Used Bass Boat vs. Jon Boat for Lake Fishing???

I've just started fishing with my 7-year-old son on a couple of large lakes in the Raleigh, NC area. So far, we've had fun fishing from shore ... but haven't caught many bass. It seems that we could be considerably

more productive if we got an inexpensive boat. I can pull a small boat and trailer with my mini-van but I'm unsure if I should buy buy a jon boat or a (more expensive and heavier) bass boat. It appears that the jon boat would do everything that I need, but I hate to buy a used one if I'll soon be wishing that I had paid a little extra up front to get a

bass boat. Please post or send me your thoughts....

Most of my fishing will be in Falls Lake or Kerr Lake in NC with my 7-year-old thus I'd like to be able to launch and retrieve the boat with

minimal (none) help. At times, my wife and 4-year-old might want to go along, but most fishing would be with just the two of us. I don't see a need to go fast or pull anything behind the boat, I'd just want to be able to fish off the shore. What else should I be considering?

Is a bass boat more stable than a jon boat? They have the raised decking...

Is a jon boat easier to handle than a (fiberglass or aluminum) bass boat?

Why are most people using bass boats instead of less-expensive jon boats? I'm clearly missing something here.

I'd like to lauch from a public ramp, but then dock the boat on the shore of my camping site at NC state parks. Is there an advantage to aluminum or fiberglass as far as pulling it up on shore to dock next to a campsite?

Is there a big difference in maintenance expenses?

-Start with a Jon boat, for what you want it would be perfect--aluminum or fiberglass. Aluminum is more abrasion resistant but very noisy, bendable and harder to repair. Fiberglass is quieter, resiliant and easy to repair--either will last long enough to pass on to your grandson with a little care. Bass boats are "high purpose" craft designed to aid in winning fishing contests and to satisfy big egos. Some bass fishing contests used to allow the fishers to virtually race to the hot spots--fastest boat best initial spot--and are based on max caught poundage so it pays not to spend too much time in transit from spot to spot. So the hull design evolved to handle high horsepower/speed along with low freeboard; stable casting platforms and other "fishability" features. Nice, but expensive and extremely NOT necessary for a good day on the water. Plus, you don't want to teach your son he has to have the expensive toys to enjoy life do you?.

-For what you seem to want a jon boat rigged as a bass boat would probably be the ticket. I have a 16' jon boat rigged with seats, carpet, electric, livewell, etc. that suits me well. I do a lot of fishing alone so the launch/recovery tasks are simple, the boat is light so towing is not a problem and it will handle three people with ease and four if one or two are children. The key to any of these boats is ease of handling and stability (bass fishermen like to stand up when they do it), so getting one that is rigged with a broad beam and flooring is what you want. I bought my latest one two years ago second hand for $3500 for boat, motor and trailer in excellent condition. New it would be about $7000. You might have to look for a while (it took me 18 months to find the ONE) because the good ones tend to go fast when reasonably priced.

-IMHO go for the bigger boat. I have both a 14' Valco (pointy jon boat) and a 21 ft jetboat. The difference is in the comfort levels, and room to store stuff and move around. My 14' cost about $4k total with fishfinder, trailer and 15hp Mariner in '87. I use to car top it so went with light weight Alum boat. (got trailer when poly rope that tied boat to ceiling in garage cold flowed and dropped it on wifes new car :( wife said get a trailer.) It is a great boat but that 7 yr old will be wanting to ski and the 4 yr old will be wanting to go also. You can get a used 16 ft glass fish / ski for the same or less than a good alum john boat. The bigger boat, even if not a bass boat is much easier to standup in and cast from than jon boats. The bigger boat will use more gas but is not a big item in a year of fishing. Maybe 5 bucks a weekend unless sking. maintenance is not much different. For going to shore, I bought an Anchor Buddy anchor line: it's like a 50' Bungee and you drop it out from the shore and strech it as you go to the beach, unload, then with a long bow rope let the boat back out in to lake. (about $20 plus a small mushroom anchor.

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