Great Lakes Bass Fishing Forum

About Fishing Products including Make Your Own => Boats, Outboard Motors, Prop & Trailer Talk => Topic started by: 6 lb Smallmouth on July 17, 2012, 10:26:13 AM

Title: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: 6 lb Smallmouth on July 17, 2012, 10:26:13 AM
Based on reading Larry's thread, I see how everyone recommends a 20er' for the Great Lakes.  Is this primarily for handling waves?  I don't fish tournaments so I never see myself making 15 mile runs in rough water.  I watch the weather and wind direction and drive to the launch that best suits me.  If it is too windy and rough, I go do something else.  I'm not in the position of having to fish a tournament and needing to run 10 miles in rough water to get to my fish.  In this scenario, how about the 18' glass boat with a 150?

Here's my situation- I am about a year or two from getting a boat.  I have a 6 cylinder in my vehicle (6500 lb towing capacity) and I don't want the weight of a 20' boat with a 225 on the back.  Sure, I could probably tow it but stopping it would be another issue.  An 18' w/a 150 and a single axle trailer is about the max that I want to tow.  So I've limited my options to the 18' glass bassboat (that Sabre sure looks pretty) or an 17-18' deep V tin boat such as a Crestliner Fish Hawk or the Lund Impact which I'd pair up with a 115.  Any thoughts?  
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: 1javelin on July 17, 2012, 11:02:10 AM
20'+ is really nice in rough water, but it feels just as nice when the weekend traffic picks up on your local lakes also.  I also enjoy the added length for keeping that crankbait your fishing buddy is using away from your ears.  But, if I did it again, if not fishing tournaments on the big water regularly I would probably go for an 18' or 19'.  As for braking, most 20' come with brakes on the trailer as well, so don't let that be your deciding factor.  I pulled my 20' 200hp single axle with my S-10 for years and didn't have brakes on the trailer, and it worked well.  Coming down long hills I could smell my brakes keeping up, but that was Ouachita and Traverse City.  Not your normal driving conditions in Michigan.  Either way, hold out for a good deal and one that meets your needs.

1jav
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: t-bone on July 17, 2012, 01:01:51 PM
I don't think there has to be that much wind or weather on St. Clair to justify the need for a 20ft boat. Saturday was perfectly calm at the launch and I still was pretty beat up - you come around a point and wonder where did all these waves come from. The tuna boats out there can cause a lot of 3-4 fters that make you appreciate a larger boat.

If your not fishing TX and needing to run long ways - a nice deep V is a good way to go on St. Clair.
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: LAPORTE on July 17, 2012, 02:15:17 PM
I have had a 18.5 Skeeter with a 150 for 3 years now and every time I'm on St Clair or Erie I wish I had a bigger boat. Case in point yesterday I Fished St Clair for about 14 hours. In the morning all the way up until about 1pm I was thinking my boat would have did just fine. Later in the evening as we were coming in @ 8:30pm I was very glad to be in a 20 foot boat. The wind just picked up a little, along with a little boat traffic and it went from a light chop to about 2-3 foot waves and getting worse off.

It seems I never get to far away from shelter with the 18.5 length if I had a 20 plus foot... look out

Buy what is best for your fishing needs .... and you wont go wrong...

Laporte
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: Mike S. on July 17, 2012, 02:48:54 PM
Buy the biggest you can afford, and store. Seriously. Don't worry about towing with a 6 cylinder vehicle. I have a 20 footer with a 225. When my truck was down 2 weeks ago, I had my dad come get me to take him fishing. He has a 2 wheel drive F150 with a V6. He was leary of towing my boat, didn't bat an eye at dragging my old Nitro to LSC, but soon saw that his truck would handle it just fine.

Also during that time, I borrowed my friend's TrailBlazer. I thought he had the 4.3 in it. Towed the boat just fine, was just a little wierdo seeing so much of my boat while towing. Come to find out, he had the straight 6 in it. Wasn't a hot rod off the line but it did the job.

If you have your heart set on something, buy it. If you don't, chances are you will regret your purchase later on down the road. I'm not a huge tournament fisherman, but I sure do like my 20 footer compared to the 18 I had before it. I have had an aluminum Bass Tracker also. Personally, I will never buy anything other than a glass boat ever again. When the wind picks up, you're still in an aluminum boat, regardless of length.
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: troossien1 on July 17, 2012, 11:37:50 PM
20' is my thought grandpa has an18' bass cat sabre, We love it but will be going to lsc as riders because of fear of spearing waves and other issues that come with a boat that size. Out boat is awesome but you will feel safer in a 20' when everything is said and done. Storage, deck space ride and peaceof mind on big water
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: LennyB on July 18, 2012, 06:14:04 AM
Bigger is definitely better. I have a Ranger 18.5' with a 150 Mercury and use it on St. Clair all the time, often with 3 people in it and have no problem, but again, if you have a choice get the bigger one.
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: motocross269 on July 18, 2012, 08:57:16 AM
Compromise...Get a Bass Cat Pantera IV.....19 footer that can run up to a 200 HP engine and handles the big water fine...
Revtro runs out on LSC a ton in a Pantera III. (19 footer)..I have ridden in his boat and it rides very nice..
Jon Bondy last I knew has been guiding out of a 19 footer.....So if he can get away with it...


I am in a 20 footer but I wouldn't hesitate to run 90 percent of the time in something smaller..
I know technology gets better but 20 years ago the standard rig was an 18-19 footer with a 150hp..We fished both LSC and Saginaw bay every year...

Buy what you like but don't think for a minute you can't fish LSC with a smaller rig...It doesn't matter if you have a 20 footer or an 18 footer, on big water, common sense, safety and driver ability has more to do with it than boat size...

I was on LSC yesterday and it was mildly rough...(2 footers) and there were guys all over in 16 foot Aluminum rigs,....

Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: thedude on July 18, 2012, 11:21:13 AM
good advice. get as big as you can afford. the additional size will give you more room, more carrying/weight capacity, better stability and a better ride.

i wouldn't worry about the 6cyl. Its not that much more weight and a 175 doesn't weigh that much less than a 225hp outboard. Get a trailer with brakes on it and you should be fine.
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: bob o on July 18, 2012, 07:46:23 PM
http://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/boa/3099297388.html

here ya go a perfect BIG water boat, if i had a garage it would fit in i would own it right now
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: 6 lb Smallmouth on July 18, 2012, 08:50:14 PM
Thanks for all the input.  Got a little while to make up my mind.  If I spent as much time as you guys on big water this would be an easier decision. 
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: troossien1 on July 18, 2012, 10:14:56 PM
Im sure you will after you get your boat!
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: Frank on July 18, 2012, 10:19:07 PM
when i get back in town ill be selling an amazing 19' skeeter.  96, with a 150 merc.  probably selling for 6k.  pm me and we'll talk about the details.  Ill be back on the 30th, though i may have internet access in Aruba.

Frank
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: djkimmel on August 13, 2012, 05:20:39 PM
Bigger is better is good advice. If you can swing it and justify it. If you can't, you can do plenty of fishing with an 18' bass boat. I practiced the big water for years from a 14' with a 20HP by picking and choosing. Sometimes I chose poorly and really wished I had a big boat for a few hours but I did get out fishing and the poor choice was my own fault. I'm a little better at settling for the next best fishing plan now when it is getting, or could get, stupid rough.

If you are going to fish more inland, fish many smaller lakes, an 18' boat is a very nice compromise. Especially if you aren't going to compete in bigwater tournaments. If you are going to fish the Great Lakes and bigger, open lakes a lot more, then you may end up happier with a bigger boat with a 200HP plus in the long run if you can swing it even if you don't fish tournaments. Especially if you might be taking anglers and kids out at times who are not used to 'big' water. It doesn't take a whole lot of wave to scare people who aren't use to it. A bass boat, in particular, makes you feel a lot more 'in' the water than on the water when things get big.

If 18' is what you can afford, tow and park, then get it. Put the maximum HP on it. The HP advice is the definite advice I will always give after seeing so many anglers disappointed over the years by underpowered boats. A well-powered boat will always feel, and probably be, safer than an underpowered boat. Sounds like you are thinking about putting the max HP on your boat already. Good.

If you go with the 18/150-175, you may feel once in a while that you wished you got a bigger boat, but much of the time, in your situation, you should be very happy as long as you aren't the type of person who pushes things very often when an alternative choice for the weather and boat traffic conditions might be better on a given day. I would give advice more like most of the boaters above if you planned on fishing the Great Lakes mostly and sounded more aggressive, and/or included a fair amount of tournaments, but you sound like you are more into fishing enjoyment than boating challenge.
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: 6 lb Smallmouth on August 14, 2012, 11:36:05 AM
djkimmel,

Good stuff.  You pretty much summed up everything I was thinking.  Probably a 188VS with a 175 Yamaha would be the perfect setup for me.  An 18' that will handle rougher water better than others in its class.  If I only had the garage to put it in...... 

Thanks for the advice. 
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: UAWBigDog on August 14, 2012, 05:14:01 PM
I got a 19ft. Champion.  1993 with a 150 Johnson.  I go on St. Clair and Erie with it.  It's pretty dry up until the waves start pushing 3ft.  As I get older, I make better decisions earlier so that I don't go beyond what the boat is capable of.  Most of my fishing on St. Clair and Erie is within 20 miles or so of the launch I put in at.  I've learned to launch near where I am planning to fish.  My gas tank on that boat is small.  I think it only has a 30 or 35 gallon capacity........maybe 40 but I doubt it.  In a tournament, depending on where I am launching, I may or may not be limited.  May not be limited because I've concentrated on learning water close to launches.  On St. Clair, I fish according to the seasonal movements of the fish.  If I was going out tomorrow morning, I would drive to Algonac.  Launch.  From there I can fish just about the whole St. Clair River.  I can go north to Fawn or stay in the channels.  Pretty centrally located launch.  If I launch a little north in Marine City, I am going to fish Fawn, Middle Grounds, and Stag.  From Harley I can fish all the canals in that area, Metro Beach, all of Anchor Bay, and up into the channels as well as the Firecracker, St. Clair Light, Walpole, to Mitchell Bay.   You get the idea.  A 20 footer or larger can take you anywhere from any launch there with safety, stability, and a smooth dry ride.  Yes, there are days I wish I had my 20 foot Javelin again.  Should have never sold that boat.  But the Champ is economical and I can still get out on the water which to me is the bottom line.  Get a boat with a large gas tank.  My next boat is going to have a big gas tank.  That Javelin had a big tank.  80 gallons I think.......maybe 85.  Don't remember off the top of my head.

Like the rest of the fellas are saying, what is your need??  Are you going to fish tourneys??  Or just for fun and relaxation and the love of catching big fat bass??  Good luck in your quest. 


BD                               ;D
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: bigjc on August 14, 2012, 09:28:46 PM
I run a 19' 5" Legend, which as great rough water rig, and 50% of the time I wish I had bought the 21 footer.  Not only for big water, but fishable space and storage space.  Not to mention that I often fish more more than just one other person, and the more room the better!

Also, as the dude mentioned, there really isn't much difference in towing weight between the 18' rig and the 20.

My advice is buy all the boat and motor that you can afford.
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: Lightningboy on August 14, 2012, 11:54:28 PM
You need to buy as much boat as you can.  And power it with the max HP.

This is based on the principle that you always need more boat than you think.  I don't know how many times I've known a fisherman who bought a boat, and then wanted more.

The best thing you can do is some research.  Check out boat/trailer/motor weights, and see what size boats fit your needs.  My 21 foot triton with a 3.0 L on the back is about 4500 lb.  That's a heavy rig.  A 19 footer with a 2.5 L is about 100 lb. lighter on the back end than anything with a 3.0 L.

Next is the trailer.  With brakes, you'll really cut your stopping distance.  Most 18 footers don't come with brakes; some 19-20 footers do.

You also need to look at other viewpoints than size vs. waves.  A longer boat is a better ride, but also it provides more storage and angler room.  Most 18 footers don't have much of a rod locker, or dry storage.  Storage increases as you move to 19 or 20 feet.  You always need more storage than you think, since as you move to a bigger boat, you'll carry more stuff.

As you move up in rigs, you'll always increase your radius from the ramp.  Getting on the big water means covering some distance.  You don't need to fish tournaments to run over 10 miles.  As you move up in capability, you increase your run radius.  The fish are always biting better somewhere else.   ;D

Buy the most bass boat you can, or buy bigger in tin.  Tin boats weight less than glass, so you can tow bigger.

No matter what size rig you buy, try real hard to get one with a hydraulic jackplate.  It turns most rigs into a much better big water boat.  Even if I ran a 18, I'd have one.

Yeah, you can pick and choose your days/area on big water.  But are you ready when the weather suddenly turns?  Sh*t happens.
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: 6 lb Smallmouth on August 15, 2012, 08:51:20 AM
You guys are right about the boat weight.  18'8" Ranger is only 350 pounds less than a 21'3" Ranger.  Motor weight is no more than a 20 pound difference.  On the other hand an 18' deep V is 300 pounds less than the the 18' glass boat.  I thought the difference between the glass and tin would be greater. 

Still don't know if I want such a big boat.  I run a 17' semi-deep tin boat right now.  It's so easy to push that thing in a parking lot or push it on the trailer if it is sitting a little cocked. And you talk about storage- I have no rod locker and I can only bring about 5 rigs in the boat without making a mess.  I don't even look at rods and reels anymore since I already have premium rigs that I leave at home.  I am instantly jealous of guys with dual rod lockers and two big compartment in the front of their boat.   

You guys have given me things to consider.  Thanks. 
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: 6 lb Smallmouth on January 30, 2016, 08:44:53 PM
So it took me a couple extra years but I finally got my new boat.  Funny how buying a house and having a baby get in the way of a boat!  Anyways, I ordered a Tuffy X190.  Anyone familiar with them?  19.4' with a deep V hull.  Going to have to break it in properly next summer in northern Michigan. 
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: YpsiBass on February 01, 2016, 03:53:41 PM
Congrats on the boat! Never heard of the brand, but considering how long it took you to get one, I'm sure you've made the right decision. If you ever fish Kent Lake, I've got a pretty important waypoint to share with you...
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: 6 lb Smallmouth on February 01, 2016, 08:45:49 PM
Congrats on the boat! Never heard of the brand, but considering how long it took you to get one, I'm sure you've made the right decision. If you ever fish Kent Lake, I've got a pretty important waypoint to share with you...

Thanks.  Tuffy is a small boat company in Wisconsin that caters to musky and walleye fishermen.  The X-190 has a big front deck and room for a kicker since I like fishing some HP-restricted lakes.  Recon is comparable brands. 

My main choice came down to the new Lund Pro V bass or the Tuffy X-190.  They were comparably priced and in the end, the glass boat won.     Came close to a couple used Panteras but decided to go new and get exactly what I wanted.  Gonna be a long wait till April. 
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: Slipkey on February 02, 2016, 08:41:15 AM
So it took me a couple extra years but I finally got my new boat.  Funny how buying a house and having a baby get in the way of a boat!  Anyways, I ordered a Tuffy X190.  Anyone familiar with them?  19.4' with a deep V hull.  Going to have to break it in properly next summer in northern Michigan. 

Congrats!  Tuffy's a nice boat for big water, from what I know.  I see a number of them when fishing on Green Bay or up in Minnesota with my Dad.
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: detroit1 on March 11, 2016, 04:56:41 PM
I remember seeing Tuffy's in Fishing Facts magazines in the 70's. They've been around for awhile....
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: bigjc on May 15, 2016, 11:11:16 AM
Not a bad choice.  Pretty uncommon boat in MI, but popular with Musky anglers all over the country.  Let us know how you like it...
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: djkimmel on May 15, 2016, 04:33:19 PM
Yes, a follow up report would be helpful. I've seen them a few times on Lake St. Clair and occasionally on inland lakes too.
Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: 6 lb Smallmouth on May 15, 2016, 08:09:12 PM
I pick it up Wednesday.  Going hit Lake Geneva to start the break-in.  In less than a month I'll be in Elk Rapids for a couple weeks to properly break it in.  This is how it looked fresh off the line.  Will be powered by Yamaha F175. 







Title: Re: 18' vs 20' bassboat on the Great Lakes
Post by: bigjc on August 17, 2017, 04:50:08 PM
The Tuffy looks like an excellent choice.  I have always heard good things about them.  You simply cannot beat a deep V design in a Great Lakes fishing boat.  Since the last time I posted on this topic, I have sold my bass boat, and for the past two seasons, I have been fishing out of a 16 1/2 foot deep V tiller, Alumacraft.  I miss the speed of the bass boat at times, but I always feel safe in it, and it tows well behind my GMC Canyon.