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Down to Earth

Fish-n-Ski, Which one and why?

13 posts in this topic

I'm sure many of you have been in my current situation. Have an older small fishing boat, got married, family grew and you start looking into upgrading your boat. As a result, I think a fish-n-ski boat is an easier sell than a "fish only" boat. In the past couple weeks I've gotten catalogs from Ranger, Triton, Stratos, Skeeter, Nitro, and Pro Craft. I didn't even look at the aluminums yet. So I'm wondering those of you who went the fish and ski route what did you go with and why? Anyways, a lot of nice models to consider out there. For those of you that have gone through the process already, what are some of the pros and cons of the boats you looked at before you decided?

Thanks.

Andy

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I was in the same position a month ago. I looked into a lot of options but narrowed in on three choices -- Lund Alumacraft and Crestliner.

Thought the Lund was too expensive, the Crestliner was a nice ski boat you can fish out of and the Trophy 185 was my final coice.

I loved different things in each boat -- I wish I could have put them all together. I loved the flip up lounge seats in the front and the sofa in the crestliner but in the end I went with what I was used to and Alumacraft.

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Don't forget about what I call the Ski and Fish model's (notice ski is first) I have a Caravelle 18 foot 188FS bowrider. Other models are Larson, Sea Ray, Bayliner etc...

Even more family friendly....my ski and fish has an I/O with the huge sunpad in the back...many many hours have been spent with the wife tanning on the sunpad with myself running the trolling motor and fishing out of the front....

keep it in mind...

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I got a 17ft Lowe F&S. If you get a catalog and look at the options you know what I mean.

Bow Deck Cushions, Combing Pads, Rails, Swim Platform w/ 2-Step Ladder, Ski Pylon and the trailer you can get painted or galv.

Wife loves to fish and I wanted a boat so I can water ski again. I was shopping for a boat for about 2 years and then found this one.

The other choice was a 1750 Tyee...Dual console alaskan...all have their pros and cons. Just got a good deal on the Lowe.

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I picked up a used Javelin FS two years ago. It functions as both very well. The bow platform is large enough for two to fish from together. The rear deck is just as big. It seats 5 behind the windshield. It also came with all the pads and ski tow bar. It is a 20' boat with a 200 Johnson on it.

I would look at used boats since some of the FS owners were at one time in your situation but as the families grew the need for the FS went away. That is how I got mine.

Here is a picture of my boat.

19303_l.jpg

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Andy ~

As with Muskieguy, I fell into this group as it was an easier "sell"...I picked up a 2002 Larson SEI 186 fish-n-ski. It's got a factory trolling motor mounted on the bow along with the electronics. The bench seats in the bow convert into a platform--remove the cushions and insert one of the seats into the platform to fish and run the trolling motor. It too has the sundeck on the back that the wife loves (which also converts to allow a seat to be inserted into it to fish from), and it's also got a livewell, built in tackle box, rod storage and plenty of storage for gear. Engine is a Volvo 4.3 190hp. It is on the heavy side, and shallow accesses can be a problem (small lakes), but it's a great family boat, but it works very well to fish out of for 2-3 people.

I took plenty of time to find the deal I wanted, and ended up buying it off of Ebay, got a super steal of a buy, however I did have to drive to TX to pick it up. Bottom line, there are lots of options--do your research and find what will work best for you.

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I bought a Alumacraft TP 175 CS and had installed a ski tripod (about $300). It has worked great, installs and breaks down in seconds. I still have the fishing boat that I wanted but the rest of the family can enjoy it as well. I just did not find what i wanted in a fish and ski. Plus I have a kicker as well since i do a lot of trolling and the fish and ski just did not seem to work as well with that option.

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Also have TP175 with 150efi. Use it mostly for fishing, but do use it a lot for family reunion type parties, island hopping on Whitefish, etc. It is not as "comfy" as a true fish and ski with bucket seats. I would suggest to look at something like an alumacraft Tourney Sport, or a Lund ProV IFS, or other makes with a wrap around winshield. Not quite as nice most fishing, but gives it that "ski" look and protects the passenger from wind.

Main thing I would suggest, is that if you are indeed skiing with it, or using it as family boat where you load up coolers, 2-3 adults and 2-3 kids, maybe a dog... that you get enough motor. You will find plenty of boats with smaller (in my mind, less than 115hp) motors and they will work, but from having motors from 25hp to 150 hp, you want at least 115hp or more if you are going to have those kinds of loads. We used to ski with 90hp a ton, really a lot, and it was barely enough. With the 150 you can load up a boat and STILL ski without dropping people off, etc.

And if this is your first bigger boat, I would totally suggest used boat. You will learn so much more of what you want in a boat after you are out and using it. I will also suggest (my opinion) that if you are going to ski you DON'T get a 4 stroke (unless its the Verado). Drive one with several people aboard, and you will know what I mean. The Merc 135/150/175 efi motors are strong and reliable, but a bit thirsty. Same with the Yamaha 2 stroke. Those would be my choices unless you start looking at newer and more expensive OptiMaxes, HPDI's, or E-Tecs. 4 strokes are nice and quiet and all, but make sure to drive one and compare after driving an older or newer 2 stroke. Just my two cents about the purposes you mention.

Good luck, and have fun with whatever you get. Everybody thinks theirs is best, and it is for their purposes. You have to choose your "best".

edit: after seeing the list of boats you are looking at, I see you are most likely looking new or newer. All of them are nice smile.gif The Reatta has a huge fan following of people who like it. I'd just say again to get as much motor as you can afford and you won't be unhappy with any of them.

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How much do you have to spend? The question is easier to answer after this is clarified... However, given your looking at glass first, and new by the actin of looking at catalogs, my preference would be the Ranger Reatta lineup. Two people I know have them and they are a great F&S. They make a 17 or 18 footer now. But they're just over $30K with a 150 4stk yammi and the 1850 model tricked out. But man, what a baot. Otherwise, my advice is thins, buy a used fishing boat in glass with carpet and add a ski tow and some assecories to make it more comfortable for the other half. That worked for me, Ranger 617 with 150 Opti and I fish the heck out of Mille Lacs, and up north but have the comforts of a dual console and carpet and plenty of storage for daily ski, tube, or picnic runs on the lake.

Good luck!

Tackleman

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I just got back a few hours ago from picking up my new Stratos 386XF. After alot of research and searching I decided on the Stratos. I was replacing my 18 year old runabout which was great for the family activities but not so good for fishing. I originally was looking at the aluminum F&S boats but saw the Ranger Reatta and the Stratos side by side in the dealership and decided I wanted to stay in a glass boat. The layout of both boats is very close with the fit and finish a tad better in the Ranger but the price put me in the Stratos 386XF. I just got it home and parked it next to my old 18 foot and the Stratos is bigger with more room, which is what I needed since my kids are now 9 and 11 and just getting bigger. I can't wait to get it on the water and get it broke in.

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Got young kids? If so, I recommend high sides. That was a must when we got our boat, and eliminates some awfully nice boats. We ended up with the Lund Fisherman, and it's been an awesome family boat. Primary difference between the Lund and Alumacraft is the Lund has more room behind the windshield and less in the bow. Built in cooler was the feature that sold the wife...go figure confused.gif

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I second the sugestion to look at the Stratos 386XF. I bought one at the boat show in January after looking at the Rangers, Skeeters and Stratos side by side. The finish work in the Ranger is better than the other 2 but the Stratos was several thousand less than the Ranger and a couple thousand less than Skeeter.

I liked the looks of the Skeeter but even though it had a large front platform the seat pedastal was placed so far forward there was no leg room between the seat and the bow!

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When I was "Forced" to up grade from the old fishing boat, I choose a Lund Tyee GrandSport 1850. The reason I choose it is because I have too small children. It sits deeper in the water so it is more stable in the southwest MN "breeze". It also has taller sides to keep my little hoodlums inside the boat vs. going for an unexpected swim. Yet, for fishing the front seating quickly transforms into a casting deck, and you are at an easy reach for netting those moster bullheads... I mean walleye! The only down fall that I have found in the last two years is that when I open up the 4-barrel you can watch the fuel gauge drop, but you can pull as many skiers and tubers as you would like.

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