Lakecaster Online

Fishing with the Texas Angler
by Keith R. Warren

It's been over twenty years since I bought my first new fiberglass bass boat. Back then boat manufacturers were building almost 60,000 boats per year. The number of manufacturers has dwindled more than half, while the number of new fiberglass bass boats which are produced each year has fallen to less than 29,000 units.

When I learned these numbers, I was shocked. The few remaining leading manufacturers of bass boats are now competing for fewer and fewer new boat buyers. This translates into great news for the want-to-be fiberglass bass boat owner.

Today's manufacturers are turning out a finished product that is so much better than when I bought my first boat that I find it hard to believe. The boats have become increasingly larger in size and in the number of standard features that weren't even options back in the late 70's. The quality of new fiberglass bass boats has improved significantly as well.

When I shelled out the money in 1978 for my new, top of the line boat and engine, the $10,000 price tag set me back financially for several years. The price of some of today's new fiberglass bass boats is now in the $30,000.00 range. I even heard of a guy recently who ordered a new boat that had enough extra equipment on it that the final cost was over $40,000.00

Selecting a new bass boat today is much easier because there are fewer name brands at which to look.

It's imperative that anyone who purchases a new fiberglass bass boat does their homework. I'd suggest that you first determine what you will primarily be using the boat for and where you'll fish. This will help determine the size of the boat.

Next you should take an on-the-water test ride in each of the leading manufacturer's boats to determine which will work best for you.

I always recommend test rides to be done on a windy day in order to see how the boat handles rough water. Keep in mind that all boats will handle nicely on clam water. There are boat manufacturers that give on-the-water demos that will show the buyer some incredible performance and handling. But ask yourself, "Is this the way I'll be using the boat?"

When selecting an engine, do some asking of questions and lots of listening. Ask the mechanics at boat shops to give you their opinion on which manufacturer is best and why. Look around at fishing tournaments to see which brand engine is breaking down. Ask the fishermen that are using the products for their opinion.

Selecting an engine manufacturer to me was very simple. I did some research and found that owners of two of the brands were frequent visitors to the repair shop, while with the third brand, I haven't fond one person who has ever had a major breakdown with their engine.

After the boat and engine have been narrowed down, do some research on boat dealers.

Many of them are running shops that will do whatever it takes to make you happy. There are some that put priority on the sale and leave the service for someone else to do.

These are lots of decisions to be made before making the purchase of a new boat. Make sure and invest some time to research the matter completely before signing on the dotted line.

A new boat and engine purchased today should last the owner a lifetime, if properly maintained.

Keith Warren is the host of Hunting & Outdoor Adventures and The Texas Angler Television Shows, both of which broadcast statewide. Catch the Texas Angler from January through June and Hunting & Outdoor Adventures from July through December on Fox Sports Southwest Cable Network on Sunday mornings at 9:30 A.M. CST. You can write to Keith Warren at P.O. Box 310379, New Braunfels, Texas 78131-0379 or visit online at www.texasangler.com.

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