing on a deep V boat- which, in my opinion for comfort and safety in Colorado's occasionally adverse conditions, you should. Once you begin to get a feel for desirable attributes for your boating needs, peruse these sites to get a feel for the market: http://www.walleyecentral.com/classified/searchresults and http://walleye.outdoorsfirst.com/classifieds.asp . Many deep V boats listed on these walleye sites are well suited to multiple uses. Compare what you find on those sites to what is available locally on Craigslist. It's a fun process and somewhat addicting. I, almost daily, went through that entire procedure for 3+ years before buying my current boat and still find myself regularly checking to see what is available on those sites.

I wholeheartedly agree with Oyey that a full windshield boat will provide a quantum improvement in comfort and protection from the elements, that a minimum 60hp motor will allow you to run from approaching storms (safety being much more essential than the speed it will afford) and that an iPilot is an essential addition. Similar to the caution on not buying an underpowered motor to push the boat (many say to max out the hp), I would suggest that the power (lbs of thrust) of the trolling motor should be more than just adequate. I have a 24v Terrova 80 on my small boat and have been trolling cranks at half+ power (1.5mph) for 8 or more consecutive hours without running out of juice. I went from 15 years with a 15'3" Skeeter bass boat with a Yamaha 70 to a Crestliner Fish Hawk 16'8" full windshield with a Merc 90 and could not be happier. I had wonderful times fishing from the Skeeter but it was not well suited for heavy conditions (rough and wet ride) and would take water over the bow at times (even from the wakes of large pleasure boats while pulling jigs/lindys). It was faster and more "fun" than the Crestliner but, compared to the Skeeter, the stability of the new boat is like fishing from a dock. I also considered a similarly sized Lund Impact and Alumacraft Competitor but they both have side compartments behind the console which diminished their workable rear deck width and the Crestliner has the largest front deck. I fly fish, cast, troll, etc from this boat- both front and back- and could not be happier. The desirable interior layout of a boat is subject to very individual preferences. Sylvan and Fisher make some boats in this configuration that I feel I should have investigated more. Tracker Boats by Bass Pro have an enduring aura of quality concerns which may or may not be well founded but it put me off for my considerations. I know Mike (Slayerfish) has a Tracker and he appears to be quite satisfied and I'm sure others can chime in. Finally, I went with the boat I purchased because it was the largest that could fit in my garage (width more than length) and I refuse to store my boat in a remote location. I somewhat wish that a bit larger boat (17' - 18') would have fit but am quite pleased with new my set up.

Take your time, enjoy the process and good luck!
 

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I am trying to figure out what type of boat to buy. I want something 16-18 feet. I am not a pure troller, so I want a boat that is versatile and easy and stable. Something that would be 50/50, something that I can just as easily cast from and troll. I prefer not to troll, but I realize that is how many fish are caught. Any suggestions besides buying two boats?
What is your budget?
That would be a huge factor....
 

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Since your not in a big hurry I'd recommend waiting until fall. Spring is a great time to sell a boat, fall is a great time to buy one.

You'll likely end up with more boat at a better price in the fall/winter.

Also, a lot of engines have an extended warranty that transfers-if you can get one with time still left, that's a big plus.
 

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Some great advice in this thread (and that's a nice Lund Hobie is pointing out) whatever you do, don't finance it over 15 years (or 20+) - you'll end up at H.M. Brown trying to trade both boat and tow vehicle in for a new car and the salesman will be trying to convince you to park it in the garage after you trade in your tow vehicle for a Subaru Outback. Don't ask me how I know :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
My wife is an accountant, she is pretty good at keeping me from stepping on financial landmines.

Some great advice in this thread (and that's a nice Lund Hobie is pointing out) whatever you do, don't finance it over 15 years (or 20+) - you'll end up at H.M. Brown trying to trade both boat and tow vehicle in for a new car and the salesman will be trying to convince you to park it in the garage after you trade in your tow vehicle for a Subaru Outback. Don't ask me how I know :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18

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Another great place to look is out of town or better yet, out of state. Great deals in the Midwest and you can use it for a few days when you go out to pick it up. Fun and money saving. Just have to shop around and line up a couple before heading out.
 
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