1. Know your needs….
Are you fishing big waters like Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend or are you smaller bodies of water or cypress tree lakes. This will determine what length of boat you need and what size engine might be required to navigate the type of water you fish the most.
2. 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.
3. Storage capacity….
You can never have too much storage capacity. You want room for all your tackle but make sure the rod locker has guide tubes which really helps protect your rods. Lighted boxes and rod lockers also come in very handy. 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.
4. Deck space….
A wide front deck (94”) like the Ranger Z Series of boats gives you plenty of room to move around when you have several rods laid out.It also makes it easier for two people to fish off the bow in team tournament events.
5. Dual or single console….
Some anglers like a dual console for several reasons. If you’ve ever fished as a co-angler or team partner, you really appreciate having that protection in front of you while traveling down the lake in bad weather. It also gives you another storage compartment to put things that you have quick access to. Plus, it also makes for a better looking boat and can really be an asset when you resell the boat.
6. Don’t under power the boat….
Make sure you put whatever size motor that the boat is rated for. If it calls for a 250 hp motor, put that on the boat. It’s not worth the aggravation just to save a little money. You’ll be much happier with the boats performance with the right size motor. It also makes it a little more difficult to a sell a boat that does not have the size motor the boat is rated for.
7. Trolling motor…..
This is one of the most overlooked features when buying a boat. All trolling motors are not created equal!!!! Again, make sure you get a trolling motor that will pull the boat through heavy cover and over stumps. Nothing is more aggravating than getting in back water and staying hung up because your trolling motor isn’t strong enough. You also need to decide if you want hand control or foot control. Both have their advantages.
8. Good insulated live wells with good aireators.
This is very important when it comes to making sure your catch stays alive and keeps fish in good condition for release after a weigh-in. Insulated live wells along with an Oxygenator system will help keep fish alive and the water at a consistent temperature which allows the angler control the environment.
This is what makes a boat a great. You might want to consider the following items. Good electronics (Lowrance, Hummingbird, Garmin ect) you can’t go wrong with any but research each in order to make sure you get the best electronics that you’re comfortable with. On board 3 or 4 bank charger is a must. A “Hot Foot” just makes good sense in terms of safety and making the boat perform at it’s peak. Rod tie downs, these will insure that your rod and reels stay in the boat. Lighted rod lockers and storage boxes come in handy. Minn Kota Talon shallow water anchor system, this is the best thing to ever come out in the last 10 years. You’ll be amazed how much and how handy this accessory is in shallow water And the new Minn Kota Ultrex I-Pilot trolling motor is the best trolling motor ever invented. It allows you to lock down on a spot in deep water without the use of an anchor or where the Talons won’t reach.
10. When is the best time to buy a boat?
Boat shows are the best places to buy a new boat. At no time during the year will you be able to get a better deal than at the boat show. Dealers are in the mood to make deals in order to help pay for the floor space their leasing at the show. They know that buyers are in the mood to purchase now that hunting season is over and they are getting the itch to get out on the water. More deals are made at boat shows than any other time of the year. Most of the time, there will also be special financing available just for the boat show.
Is it a good idea to buy a team boat?
If you’re buying from a local dealer, most will have a group of anglers that they have as “Team guys” who take a boat and use it for a year. At the end of the year they are required to sell the boat at a discounted price. This can be one of the best ways to get into a top quality boat at a good price. You can save several hundred and in some cases thousands of dollars depending on the make and model. These boats have been well taken care of and in most cases, they have had the kinks worked out and the motors have been broken in properly.