From 14-foot aluminium centre consoles built in the ’70s that leaked like a sieve through to purpose-built fibreglass ocean boats that are simply a dream to drive, I've had them all!
But, what are the things that really matter when choosing a boat for you? Well, firstly not leaking is a good start but really you have to think long and hard about what sort of fishing you will be doing most of the time.
For example, a mate of mine had a great estuary boat that was fully kitted out. I mean this thing had two sounders, Minn Kota, live well, kill well, underfloor fuel tank and the list goes on and on. He set this thing up over a few years to match up with the estuary fishing he was doing but he had a real longing to head offshore to chase bigger species. So, he sold his estuary boat for around $25k and bought a new boat at the Sydney boat show for well over $100K. It was a big Tinnie with a lot of great features including very expensive electronics. After a few months, however, he realised that he had made a major mistake as he had no idea that almost every time he headed out to the blue water he would get seasick and really found the whole experience way too time-consuming and very uncomfortable.
I guess the lesson in his case was 'try before you buy'. Had he hopped on board with me and experienced a little more blue water fishing he may have not sold his amazing little estuary boat and invested so much money into what he thought was the next phase of his fishing life.
You really need to be realistic about firstly, what style of fishing you like most, have time for and perhaps what you’re best at.
So once you've worked out what style of fishing you will be doing, it comes down to 4 key things that may help you choose the right vessel for you:
- How many people will be fishing with you on a regular basis? If it's just you a small boat with maybe more money spent on electronics could be good. However, if you're bringing your kids or a couple of mates you need to think about where you will all stand comfortably and how well the boat will travel with the extra weight. A larger boat is probably more suited.
- How far do you need to travel in the boat each time you go out? This question will help you choose not only the size of the boat to handle the conditions but also the power you may need to get you to your destination each time in a timely fashion. In this case, size does matter.
- What do you feel safe in? Based on your experience you may not feel very comfortable in a smaller boat amongst loads of boat traffic or travelling long distances having to deal with weather changes. In this case, despite the fact that most of your trips are solo a larger boat could be for you.
- What can you physically handle? When you go into the showroom looking at a big shiny boat it's easy to get carried away only to find out that launching that boat on your own might be very hard.
So in my humble opinion before you get caught up in the idea of a particular boat make sure you really think through the practicality of your circumstances. Don’t be one of those guys that has a beautiful boat sitting in their front yard under a tarp because they simply didn’t think it through.
Tight Lines, Bergie