BassWestUSA - November/December, 2009, Page 61

by pete robbins

by Pete robbins

Boat Buying

Boat Buying

“Too much boat”

We all want to have the baddest boat on the block, and we all want it to include all of the latest gadgets and toys, but if you over- spend, you’re asking for trouble, particularly in tough economic times. Take for instance Stone’s Bass Cat Puma FTD: “In my area of North Caro- lina, the way I have it rigged out, it’ll retail at $55,000,” he said. “That’s a lot of money, even in a good economy. Some guys can afford it and if that’s what they want I’ll help them get it. But we also have a lot of other options, including boats that are smaller, 18 or 19 feet. Instead of a 250, you can hang a 175 or 200 on them. A Pantera Classic has the same quality as my Puma FTD, but you can load it up pretty good and still be in the lower 30s.” “That $20,000 will pay for a lot of fishing trips,” he concluded.

The phrase used to mean that you bought something too big or too powerful. Today it can mean something slightly different – that you overspent when you needn’t have done so. Either one can cripple your fishing. North Carolina pro Marty Stone has seen it from both sides – as a professional angler with a national touring schedule, he wants his boat out- fitted comprehensively, with top of the line elec- tronics and a full complement of add-ons. But as a regional rep for BassCat, he tries to encourage anglers to stay within their means. That can mean buy- ing an 18-footer instead of a 20 if that’s all someone needs. Or it might mean buying the 20 and adding only those options that are absolutely necessary.

Stone believes that in some cases nothing less than a 20 footer will do. “If a guy came to me wanting to buy a boat for Erie, I’d max him out,” he said. “If he couldn’t afford that, I’d steer him to a used 20 footer before I put him in a smaller boat.” But on a smaller lake, “you might not need that Puma FTD,” he said. “You could fish great out of a Sabre, a Pantera II or a Pantera IV and save $20,000. Any of those boats will handle a 16,000 acre lake. In fact, it’s probably an advantage.” Smaller boats can often be pulled with more fuel-efficient tow vehicles, or more efficiently with the same tow vehicle. They take up less space in the garage or driveway. Once you make the decision to go smaller, though, make sure that downsizing is the only change involved. You want to buy a boat of equal quality, just less overall material.

Is BIgger Better?

November/December 2009