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Time for a bigger boat?

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I couple of years ago I purchased a 1997 Proline 250 (pictured below). The boat runs great and I love it. One of my favorite features of the boat is how high the sides are on it. If I remember right, they are between 30" and 32" high. It's super safe for kids.

Well, between when I purchased the boat and now, we decided to become foster parents. We are currently fostering 4 children aged 5 - 14. Their mom and dad can't get their act together so it looks like we will be adopting them.

Right now I will often take one of the foster boys and spend the night on our Proline. The cuddy cabin sleeps two. So he will sleep in and I can motor out early in the morning with my dad or whoever else is fishing with us. We set the lines and when the little guy wakes up he comes out of the cuddy cabin to join us for fishing. That works great and lets us leave the dock early without having to get him up early. Plus, he loves "camping" on the boat.

While this is happening, my wife is playing single mom and has a couple of young girls wondering why they can't "camp" on the boat also. They are foster girls, not daughters so sleeping arrangement rules are different.

So my wife has asked me to look into getting a bigger boat, something that will sleep 6 so all the kids can join us for fishing, but sleep in to do it. Or, we could take them fishing at night and put them to bed at their bedtime and stay out and fish until dark. It also gives the kids more room to play while we are fishing so they don't get bored.

All of the boats I'm considering are used, twin engine boats in the 36' - 42' range. Most are inboards, one is a twin I/O.

1) Does anyone have an opinion on gas vs diesel engines?

2) Is there a "spook fish" factor with these bigger boats and bigger engines?

This would be more that just a fishing boat. My wife would like to port hop and camp with the kids too. I've never owned a boat this big, so if you have experience with boats like this and are willing to share some advice I'd appreciate it.

Thanks.

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I'll start with #2. No there is no scare factor

#1. I've done a lot of recent research on this. According to the experts a 36 foot boat is the minimum of when you should start looking at diesels. Forget all the things you will hear about gas savings, longer life, less maintenance. The added upfront cost will make recouping the gas costs a long term proposition. Long life is associated with constant running diesels not ones that sit for long periods of time. And the cost of parts and service basically evens out the maintenance costs.

The one thing you want to consider is performance. You're going to at least double but most likely triple to quadruple the weight of your current boat. The torque in a diesel is built to get those tubs out of the water or push them along at low rpm non planning speeds. The big bored out gas burners are sometimes undergunned for the job or need to run pretty hard to push that weight.

I think the diesels are a bit overboard and for most freshwater needs. The guys who need the diesels are running 60-80 miles one way in 4-8 foot seas on a typical day trip.

Good luck and God Bless!

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Tgafish , you couldn't be more wrong . I have a 48 ft Sea Ray sedan bridge with 700 hp MAN diesels and they aren't for running miles off shore , in fact we never lose site of shore . Diesel boats handle easier, last longer and have added value to them . You'll have to make sure you have trolling valves on it to slow it down . I had mine installed and damn they work great . I'd never buy a 36 foot Gasser boat. And oh I can make this boat sip fuel too. When I'm up on plane I'm burning 80 gallons an hour , when I'm trolling I burn less then 5 gallons an hour both engines. Diesels are the only way to go in a boat over 35' period .

Pm me if you need any advice timeout!!!

Boltman

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Tgafish , you couldn't be more wrong . I have a 48 ft Sea Ray sedan bridge with 700 hp MAN diesels and they aren't for running miles off shore , in fact we never lose site of shore . Diesel boats handle easier, last longer and have added value to them . You'll have to make sure you have trolling valves on it to slow it down . I had mine installed and damn they work great . I'd never buy a 36 foot Gasser boat. And oh I can make this boat sip fuel too. When I'm up on plane I'm burning 80 gallons an hour , when I'm trolling I burn less then 5 gallons an hour both engines. Diesels are the only way to go in a boat over 35' period .

Pm me if you need any advice timeout!!!

Boltman

Well Boltman I would say you are one of the few folks that has turned that platform into a Great Lakes fishing boat so I wasn't exactly thinking of a 20 ton48 sedan when the question was asked. So in your case I would agree it's not even an option to run gas. I would also agree that a diesel engine is a superior machine for the job of pushing a large heavy boat through the water. But obviously that all comes at a hefty price. At what point does the extra tens of thousands spent on diesels pay for itself in a 17 to 22K lb boat running 10-30 miles per trip 4-5 months per year? Somebody could take that money and buy a 20hp kicker that would burn 5 gallons a day and still have enough money left over to totally deck out the boat in top of the line electronics and holders. I would argue there are respectable gas options for a boat over 35ft. if somebodies budget called for it.

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I'm on my 3rd season with my '89 Tiara 3300 Open, it fishes great, is comfortable fishing with 6 adults, and easily sleeps 6 adults (if I don't have fishing gear taking up bunk space), but that's with 4 people in 2 beds, not sure if having 2 of the kids paired up works for your foster situation or not. I've actually slept 7 on mine a couple of times, 3 sets of 2 with one of the pairs being young kids sharing the bottom bunk of the pullman berth.

I try not to keep track of what it costs to run it but it's in the $100-$150/trip range depending on far you run. It burns about 0.7 MPG cruise (25 MPH+/-), or about 70 GPH.

I agree on not spooking fish, and it will out fish smaller boats if the fish are biting in a troll direction that isn't favorable to the wind or wave conditions because it doesn't get pushed around as much. I had a 26' Stamas previous to this boat, it was a great boat but with a single I/O, it just couldn't troll like the 33' can.

And you're right about the bigger boat being better for kids, it's a lot more enjoyable for them and you. With more room they can find things to do and not be under-foot if they aren't engaged with fishing or whatever.

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The closest i ever came to falling out of a boat was on a 36' Tiara. Very little free board on those. My 22' cuddy has so much free board it is a challenge to pee out from, and I'm 6'4". The tiara barely came above my knees.

Other than that, sweet boat.

That's cool What you're doing for the Kids.

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Guys, how do these larger boats (say 38' - 42' range) handle the waves and chop compared to a mid-20' boat? I am hoping they set in the water a little heaver and aren't bounced around as much. I've never been in a boat larger than my Proline so I don't know if it's better or worse, or noticeably different or not. I'm assuming it makes for a less bouncy troll.

George: I'll make sure to let you know if I decide to sell my Proline.

Money_pit: glad to hear you've tested the kids and sleepover concept. Tiara makes beautiful boats. Above my price point unfortunately, but great boats.

Kevin: I have to agree with you that freeboard height is important. My kids could trip and fall and they would stay inside my Proline. They would literally have to climb over the gunwales to fall out of it. I love that aspect of the boat.

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I have only fished out of a couple of 30'+ boats but found that they do handle higher seas much better than a mid twenty foot hull. Of course each boat is going to be different and I'm sure some hulls are better than others, so the only way to really know is to get it on the water first. Given the cost of boats in that size range, no way I'd buy one without being able to get out there in conditions that would be typical of what I consider the worst I'd be fishing in.

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As for us we won't fish in anything over 4' . It's a comfy ride for everyone else but me the one setting lines reelin in the FEESH and managing to stand up , no matter how big you go , you still rise and fall 4' with each wave .

Boltman

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Timeout, the scare factor #2 isn't an issue really. Gas vs. diesel is a factor. Most of the vessels in great lakes fishing are gas. Typically, diesel is for greater economy, and long trips offshore. When I say long trips I don't mean 10-15 nautical miles, I mean like ocean fishing 40-75 nautical miles offshore. Gas is usually your best choice for great lakes, and the cost is drastically less. I also personally don't like diesel fumes. You might want to befriend someone or take a test run on the boat of your choice to see what you like. I would recommend a boat in the 31'-35' range, makers like Sea Ray, Wellcraft Coastal, Chris Craft Commander, Silverton, Trojan International, to name a few. Pursuit and Tiara's are also nice, but overpriced imho. People this time of year are making bargain buys usually, if someone wants out of that big boat.

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Words of wisdom 35 feet and under go Gassers 35-42 go diesels , you'll be hard pressed to find a 40+ boat with Gassers they just don't have the power or torque a big boat needs . Most Great Lakes "fishing" boats are Gassers because they are under 30 feet . IMHO go big or go home !!!!!

Boltman

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Boltman, not everyone has a high budget in mind for a fish boat, or they would get a 50' Tiara, like Blue Fairways up here, insurance man, lol. The newer diesels are a lot less fumey too, but very costly. All depends alot on the person's prime usage of the vessel. Most bigger boats 40' and over have diesels, and their weight justifies the expense, and moving that boat for cruising. If fishing and budget aren't a main issue, get the bigger diesel boat to cruise the whole lake, and fish if you want to occasionally. Just remember, bigger boats cost more to run, store for winter, maintain, operate, and insure. Not to mention dockage and electronics.

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