advice for buying a used bass boat

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advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by bruizer343 »

Long time reader first time poster.

I live and fish on the delta. Im ready to get into a used bass boat.

What are the top 10 question's I should be asking a seller.
I currently fish an 18' center console flats style, no storage and slow. So Im not a novice boat owner. I would just like input from bass boat fisherman.

In an attempt to be payment free, FWTW
Budget is 20k for the most part. 10 year old or less range.
18-21', 225 min, ranger,skeeter,triton,basscat,nitro.

I maybe might would want to refrase my question.

What are the top 10 things to "look for" in wear n tear and general boat issues. Bass boat specific.

my first boat was a used CC fishmaster that was a nightmare and ended in a salvage. That being said, I'm trying to decide to take a used boat crap shoot plunge agian. 50-70G's for a new boat is a bit over the top for me. Speed, storage,stability, My center console boat just dosnt have the giddyup or storage.

Thank you all.

Last edited by bruizer343 on Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Scott D.
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Re: advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by Scott D. »

What's your budget? I would stick with fiberglass, and I would recommend Ranger.
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Re: advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by Ricky-S »

I don't think you need ten, but there are articles on this site that you can use for advice.

Here is what I would ask:

What shape is the boat in
Can I test drive it
Can I take it to my local shop to check out
How many hours on the motor
Have you had any major problems/demage
Does everything work
How much do you want for it
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Re: advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by Phil »

Scott D. wrote:What's your budget? I would stick with fiberglass, and I would recommend Ranger.


9,000 TO 15,000 OR SO ..

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Re: advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by Smile_n_Jax »

Main advice I can give is to take your time and get what you want. Seems you're about to make a sizable investment. When I bought my boat last summer I had money to burn and was hot to trot. I'm happy with what I got, but in retrospect I wonder if I might have done better. And, by all means, have it checked out by a pro. I'd suggest Frank at Inland Marine.
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Andy Giannini
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Re: advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by Andy Giannini »

How many hours on the big motor? The new ones have built in hour meters so thats an easy one.

I would check the overall condition of the boat, thats going to tell something about how it was cared for. Carpet, seats, finish, and don't overlook the trailer. If you want to freak out the seller look undernearth the boat and trailer to check for levee jumping, like little Mandy.

Was it kept indoors? I know those tarps are great, but they vibrate in the wind, and any dirt equals scratches. Also cats seem to beat various tarping efforts and piss in there!

If you get close to purchase and don't know that much about a given line of boats call a buddy who does. I know Ranger fans that know the difference between each year model for example. My 191 Champ is a great boat, but it was replaced by a better model the following year, that floated the big Optis better. Sometimes one year difference is a big difference!

The two things I would not care about would be electronics and the troller motor. New fish finders come out every year, and almost the same can be said for trollers. A nice new one of your favorite brand could be a bonus, but don't consider a turkey because it has new new stuff on it.

Take a look at the sellers tow vehicle, this doesn't have anything to do the boat other than how he maintains his stuff.

Personally, I would try to get the biggest boat you can find that is in satisfactory condition. There is a big difference between an 18 and a 20 in my opinion. Buying a nice clean smaller boat could prove costly if you decide to get a bigger one. (I did that a couple times!)

.02 A.G.

Have fun shopping! Nothing like getting a new boat!
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Re: advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by Dave A »

I agree with what has been said above. I would try to get the biggest boat/outbaord for your money. As Andy said, don't overlook the trailer. make sure that the boat that you buy has a solid trailer. This will save you headaches and money down the road. I know from experience. In any event it sounds like you know what you want, go out and pick something that you feel comfortable with.
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Re: advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by Quantum_Kid »

Bruizer- You are now officially a nutcase :D

Just wait, before long you will be on here every minte of your spare tim :roll:

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Re: advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by Popper »


* Do you have a history of maintenance receipts for the motor?
* Any recent mechanical or electrical issues?
* When was the last compression check?
* What type of fuel do you usually fill your tank up with? Chevron, Texaco, [Quick stop??? This usually indicates he puts cheap fuel in the tank.-Thats a warning sign in my opinion-] And there is a difference!
* How often did you service your motor? -Check maintenance records!
* Did you follow the maintenance schedule indicated on your manual? -Check maintenance records!
* If it's a Mercury Ops-Max from 2000-2003, ask if there were any warranty repairs. This was a bad year for these folks..............

Motor visual inspection:

* Check the skeg for any cracks or chips.
* Check the prop for any chips.
* Take off the cowing and inspect the motor. Normally, if there were major mechanical repairs you'll notice bolt heads painted surface to be peeled or scratch. Again, check the maintenance records and asked questions.

Boat (Fiberglass):

* Check for hair line cracks in all corners especially around the transom. It's normal to have a few stress cracks in this area, but if they are excessive cracks throughout the boat it's best to move on.
* Check the utility compartment (transom area) for any fiberglass rework.
* Carefully inspect the surface of the clear coat for any repair work. Ask questions if you see something that appears to have been repaired.
* Inspect the bottom of the hull for surface scratches and gouges out of the gel coat.
* Inspect and run all electrical equipment, gages, switches, breakers, or fuses, pumps, etc...


* How often does he lubricate the bearings?
* Inspect the springs for corrosion and wear?
* How many miles do you have on these tires?
* Inspect the trailer frame for corrosion.
* Inspect the electrical, lamps and indicators. Does everything work? Are all the connections well insulated or are there wires tangling from the lamps?
* Are there trailer brakes?
* Where the brakes ever serviced?
* Bunk boards in good shape?

The list can go on but I think this will give you an idea of what to look for and ask. Boats I would recommend purchasing used are Ranger or Bass Cat.

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Tornado Dave
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Re: advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by Tornado Dave »

First and foremost, where was the boat stored?
A boat stored indoors will tell you a lot about the owner, but it makes a big difference to the boat. Heat, dust, drying, moisture. Does the owner use a proper cover or just slide it into a car port, or both?

Second, size matters:
Since you are talking about the delta, in my opinion 19' is the perfect size. It handles big water well, very comfortable, but it is easier to manage in wind, current and around docks. 18' with a single console is okay, but 19' with dual consoles is better and will have better resale value later. 20-21' offer more space, but you have to plan to run in the delta and the bigger boat will just cost you more at the pump and give you more room to load the boat. If you were primarily at clear lake, I would say go bigger. But the delta is mostly sloughs.

Take it to a mechanic before you buy and have them hook it up to the computer. They can tell how the boat was run, low hours is good, but if they were all wide open? I like Yamaha personally. Mercury EFI motors are more reliable then optimax, but optimax gets better fuel economy.

On the visual inspection, check around the consoles for stress cracks and check the transom inside and out. Then go over with a fine tooth comb, bring a flash light and a volt meter to check the charging system.

I also like Rangers and Basscats, but I really like the organization in the tritons too.

Do the seller a favor, don't do a water inspection until you are ready to make a deposit.

Most important, take your time, there is always another boat deal to be had, so wait until you can get what you want.

good luck,

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Re: advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by Murph »

A couple of other things to consider. Where are you going to store it? Do you need a swing away tongue? And if you're going to have to store it in your garage, corner to corner, a pop-axle (BassCat), is very nice. This alone will save an agonizing back strain the morning of the tourney or days activity.
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Re: advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by Lugnut »

Whatever you buy, take your time. I would check NCBF, Craigslist, and Boatrader to see what is available. It will also give you a chance to check out boats that have been bought, and sold recently. If that doesn't make since then let me give you an example. My buddy recently sold his mid 80's Skeeter which he had listed on NCBF, and Craigslist. He was asking $3500 and sold it for I think $2900 becuase he had already purchased another boat. Next thing you know the guy who bought his Skeeter had it listed here and it's currently on Craigslist for $7000 :shock: . The thing that got me was in the add here on NCBF it stated that it had been garaged it entire life......well my buddy bought it out of some guys front yard a few years back and then kept it in a storage yard after that. I have no problem with someone trying to make a buck, but if you do not know the history don't lie about it. Basically what I am saying is that if you had been checking out these sites for a couple three weeks before buying. You might just save your self some $$$$$

I am not trying to start any trouble with this post, just trying to give some honest advice that might save a guy a few bucks.
Don't ask about my username, all I need to say is check yours and check them often.

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Matt Moreau
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Re: advice for buying a used bass boat

Post by Matt Moreau »

This topic has pretty much been covered. The main thing i can say is take it to a shop and have it looked over. have them do a compression/leak down test. Also TEST DRIVE IT. everything might seem fine but make sure it is alright under a load. AND BE PATIENT! I would look at, in person all the different manufacturers and see what suites you. They all have different characteristics! Soo see what you like.

In addition, goto your local taackle shop and look/ask around. Usually they have boards or have heard about good deals. Good luck
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