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Thread: New boat advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Pullman WA
    Posts
    11

    Default New boat advice

    Moved out of Alaska after 40 years and had to leave my 14' Starcraft pontoon with 20hp Suzuki behind.
    I'm in eastern WA now and am pretty sure another pontoon is the way I want to go. Looking for something to relax in, fish a bit, and take my grandsons (3 and 5) fishing for years to come. I've looked for a used one but don't see much out there. I'm just about ready to bite the bullet and buy a NEW Suntracker 18' Bass Buggy. My question is about power. I had the 20hp on the Starcraft (rated for a 25). There were certainly times I'd have liked to go a little faster but it got me there. On this new boat I'm thinking the 40hp would be enough for me given leisurely cruising and fishing. It will be used on lakes and impounded areas of the rivers around here. The package I'm looking at has a 50# trolling motor which I've never dealt with before. The next step up would be a 60HP, which is "only" another $1000 but I question if I'd ever even really use it?? If anything maybe I'd use that money to upgrade the trolling package? This will be my "forever boat" I hope so I want to get it right. Any advice would be appreciated! I see boats anchored up on the snake river fishing but I've never seen a pontoon out there. Would this be doable? The ~$30K this Suntracker (all in) is going to cost me is pretty much at the top of my price range.

  2. #2

    Default

    Not familiar with snake river but i did look it up and it looks pretty big, as far as power my choice would be the 60 hp. Always good to have it if needed as long as vessel is rated for it. Do you get storms rolling in? i am in Florida and comes the summers the storms can be pretty hairy and its nice to be able to get back to the barn in a hurry. If you think its going to be your forever boat make it yours. Also if its not your forever boat one day it may help with resale
    Last edited by hoejef; 12-27-2020 at 05:41 AM. Reason: added

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Mercury BigFoot 50hp is ideal for you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Boat at Lake of the Ozarks Missouri
    Posts
    662

    Default

    Congrats on your boat decision, experience has shown that if its rated for a 60, go with the 60.

    There are many, many boaters out there that buy down to save a bit, or more than a bit, and in 1 to 2 years they
    wish to upgrade. Replacing the motor you bought with the boat and buying a larger HP motor usually
    proves to be more costly that biting the $$ bullet for the 1st. purchase with the right equipment.

    Besides, adding more or better trolling equipment is less expensive later than buying
    a new outboard motor and selling the prior one.

    Any others out there willing to give benefit of their experience to the big cheese ?
    Last edited by Captain Tony; 01-02-2021 at 11:23 AM. Reason: spelling
    Captain Tony
    2005 Summit by Triton - 220T Platinum 3Log
    2005 115HP Mercury Optimax - 228 Marine Master Trailer
    St. Louis & Lake of the Ozarks, MO.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Pullman WA
    Posts
    11

    Default

    New pricing I guess the 60hp is $1600 more than the 40, the 75 (which is the boats max rating) is another $1200

    There's a big reservoir I could get several miles away from the dock

    The part of the Snake I'd do is impounded between dams so there's not a LOT of current but the water is definitely moving

    Hopefully I'll talk to the dealer Monday!!

    The other questions I would have ..... do you think I should add my OWN depth finder trolling motor cover etc? Or do you think the bulk buying of a manufacturer will make it better to go with them?

    I really don't know jack about depth finders or trolling motors, I only pontoon fished the lake I lived on and I had that pretty well mentally mapped out. I could throttle down to trolling speed with my 20hp but I'm guessing that won't be the case with these larger motors?

    There was actually a guy 3 hours from me who had this EXACT boat 2 years old with a 60hp which he said had never been in the water, he had upgraded the trolling motor to a 75#, but he wanted about $2K under list and I was leery trading down 2 year models and a year or two of warranty

    Am I looking in the wrong places or do these boats not come up used very often?? I know it's off season but I was also looking last summer. I'm not adverse to driving a little to save a lot with a little to me being 1,000 miles or so one way

  6. #6

    Default

    You will most likely save yourself considerable amount if you do your own bottom machine and its pretty simple to do. Just did a Raymarine a78 which I liked user interface and took me about 2hrs. Go into West marine and play around with there displays and pick there brains and they price match, if you see something you like shop it online and bring pricing to them and they will match.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Boat at Lake of the Ozarks Missouri
    Posts
    662

    Default

    Hi AKCheese:

    All good advice. Obviously a dealership needs to sell boats to stay in business. Many focus on the new side of the transaction
    and some others take more trades and even buy boats to sell on the used market so here is perhaps why you have not found
    much in the used area.

    For the past 10 or so years, pontoons have been the fastest growing segment of the boating market. With the advent of larger tubes,
    lifting strakes becoming more prevalent on all tubes, more HP engines and even multiple engines; the 'toon sales have been increasing.

    The used market, through dealers and private sales from ads and craigslist etc. etc. have seen higher & increasing prices for what used
    to be a lower budget transaction. We are happy you are staying in the pontoon segment but we are all experiencing higher costs and
    increasing growth due to the popularity of the segment.

    I'd suggest that you look into the on-line pricing for your trolling needs and use that information to negotiate with either
    the dealer at time of purchase or as suggested, a marine supplier like West Marine or Bass Pro stores. Both can supply
    several brands although it generally is higher priced at West Marine unless they have a sale on.

    Don't overlook the on-line suppliers' pricing and service unless you feel that after the sale service and convenience is
    easier from a local rather than mail order. As far as DIY installation these are pretty straight forward and should present no difficulty.
    Captain Tony
    2005 Summit by Triton - 220T Platinum 3Log
    2005 115HP Mercury Optimax - 228 Marine Master Trailer
    St. Louis & Lake of the Ozarks, MO.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Location
    Huntsville, East Texas
    Posts
    15

    Default

    AKCheese,

    We've had our 2021 18' Sun Tracker Bass Buggy for about 3 months. I have found the 60 hp is all the motor I need. For the power it's a pretty fuel efficient motor (at 3500 rpm it's using about 2 gph). Though we haven't done it yet, I'm told it will pull a tube or skier just fine. It has a Minn Kota 55 lb trolling motor mounted up front that when laid down sticks out about 12". That makes it a little tricky when pulling into the slip bow first since we have to manually stop the boat to keep from smashing the trolling motor. Other than that it's a good motor that doesn't eat up the battery fast.

    Commenting on the boat itself, everything is fine with two very minor exceptions. You'll find it lacks cubby spaces. We use a small HF Apache case for tools and a medium size case for transporting the depthfinder. They work pretty darn good and are cheaper than Pelicans. The other slight negative is the positioning of the in-use rod holders. They are angled such that when the rods are in them they contact the top rail and the reels rest on the bunks. I plan on adding some pvc painted black to extend the rods just above the top rail.
    2021 18' Sun Tracker Bass Buggy
    60 hp Merc

    1980-ish 10' Sunfisher
    55# MotorGuide

    Lake Livingston, East Texas

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Pullman WA
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Thanks Rick! I put mine on order just before new years. I kind of had planned on having to have some kind of storage box for bumpers, lines etc. I'll take a look at your solution. Did you go with the Suntracker factory offered trolling motor fish finder combo? I have mind ordered without right now thinking this might be an area I upgrade like to a 7" screen on the FF. Won't be able to use it here until probably April so I have time to decide. Kinda pumped to say the least. Wanna get out on that baby with the 60HP motor!! My grandkids are 3 and 5 right now so I have a few years but I'm glad a tube will be possible when it's time! Even in Alaska we used ours as a swim platform on HOT summer days (low 70's up there).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Location
    Huntsville, East Texas
    Posts
    15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AKCheese View Post
    Thanks Rick! I put mine on order just before new years. I kind of had planned on having to have some kind of storage box for bumpers, lines etc. I'll take a look at your solution. Did you go with the Suntracker factory offered trolling motor fish finder combo? I have mind ordered without right now thinking this might be an area I upgrade like to a 7" screen on the FF. Won't be able to use it here until probably April so I have time to decide. Kinda pumped to say the least. Wanna get out on that baby with the 60HP motor!! My grandkids are 3 and 5 right now so I have a few years but I'm glad a tube will be possible when it's time! Even in Alaska we used ours as a swim platform on HOT summer days (low 70's up there).
    We had the dealer install the Minn Kota trolling motor and a non-factory Humminbird ff. The boat has two what I call storage bunks in the bow, storage under the L-shaped seats, and the bimini has mesh pockets at the rear, so while overall storage space is decent it has no real cubby spaces. The console has two small all-but-useless trays on the side and the "Below-console storage space w/curtain" advertised on the website is where the trolling motor battery lives. But between the two HF cases and two soft-sided tackle bags we have enough secure tuck-away space for small items.

    Our fenders are tied onto the top rails and we just stow them inside when underway. They've never really been in the way when fishin' or just sittin'. The only tight-ish quarters are at the starboard bow because I have my anchor at that cleat, but it's not bad. All my lines are looped onto the top rails (just be sure to keep fishing hooks out of the lines -- BTDT!).

    For tubing and skiing you'll need the tow bar that raises the tow line up over the motor. We don't have one yet but apparently it's an easy enough install.
    2021 18' Sun Tracker Bass Buggy
    60 hp Merc

    1980-ish 10' Sunfisher
    55# MotorGuide

    Lake Livingston, East Texas

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