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#11492568 - 03/22/16 02:15 AM First boat - fiberglass or aluminum
Mcd46 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 02/03/16
Posts: 13
I am looking into buying my first boat, and would like some advice. How do newer aluminum boats compare to fiberglass boats that are 5-15 years old. My budget for a boat is around $15k, and I am trying to decide which hull material to narrow in on. With an aluminum boat, I can more than likely get a newer boat, where as fiberglass will probably push me closer to early to mid 2000's model. My main concern with a fiberglass boat would be finding an older boat that is in good shape and not a money pit. Also I have some concern about fishing in the stumps and shallows with a fiberglass boat.

I will be fishing with my young kids for at least 30 - 40% of the time, so a stable good riding boat is a big plus. I also am going to want t fish big lakes from time to time, like Toldeo Bend. Would a 17-18 ft AL boat with a 90 - 110 hp motor do well enough to get around?

Lastly, I have a couple of options for smaller 17 ft AL boats with smaller motors (50 hp). My main concern with these is width and stability (narrower beams). But I also wonder if it is possible to manage fishing moderate sized lakes with a boat that tops out around 35 mph.

Should I be looking at newer AL boats with smaller motors, or older fiberglass boats?

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#11492684 - 03/22/16 07:11 AM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Mcd46]
Frank the Tank Online   content
TFF Guru

Registered: 02/27/13
Posts: 17675
Loc: Rockwall & a lake somewhere
Take it from me....... FIBERGLASS. ALL THE WAY. I have owned these bass boats (in addition to others): Tracker 190 w/ 90 HP motor, AlumaCraft 195 w/ Yami 150, Skeeter zx202c w/ Yami 225. TRUST ME, go with fiberglass. Difference is night and day. This is Texas, it is windy most of the time. I got blown around like a kite in both aluminum rigs, and the AlumaCraft was a true 19.5 foot boat with a wide deck and big motor and it still got blown around all day. Plus, it rode terribly unless it was slick calm. Bottom line, if you are going to launch in a protected cove and just beat the banks, then aluminum should be good for you. But if you plan to do any running around and are looking to stay comfortable and dry and have a large stable platform, fiberglass is the way to go. Lot's of guys take good care of their boats on this forum. Boats are money pits period, regardless of material they're made from. My most expensive boat was the Alumacraft, had repair after repair pop up.

Here is an example:http://texasfishingforum.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/11484832/98_Hawk_Super_21_with_2009_250#Post11484832
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Talon Lures - high quality, hand tied lures made in Texas.
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#11493669 - 03/22/16 01:10 PM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Frank the Tank]
Mcd46 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 02/03/16
Posts: 13
Thanks for the reply.

How durable are fiberglass boats when fishing around stumps/trees? I don't plan on being careless when on the trolling motor, but imagine that I will have a run in or two with a tree below the water line. That was my main reason for thinking of going aluminum.

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#11493688 - 03/22/16 01:20 PM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Mcd46]
KingwoodCat Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 36103
Loc: Broaddus TX
Originally Posted By: Mcd46
Thanks for the reply.

How durable are fiberglass boats when fishing around stumps/trees? I don't plan on being careless when on the trolling motor, but imagine that I will have a run in or two with a tree below the water line. That was my main reason for thinking of going aluminum.


Unless you just enjoy tearing stuff up, it should not be a problem. I've owned glass boats since 1983 and the only hole I ever put in one was due to a metal fence post that should not have been left in when they flooded the lake.
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#11493836 - 03/22/16 02:34 PM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Mcd46]
Frank the Tank Online   content
TFF Guru

Registered: 02/27/13
Posts: 17675
Loc: Rockwall & a lake somewhere
^^^^ this, I have hit plenty of stumps trolling around, even idling, it's fine. Hot water lakes have harder stumps, like Monti, but it's fine. They are stronger than you think.
_________________________
Proverbs 3:5&6
Talon Lures - high quality, hand tied lures made in Texas.
Team McRib

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#11493970 - 03/22/16 03:31 PM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Frank the Tank]
Mcd46 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 02/03/16
Posts: 13
Good to know. I had started off looking at fiberglass boats, but had started looking more at aluminum for this reason. Sounds like a fiberglass boat is they way to go for my needs.

Since my budget will be limited, are there certain things I should shy away from in an older boat? Is there a general time period where outboards swapped from carbed to EFI?

How many hours do outboards usually last before a rebuild is needed? Or is it all about the type of use and maintenance? Should I be concerned with outboards that have over a certain number of hours.

Thanks again, you guys have been very helpful so far.

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#11493994 - 03/22/16 03:38 PM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Mcd46]
Bobby Milam Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/13/14
Posts: 2019
Loc: Arlington
I have always had fiberglass. I get into stumps and other obstacles all the time. Hit them, bounced off them and been stuck on top of them and nothing more that a scratch. Durability is not an issue. I'd be more concerned with verified maintenance and a thorough check by my mechanic than anything else. My current boat is 33 years old and still going strong.

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#11496626 - 03/23/16 04:54 PM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Mcd46]
psycho0819 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/27/05
Posts: 1295
Loc: Kaufman
I fish out of a tin boat, and love it. I'm not going to get into a glass vs tin argument here, or anywhere, but they both have their merits. And while I can't truthfully call BS on anything said above, for them, what you see above is definitely one side of the story.

An aluminum boat can be, and many are, great boats. It really all depends on what you are going to do with it. Mine, for me, fits what I do great. Would a comparable glass boat be better? In some ways and sometimes, yes, in other ways and other times I like my lightweight fuel sipping boat metal boat. Everything is a compromise based on a particular primary use. For me, I had the choice and chose a metal boat, and don't regret it. Just for the record, my previous 2 boats were fiberglass. At times I miss them, but far more often I like what I have. Ultimately, until you have a boat and determine what it is you'll truly use for most, it is almost impossible to know what will fit. I started with bass boats because that's what everyone else had. After a couple of rounds of that, i went with a center console because it works better for me. Many other stories like mine to be heard about all styles and construction.

Either way, I doubt you'd be launching the boat for a day of open water fishing with family on a lake like Tawakoni if it was blowing 20mph+ out anyway. My main bit of advice, which is worth about the amount of time it took me to type this, is don't settle. Decide what you want and wait for the right deal to come along.
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#11496675 - 03/23/16 05:19 PM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Mcd46]
D Miner Online   content
Outdoorsman

Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 123
I'd look for a center console boat unless bass fishing is the top priority. A center console is much more family friendly and little kids won't fall overboard as easily.

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#11496734 - 03/23/16 05:42 PM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: psycho0819]
Mcd46 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 02/03/16
Posts: 13
Thanks for the perspective from the other side of my debate. I don't want to rule out Aluminum boats all together, as it seems I can get more bang for my buck. As a first boat, that holds a lot of weight with me. I cannot afford, nor will fish enough, to own a $45k + bass boat. So it really comes down to how will an older fiberglass boat compare with a newer (but used) aluminum boat.

A couple concerns with aluminum boats that I have are:
- most seem to have narrower beams. My guess is this would make the boat a little less stabile/rock a bit more. With little kids in the boat from time to time, this may be an issue.
- I have heard stories of aluminum boats being rougher/noisier/wetter rides, especially when dealing with moderate wind conditions. I will be fishing Toledo bend, and more times than not it gets rough there from what I have seen.
- while I don't need a 250 hp outboard, I would like something with some get up and go. I believe I could be content cruising in the 40's - low 50's. Will and aluminum boat with a 90-115 hp motor do this comfortably?

I am not against center console boats either, although I will be doing a lot of bass fishing. I think I could make it work though for the right center console boat, as I would be fishing for fun and with the family at times. I don't have any tournament plans for the near term future.

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#11497193 - 03/23/16 08:35 PM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Mcd46]
TCK73 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/26/15
Posts: 1889
Loc: Jack County
Originally Posted By: Mcd46
I believe I could be content cruising in the 40's - low 50's. Will and aluminum boat with a 90-115 hp motor do this comfortably?


No. A 115 will push a 20' with an 8' beam about 40-42 wide open and trimmed out. Two guys I fish with a lot have tin boats. One is a 20' Lowe CC and the other a 20' XPress CC. The Lowe has a Merc 115 2-Stroke and the Xpress a 115 Yamaha 4-stroke. They run the same. I bet a 150 would get close to your numbers.

Just a little info for you, there is nothing wrong with Al boats, I have two and also a glass boat. If you go with Al, I like my friends Xpress better than my other friends Lowe. It seems to have better lids on the storage boxes, rides better in chop, and the hull seems better built. My Aluminum boats are small, a 16' and a 14' Tiller steer. I simply use them for going up small creeks and running trot lines. I just mentioned that because as stated above, a boat that fits your needs is one you will like.
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#11497269 - 03/23/16 09:08 PM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Mcd46]
psycho0819 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/27/05
Posts: 1295
Loc: Kaufman
The narrower beam on aluminum hulls can be deceiving. Mine is 56" at the base, and flares to about 7' at the gunnels in the rear (18' long). That sounds narrow, and is by some comparisons. But the flatter design of the mod-v hull keeps the boat surprisingly stable, even with 2-200lb+ guys moving around on it. Most 20' aluminum boats are 72" at the base, close to 8' at the gunnels, and are extremely stable.

But yes, my mod-v is noisy, and while not a completely terrible ride in chop once you get used to running it, I can feel a difference in slick water vs rippled water. A glass boat, or keeled aluminum boat will be more forgiving and handle chop better. Rollers are another matter, and the mod-v is pretty rough riding in those conditions, ok, it can be brutal at times. All boats are going to be rough in those conditions, but a deeper keel will cut into rollers where mod-v hulls simply aren't designed to disperse water like deep keeled boats are. So why own a mod-v? You can pour a Dr. Pepper in a pothole and I can float my rig in it. Not a feature I take advantage of year 'round, but it is a feature I take advantage of.

40-50mph speeds, the mod-v's have a tougher time getting there because the hulls aren't as efficient. And there is a point of diminishing return when simply adding more power to one. That usually results in disappointing outcomes, and a harrier ride when wringing out every MPH you can. A pad style hull is almost necessary to get there without being on the edge. There are a few that will, like the hyperlift hull from Xpress, or some of the deep-v metal hulls. But by and large, a glass boat would be a better fit for what you describe; until it comes to budget. You can, as you understand, get more features on a tin hull than a similarly sized glass hulls for the same money.

There's also a reason that aluminum CC boats are harder to find on the used market too. People tend to hang onto them longer, and there has to be a reason for that.
_________________________
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#11497553 - 03/23/16 11:44 PM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Mcd46]
Austintatious Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 03/09/09
Posts: 509
Ok, I am here to give a little Tin love...

A someone said above, each is a compromise and each has advantages and disadvantages. I have experience with both however I have never owned a fiberglass boat (and will never) so take that into account with what I have to say.

First of all, there is absolutely no reason a fiberglass boat necessarily will be a "dryer" ride than an aluminum boat. I would argue that the opposite is likely true given the heavier mass of the glass boat is going to pound through the water more and splash more of it up (this will also make for a smoother ride however) However it really comes down to the hull design and the conditions you are in. My deep v Alum is a really dry ride unless I have a quartering headwind going into big waves... in that case, any boat is gonna get you wet, even a 90 foot Hatter with a tuna tower!

Second, I also don't think the notion that alum boats have a narrower beam has any merit. Go to a Bass pro shop and see some of the new all welded boats.. they are insanely wide!

Now, here is why I will never buy a fiberglass boat.

If you are going to trailer the thing, that weight is going to cost you. It is more difficult to maneuver the boat off and on the trailer. It will cause you to burn more gas pulling it to the fishing spot and It will probably have to be parked on an improved surface at all times.

My boat is a 1983... think about that for a second. Can a fiberglass boat last that long?... well, sure if you maintain it and stay on top of repairs and be sure it it thoroughly dried after every use. Repairs to the hull can be expensive and are not a DIY proposition. I have had to deal with Fiberglass rot on a few jetskiis ( little boats) and it was a loosing battle that needed a LOT of $$ in professional repairs to stop. The fiberglass can and will chip exposing the inner fibers if you hit a log or rock and you had better get it fixed. The thing is, My boat has been beaten to hell and other than the paint being scratched and a few little dents, she is good to go. I do not see a glass boat coming anywhere near the alum in terms of durability or longevity. I am sure I will get some hate for that statement, but just consider that fiberglass is a composite and it simply will break down over time.

Efficiency on the water... Boats displace their weight in water. the more it weighs, the more it displaces. End of story. you will burn twice the gas in a glass boat of an equal size as you will in alum. I run at 30-32mph burning 5 gal an hour. My typical day on the lake is 5 gallons of fuel used. I have fed glass boats before and it can hurt when fuel prices hit 4-5 a gal.

It doesnt take much of an anchor to hold down the lighter weight of an alum boat.

The alum boat will likely go into much more shallow water that the glass.


Now, to be fair, there are some cons.

Depending on the shape of the hull, the nose will get blown around a lot. My boat sits pretty high and the nose catches a lot of wind and weighs next to nothing... so It takes effort (throttle) to put the nose where I want it. All in all its not that big of a deal and you learn to deal with it... you will have to deal with it in glass as well but perhaps not as much.

Since the boat is lighter, it does not beat its way through waves as well as a heavier boat. I have a deep V and it does really well, especially with a big fat friend sitting up front... but if it is just me the thing does not cut through the waves at all. Again, no big deal, just slow down if it is really gnarly.

Good luck... I am sure you will make a decision you are happy with... you will get on the water one way or another and that is all that matters.

PS: If you want to check out my boat, here is a link to the restore threat I started when I first got it. I recently posted to it responding to a question so be sure to check out the last post for and idea of what this boat can do that I dont think ANY glass boat would be capable of.
http://texasfishingforum.com/forums/ubbt...a_N#Post4872303

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#11497608 - 03/24/16 02:05 AM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Mcd46]
Flippin-Out Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/25/15
Posts: 1564
Loc: Magnolia, TX
Originally Posted By: Mcd46


I am not against center console boats either, although I will be doing a lot of bass fishing. I think I could make it work though for the right center console boat, as I would be fishing for fun and with the family at times. I don't have any tournament plans for the near term future.


If you will be doing a lot of bass fishing, you will probably not be fond of a high-side boat, which many center consoles are, and as are many deep-V aluminum boats, no matter the console configuration. One primary reason is that you present more profile for the wind to push against. This makes you drift faster than you want to drift, drift into what you don't want to drift into/over, and makes you fight it more with the trolling motor. I'm not saying those boats are bad, just not at all a good match for bass fishing. If those configurations were ideal for bass fishing, the leading bass boats would be like that....

It's not that aluminum boats are rough riding - SMALL aluminum boats are. I've owned several, and prefer fiberglass because I got tired of getting the carp beat out of me. SMALL boats are great for rivers and small lakes. Fiberglass and BIG are the best combo for waters that get rough. Notice I didn't say they had to be fast, no 250 hp required.

Take whatever you think you want to buy for a ride. If it's a rough ride, think about how many times the wife/kids will go along before they pass altogether and never go because they aren't into it enough to take the beating. (This happens to family boating plans quite a bit unfortunately.)

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#11498377 - 03/24/16 11:12 AM Re: First boat - fiberglass or aluminum [Re: Mcd46]
crapicat Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 5011
Loc: Grandview, TX
You do indeed have a dilemna on your hands...you are trying to get too much out of one boat...1)family boat- Typically a large, roomy, comfortable cruiser, that is 23- to 27 ft in length. 2) Shallow water boat...usually a flat bottom or bay style boat. 3) stump boat - aluminum V-hull type boat, that is relatively light weight. 4) Big water, fast, - typically a 20 ft fiberglass bass style boat with a big engine.

You didn't mention what type vehicle you will be pulling said boat with...it makes a difference!

What you are asking is impossible...I tried to do the same thing...ended up with 4 boats...got it whittled down to two...a two man creek boat and a flat bottom shallow water/stump (skinny water) type boat....I am currently looking for a big lake boat, and an upgrade on my shallow water boat to more of a V-style hull and a bit longer.

What I discovered, the family had limited time to get on the lake due to summer commitments (school stuff) and my wife didn't like the sunburn on her/kids, so she limited family type outings or made it unbearable as possible! Also, flat bottoms are not good in stumps any more than heavy fiberglass boats are...but they will take MUCH more abuse...most of the guys that fish a fiberglass boat will SELDOM tie up to a stump due to the potential damage to the boat, but there are exceptions. Also, I have been impossibly hung on stumps in both types, but have yet to poke a hole in an aluminum boat. Further, my heavy fiberglass deep v bass boat would not get me around in water less than 3 ft deep, regardless of what the manufacturer or other buddies said it should do!

MY ADVISE...determine what the majority of your time of the water is going to involve, on the lakes you are REALLY going to fish and get a boat that suits that style of fishing and those lakes...go in cheap (older boat in excellent condition), and see if you made a good decision and adjust from there, as your time on the water dictates. Hope this information helps!

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