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jalberg

Buying a bass boat.

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If things continue as planned for me, I will be buying my first glass bass boat not this year but next. I have a couple questions.

1. When is the best time to get good deals on boats? Spring, fall? If fall is a good time I may do it this year.

2. Where is the best place to look for them? New and used. Here or down south? Sport shows?

Thanks in advance for any info.

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Fall or winter tend to be good but the last year in general has been better than in the past - with the tough times recently people tend to sell their toys.

The south can have some better deals from time to time but when you decide to go down and get one you have made a commitment to pretty much buyin' it...I like to watch online sites.

Do you plan to buy new or used? What kinda boat? The reason I ask is on a 5k boat not enough savings to justify the drive but on a 50k boat there definitely can be.

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Fall for sure.. Often times people dont want to store the boat over the winter. I might have some advice in this. I am now on my 3rd glass bass boat. The first one i got was a Champion w/175 Merc. Was a great boat for me. I bought it in Iowa... My next boat was a Triton 186 w/150, and got that in Bowling Green Kentucky. This last boat I bought last summer(BassCat Puma 250 Merc XS) I got in Ohio...

Here are my tips for you. Go used, you can save a ton of money. Know what you want. Or at least narrow it down to a few brands and models and do google searches for that boat and year that you are looking for. There are a few really good used boat pages on the net. Have the owner mail you as many picts as possible. Talk to them on the phone. And dont get in too big a hurry. If you wait for your deal, it can and will happen. I looked for my Cat for about a year before I found the one I was looking for.. I paid about 7K less than bluebook on it. If your willing to wait, you can sometimes get smoking deal. HOWEVER, now is a very good time, as many people are underneath boats that they bought when the economy was good, now can no longer afford them. Its a really bad deal for them, but a darn good one for someone in the boat buying mode.

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Another thing people overlook on a used boat is the accessories. Good accessories don't add a lot to the resale so try to find the accessories that you want already on the boat. If you have to add depth finders, new trolling moter, onboard charger,etc. the good deal can turn into an averge price deal real quick.

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I think fall buying is probably the best time for a great deal and here is why:

Fall Boat Buying… Really?

By the time late October rolls around a high percentage of anglers are probably thinking of winterizing their boats or hunting. Making a fall purchase of a new boat just does not seem practical at this time of year, or so I thought.

During the 2006 Minnesota “Ultimate Bass Challenge” sponsored by Ranger Boats, I had a chance to sit down and talk with George Liddle Jr. and Kent Sheel. George is a representative for Ranger Boats and Kent is the Crystal-Pierz Marine line-leader for Ranger and Stratos boats.

George and Kent brought up a couple of points that made me change my mind about the best time to purchase a new boat. We talked about the natural rise in material costs after January. Let’s use the fall of 2006 as an example. We are already seeing a huge increase in the cost of aluminum. Petroleum based materials like plastics are also increasing in price. If you ordered a new boat late in the year, October for example, you would still be ordering off the 2006 price sheets, but the boat would be a 2007 model. If new options became available once the 2007 product line went into production, you would probably not have those on the rig you ordered, but the boat would be a 2007 model. George also said it was a great time of the year to take advantage of any dealership’s stock reduction sales. These are new boats that the dealership ordered for one reason or another and have not yet sold. Most dealerships like to reduce the current year inventory by winter, as the spring boat show circuit starts around February, and they will be taking possession of the next year’s models around that time.

Kent talked about the need for inventory reduction on the part of the dealership. He said a buyer could sometimes find a really good deal on non-current model boats. I understood this to be a brand new boat the dealer had purchased that the manufacturer (say Ranger) has now taken out of production or replaced with a different model.

Kent also mentioned that boat shows are fun for the buyer and you can see a lot of different types, models and makes of boats at a show, but there is the additional cost of tickets, parking, and the all important hot dog and Coke. On the other hand you can stop in at any Crystal-Pierz dealership this fall (or any time of the year) and they can bring up every boat in the system for you to look at, even if it’s not at that particular store.

George also mentioned that a lot of Ranger Pro-staff boats and dealership demo boats become available in the fall. Kent said the FLW/ Ranger Cup packages that become available are usually marketed at a better price than you could get if you walked into a dealership and ordered the same boat/motor with the same options. Now that’s something I have first hand knowledge of. My current boat is a 2004 Ranger 520 Comanche VX, powered by a 225 Yamaha. I purchased this boat from Crystal-Pierz at a considerable savings. The boat was an FLW boat loaded with all kinds of options and only had 10 hours on the motor. This is my 3rd Ranger boat. The first two were muti-species (Fisherman Series) boats, even though I’m currently running a bass-style boat I think the Fisherman Series boats are some of the greatest family friendly boats made. Kent indicated that a lot of the Ranger Boats Field-staff and most of Crystal-Pierz Pro-staff list their boats on the Crystal-Pierz web-site (www.crystalpierz.com).

Both George and Kent agreed that glass and aluminum boats are holding their value pretty much equally. Kent indicated that the extended financing and better rates are giving buyers much more purchasing power, allowing them to look at the higher end boats that they had never considered before.

In closing our discussion, Kent brought up a good point. He feels that it’s not the dollar amount you spend, or if you want a glass or aluminum boat. It’s about what you will use it for, how you will use it, and how much you will use it. Kent feels it’s far more important to find a boat that fits the customers needs than to compromise those needs to fit an available boat.

If you’re thinking of a new boat or a first boat, maybe the fall is a better time to buy than the spring. We know that a new boat ordered or purchased in the fall will certainly be there for you in the spring. There will be no waiting and gnashing of teeth, hoping your new boat arrives prior to the first planned outing. Have a safe fall and we hope to see you on the water.

Wayne Ek is a fishing guide, tournament angler and writer in Alexandria Minnesota. You can reach Wayne Ek at Agape Fishing Guides, www.agapefishingguides.com

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As a note: Crystal-Pierz is no longer a dealer for new Ranger Boats. Up her in the Brainerd/Nisswa area it's Nisswa Marine.

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I was going to say the same thing... Crystal doesnt sell Rangers anymore. And I did hear Cabelas is now selling Stratos. Wonder what George was talking to Crystal about? mmm

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I bought a used Nitro years ago...but with a brand new motor[factory rigged] and saved money,I guess they do this from time to time from the BPS in Sprinfield,Mo.I saved big $$$ but still had the warranty on the new motor[big relief] in case something went wrong.

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I am on my sencond bassboat. Both had one season on them as they were "pro boats" but I commited to buying prior to the pros order so the boat could be the colors I wanted and was aware of all options that the pro was adding including electronics and I was able to add things I wanted (dual console in my case and it was installed after the pro used it but it was ordered with the boat. The pro staffer had wraps so color did not matter to them) and the dealer that sponsers them really would like a buyer before the boat even arrives so they dont have to worry about selling it the next year. The price was much lower then if I just bought the boat. The pro fishes out of it for the first season and I pick it up in the fall. I am also listed as the origional owner because the boat remained in the dealers name until it was transferd to me so I basically have a pretty new boat(mine had 100 hrs on it)and full warrenty. This will be my third seasson in my current boat and I could still sell it for near what I paid for it because I got such a good deal. I am sure most pro boats have already been ordered but if the dealer does not have a buyer yet for them in most cases they will be happy to sell it to you at a discount if you commit to buying it now and pick up in the fall. The only thing I would tell you aboout doing it this way is to know what pros boat you are getting and how they take care of them. My current boat was Mark Fishers boat and he is known for taking exceptional care with his equipment. The ideas shared have been great and this is just another thing to consider if you are looking to get into a new boat.

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I just saw a crazy deal for a ranger 521vx black red and silver 250 VMax low hours 101 minn kota garmin elc for $9,900. The guy says he has to unload it because of mediacl issues. I would be all over this if I could. Maybe it was a typeo and its $19,900

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Watch out if it's a crgslist ad.... there are a ton of scammers out there and the first warning sign is a "too good to be true" price.

Hopefully it's just a great deal and you get a new boat!

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