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Chinook Chaser

best great lakes boat

25 posts in this topic

best great lakes boat

What is the best great lakes fishing boat with the emphasis being on stability? Currently I have a 22ft islander. It handles better than some bigger boats in high waves when trolling but not great when running. With the motor box, seat configuration etc you can easily brace yourself and there is lot to bounce off of. My thought is I would want at least a 30 footer. I have heard that a Tierra or Carolina classic would be a great option. Not ready to pull the trigger but trying to decide what I ultimately want in my Dreamboat.

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7 minutes ago, Chinook Chaser said:

best great lakes boat

What is the best great lakes fishing boat with the emphasis being on stability? Currently I have a 22ft islander. It handles better than some bigger boats in high waves when trolling but not great when running. With the motor box, seat configuration etc you can easily brace yourself and there is lot to bounce off of. My thought is I would want at least a 30 footer. I have heard that a Tierra or Carolina classic would be a great option. Not ready to pull the trigger but trying to decide what I ultimately want in my Dreamboat.

 

If I ever had to do it over thumbs down King Fisher, with 4stroke twin 150hp, not that I'd need the hp. But could run the rpm's on one motor right down to troll speed. Living the dream guys!!! LOL

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As far as the stability factor Whalers are the nuts....I am 200 lbs and can stand on the gunwales without it even tipping at all and it is only an 18 1/2 ft boat. I have friends with larger boats and if two of us stand together in one corner you get wet feet - in mine three or four could stand there (if there was room) and it wouldn't  dip at all and the scuppers are located higher. There are many other considerations aside from stability though and that is what you have to work through. No matter what brand boat or size it will always be a compromise. There is no perfect boat for all circumstances just some that are better than others for some situations. A larger boat is not always the answer either, and a lot of folks I have known over the years have come back down in size and type. It depends a lot on how it is to be used. For example the guiding decision on mine was flexibility and safety. I selected the model I have not because iot was the ultimate fishing boat but because it could be both a recreational boat (wife and daughter, swimming. and lounging in August in shallow having a drink or two etc) without the burden of permanently installed riggers, and rod holders in the way etc. All my equipment (with the exception of the trolling motor bracket) can be removed in just a few minutes to convert from fishing boat into recreational boat if needed or left on after fishing to swim without problem. I have fished solo a lot and th boat is small enough to launch by myself comfortably. I fish a lot of different places so I trailer a lot andthis boat does it perfectly.  I never worry about safety in it other than if the motor was to konk out in the middle of Lake O but I also have the relatively new 9.8 trolling motor as a possibility for that. As far as fishing goes the boat will get the job done well but is it the perfect fishing boat? no - because it is a compromise that offers flexibility of use. If fishing is the only consideration a different set of concerns would apply. Just something to think about....

boatpic.jpg

Edited by Sk8man

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You need a displacement hull to slice through waves for a good ride and a 10 foot been for stability go i/o for relieability and a kicker to troll on . Boots with a keel are better but suck in shallow water .

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This thread could blow up the website.  Everyone has different needs and preferences.  I run a 21' whaler which is hard to beat, but wanting something bigger, I recently purchased a Dyer 29 (after years of dreaming about them).  Incredible reputation for smoothing out the worst stuff the New England coast can churn up.  Same hull design for over 50 years and a number of different deck/cabin configurations - google it.  Can't wait until next season!

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This is a highly subjective topic, everyone has their favorite(s) and a budget to work with.  If you are several years away, start looking at other boats and see what works and what doesn't

Ask the owners what they think.  The Carolina Classic, Tiara, Whaler, the above mentioned Dyer are just a couple of the lines that are out there.

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If there ever was a personal preference issue this is it:lol:

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I've been looking/ dreaming as well and really like the looks of the seaswirl striper now made by Larson. I want a walk around in the 26' range with outboards . I've read about some issues with the older ones but will be considering a 4-5 yr old model when the time is right .I'll be interested to hear from anyone that has one or has been in one. Also interested to hear everyone's opinion on the "perfect" lake o boat !! 

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Check out the Pursuit line of 24-27 footers. Not sure where you're located but there is a good selection in the Ohio and Michigan area. I'm in western NY and bought mine in Port Clinton Ohio in 2009. 255 Offshore w/ 250 Yamaha. Similar to a Seaswirl but better quality boat IMO. Got 1700 hrs on the Yammie with zero issues so far. The ride is rock solid and it has all the extras you'd want for fishing. 

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All boats are compromises, in many ways if they do one thing well they tend to do the opposite poorly. You need to be very specific in understanding what you really want in a boat and what you're willing to give up to get it. One persons dream boat probably won't be someone else's dream boat. Here are some of the major considerations:

 

Length/width ratio. Longer narrower boats tend to be more fuel efficient and ride smoother under power, but have less room than wider boats that tend to be more stable, thirsty, and slower.

 

Hull shape under water, weight and center of gravity, and engine location and boat balance vary widely from boats that can otherwise look very similar to each other. Most deep V bottom boats ride well under power but they're not very stable at a troll in rough water unless they're very heavy and have a very low center of gravity. Boats like this will require big blocks or diesels and will use a lot of fuel. An example of some great boat that fits this profile would be a 29' Blackfin Combi and the 30' Bertram Moppie. However other highly regarded deep V boats like Albemarle or Carolina Classis which are lighter and have higher center of gravities don't troll with great stability. They excel at running far offshore to the canyons at high speed.

 

Another more common approach are boats similar to Tiara. They have shallower V hulls, that ride under power well at moderate speeds. They're lighter but wide, and the open models have a low center of gravity making them a boat that does most things really well. Would they keep up with the Blackfin if a storm rolled through and you got caught offshore in really snotty weather? No, but you'll still make it in. They're popular because they're a generally refined boat having a high build quality that lasts if taken care of, hold their value well because they're a boat of particular interest, have good cockpit layouts for trolling, and nice comfy cabin accommodations with better materials, finish, and attention to detail. The engine area is organized well, access is easy. They have probably the best helm layout there is. There are a lot of express style boats of similar sizes, but many lack in one or more areas when compared to them.

 

All flybridge boats have high center of gravity and more surface area for wind to catch and push around. You gain a lot of room, but that room comes at the cost of stability at trolling speeds. At one time they were more popular, but they've fallen out of favor to express or open style boats.

 

If you're considering a 30' plus boat it would be tough to go wrong with a well kept '93 or later Tiara 31 Open.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

 

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Tiara/pursuit... 25-31. Many good boats out there but these are fish catching machines

 

Bertram 31 or 28..... simply legendary sport fishing boats and need no explanation.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

 

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Hey Mike, look at a good used PY and get a survey on it before buying.  Love the Avenger we have, nice hard top, heavy boat for its size, wide beam at 9.5' as I recall and with all the talk about stability the secret I have found is running trolling bags off the sides when it is pretty rough.  Will suck you right down on the water and takes a ton of pitch and roll out of the boat.  There is a reason you see so many especially at Hughes!  Not the fastest out there but a good solid platform to fish off.  Don't let anyone kid ya either Lake Ontario when it is rough is rough.(period) As you well know! No matter what kind of boat you have you're going to feel it but you can mitigate the wave and bounce action somewhat too.

 

I wanted a wide transom and got it in the Avenger and it is a compact design for the size of the boat.  It is a dry ride too and a good hard top to get in out of the weather.  Just put the kicker on it this summer and even with trolling bags out when it is really rough and snotty the Big Foot keeps right up with the waves for controlability. Lots of good boats will be coming up I would imagine.  But everyone thinks bigger is better for a ride and it ain't especially with a big tall hard top.  Lots of trade offs to be considered.  Good luck man

Edited by longbow

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Great topic : #1 as previously posted every boat is a compromise !

#2 Don't buy a ticket to the " poor house " ! I have seen more than once since 1984 .

[ if I was in the market that 22ft Islander would work for me for fishing ie. light an easy tow good fuel economy and stable platform for fishing ]

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A Trojan is the most stable boat you can fish off.

The Trojan's Delta Conic hull form is pretty stable at troll, but it's a compromise like any other boat. They have their advantages and disadvantages. If the hull form was great at everything, they'd still be in production and lots of companies would have copied the design as any patents to the design would have long since ran out.

 

For some people it's the ideal boat, for others not so much. Just depends on what you're looking for. I'd be pretty confident in saying they've got the lowest mpg among similar sized and powered boats. You'll be good friends with the guy running the gas dock.

 

________________________

Owner John's Custom Rods

Specializing in building Great Lakes trolling rods since 1979

First place winner of the 2016 World Rod Building Challenge

 

 

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This is purely a personal preference opinion as previously mentioned.
But if your talking great lakes trolling, the one thing the big lakes have over all other lakes is BIG water. So imo the need for stability is paramount. If you cant control the boat, you cant control speed, or direction thus your at a disadvantage in catching fish.
As mentioned previously, length by width is the primary concern when choosing a platform.
If your in tbe market for a 26 ft boat, look for the widest beam in that class. Tiaras, Trojans S. for the big lakes. Im a Sea Ray guy. My past boats were 25x10 28x11.6 and now 33x13.6.
But in the end, its all preference and affordability.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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265 Penn Yan Pro-Hunter .... Show me a boat ,,,that has more "flat" floor room, economy operation, room in cabin area, and take "Sporty" water any safer??? ....and be affordable for most anglers!   (aprox: $15,000)

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Up until the boating booms of the 80's and beyond, most boats were built by smaller companies and designed to handle specific "localized" conditions that boaters (local customers) expected to encounter in nearby waters.  Downeast hulls were deep in the bow and broad in the stern to handle steaming into the nasty NE chop of the New England coast, and be a stable, dry work platform while hanging on a lobster pot trawl, nose to the wind.  Local builders in NJ and the south shore of Long Island built hulls that were broad in the bow specifically for riding the backs of big swells into the barrier Island inlets - a potentially very dangerous undertaking in boats that are deep and narrow forward.  25 years ago I noticed this trend when I moved to upstate NY.  I was amazed at how many hard top single engine boats were around in Ontario (i.e. PY's).  Not a very common setup outside of the Great Lakes.  Local boaters needed a wide hull, a hard top to get out of the weather and either didn't need a fly bridge or realized how much roll they added to boats under 30'.  My father was a big dog for one of the largest marine equipment companies in the world and spoke well of PY's, though he often complained that they consistently requested and installed very low-end hardware - considering that most of those boats seem to be in use in freshwater environments, I think that cheap hatches and cleats are of less importance, plus that stuff can all be upgraded anyway.

Regarding Sea Rays and Trojans, nothing wrong with either of them, though the industry as a whole has never really regarded either of those style hulls as being stabile in the rough stuff when compared to "working" hulls used in the northeast - and the northwest for that matter.  During the 80's and 90's I serviced a lot of Trojans and I worked for Sea Ray building prototypes in their Product Development and Engineering Division in Merritt Island.  It was just after they were purchased by AMF Brunswick but Connie Ray was still controlling the company.  It was a great work experience, learned a ton about boat design and built some great boats and some flops - but I wouldn't consider any of their smaller boats to be know for (or designed for) stability.  To sum it up, look at what's working for the people in your Port of Call, particularly the commercial guys that are in it everyday, rain or shine.  And beware or boats that look great to your wife at the boat show! Sorry for the life story - some guys run on about baseball and football, for me it's boats and fishing - and hunting for a couple of months too. 

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Good info Bearcat.... regarding Sea Rays, Trojans and Tiaras. Its pretty clear the designer's never in their wildest dreams thought those desirable models we are familiar with on Lake Ontario would have become the fishing platforms they became. Imo it was purely an accident that the wide body cockpits became popular with big lake trollers.
PY, Baha, designers had trollers in mind, so it seems.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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I don't know if there are many of them around but I like the old full-tunnel hull designs on the inboard PY's.  They had a rep for steering poorly (or not at all) in reverse, but some sauced up buddies from the boatyard put one on the beach one night at about 10 knots.  High and dry.  When the tide came in enough, they got her to float again and ran her back to the yard with no damage other than some bottom paint scraped off - pretty impressive.  At Sea Ray I was part of a group that was experimenting with semi-tunnel designs on twin inboard hulls.  I think it was all about getting less boat in the water - good for the flats of Key Largo but not necessary good for increasing stability.

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On September 13, 2017 at 8:48 AM, Sk8man said:

 

boatpic.jpg

 

WOW Les, that is a sweet looking ride for sure, with all that stability to back the looks up!! Ohh yea the boat I was talking about!!! Seriously though I has a 18ft Troller, that company was near I'm pretty sure made in and for the sole purpose of fishing eyes on Lake Erie. That was one of the most easy to steer, handle. If a wave came over the front it ran right out the back. I should of had my head examined for ever selling that boat!! Best of luck with your ride, oh yea also it came with a Johnson or Evinrude 1988/88SPL Hp. outboard motor, that worked flawlessly for a 2 stroke. Only thing that motor ever needed was a coil pack & and a head gasket, which was easy to fix ourselve, and both items happened up on LakeO, and parts were bought from a huge marinea up near the TGI bridge.

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My Sea Ray has semi prop pockets. Im pretty sure they did from 97 til 2000 for the Express Cruiser models. It drafts 3ft

Not bad for a 16k lb boat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was there in the late 80's working on new tunnel hulls.  36 hours before a big show like the Miami boat show, we'd cut tunnels out of a finished prototype that they weren't 100% happy with and glass in a set that were slightly different and have the boat ready for the show within 24 hours.  Once we cut 5' off the back of a completely finished 28 footer two days before the show, put on an entirely different stern so it would plane better.  Had it back together and ready to go, interior and all, in the water looking like new. It was cool to be a part of it but I shudder to think of how much of that stuff is still in my lungs.  I've lost a few friends way too young who stayed in the industry.  Even when you weren't working with the stuff, somebody in the building was grinding or cutting it all day long. 

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