years of fishing Florida waters I have owned just about every type
and size of fishing boat imaginable. My first boat was an
8-foot home made boat I made from wood purchased at the local
lumberyard. It looked a lot like a cement mixing trough, but
it would float most of the time. Later, I moved up to an
aluminum johnboat with a ten-horse kicker. When bass boats
where created in the sixties, I had one of the first.
Then came a long string of high performance bass boats, flats boats
and even a 30-foot sport fish. I was always searching for the
“perfect boat”, but there is no way I could find it because no one
boat can do everything.
what if you could only have one boat to fish in Florida. What
would it be? In my opinion, it would have to be a 17-19
foot open fisherman. You need enough power to push the boat to
a minimum of 30 miles per hour loaded and fully fueled. Most
tournament bass boats will approach 70 miles per hour, but you
really don’t need that much power unless you fish tournaments or you
just want to look cool at the ramp.
aluminum boats are excellent freshwater platforms but if you intend
to sneak over to the coast once in a while, stay with fiberglass.
What you want is a boat that is maneuverable, will float in less
than 2 feet of water and still has a comfortable ride if the wind
kicks up. The semi-v hull is the perfect combination. If
you have a choice, buy a boat without wood of any kind. In
recent years, many manufacturers have started to use resin core
instead of wood, which theoretically should last forever.
as accessories, you need a reliable 12/24-volt long electric
trolling motor, a good anchor and enough rope to handle 6 times the
water depth you plan to fish. Of course you should have
all the required Coast Guard safety equipment and it helps to have a
cooler for the beverages of your choice. No good bass
fisherman would think of killing a bass anymore, so unless you plan
to fish tournaments or use live bait, you won’t need a live well.
are a few tips about trailers that I don’t think you will read
anywhere else. Some people think a dual axle trailer is
better than a single axle. They do tow better but there are
negatives to having dual axles. First, if you have a flat on
most dual axle trailers, you won’t be able to continue just because
you have three good tires. Second, tires will cost you twice
as much and third your tolls will be twice as high. If you
have a choice, get a good quality single axle trailer with a minimum
of 13” wheels and good tires. Make sure your trailer has
sealed lights and bearings and keep the wheel grease fresh and
more thing, a boat that is used at least once a week will have
significantly less problems that one that sits all year and goes out
on a holiday weekend. Of course there’s always Murphy’s Law to