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Aluminum boat recommendations


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Hey everyone, I am curious about how well  aluminum boats ride on the big lake.  I had a 19’ glass  CC that handled great but was a heavy haul from lake to lake since I trailer it everywhere I go.  Trying to split the difference between towing a lighter load and still not getting knocked around too much in 3’ers. Would love to hear what you guys have and how they are working out. Thanks

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I have a heavy glass boat (21' Angler)  I would never go back to an aluminum boat......the trailering is a little harder but the ride more than makes up for it.  There really is no comparison in my opinion.....

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I’m with Bandrus. I’m not out in 3fters if I don’t have to be. No enjoyment. If I’m living up on LO I’d be settling on glass maybe min 21 ft frame. I’m sold on the 19 ft alum due to fishing and trailering around finger lakes most of the time. If it’s calm on the big lake I can be there in 30min.


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I bounce around during the year between Oneida, Ontario and a couple of the smaller finger lakes but would also like to take it to the salt for some bay fishing during vacations but no way I would drive the glass tank out there along with my family and a weeks worth of luggage. Maybe I can’t have my cake and eat it too but would to at least know if it’s an option.

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I bounce around during the year between Oneida, Ontario and a couple of the smaller finger lakes but would also like to take it to the salt for some bay fishing during vacations but no way I would drive the glass tank out there along with my family and a weeks worth of luggage. Maybe I can’t have my cake and eat it too but would to at least know if it’s an option.

What are you pulling it with?
My kid pulls our 25 Whaler with a V6 Ram with zero issues. Don’t even know it’s back there.


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Trailering is really about matching up the boat weight with trailer tongue weight distribution and having a wide enough wheel base on the tow vehicle and towing capacity to keep the tail from wagging the dog with smaller boats, and getting the right hull design for the boat itself depending on use or purpose . My 18 ft Whaler is much like a 20 ft boat and can be pulled by pretty much any pickup truck or SUV. I can launch it solo, go out in very rough water without problems and in the 18 years I have had it I have never had any water come into the boat from waves because of the hull design. Fishing rough water is another issue because no matter what size boat you are in when the wind is up and the waves are cranking you can't control your lure speed properly;although some may be more comfortable to be on than others. I'm convinced there are no perfect boats - just some that perform better than others at some things.  After all is said and done it is  always a compromise of some sort ;whether comfort, expense, purpose (s) etc. and personal preferences seem to guide that decision. Most glass boats and aluminum boats "feel" different when in them and once someone gets used to this (either way) it can be a preference or desirability factor too which can later affect "satisfaction":smile:

Edited by Sk8man
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Have owned several aluminums including a 22ft.  I have a glass 20 ft now.  There is no comparison to the ride of glass because of weight.  Aluminum has gotten better as they have improved over time.  But everyone has their own preferences.  Towing kicks gas mileage down, often into the 12 mpg range or less.  Not going to get around that one.  And sure weight is also a factor in this but the vehicle is working harder to cover the same ground.   

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  • 3 months later...

I’ve had an 18’ Lund Alaskan since 2007. It tows easily and rides well. It can handle anything I care to fish in on Lake Ontario. It’s also a very versatile boat and can be used with a blind as a duck boat. If you are looking for something a bit larger they make a 20 footer. Many river rats on the SLR own Alaskans.


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Thanks for posting Kevin. I just came in off the ice and saw this and was just telling my friend that I am still keeping my eyes out for another boat.  Will definitely keep this in mind

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I have an aluminum 19 foot Starcraft Islander and although I have no problem with 3 footers I would not go out in 4 footers. Going solo quite often I learned to always stay in the low parts of the wave (riding the valley) and I always have the otter boats out which makes steering very much easier also in waves. I also have about a 100 pounds of ballast in the bow. I guess it is aluminum ,but I made it as heavy as fiber glass.

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I used to trailer my aluminum boat exclusively, and it's the TRAILER that determines how good or bad your experience is going to be as long as you're within the weight limits of your tow vehicle.

 

As far a boat considerations, you should narrow down your search based on how you plan to rig it. If you're going to fish the big lake, and you want to extend your season, then you probably want to be able to have a canvas enclosure. That especially true if you've trailered a decent way and you plan to put in full days. My guess is that's why you see so few center consoles here vs Florida.

 

I'm totally surprised that you don't see more west coast style aluminum boats, like Hewescraft or North River. Crestliner makes a Commander model similar. Fully welded, heavy gauge. If you look at them from the side, the helm is moved toward the bow compared to most of our walk through windshield boats, giving you a larger open area in the stern. The compromise is that it reduces the size of the bow fishing area. Add a model that puts the motor on an extended bracket behind the boat and a 19 footer fishes like a 24!

 

Final consideration for me is freeboard. My gunnel height hits me in the thighs when I lean to the side of my boat, and I'd have to work pretty hard to fall overboard. Big disadvantage is that a taller boat, with the canvas up, has a lot more sail area that can make anchoring in the wind and boat control more difficult.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sometimes it pays to rethink the original problem. Some years ago I trailered my Whaler with a Ford Explorer V-8. It was capable of pulling the boat and I thought set up just right as far as the trailer etc. At about 60 mph  or more I could feel the front wheels lifting and the boat swaying behind despite having a full 60 gals. of fuel (to keep from sloshing around). I thought it might be the tongue weight distribution etc. and had things adjusted (PIA). It still did it the same. The trailer has a very wide wheel base and was controlling the vehicle which had a narrower wheelbase. I bought a used Expedition V-8 and have never had that problem since and am now on my second Expedition. Moral of the story: I would never have given up the boat as I love it and wanted to keep it no matter what so I reformulated the solution. Not cheap but necessary in that case. Something to think about....maybe a used pickup if you like the boat itself? Three footers plus will knock around about anyone in all but the largest boats and then you have a very different solution.

Edited by Sk8man
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