I have a great bass boat that has been well taken care of. We are headed to the coast and considering taking it in the bay. how much damage will this cause? Just trying to decide if it a bad idea. Any comments are welcome.
You can see above that the answer is not "zero." However, from the perspective of "will my bass boat perform safely and effectively in the bay?" Sure it will. Then from the perspective, of, "How can I minimize minor damage and the risk of major damage operating a bass boat in the bay?" I fish, not nearly often enough, in Chocolate and West Bays and associated bayous, marshes and canals.
I'm assuming its a fiberglass boat with a fairly large outboard. So, first, don't get in no hurries. The bay is mostly shallow and full of things like sand bars, oyster reefs, sunk boats, tractor tires, old pianos, and things that will amaze and mystify you as to how they must've gotten to where they are. You don't want to hit any of those going fast.
You can go fast as you want in the intercoastal and barge channels that are well marked with red and green buoys, within reason and understanding that you will encounter things like huge barges, dredges, and even water skiers, all of which are very intimidating and none of which is going to move out of your way.
Going "outside the lines" and not knowing how things are, right now (things change fast and often in the bay), is both very risky and usually necessary to catch some fish. Running up on a sand bar slowly is one thing, hitting an oyster reef at a pretty good clip quite another. Oysters will scratch the finish and if up on a reef and rolling around, well into the glass of the hull. Just normal collateral damage for bay boaters, but might be horrifying to a fastidious bass boater. You sure don't want to hit some sunken old engine block or steel hull very fast and cause real damage. Go slow when outside the channels and looking for fish. All those things, sand bars, oyster reefs, sunken boats, etc. are also pretty good places to look for fish.
There's a lot more, but a good bass boat with a seasoned operator using the same common sense he/she would use on any new water can make a fine platform to explore and fish the bay systems along the coast. One big caveat, if it is even thinking about looking like stormy weather, get off the water, storms being especially unsafe in smaller craft operating in unfamiliar conditions here along the coast.
That salt water thingy.....yes, you gonna pay the price for taking your nice, freshwater rig out in the salt. Best you can hope for is to clean'er up really good with fresh water after every day of fishing. Don't leave the boat and motor with salty water in/on any longer than absolutely necessary (getting to car wash). Rinse and flush the motor really good. When done at the coast, as soon as possible, even if having washed and rinsed thoroughly, take the boat and operate it in fresh water. You'd best do the same with whatever you use to tow the boat as well, wash and rinse as soon as you get finished each day, and when you leave for home. I live here and just know my stuff is gonna rust away, but a person can visit and go home again and not totally rot away if they are thorough.
The thing people miss the most, is if you got carpet on the trailer. Especially for storing the boat, that carpet MUST BE THOROUGHLY RINSED with the boat off, before letting the boat sit on it for very long.
The bays along the coast are wonderful, fascinating, beautiful and full of fish, but can be trying and even dangerous if not respected. Also, remember not just tides, but the effects of large craft passing and even local small storms by can be unpredictable, especially in the bays and by somebody unfamiliar with their effects.
Then again, you can hire a guide with a boat.....
Enjoy, the Texas coast is absolutely awe inspiring.