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propster

Bunk vs Rollers

18 posts in this topic

Hey guys, it was my anniversary yesterday and even though I only saw my wife for about 10 minutes all day, I got her a heck of a present. I bought her a new (used, but new to me) Ranger last night. It's an oldie but a goodie - 690VS. I think she's gonna love it! Question - I've only ever used roller trailers before. Can you tell me on bunks - one, somebody said if you spray silicone on the bunks the boat will go on/off easier. This seems reasonable, but I don't want it to go off too easy! Do you recommend? Which brings me to the next question - on some of the steep accesses, does a guy have to worry at all about the angle with the boat unhooked, or is there just no way it's coming off until the bunks get wet (submersed) and the boat is safely floating? What's the strategy with these bigger boats and bunk trailers for the different conditions at accesses I will encounter? Any tips are appreciated. Thanks for your advice.

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Propster:

First off, congrats on the new boat! Should be an awesome fishing machine for ya.

Love bunk trailers. Will never go back to a roller trailer again.

Don't know about spraying silicone on the bunks, never heard of that. However, in all the time that I have used my bunk trailer, there has never been a landing that was so steep I had to worry about the angle of the boat. The boat is going to stay put until you get it deep enough into the water that it will start to the rear end to float up off the trailer. Easy to unload and load, as the bunks will center the boat as you drive on the trailer. Only knock on bunk style trailers is that if you go to a lake with a very shallow access, you might have to back into the water quite a ways to get your boat off the trailer, unless you are built like Hulk Hogan, cause the boat won't move very easily.

Once you launch and land your boat a few times, you will get the feel of how far you need to have the trailer in the water before you can drive on and be centered, or how far in before the boat floats off. Trial and error type thing, but easy enough to figure out and it won't take you a time or two.

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To get the boat off you will need to float it. If you have a good trailer this usually doesn't take all that much water. I've never had to go as far back as to have the vehicle tires enter the water, but I've come very close. If by yourself you will be getting your feet wet on really shallow launches.

Loading is pretty straight-forward. There is a magic depth to have the trailer at where you can hop in the boat and rock it to be perfectly centered. Sometimes if the ramp isn't level (one wheel is deeper than another) the rocking becomes necessary. Once you pull it all the way out though it can be very difficult to shift the boat if your off by a little bit, but normally the bunks center it pretty well.

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Hiya -

Propster - first of all congrats on the boat. The 690 Ranger is one of the best muskie boats that's ever been made, IMHO. I had a chance a few years back to buy one in pristine condition, and I still kick myself now and then for not doing it. You're going to love it. The first time you crack the throttle on that thing, hang on - they really boogie.

As far as trailers go: Unless it's on a small boat (like a 14 footer) that I can dump into a water-filled ditch if I want to, I won't have a roller trailer again. Especially if you launch by yourself, bunks are the only way to fly as far as I'm concerned. They are WAY easier on steep ramps, especially when it comes to loading (no more leaving the boat in gear and racing to the bow to connect the bow eye, or cranking like mad, if you're alone), and unless they sit very high are fine on shallow ramps too.

I never spray silicone on my bunks. Years ago a dealer 'help' by doing that and neglected to tell me about it. I very nearly dumped my glass boat on the ramp when I went to back it in like I'd done 200 times before. Had to power launch it at about 20 miles an hour to keep it from landing on the ramp pad (big splash, boat full of water...not cool.)

When you get the boat you'll have to do some trial and error to figure out where the trailer wants to be in the water for loading and unloading. Just watch where the water comes up on the tire/fender and pick a spot once you get it figured out. Mine, for example, likes to be unloaded with about 2" of the fender still showing, but can be out of the water much farther for loading.

For unloading along, I have a long bow rope that reaches from the bow eye to the cab of the truck, then I just back it in until it floats off, hop out, and walk it to the dock. Piece of cake. Loading - point it at the back of the truck and hit the throttle. Easier yet...

Have fun with the new ride. You got a good one.

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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I spray my bunks with silicone and it does make things easier. I run a 16 foot Crestliner. So it's not as heavy as your new rig. But with mine, the boat pushes off very easily even if the bunks are barely submerged. The newer the carpeting is on the bunks, the easier your boat will slide (with silicone). The only downside to the silicone is that you do have to keep the boat in gear when connecting the strap or you'll slide right off. To me, the nicest thing about spraying the bunks is if the boat isn't perfectly centered on the trailer after you pull the boat out, just give it a push and it'll slide right over with ease.

Aaron

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Great story Rob. You must have realized she was starting to go too early and had to make a quick decision to give her heck. One of those deals where when it's over, you look around to see who was watching - if nobody you go whewww, and if people saw it you're like "I was planning that all along". Or maybe they could tell when you started cursing the dealer out loud. No silicone for me. I appreciate all the advice from all of you.

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 Quote:
I have a long bow rope that reaches from the bow eye to the cab of the truck

Just be sure to check that bow rope from time to time for weak spots, eh??? ;\)

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Propster,

Congrats!!! Be sure to post a picture of the ride up when you get a chance!

I have a roller on my aluminum, and I know the next rig will be a bunk. It's worked well a couple times at some shoddy accesses but beyond that the bunks excel. Think about the weight displacement. My 32 rollers each offer about as much support as a pop can on it's side. Just not a lot of sq. inches of support there!

Enjoy!

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Cjac-

You're right on. Based on the boat you run I'm guessing we have the same trailer. I end up fishing alone a lot, or I have rookies with and would rather not have their "help" - driving up on bunks would be a nice change. We actually considered trying to make the switch a few years back and if I recall it's pretty spendy.

Congrats on the new rig Propster!! I hope the Mrs. likes it!!

-erik

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 Originally Posted By: cjac
 Quote:
I have a long bow rope that reaches from the bow eye to the cab of the truck

Just be sure to check that bow rope from time to time for weak spots, eh??? ;\)

You had to bring that up... I shriveled just thinking about it. Yeah, definitely check the rope. Especially in late October.

So here's the story. A couple falls ago I headed out early one morning in late fall. First one at the ramp, by myself, got the lake to myself - great deal. I launch the boat like I always do, and tie it up to the dock. As I'm pulling the truck out to go park I see the boat in the rear view mirror, and think to myself "hmmm...seems a long way from the dock..." So I hop out, and the rope has broken, and my boat is drifting out to sea. I'm alone as can be, and the breeze is, of course, blowing off shore. Only one thing to do...stripped down as fast as I could, and in I went. Spectacularly cold... Really, really, shockingly cold. Thrashed through the water to the boat, and dragged it back to the dock. Nearly go it on plane I think. Got dressed, and once the shakes died down a little, I went fishing. (As I recall though justice was served - I think I caught a 49 on the first spot.)

Thanks ever so much for reminding me of that.

Yeah...check those ropes.

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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Erik, we'll still be using the red Lund w/40 Merc this weekend so if I don't have cell service and you see us stop by.

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Keith-

Sounds good - I'm juggling dance practice and little kid birthdays but I'll still try to hit BE Saturday. I figured I'd wait to ignore my wife and kids until I'm chasing the 4 foot fish!! \:\) Either way I'll try to give you a call to see what time you'll be out there.

-erik

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I was merely offering a tip to the crew here.....OK, maybe not!

Sorry Rob, but that one still makes me laugh! Makes me check my ropes too! I just set myself up for some sort of "operator error" on my part for this coming weekend, didn't I?

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Great story guys grin.gif.

Ya, have a long bow rope. My first launch of the year last year, I launched with my 2 boys. The 6 year old was in the boat and the 11 year old was on shore holding on to the bow rope. Well, low and behold the wind picked up and my 11 drops the rope. I am still in the truck with trailer in water. I jumped out and had to swim. It was my fault for having a short bow rope. It was only a foot or so deep yards from the launch, but that prop wash hole gets mighty deep as I found. Oh, also cell phones float for a couple seconds, just enough to come out of your pocket grin.gif. Another 10 minutes of diving in the hole (ya that water is cold), we where on our way.

I love bunks. Nice and easy on and off. I have never had a reason to spray silicon on my bunks. Just get boat floating (like said)for unloading and when loading, back trailer far enough in to get all of the bunk wet and pull forward slighty for loading.

Good luck.

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To go along with RK's long rope theory. There is yet another reason for having a LONG rope and that is for early spring or late fall when the docks have been taken out at the landings and you are launching by yourself. Being that you don't have the ease of holding the rope and then tieing it off to the dock (I do this as well, SO SWEET!). What I do is hook the rope to the boat, and then tie the opposite end to the trailer neck by the crank. Back the boat in so it floats off the trailer a ways, then drive the trailer out and it will pull your boat right back up to shore, nice and easy. Just make sure the trailer is out of the water far enough so when the boat comes to shore it doesn't cream your trailer. Learned that one the first time I attempted this feat. But it does work nicely!

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I cannot stand my roller trailer, I keep threatening to switch to a bunk setup, I might actually get around to it this year.

Congrats on the new ride, sounds great!

-Jeff

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Way to go Prop... get those pics posted up already!!! grin

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Quote:
So here's the story. A couple falls ago I headed out early one morning in late fall. First one at the ramp, by myself, got the lake to myself - great deal. I launch the boat like I always do, and tie it up to the dock. As I'm pulling the truck out to go park I see the boat in the rear view mirror, and think to myself "hmmm...seems a long way from the dock..." So I hop out, and the rope has broken, and my boat is drifting out to sea. I'm alone as can be, and the breeze is, of course, blowing off shore. Only one thing to do...stripped down as fast as I could, and in I went. Spectacularly cold... Really, really, shockingly cold. Thrashed through the water to the boat, and dragged it back to the dock. Nearly go it on plane I think. Got dressed, and once the shakes died down a little, I went fishing. (As I recall though justice was served - I think I caught a 49 on the first spot.)

Thanks ever so much for reminding me of that.

Yeah...check those ropes.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH LOL! Thats a good one, I can just imagine pulling up to the launch and seeing someones cloths on the dock and him swimming after his boat. That would be priceless.

Propster, I have rollers and I don't like them at all. Easy off yes, but I am really picky on how my boat sits on the trailer and I can never get it right. Some day when I have a few more pennies, my new boat will have a bunk trailer.

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