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Boat Search Criteria #13659681 08/07/20 04:02 PM
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KenTx1962 Offline OP
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Some of you guys probably saw I am going to do a series of test driving a bunch of boat brands over the next few months. Most videos are "look at my new boat, best boat ever", and then a year or two later, they go to a new brand and "look at my new boat, best boat every". I want to do a series that is as unbiased as i can make it where I take everybody through me shopping for a new ride (assuming I find something better than what I have that I can afford!). I don't want to just drive a boat in a big circle for 20 minutes on a calm day, I want to fish out of them for a day and give honest feedback, so looking for some ideas from you guys (please don't be a brand homer here).

Initially I'm thinking 4 or 5 criteria, graded on 1-25 or 1-20 scale, something that adds up to 100 based upon total number of criteria, things like:

Fishability
Layout, are the boxes easy to access, it the boat tippy to fish out of, are the gunnels too high for flipping, is the front deck to narrow, is the back deck big or small (co-angler feedback good here might really be helpful), just all the stuff that makes a boat easy or hard to fish out of.

Fit and Finish
Is it good carpet, are there trim issues, do the boxes open and close well, seats, how are the livewells, are the decks padded, etc

Performance
Hole shot, top end speed, handling, rough water ride, is it dry, can you keep the nose out of the water with a trailing sea

Amenities
What have they done new or different, usb ports, phone storage, seems Vexus has several things others aren't doing, so I guess what is new to me based upon my 2018 Ranger

Feedback from owners
I'd like to start soliciting from guys that currently own each kind of boat, what is your 3 favorite things about the boat, and then what are three things you'd change if you could. Then kind of see what patterns develop from that feedback.

If I were to grade my current Ranger Z521c on a scale of 1-20 for those 5 criteria, I'd grade 17 out of 20 on Fishability (that'd pretty much be a really high score, somebody would have to blow me away to score higher). Boat is super stable and laid out well, maybe ding a smidge because I don't love the one giant box on the front deck, but that's a personal preference thing so maybe more mention it than score it.

14 on Fit and Finish (which would have been an 18 or 19 on my 2015 model), I've had trim issues, had a box lock come apart, had to rebind the wires under the dash as they started dangling down, etc

Performance I'd give it a 15-16 only dinging it for top end speed, again a 17-18 would be a score of excellent (but maybe I should allow 20's?).

Amenities 14-15, very average, don't think they are doing much different than they were 10 years ago.

Then probably 14-15 for feedback as so many guys are leaving Ranger that says something, but then some guys that leave and come back.

Wondering if I should include trailer in one of the areas above? Then have 10 bonus points for tournament guys for contingency prizes from manufacturers. So in theory top score for non-tournament guys 100, for tournament guys 110, but as I generally think most boats have some things they do really well and some things they don't, any score in the high 80's would be spectacular.

Curious everybody's thoughts on what you would change or add, any feedback appreciated?

Oh and last thing, for Feedback, I've talked to several fiberglass shops and asked them "based upon the boats you cut the bottom out of, what are the 3 best built". So far answers have been pretty consistent. Thanks for any feedback guys, I drive my first two next week so like to have this scale figured out.

Last edited by KenTx1962; 08/07/20 04:05 PM.

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Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13659792 08/07/20 05:51 PM
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rscustomrods Offline
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Looking forward to the read sir. I am torn between fxr 21 and a 521. Hoping to see what you think of the fxr

Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13659810 08/07/20 06:10 PM
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Txduckhunter Offline
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Originally Posted by KenTx1962
Some of you guys probably saw I am going to do a series of test driving a bunch of boat brands over the next few months. Most videos are "look at my new boat, best boat ever", and then a year or two later, they go to a new brand and "look at my new boat, best boat every". I want to do a series that is as unbiased as i can make it where I take everybody through me shopping for a new ride (assuming I find something better than what I have that I can afford!). I don't want to just drive a boat in a big circle for 20 minutes on a calm day, I want to fish out of them for a day and give honest feedback, so looking for some ideas from you guys (please don't be a brand homer here).

Initially I'm thinking 4 or 5 criteria, graded on 1-25 or 1-20 scale, something that adds up to 100 based upon total number of criteria, things like:

Fishability
Layout, are the boxes easy to access, it the boat tippy to fish out of, are the gunnels too high for flipping, is the front deck to narrow, is the back deck big or small (co-angler feedback good here might really be helpful), just all the stuff that makes a boat easy or hard to fish out of.

Fit and Finish
Is it good carpet, are there trim issues, do the boxes open and close well, seats, how are the livewells, are the decks padded, etc

Performance
Hole shot, top end speed, handling, rough water ride, is it dry, can you keep the nose out of the water with a trailing sea

Amenities
What have they done new or different, usb ports, phone storage, seems Vexus has several things others aren't doing, so I guess what is new to me based upon my 2018 Ranger

Feedback from owners
I'd like to start soliciting from guys that currently own each kind of boat, what is your 3 favorite things about the boat, and then what are three things you'd change if you could. Then kind of see what patterns develop from that feedback.

If I were to grade my current Ranger Z521c on a scale of 1-20 for those 5 criteria, I'd grade 17 out of 20 on Fishability (that'd pretty much be a really high score, somebody would have to blow me away to score higher). Boat is super stable and laid out well, maybe ding a smidge because I don't love the one giant box on the front deck, but that's a personal preference thing so maybe more mention it than score it.

14 on Fit and Finish (which would have been an 18 or 19 on my 2015 model), I've had trim issues, had a box lock come apart, had to rebind the wires under the dash as they started dangling down, etc

Performance I'd give it a 15-16 only dinging it for top end speed, again a 17-18 would be a score of excellent (but maybe I should allow 20's?).

Amenities 14-15, very average, don't think they are doing much different than they were 10 years ago.

Then probably 14-15 for feedback as so many guys are leaving Ranger that says something, but then some guys that leave and come back.

Wondering if I should include trailer in one of the areas above? Then have 10 bonus points for tournament guys for contingency prizes from manufacturers. So in theory top score for non-tournament guys 100, for tournament guys 110, but as I generally think most boats have some things they do really well and some things they don't, any score in the high 80's would be spectacular.

Curious everybody's thoughts on what you would change or add, any feedback appreciated?

Oh and last thing, for Feedback, I've talked to several fiberglass shops and asked them "based upon the boats you cut the bottom out of, what are the 3 best built". So far answers have been pretty consistent. Thanks for any feedback guys, I drive my first two next week so like to have this scale figured out.


I'd consider the trailer before contingency money. You have to win (in eligible events) to get that money, you will have your trailer all the time.

I think that some of these items are owner biased for sure.

Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13659844 08/07/20 06:53 PM
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Very interested in your project.

I'd add trailer quality to overall fit and finish, kinda consider it part of the whole "rig" as one should when they're shopping. Generic trailer vs custom built, fiberglass fenders vs metal, protective coating vs painted, quality tires from the factory vs cheapos, etc. Spends more time on the trailer than in the water in the end.

Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13659872 08/07/20 07:12 PM
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Chris B Online Content
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Fishability would be number 1. Ease of driving number 2. Will said company be here still before my warranty expires number 3.



I hate photobucket.
Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13659880 08/07/20 07:26 PM
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bronco71 Online Content
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Livewell system needs to be considered as well as if a jack plate is included and which type. And trolling motor and battery size and type. Also tandem or single trailer and options other than carpet. When looking for my "new to me" boat single axle and carpet were deal breakers...


1999 Triton TX21/225 Mercury Optimax
Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13659888 08/07/20 07:37 PM
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KenTx1962 Offline OP
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Chris....need a crystal ball on who will still be in business (never imagined Legend or Evinrude going away?).

On driving, are you talking about turn loose of the wheel and it drives itself, like my Ranger, or where you gotta "drive it" like a Cat or other go fast boat.

On trailer, agreed the more I've thought about it, my Ranger trailer has a parking brake....why don't all of them have that, seems so simply easy, but then i think steps come on a Cat and maybe Nitro trailers, again shouldn't that be standard for all.

Bronco I thought about livewells but not sure how to judge that.... is bigger better, is deeper better, is oxygenator standard these days for all or do they matter. You guys telling me specifics of what yours have or don't have and you like or dislike helps a bunch.


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Fishing Videos https://bit.ly/3ip0TPz
10% off 6th Sense 6thsensefishing.com/ &
www.WaterLandco.com with code Ken10
Support my channel shopping Tackle Warehouse with this link http://bit.ly/2S4dFY6
Lew's Rods http://bit.ly/37HLJQf & reels http://bit.ly/36FJpb2
Mercury Marine Pro Staff
Seaguar Line http://bit.ly/38QpBDm


Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13659941 08/07/20 08:32 PM
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Iā€™m a two boat owner. I keep mine a long time. Last year I sold/gave my 25 year old champ to a friend and replaced it with a basscat lynx. No plastic the 25 year old dash looked new. I also have a 2013 basscat puma.. I would not buy a boat that had any plastic or whatever it is called. I think basscat and charger are the only ones doing this. I am not fond of the forward trolling motor position of the puma. On the lynx you can move it back. I think you can on the new. cougars as well. Superb trailer. If there was a better all around boat than a lynx with a 300 I might buy it. If there is it is probably the basscat cougar hybrid running a champ 203 hull. Good luck


2020 Basscat Lynx 300 ProXs 8ā€™ Blades
2013 Basscat Puma FTD 250 ProXs 10' Blades
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Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13660051 08/07/20 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by KenTx1962
Chris....need a crystal ball on who will still be in business (never imagined Legend or Evinrude going away?).

On driving, are you talking about turn loose of the wheel and it drives itself, like my Ranger, or where you gotta "drive it" like a Cat or other go fast boat.

On trailer, agreed the more I've thought about it, my Ranger trailer has a parking brake....why don't all of them have that, seems so simply easy, but then i think steps come on a Cat and maybe Nitro trailers, again shouldn't that be standard for all.

Bronco I thought about livewells but not sure how to judge that.... is bigger better, is deeper better, is oxygenator standard these days for all or do they matter. You guys telling me specifics of what yours have or don't have and you like or dislike helps a bunch.

I tend to think brands that are selling high numbers of boats and have been around for 75 years are more likely to still be around. We have all seen brands come and go and you know what the value of the boat is going to do if the company goes away. On driving, yes I prefer a boat like your Ranger or my Skeeter that I can drive with one finger while drinking my coffee down the lake at 60mph+.



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Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13660066 08/07/20 10:31 PM
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Ken I sure would like to hear your result after riding in a Basscat/Champ hull hybrid! Ya gotta do it. I'm in a Legend now, but considering a BC.


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Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13660084 08/07/20 10:54 PM
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Neal G Online Content
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Ken,
You are making this to damn complicated. It is just a boat/motor not my life insurance or retirement finances. Actually, remind me to not let you work on my life insurance because I might die first while you analyze it.


cheers

Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13660235 08/08/20 01:23 AM
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Ken,

I do the same thing with vehicles when friends ask me my professional opinion on a couple or more that they are considering. cheers

Of course what might be important to me in a vehicle or boat might not be as important to them so the unbiased opinion comes to play there. cheers

i don't tourney fish so some of those things wouldn't be important to me but my thought process might include something that a tourney fisherman might overlook if they get "tunnel vision" looking at tourney specific features. gumshoe


2016 Ranger RT188 Charcoal Metallic Dual Console
2017 Yamaha 115 VMAX SHO (VF115LA) SS Prop
Minn Kota Ultrex i-Pilot Link 45" 80 lb.
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Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13660249 08/08/20 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by KenTx1962


Bronco I thought about livewells but not sure how to judge that.... is bigger better, is deeper better, is oxygenator standard these days for all or do they matter. You guys telling me specifics of what yours have or don't have and you like or dislike helps a bunch.

I like the systems with multiple pumps...pump in, pump out and recirculate with timer. Many use fewer pumps and valves that have to be set in certain positions to do different operations, a PITA!


1999 Triton TX21/225 Mercury Optimax
Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: Neal G] #13660261 08/08/20 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Neal G
Ken,
You are making this to damn complicated. It is just a boat/motor not my life insurance or retirement finances. Actually, remind me to not let you work on my life insurance because I might die first while you analyze it.


cheers


My thoughts exactly. hammer cheers


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Re: Boat Search Criteria [Re: KenTx1962] #13660382 08/08/20 04:12 AM
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Hey Ken
You might give Ryan a call at Ross Motorsports (Lufkin)
They have a Puma 203 Hybrid with the Champion hull. You had mentioned you might want to run one of those to test

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