Advice on Aluminum Bass Boats

I am currently researching everything I can concerning aluminum bass boats with the hope of deciding on one to purchase in 1999.

Through my study I have determined that I want an all-welded, all-aluminum boat in the 16-17 foot range.

The two best candidates have been the 106 Cherokee by Ranger and the 16'model manufactured by SeaArk.

The Ranger is a much nicer boat but is probably quite a bit more expensive.

The SeaArk is more of a "base", entry-level model but otherwise appears quite well suited for my needs.

I'm contemplating powering either boat with a 40 hp, four-stroke Honda if the package can be completed in this fashion. If I can't get the Honda--or if any of you can give me a valid reason _not_ to go with this outboard--I will most likely get a 40 hp Johnson.

Anyway, do any of you have any information regarding these two boats? Are there any "horror" stories out there regarding either? What about my choice of a four-stroke outboard...anything that I should consider that I might not have thought about? What about "fishability"...have you fished from either and know/have an opinion on how well they perform compared to models from BassPro or Lowes or even Fisher?

-I own an all welded aluminum bass boat made by a company in Denham Springs, LA. The name of the company is Aqua Marine and the bass boat model is called the Cajun Special. Check out their site: http://www.cajunspecial.com . The boat is a 1990 model and is still in great condition. The only maintenance I had to do is re-glue the carpet after 8 years. It's great for Bass fishing in lakes and reservoirs in LA and TX. The price on these boats is comparatively low.

-I purchased a Bass Tracker 17 ft 2 1/2 yrs ago new, 40HP Mercury I fish about 160 outings per yr, I have 372 hrs on my boat, leave it in the water at my dock more of the time, I have not detected any leaks, nor have I had any problems at all, I am well satified with the boat, service,etc, I average near 1 hr running, per outing, I fish about 3 hrs per outing, average about 1 bass per hour, I do not know if this is good or bad, but I do have a great time, and enjoy the boat, if this one was stollen and needed to be replaced, would replace it with the same thing.

-you're right about Ranger being a lot more expensive than most other boats. I currently own a small aluminum Lowe, which I love, but we are looking to get something bigger. We have checked out most brands, including Ranger. All others, though, seem to be competively priced & fitted, so for me it will come down to personal preference.

As far as going with a 4 stroke, that sounds like a geat idea because they are very efficient & quiet, though I think they tend to lack a little power. I could be wrong, because I read a review between a 90HP Honda & a 90HP Ficht, and they were almost identical across the board. One drawback of a 4 stroke is the weight.

I don't know what kind of waters you fish, but you might want to consider a little bigger motor, depending on how fast you want to go & the types of the waters you fish. I fish the Connecticut River, which can involve driving 20 or 30 miles to fish, and taking an hour or more to drive those 20 miles can become tedious. That's why we want to upgrade, but the biggest factor will be what our checkbook can afford.

-I have the 16' SeaArk with 30 hp yamaha (side console with live well). The 30 pushes it just fine. Top end is just over 30 mph and it comes up on plane quickly. I have had the boat for just over 2 years with no problems. I would recommend it as a basic fishing boat. It is my second aluminum boat. Lessons learned are: - go with welded hull - rivets cause problems over time - go with at least .100 thick aluminum. - An aluminum boat does not need near max hp to work well. I think the SeaArk is rated at 50 or 60 hp (I can't remember and I am not going outside to look tonight) and 30 does great. 40 might be too much.

My last boat was a Fisher. I would recommend SeaArk over it. I don't have any experience with Ranger. Fishability is great. Keep in mind that an aluminum boat weighs less than a fiberglass and so gets blown around more in wind. It also rides rougher. But I take mine places where my friends won't take their fiberglass ones. I can tow with a toyota pu with 4 cyl. Also, I can fish all day on $5 worth of gas.

What is Your answer?

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