Boating

My opinion on Boats

My opinion on Trolling Motors

Boat Repair Shops

My favorite Upgrades

 

Note: These are my uncompensated opinions, not ads.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My opinion on Boats

 

Entry Level top pick:     Bass Tracker ProTeam 175

Pro Level $$$ top pick:      Ranger

 

Bass Tracker ProTeam 175: I've done a lot of looking around, and for the money I don't think you can beat the Bass Tracker ProTeam 175 for an entry level two man fishing boat. It doesn't have the flash of the high-end bass boats, but it comes ready to fish, and has everything you need.  It rides very smooth and dry, even in a nasty chop. The casting decks are wide and stable. The  aluminum hull is 100% welded, so it'll never leak. It comes with the livewell, dry storage, gear and rod storage, plenty of seating, all aluminum decking (carpeted), and all the basic electronics/bilge/lights/trolling motor, etc. The package equipment isn't the greatest, but it'll get you fishing without a big boat payment.

Thanks to the 10 HP restrictions on most of Illinois' best bass and muskie lakes (Shabbona, Evergreen, Carlton, Sangchris (25hp), Pinckneyville, Spring Lake (25hp). etc.), I had them replace the standard 40hp motor with a Mercury 9.9HP 4 stoke. Now I can key start the motor, and sit down to run the boat with the throttle and steering wheel instead of reaching back to a tiller handle all day, (besides not having to spend another $2000 for a kicker motor, I saved a few hundred bucks off the package price).

 

Ranger: If you have the cash, these boats are top of the line. Built with the best materials. Corners are never cut. Simply the best. I have a Mercury on mine, and this baby is a rocket !!!

 


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My opinion on Boat Repair Shops

Engine Repairs:     Even Keel Marine, Rockford Illinois    http://www.evenkeelmarine.com

                             Grade: A +    Honest, good prices, excellent service.                    

They will schedule an appointment date to work on your boat,
none of that "leave it here and we'll get to it in a month" baloney.

 

                            Eastside Marine, Springfield Illinois    http://www.eastsidemarine.com

                             Grade: A +    Honest, good prices, excellent service. 

 

Fiberglass and Paint Repairs:   

D & S Marine
5350 Edith Lane
Roscoe, IL 61073

(815) 623-6846   Sorry, they don't have a web site.

They fixed a big nasty gouge in the top-rail  for me (an inch wide and 4 inches long, through the metal-flake and deep into the fiberglass) and did a flawless job, really fast too !!! (2 days in the shop)

I literally can't find the repair !!!! I give them an  A+


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My opinion on Trolling Motors

 

Top Pick:    Minn Kota

I have a 24V 65lb Minn Kota Maxxum bowmount trolling motor on the Bass Tracker, and a 24V 80lb Minn Kota Maxxum bowmount trolling motor on the Ranger, which will pull the boats at about 5 mph ALL DAY, which is great for fishing wind-tunnels like Shabbona. I prefer the Minn Kota over the Motorguides. The Motorguides have a steel shaft which can bend (and is ruined) the first time you bump a stump with it, I learned that the hard way fishing on Reelfoot Lake down in TN. Minn Kota uses some kind of indestructible resin shaft that just flexes if it hits something. A common event in lakes full of stumps and sunken trees.


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My favorite Upgrades

 

Trailer Upgrades

Boat Upgrades

SeaSence LED trailer lights

 

Super bright LEDs won't burn out, very easy to install. BassPro or Cabela's. Mister Twister Shear Magic

 

You need this. Chops up weeds like a lawn mower. Eliminates 95% of the pulling weeds off the trolling motor by hand. Even hacks through lilypad stalks. BassPro or Cabela's.
BoatBuckle tiedowns These should just be standard equipment on the trailers. BassPro or Cabela's.
Stainless Steel trailer ball No more rusty mess when the boat isn't on the truck. Walmart. Minn Kota DeckHand Anchor Winch

 

Can haul in a 40lb anchor with the touch of a button. Great for fishing WindTunnels like Shabbona. BassPro or Cabela's.
Trailer dolly Makes moving the boats around the garage very easy. Probably would have never bought one, but it was free with the Ranger. Works great. Cabela's ProSport 120 Battery Charger The 120 is a triple bank, so I can just plug in the boat, and all 3 batteries are charged and conditioned perfectly.
Super Lube Replacement Hubs These should just be standard equipment on the trailers. Greasegun snaps on a port, shoots new grease in, old grease comes out the other side. No brainer. Cabela's. Cabela's AGM Batteries Group 30 Trolling Motor Batteries. They completely eliminate leaks, are extremely vibration- and impact-resistant, and maintenance-free.

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Optima Batteries Starting Batteries. Pricey, but when the boat won't start, nothing else matters....