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Aluminum vs Fiberglass on Shield Lakes

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I'm in the market for a new boat this Spring. We fish mainly Lake Vermilion and other shield lakes like, Kabetogema, Rainy, LOTW, Namakan, Crow, Manitou, Lac Seul and others. We'll be camping and beaching the boat a fair amount in some pretty rocky areas. What are your guy's thoughts on having glass vs aluminum? My budget is around $40k and the boats I'm looking at are: Used Skeeter 1850, 1880,1900,1910 or a Used Ranger 619, 620, 621 or a used Lund Pro V 1875, 1900 or a new or used Alumacraft Tournament Pro 185.

Thanks for the replies.

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I think aluminum holds up better to beaching on rocks.  And perhaps one of those keel guard things would be good. 

Don't the Canadian fishing lodges pretty much all run aluminum? 

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True Del, most of them do run Aluminum boats. There is one on LOW that runs Triumph which is constructed of Roplene which is basically a plastic. We camp on an island on LOW (Canada) every summer and have to pull our boats up on the island on the rock. It isn't boulders, more like a shale or granite so its smooth. What we do is we found some old conveyor belting that we lay on the bottom and pull the boat up on it. Works great. This would be something you could do if you camp somewhere, but it would be a PITA if you hop around all over the place.

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Rubbing up against one of the sharp rocks like Vermilion seems to have all over the place might be a problem.  The belting would work, but I agree with the PITA thing. 

They make a thing that sticks on to the bottom of the boat along the keel for protection.  Looks like for a 18 footer they use about 6 or 7 feet.  They are like 5 inches wide, and are out of the water when on plane.

One thing I had forgotten/didn't realize is that the gel coat is there to protect the laminate from water which can damage it.  So if you wear through the gel coat, it would be bad. 

Just google "keel guard" for one of the companies that makes things like that or look at a marine place like Cabelas. 

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I would look into a good keel protector rather that settle for a tin boat on water the size you want to fish

rough wet ride ...less boat control..can make a windy day maybe not fishable

The last tin boat I was in was  a lund pro vee  on Winnie with a buddy

The worst day on the water ever 20 mph wind ...that boat was just a terriable ride. actuallysprained my thumb trying to hang on and cushion the ride 

I gringed every time he said we were going to try another spot

I,ve been in fiberglass 30 yrs now and that day was just a reminder of how lucky I was

when I bought my first  glass boat kinda of a spur of the moment deal

and lasted me over 20 yrs and I will say this Had it been a tin boat it probably would be at the bottom of Mille Lacs

some where I was fishing touraments back then and beat that poor boat to pi$$

It was a boat actually made before its time

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we have a few spots on V that we beach the boat and swim. you always have to be careful, sometimes the beach looks good but there's still a ton of rocks under the water. Not only that but if someone snags a Muskie bait up on the rocks, I don't want to scuff the boat.

 

 

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my alum got dented when camping on Vermillion years ago.  I had it in a good spot, I thought, with no wind but wave action from boat traffic got me.  Dinger in the keel that you could only see on the trailer, pretty good dent.

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I have camped out on crane/sandpoint and burntside lakes many times in my glass boats without any problems. keel protector is mandatory, not just up there, but anywhere you beach. I try to beach on or near driftwood or logs that project into the water, this will also help keep you off the rocks.

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For ride glass all the way butif I beached my boat a LOT I would have to stay alum or us a double anchor system and get wet coming in and out to the boat.

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I've decided to go with Aluminum and should be picking up my new boat this Saturday. I just don't want to risk damaging the gel coat and I don't really fish big water all that often but if I do, a  20' lund should be fine.

One thing that intrigues me though is how about getting a power pole and pushing the boat from shore and anchoring it and tying it to a tree? That might be the ticket.

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There are an awful lot of glass boats that run on those shield lakes. I don't have a problem running mine in those rocky lakes, I just don't run into rocks. Like any piece of equipment, use it like it is supposed to me used and it will be just fine.

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46 minutes ago, JohnMickish said:

There are an awful lot of glass boats that run on those shield lakes. I don't have a problem running mine in those rocky lakes, I just don't run into rocks. Like any piece of equipment, use it like it is supposed to me used and it will be just fine.

Glass boats are fine until you want to beach them.  The rocks will go through the gel coat in no time, especially if there are waves.  Maybe with a keel guard they would be ok. 

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I guess I don't beach my boat so it's not a problem for me. If I had to, I guess I'd install a Talon or a Power Pole and keep it off the rocks.

 

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1 hour ago, JohnMickish said:

I guess I don't beach my boat so it's not a problem for me. If I had to, I guess I'd install a Talon or a Power Pole and keep it off the rocks.

 

Pretty much nothing but rocks on a lot of shield lakes.  And can be sort of hard to get to shore anchored not on the rocks. 

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3 hours ago, delcecchi said:

Pretty much nothing but rocks on a lot of shield lakes.  And can be sort of hard to get to shore anchored not on the rocks. 

yeah, I fish rainy a lot and that is a problem

 

FWIW I have a 14 Crestliner Raptor and I think its the perfect boat for up there.

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I live on LOTW - no issues when camping or beaching my glass boat at the Angle.  All of my camping areas use a sandy bay to moor overnight;  not difficult to find up there.

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Thinking about it, if I where going to put my boat on the rocks at a fairly constant rate, I'd definitely go with a tin boat, something cheap and not new.

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