Used vs New? more bass boat buying tips

In response to a recent comment quoted here, Jason asked about buying a used bass boat.

"With your experience selling and repairing boats, what do you look for when buying a used boat to make sure you get the most for your money?

Well Jason, this is a hard question to answer. I won't say "it depends" because that sounds like a cop out.

But here is what I would do. Now I know this may upset some dealers, but I would buy a boat through word of mouth from trusted friends. I know, I know, this is not always possible.

And some dealers will have some good deals. Especially if it is one of their pro staff boats. Those boats are usually well cared for because the pro staffer has certain obligations to keep his boat looking good as part of his contract.

I would avoid buying a boat belonging to someone who fishes lots of tournaments. A few tournaments are fine. It's the guy's boat who fishes every weekend that scares me because he puts lots of hours on that boat.

I know of two boats right now that are nearly brand new and are well maintained. One is a BassCat and the other is a Blazer that are great buys. The price is right and the boats have little hours on them. In fact, I even thought of buying one of them and reselling it at a $5000 profit because it is priced so well.

I sold my boat last year about this time to a member in my bass club. He heard about it from another clubber. Even though the boat was 10 years old, it had very few hours and runs great. Sure some cosmetic stuff was showing its wear but over all it was a good buy.

Because the guy was in my club, I sold it less than what I thought I could get for it. I figured if anything went wrong right after he bought it, I would feel bad. So I discounted it by $1000 to $1500 so even if something happened he still had a good boat at a fair price. As it was, he got a great deal.

And, read the fishing forums and look for sale items. Someone on the forum probably knows the current owner and can vouch whether the boat is well-maintained.

I have a friend who sells his Ranger every year. He does fish a lot so the boat will have some hours on it, but he is very fastidious about his stuff. I think he has guys standing in line to buy his pro staff boats when he's ready for a new one.

Join a bass club if you don't know many people and you will be amazed at how many good deals you will hear about where you live. You will know the history of the boat from the clubbers and you will see the boat in club tournaments.

As I think of more ideas, I'll post them. And I invite comments to this and other posts.

Until next time,

Bass Boat model year change, best time to buy is now

If you are looking for a good deal on a new boat, the fall/early winter is a good time to buy. I stopped in at Ranger dealer the other day and he was out of stock. He told me I could order a new 09 at 08 prices, with even a 10% discount if I ordered now. He will probably be going to the dealer meeting soon so he could also order a 09 for me then, if I wanted delivery next winter or spring.

Here is a secret: If a dealer has some stock boats, he will be willing to come down.

When I sold boats, we would order at the July dealer meetings and get free "flooring" until about May. After that, we had to start paying interest on the inventory, which adds up in hurry. The goal was to make as much profit during the free flooring time and then discount the few remaining boats in May so we would not have to pay interest on all that money.

This time of year, I also knew that the dealer meeting was coming up so if I didn't have what someone wanted, I could take the order with a small deposit and order the boat at the dealer meeting. The more boats I ordered at the meeting, the better discount I could get.

If you need a boat soon, and the boat you want is not in stock, order it for delivery. The factories are slowing down now, so they are going to offer the dealer incentives to keep ordering. The dealer is probably not going to order enough now to get a truck load so shipping charges could add a lot to the cost, so make the dealer an offer: Offer to go pick the boat up at the factory.

It may not be worth it to you to take some time off work and spend hundreds of dollars on gas, but it is better than waiting for the factory to get a truck load going in your dealer's direction, especially if your dealer is only getting one or two boats.

If I knew which boat I wanted to buy, I would be ordering now.

until next time, bass editor

BassCat bass boat

So far my search has been slowed by my work schedule. However, I did test a BassCat not too long ago and I was favorably impressed. We were in some mildly rough water at Lake Fork, so it was a good test. (And I even caught some bass, but nothing to brag about.)

When we hit the 2 1/2- to 3-foot waves, the boat felt solid. There wasn't any rattling of windshields, compartment lids, etc., like I experienced in other boats. And the boat was fast! It felt faster than the Nitro I rode in the same weekend. I like the way it planed quickly and acceleration was good. I could feel the boat come on the pad quickly and I loved the wind blowing through my hair.

But we did get some jarring as the hull sliced through some of the quartering waves we hit. I expected a little better from the BassCat. Its ride is not any worse than some other boats I've tested, but not as good as, get ready for this, the Nitro. Having said that, the BassCat felt stronger, hull wise. But that is very subjective, isn't it.

Both the Nitro and the BassCat had 250HP Mercs. I'm partial to Mercs.

We fished for an hour or so late in the evening. The platform is real easy to fish from. Three of us fished very comfortably. I love the big front deck. I thought I would like the center console concept of the Nitro Z9, but I'm going to stay with a dual console design.

We strapped down some 7 1/2-foot Loomis rods on the deck and they were inside the deck space without having to lay them over a console or gunwale. There was plenty of walking space on the deck and the rods were not in the way. That is something very important to me.

The boat is finished well —not as nice as the Legend, especially the rear compartment. But it still looks good. There is plenty of room for batteries and so forth but I wish these boats had just a little more fuel capacity.

Fuel capacity isn't that big of deal for most people, but in some tournaments, you have to make really long runs. I like to get away from the crowds and am willing to run long distances if it will give me an advantage. Of course, with fuel prices. I may not be able to do that much these days, unless I'm confident I can cash a tournament check by running far.

The BassCat wasn't even on my radar screen when I began this quest. It is now.

Until next time....

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