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All around good fishing boat


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I'm looking for a decent all around fishing boat. I currently own a family pontoon boat I've turned 1/2 way into a fishing boat but the boat is really only good for calm water, basically the fingerlakes.

So... I'm looking to get a 2nd boat to turn into a fishing boat and leave the pontoon for family fun.

What's a good all around boat I could take into the fingerlakes and also safe enough for lake ontario?

I'm thinking toward an open console with walk around capability.

Also thinking no cuddy as I'd probaby trailer where ever I go.

Everyon swears by a Boston Whaler from folks I ask.

Any suggestions or guidance is appreciated..

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An Aluminum 20 foot Starcraft islander cuddy would be your ticket. The Aluminum hull means that it is light and easily trailer-able, while the cuddy structure ensures a safe ride in 4 to 6 footers because of its high front and sides

A Boston whaler is great ,but while stable and safe,it offers less protection from those nasty waves when you cut them on an angle. An open console is an invitation to get soaked to the bone.

Cornelis.

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As you specified no cuddys, my suggestion would be a 19 aluminum fish and ski boat, meaning open bow with full windshield. Those are made by Starcraft, Crestliner, Lund, Sylvan and many more. Outboard powered, is very light to tow and fuel efficient.

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Another vote for the Islander! :yes:

I had an 18' Starcraft center console before buying my Islander. Great boat with lots of room for people and gear, but as many have said, they are a WET riding boat when the lake gets snotty. That was one of my main reasons for upgrading. I wanted to be out there and not have to turn around and head in when the winds picked up and I was suddenly in waves as small as 2 footers. I've had the Islander since 2005 and have been out in some pretty nasty stuff, but never once felt unsafe or that we'd never make it back to shore. I think for your purpose, any aluminum cuddy would be fine. I use my cuddy to store all the gear. I've never used it to sleep in. Lockable door keeps everything secure when I am not around.

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  • 2 years later...

We had an Islander back in the 70's.  It was a very good Lake Ontario boat.  I fished out of Sacketts Harbor and saw some pretty exciting water.  My only disappointment was with the location of the gas tanks.  It had saddle tanks under the gunwales.  If one tank had significantly less than the other, the boat would list towards the heavier tank.  There was a mixing valve but I found it difficult to get the draw equal.

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I ran a 19 ft Starcraft Islander with a 115 merc 2stroke for years and traded 2 years ago for a brand new Alumacraft Trophy 175 with a 115 Yamaha 4 stroke. The Alumacraft trophy is a way better boat in my opinion. I use way less fuel and its a way smoother ride, even being a shorter boat. I went from using $40 to $50 of fuel a trip to $10 $20. The newer you can go the better.

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Wellcraft V-20, the best 20 ft boat afloat.  Stable, seaworthy and safe, no other boat in this size and price range can compare.

This boat was manufactured for 25+ years and was available outboard or I/O. Both are excellent platforms, but, the OB has more floor space.  115 to 150HP makes for a super outfit.

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Center console boats are great in warmer weather, but not the best choice if you plan to fish spring and later in the fall as they just don't provide enough protection from the elements for most people. You also wrote that you don't want a cuddy. This basically leaves you with two choices in a trailerable boat.

 

If you are going to pick your days on Lake Ontario, a high sided dual console open bow boat is probably the best bet as it will allow someone to fish up front and work an electric trolling motor on the inland lakes, but still give you a reasonable offshore capability when you head up to Lake Ontario. Look for a boat that has a separate baitwell, not just a livewell. Also look for a larger sized dashboard with room to mount the extra electronics most people use when trolling.

 

Here's a great all around open bow boat that has some offshore capability and can be configured with just about anything you could want in a boat of this style: http://www.lundboats.com/boats/aluminum/pro-v-boats/1975-pro-v
 

If, on the other hand, if you feel you might favor fishing big water more frequently down the road, I'd recommend foregoing the open bow and bow mount trolling motor in favor of a closed bow boat with a full windshield. Another feature to look for is a full height transom where the engine mounts to a bracket outside the boat. Boats with closed bows, full windshields, and full height transoms are a lot safer trolling in big water as they can shed water that can otherwise swamp more open boats. You'll lose the flexibility an open bow offers on smaller inland lakes, but the safety factor this style boat offers on big water is pretty significant. You do not want to get caught 10+ miles offshore in an open bow boat when a big storm front rolls in on you with no warning and you suddenly find yourself plodding your way back to port with 6 foot waves breaking over the bow. If you fish big water it will eventually happen.

 

Here's a really nice closed bow, full windshield, full transom height boat of similar size that would make a great offshore trolling boat for Lake Ontario. It could still be easily trailered and fished reasonably well on the inland lakes: http://www.hewescraft.com/mid-size-ocean-boats/sea-runner

Edited by John E Powell
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The original post is from 2012. I know Jeff has a real nice Proline that works great on Lake O as I have fished from it.

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Islamder with cuddy gets my vote! You will be happy you have it once you have it! First time you have to answer the call of nature you will really appreciate it! Also great dry storage and a get away for the kids.

Edited by slow rollin
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