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what size boat?


Ray1

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Hello everyone,

Trying to figure out what size boat to get for all around and big lake fishing. Looking at a 19.5 ft Century and a 22 ft Sea Ray both are cuddys as i have kids. Based on your experience what size boat would you recommend? I also understand that a boat is better than no boat.

Thanks for your help!

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many people will say that no matter what you settle on you will end up wishing for just a little bigger, but i know many people that are perfectly happy with smaller rigs than you are speaking of. Ton of factors to consider such as expense, towing etc. Overall though i feel the boats you are looking at would make a fine starting point. good luck!

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many people will say that no matter what you settle on you will end up wishing for just a little bigger, but i know many people that are perfectly happy with smaller rigs than you are speaking of. Ton of factors to consider such as expense, towing etc. Overall though i feel the boats you are looking at would make a fine starting point. good luck!

Thanks for your help

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I think either boat would be good. I fished out of a old 18 ft Cherokee aluminum boat that I restored for many yrs on lake Michigan and lake erie. but I now have a 21' cobia and feel much better fishing the central basin of erie. it just has a little more room and is just a better boat for going out 18 to 20 miles. the 19.5' boat will serve you well but in the long run I would go with the 22' boat if its as good as the 19.5 boat.

sherman

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Both boats are in need of repair which makes the price ok. Towing isn't much trouble as i have a 3/4 ton diesel truck. My thoughts were on the lakes around me 22 ft is about as big as i dare try. On the big lake i don't want to small though. With the kids it has to be for fun too. So i would put a plank on with the down riggers installed so i can switch back and forth.Thanks again for your input!

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I happen to fish out of the 19.5 Century. It works well for both fishing the big lake and small ones. I have everything mounted on the track system and takes about 15 minutes to take it all off for family time. Handles more weather than I care to fish in like most boats. My only complaint is deck room for fighting fish. My next boat, I'll be looking for more room in the back area. Gets interesting with 3 guys and fighting a fish stumbling around seats and the motor cover especially on a wire diver set up and landing fish. I was thinking about removing the big seats and installing 2 captains chairs just to gain space.

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If you plan on going out into Lake Michigan I would say a minimum of 25 feet and with kids safety in mind 27+. Smaller boats you will not be able to travel out very far unless you really pick and choose your days. I spent 15 years fishing Lake Michigan and the past 8 years in the Gulf of Mexico. I can honestly say Lake Michigan is much more dangerous than the Gulf. Of coarse you can only buy what you can afford but if buying a used boat take it to a good mechanic prior to the purchase. It may cost you a few hundred dollars but safe you thousands in the long run. Always remember what BOAT stands for Break Out Another Thousand :)

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I've only had the boat for 3 seasons but, its been a really great reliable boat. Other than routine maintenance I've only replaced the water pump in the lower unit. Mine has the smaller 3 liter and is great on gas. I can troll on weekend on just over 1/2 of a tank which equals about $25. Getting it to troll down to 2mph can be a challenge but there's a few options for that. I do fish mostly north of Frankfort and only run about 5 miles out so weather isn't much of a concern for getting back in when the weather turns. It's not like down south where they make 10+ mile runs out to fish. I've pushed the weather and had to fight 6 footers to get in which it handles fine.

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Happy Troller is specifically made to allow you to keep your RPM up and slow down your boat to trolling speeds

Check it out http://www.davisnet.com/marine/products/list_marine.asp?grp=mo2

You can find them even on Amazon

I've mangled 2 of those so far! Doesn't someone make one now that has a spring loaded hinge in the center of the trolling plate? I'll try one of those next. Some days there's a pretty good current down at the ball and 2mph is still to fast for speed at the ball up here.

http://www.overtons.com/modperl/product/details.cgi?pdesc=EasyTroller-Hinged-Metal-Trolling-Plate-Standard&i=98685&r=view&aID=605Q&cID=SHOPZLLA_98685

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I have tracks for my rod holders and I bought big jon riggers with the slide mounts so it only takes a few minutes to remove my holders and riggers. and my 21' cobia is great for erie and works good for trolling my small local lake. and then if we want to go tubing it just takes a few minutes to remove all my trolling gear. I have the cannon ratcheting holders and tracks for running my lite bite slide divers. but if I was looking at buying new holders I would check out the traxstech ratcheting holders as they have more and closer positions for their holders. but they are alittle more money than the cannons. you can get the cannon single axis at amazon for 71.00 with free shipping plus the tracks. the traxstech ratcheting holders that I've seen costs a little over 100.00 plus the tracks.

and if you plan to use a trolling plate the easy troller is much better than the happy troller. the easy troller is hinged about half way down and spring loaded so if you forget to raise your plate it will swing up instead of bending the plate back so far that it wont slow you down. I took off with my happy troller still down and it bent back so far we ended our trolling that trip and fished for perch. then I took off with my easy troller and it didn't bend back. I started using trolling bags last year and believe they are much better for trolling in rough water.

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I have used trolling plates and trolling bags. Plates i have always had problems with. Do yourself a favor and buy bags. You can get down on speed and still control the boat. You also dont need to worry if the plate came all the way up and locked into place.

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I have a 14' and a 21.5' cuddy. The 21.5 is just too much boat for most inland lakes. And if I can't fish lake Michigan in the 215, most other boats won't be out there.

It may be fine and great to think we all need 25-27', but too many that just isn't practical, and locks you to one port and slip fees. To be honest I take my girls out on the 14' all the time. I catch more fish in the 14' than the 215, and I've won more $ in tournaments in the 14'. Costs me less to tow the 14' to Milwaukee than to fish a long day out if the 215 at my home port.

Please note I have nearly 4000 hours on the lake, growing up in an 18' that at 43 years young still gets out each year.

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all the info the guys are giving you is great. I would just say that you have to make the decision based on your prioities. I fished a 21.5 ft syvan offshore 140 I/O that had plenty of room for 4 fisherman in the back, handled 4 footers fine and was easy on gas. It was tough to put in a smaller lake but the kids could climb in and out for tubeing easily.

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My concern for a single boat with a cuddy that would be good for fishing on both inland and Great Lakes would be that it wouldn't be very good at either. To get one small enough to launch easily on many inland lakes with enough room to fish the big water in reasonable comfort is going to be a tough combo. On a lot of inland lakes an 18' boat is "big" but an 18' cuddy is pretty cramped.

If you are really talking about fishing inland lakes from the boat, I wouldn't go with a cuddy at all. Usually inland lake fishing is casting and positioning the boat to do that is a lot easier from a more open style boat where you can put an electric trolling motor on the bow or stern. You also get more room to fish from -- especially when the fishing is mainly casting and you can fish from the whole boat, not just the stern.

Overall I would evaluate how much you would be using the boat for the different situations and then get the boat that best fits what you would be doing the most but still let you do the secondary use. In a smaller "big water" boat my preference is for an outboard setup. Mainly because without the dog-house for an I/O you get more room inside the boat. An outboard can also extend your fishing/boating season in spring and fall since it drains water from the cooling system and does not risk freezing like an I/O.

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For a family boat, bigger is always better. The 18.5 would be a really economical boat to run but for a family of more than 4 really crowded, the 22 SeaRay would be an awesome boat to start with. Comfy and can be set up like Ben said, and still be used for family outings.

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Looking at a 19.5 ft Century and a 22 ft Sea Ray both are cuddys as i have kids.

Cuddys are great especially with children. It gives them a place to go play or nap, etc. if they are young and a place for older ones to get out of the sun or rain. It also provides a dry and out of the way area to store items without tripping over things ie coolers, backpacks, or toys. It would be best to take both boats out (if running) and see how they feel with your family included.

As far as inland lakes......well I can't say I have heard anyone complain that their 24' pontoon is too big for the lake. Unless you are talking about some real small lakes I don't see the problem. I hear bigger is better but I have seen some smaller boats handle waters better than bigger ones.

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If you can have only one boat you have to make it work for everything. Turfwrench has it exactly right with kids it makes it so much easier to do things if the kids get tired or cold or are board then they can go watch a movie. Especially if the fish are biting like crazy and the kids want to go home because of one of the above reasons. I'm looking at the whole boat thing like this Family comes first and if i can make them happy i win. If i have to give up the space of fighting a big fish for my family to be able to enjoy the outdoors with me then it falls in line with being a dad its not all about me. Thank you all for your input and thoughts on this matter.

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Boat size is a difficult subject and one that I can shed a little light on as I am on my 3rd big lake boat in six seasons. I think first and foremost is what will the primary use of the boat be, ie. fishing, cruising or water sports. Secondly what is the primary body or bodies of water for the use. If that use is smaller inland lake near where you live you need to pick a boat which can be launched and recovered at those locations, if it is the bay or great lakes you can then decide on a boat from there based on your travel distance and ability to pick your days that the lake is fishable from your vessel. IF big water is the primary use get the biggest boat you can afford, just remember there more that just the purchase price, and deal with. If inland is the primary, pick a boat that is reasonable for where you want to use it, and pick your big lake days carefully.

Our jumps in boat size were all about being able to fish more days, or actually being able to fish on the days that we have available.

Justin

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I agree completely. Primary fishing will be at local lakes but i want somthing that i can go to the big lakes when the schedule allows and i just didn't want it to be to small. And only going occasionally then i want something that will allow us to fish on days that are not exactly ideal maybe with 3-4 footers. Anything overthat i wouldn't take my family out.

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