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Author Topic: Help! Which boat do I want?  (Read 2444 times)

Offline Switchback

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Help! Which boat do I want?
« on: March 08, 2018, 04:10:04 PM »
So I'm getting a small (15' or under) utility boat, for fishing in lakes and the sound and also crabbing and shrimping.
I'm pretty heavily leaning toward the Smokercraft Alaskan 15. But Smokercraft also makes the Big Fish 14. The Big Fish is appealing because I can load it up with more gear, and I like the layout better. It also has a livewell. What concerns me is the shape of the hull. Or the bow. I'm not a boat terminologist. But the front of the boat is shaped like a canoe, which is pretty much the opposite of all the other boats I've used.
I assume they do it for more usable room, and stability. But I also assume it might suck in rough water? I have experience with 14' Lunds in 2-3' chop and it sucks, and I assume the Big Fish would suck even more?
Tell me the downsides of it, there have to be some! There's really nothing about it online anywhere. I don't want to buy a boat and then realize it's terrible.
Thanks!

Offline Boss .300 winmag

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2018, 04:13:43 PM »
It’s really easy once you use it for some time.  :tup:

I like the one with the canvas topper.
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Offline NRA4LIFE

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2018, 04:39:59 PM »
I'd go a bit bigger with the 17' Osprey.  The sound can get nasty in a hurray. 
Look man, some times you just gotta roll the dice

So many free days, so few fish....

Offline Stein

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2018, 05:18:12 PM »
Neither boat will be fun when you get into chop as you typically have little to no control over your bow entry angle other than moving people or gear forward.  Buy the one that has the higher passenger/gear weight rating or the one that you like the layout better.

I ran a 14' Smokercraft in the salt for several years, you just have to pick your days and areas.

Offline Crunchy

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2018, 05:29:09 PM »
If you are set on 14footer then I would consider a fiberglass boat. Heavy and can handle rougher water much better.

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2018, 06:54:11 PM »
Easier to beach a tin boat than a glass one if ya had or want to. Tin ones may ride a bit rougher in a chop but then a good sailor tries not to get caught in those situations. Be safe.

Offline Stein

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2018, 08:51:13 PM »
Easier to beach a tin boat than a glass one if ya had or want to. Tin ones may ride a bit rougher in a chop but then a good sailor tries not to get caught in those situations. Be safe.

 :yeah:

The best part about those boats is you can launch when and where others can't and avoid the crowds.  Even on my bigger boat, I went with aluminum for the ease of cleanup, lack of polishing required and the ability to run it up on any beach without crying.

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2018, 10:21:21 AM »
Thanks for the replies! The reason I'm "set" on a 14'er is because the boat has to be stored in my garage and that's all that will fit with a motor and swing-tongue trailer. If I had outdoor boat parking I'd definitely be in the 17-20' range.
Definitely set on aluminum vs. glass, because about 80% of my use will be lake fishing while camping, so I need a boat I can beach near the campsite.
Will just have to pick days on the Sound wisely – I'll mostly just be heading out to drop crab and shrimp pots, and then squid fish in the colder months. I know this won't be a setup to regularly go fishing up in the strait or anything like that!

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2018, 10:25:15 AM »
Get the layout you like. Eitherway you are going to get thumped in a chop with a low v and low gunnel aluminum.  I have a Lund 16 DLX tiller, I have my ass kicked several times :chuckle: on Roosevelt

Offline Alchase

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2018, 10:55:08 AM »
I had a 13ft Smoker Craft Alaskan Deep-V and A 15 ft Smokercraft Alaskan Deep-V w/split seat.
If you do get the 14 get it with the split seat instead of the middle bench. Makes a word of difference in how you can stow gear and move around.
They are fantastic lake boats when paired with the right motor. I used 15 hp 4 stroke Yamaha on both, and the 15 ft would do 28 MPH at WOT, and still troll down to 0.5 MPH.
I you are taking it on the sound, you would want to very weather aware. I did Point-No-Point, Hood Canal too many times to count, and Point Defiance many times, but a heavier boat would handle the wind and swells better.

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2018, 11:28:29 AM »
I had a 13ft Smoker Craft Alaskan Deep-V and A 15 ft Smokercraft Alaskan Deep-V w/split seat.
If you do get the 14 get it with the split seat instead of the middle bench. Makes a word of difference in how you can stow gear and move around.
They are fantastic lake boats when paired with the right motor. I used 15 hp 4 stroke Yamaha on both, and the 15 ft would do 28 MPH at WOT, and still troll down to 0.5 MPH.
I you are taking it on the sound, you would want to very weather aware. I did Point-No-Point, Hood Canal too many times to count, and Point Defiance many times, but a heavier boat would handle the wind and swells better.

Split seats in the middle are a must – especially since I plan on crabbing and squidding out of it. The Alaskan 15 has them, and the Big Fish does as well – and the Big Fish seems a little more open, plus it has a livewell, and the bow is level and easier to get a trolling motor on there. I attached a picture of the Big Fish layout. Only thing I don't like better about the Big Fish is the bow, very snub-nosed instead of the longer and more angled bow of the Alaskan. Just seems like it'd be a lot wetter of a ride, but I suppose either boat is not gonna be great if the waves pick up.

Whichever one I get I'm planning on a 25hp motor or maybe a 30 – I got caught in real bad wind one time in a 14' Lund with a 9.9, was miserable getting back to the launch.

Offline Alchase

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2018, 08:37:37 PM »
I would also setup a remote steer on the right mid seat, you will not regret it.
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Offline j_h_nimrod

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2018, 09:24:02 PM »
Any 14’ boat sucks in 2-3’ seas, it is the sea handling capabilities and ability of the captain to mitigate the pain. The narrower cut water and lower capacity typically makes a boat less capable in heavy water. I have run a 14’ Lund SST, which is similar to the Big Fish, in some truly nasty seas and it floated like a cork. More bow area and resultant lift decreases the sport performance, but increases the overall ability and lower speed planing ability. For a sportier boat the narrower bow and deeper vee increases ride comfort to a degree, but increases planing speed.

A 14’ Lund SST (Big Fish) will plane at about 10-12 knots and ride heavier water at a lower and safer speed while a deeper vee will require a few more knots and be less sea worthy IMO. Also having a console steer vs. a tiller steer on a 14’ boat greatly decreases the useable area of the small boat and makes the captains ride much rougher.

If I were to get a 14’ class boat I would opt for the broader bow and tiller steer engine if I were planning (or preparing) on being in rough seas.

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2018, 10:04:15 PM »
If I were to get a 14’ class boat I would opt for the broader bow and tiller steer engine if I were planning (or preparing) on being in rough seas.

Totally disagree, my 15 ft Alaskan had the same 15 HP 4-stroke Yamaha without controls.
Adding the forward controls made that boat many times more pleasant to drive in all conditions. Especially by yourself. It also got up on plane better with the weight in the center of the boat. The difference was dramatic.

I also had a 10 ft Livingston with a 8 hp Yamaha. I installed mid boat controls, and it was an improvement, especially trolling on the salt, Point-no-point, etc..

No one is saying this size boat is "optimal" for sea state 4 or better, but you can get a ton of use if weather aware.

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Re: Help! Which boat do I want?
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2018, 10:37:46 PM »
Tiller all the way in a boat that size.  A wheel wastes so much room and reduces overall utility, imho.  Ride is WAY better in the back in rougher water, far less amplification of movement.  Been there.

Get whatever floorplan you like, you're not going to be busting through an honest 2' chop in either.  In a light sub 1' wind chop that will still allow you to plane, the hull form of the 15' will ride significantly better.
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