Boat for fishing the sound and lakes

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by mtskibum16, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. mtskibum16

    mtskibum16 Active Member

    Like the title says, I've been thinking about getting a small boat mainly to fish the sound for salmon and SRC but also maybe some lake duty. I really don't know alot about boats but from the research I've done I've kind of narrowed it down to a small Boston Whaler type boat or an alumium boat in the 13-16' range. I'm wanting to stay around $5000. So, I found a Boston Whaler copy for sale. It's a 14' with center consol (walk around). It has a galvanized trailer, 40hp Yamaha, electric trolling motor, depthfinder, downrigger, etc. The guy is asking $4700 and says it's been well maintained and runs perfect. I haven't called him yet to ask more questions, but that's kind of what I'm looking for here.

    First, does this seem like a good price? it seems reasonablt to me. there are lots of mid 70s to 80s 13' Whalers with older motors in this same price range. What should I be looking for and are there any specific things I should ask about? If he starts up the motor and runs it would that be sufficient or should it really get shecked out by a mechanic? I'm very mechanically inclined and know alot about cars and what to look for, but not boats. From my experience with cars, you cna usually tell if one has been well cared for and maintained. generally, if they maintain one part of the car and it's in good shape (exterior, interior, etc) they've done the same with mechanical systems. Is this generally true with boats too? Would this be a good boat for my needs?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. Joepa

    Joepa Joe from PA

    I was in a similar situation 5 years ago and decided on a new 16ft aluminum side console. But yes, that boat will meet your needs for the Sound / lakes and, yes it seems like a good price but it really depends on the condition of the motor. See what sort of paperwork he has on it. Ask him what his routine is after he fished the boat in salt water - was he diligent about cleaning the motor after each use? Ultimately, if you like the boat take it for a spin and see how you like the ride.
    That said, I'll repeat something that someone noted back when I posed a similar question here. Not long after you get your first boat, you're going to want something bigger. That now has certainly proven to be the case with me. But I'd also been told that you should only buy a boat based on what you know you're going to use it for and not for what you might use it for. So, if you really are just going to be fishing in the sound and lakes, you may have found your boat. For me, I got a 16 ft boat in order to fish in the straits out of Neah bay for coho as well as in the Sound. But now, I really want a larger boat to venture out into the ocean and to accommodate more passengers. So I'll be trading up soon. I guess a good thing about the boat you’re looking at is, the fact that it’s a whaler and it shouldn’t depreciate much in the future if you eventually decide to trade it in for another boat.
  3. mtskibum16

    mtskibum16 Active Member

    Thanks for the tips. So what would be the "correct" answer to the cleaning of the motor? What all should be done? I've read a little bit for the early stages of research but I honestly wasn't really thinking I'd get one this year and could learn more over the winter - that said, I could get another month or so of use out of it at this point and it seems like a good deal. At this price range (and used), I'm not worried about losing too much if I decide to trade up in the next couple years. Do the Whaler knock-offs hold their value like the Whalers? It does seem to be a bit cheaper but it seems once you get down under $5000 your mainly paying for a motor anyways.
  4. shawn k

    shawn k Member

    spend some money and take the boat to a mechanic and have them do a survey before buying it.
  5. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

    13' can be very uncomfortable on the sound, but will work. 15' would be great.

    Make sure you get a chance to start it cold. Let it warm up and test it under load. After that turn it off and restart it. Make sure the previous owner flushed it after each use in the salt and ran it dry at the end of each season. Make sure he has the title to boat and trailer.

    An engine survey on a more expensive boat would include a test of the fluids, compression test etc. Probably not something you want to do on a
    $5000 trailer boat.

    Most used whalers are fully depreciated so the only way you'll lose money is if the motor is old or in poor shape. If you get the knock off you should drive a hard bargain. Don't be insulting but get a deal. Used boats sell very slowly if at all so you're in the drivers seat.
  6. mtskibum16

    mtskibum16 Active Member

    Thank you Patrick! So I guess a 14' would be in between "will work" and "great". I can live with that. haha I really appreciate the tips on running the motor. He did say that he flushed it really well after every use in the salt. What does "run it dry" mean? I also really appreciate the tip on the engine survey - that's kind of what I would think. I know with a car I very rarely would have a mechanic do a thorough check on a motor unless there was suspicion something was wrong or it wasn't running right. I'll check the oil level, and plugs, etc.

    I'm going to look at it later. I found out it's an 82 hull with a late 80s 40hp Yamaha. What would you think a good price is? I was planning to start low but not sure how low - I'm perfectly willing to wait if he's not willing to come down (he's asking $4700). Is it worth waiting for winter? If there's much to be saved I'd do that but it would also be nice to use it this fall.

  7. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

    I ran a boat rental for a while and at the end of the day we would always pull the fuel lines and let the motors run until they stopped. It's suposed to keep the carb from gumming up.

    It doesn't sound like a bad price, but the late 80s are not know as a good time for outboards although I've had luck with a few old Yamahas. What brand of boat is it? That might make a difference, but the motor is what might make me nervous.

    I have a friend that has a whaler that I sold to him 3-4 years ago. It was in really good shape and had a late 90s early 1997 2 stroke oil injected mercury motor, and some gadgets plus the rough water hull. It went for $6000. For a knock off that's 15 years older with a trolling motor downriger etc I would say you should be ale to settle on $4000 depending on how much skin the seller has in the game.
  8. mtskibum16

    mtskibum16 Active Member

    It's a Coho. As for the motor, he says it starts right up every time even when cold. He's the second owner and the original owner had it a long time and was always garage kept. $4000 is kind of what I was thinking. There's a similar vintage 14' actual whaler for sale with a mid 90s 40 hp Merc listed at $3700 but none of gadgets (depth finder, troller, etc). Here's a link to the Coho.
  9. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

    The Coho looks good, but I would at least take a look at the Whaler. I could see the justifications for either one. If it was a mid 90s Yamaha 4 stroke It would be a no brainer.
  10. RoyS

    RoyS Member

    mtskibum16, I had an aluminum 16 foot I used on lakes a lot. Took it to the sound a few times and got run off easily by a little wind. Then I got an 18 footer with more freeboard. Still got run off the sound by wind a couple of times. Now I have a 20 foot aluminum and it handles the wind pretty well. But even this last Monday with the rain and wind it was dicey while pulling a couple of crab pots. Had a few breakers over the side and the bilge pump came in handy. Probably pumped a couple hundred gallons of salt water overbard through out the day. Another thing... I never go out in the "Sound withoug a working radio just in case I have to yell for help. Getting pretty cautious in my old age.

  11. PT

    PT Physhicist

    I owned an early 80's 13' Coho for a few years. I put a newer 40 hp Honda 4 stroke on it which was a bit of overkill but a great engine. Used it primarily in the South Sound 'cause that's where the in-laws lived and it's where I stored it.

    Not to throw too much of a wrench in your plans, but those boats have very little freeboard. I was impressed with that boat as a Whaler knock off but want a bit more freeboard than the Coho offered. I own a bigger boat now but am thinking about downsizing to 16-17' aluminum boat.

    Check to make sure the transom is solid. Not soft, cracked, or bubbling. Small cracks may not be a problem, they could simply be cosmetic.
  12. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

    Vessel assist is another good idea. AAA for the water.
  13. CBP1888

    CBP1888 New Member

    I have a 16' north river that I use to go all over Puget Sound, Columbia River, and lakes. I would not go any smaller then 16'. Just be careful with a used outboard. I bought a kicker this summer off Craigslist and the seller told me it had never been in salt. It started and sounded good so I bought it and brought it home. Long story short the cooling system was caked with dried salt, impeller was shot, anode was shot, and I'm praying for one more season.
  14. Woodcanoeguy

    Woodcanoeguy Member

    The old Hi Laker's are seaworthy boats.....find them on Craigslist in Puget Sound.
  15. mtskibum16

    mtskibum16 Active Member

    Thanks for all the help guys. I ended up getting the Coho. It's in really good shape and starts and runs awesome. Even with a cold start if fires off instantly when you barely turn the key. Runs really smooth and the boat is in great shape overall. I'll try to get some pictures up soon! I'm trying to get everything together so I can go take it out this weekend. Does anyone know if the boater card is needed to register the boat? I'm in the process of doing the online course for the card and I figure once I have the certificate and send in for the card I'll take her out. I did take it out on a local lake the other day just to practice launching. Very happy so far!
  16. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

    I grew up with Hilakers. Damned good boats, and except for running out in the big blue or buoy 10 you'll be more then happy with a 14' Hilaker in the rivers, lakes, Puget Sound, and harbors around here. Keep thinking we had a 16', but I have a feeling it was closer to 14'. Either way, was a great boat and held up well through all the storms we put her through in both Grays Harbor and Puget Sound.
  17. martyg

    martyg Active Member

  18. mbowers

    mbowers Active Member

    If you're actually looking at a flats boat, you should look at an Egret. Freakishly good ride in a chop and just generally really well laid out for fishing. Lockable rod lockers, self bailing cockpit (very few boats truly have this) and massive amounts of storage. It probably will not be good for downrigger trolling as the back 5 feet are all decked over, but if you'll just be casting and bucktailing it's tough to beat for fishing functionality and smoothness of ride..
  19. mtskibum16

    mtskibum16 Active Member

    Well took the boat out a bunch this weekend so I thought I'd update this thread with my first thoughts. If you missed it above the boat is a Coho 13' 4" (Boston Whaler copy) with a 40hp Yamaha. I was very impressed with the boat overall and I think it will suit my needs just fine.

    The first day I cruised around the local waters including between Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap Peninsula up to Poulsbo in Liberty bay - maybe about 18 miles or so. A good amount of wind/chop but the boat handled it well even with 4 people. The second day was in more isolated and calm waters and this is where the boat really shined. We did about 30 miles exploring all over Dyes and Sinclair inlet. Again, even with 4 people it jumps right up onto plane and cruises great. The final test was yesterday when my wife and I did close to 40 miles and ran from Bremerton clear over to Seattle (Duwamish waterway). It's definitely not the most comfortable ride across the sound and you have to keep an eye out for the bigger waves but we still averaged about 25 mph for the trip over which is pretty good. Made the whole 40 mile trip on one 6 gallon tank of gas with some to spare so I am pleased with that. The boat is incredibly easy to launch and load by myself. It's also very stable to stand and fish from anywhere on the boat. If I wanted to cross the sound on a regular basis something larger would be in order but I don't really see that happening so it's not a big deal.

    Overall I think it will be perfect for it's intended purpose (fishing the local beaches for SRC and salmon) with one passenger or by myself. At under $5000 with plenty of extras I just wish I would have bought one sooner!
  20. LCnSac

    LCnSac John or "LC"

    I've had three Whalers; a 13' classic pre-smirk, a 13' Dauntless, and a 170 Montauk. Loved all three for different reasons. The 13 classic will jar your fillings. It's stable all the way but rough. It's a complete blast to run with a 40 but performs with a 25 nicely. The small Dauntless which are now hard to find has a greater deadrise and a V-hull entry and as such cuts through chop beautifully but the secondary stability is not good. The 170 Montauk runs WOT at 42 mph and has outstanding initial and secondary stability. That boat is a little big for the smaller lakes that I often fish and better for bays, sounds, and ocean work.

    For the Sound and lakes, I'd be looking at a 15' Whaler. That may be the best boat they ever built. The only drawback is poor secondary stability as that's a V-Hull boat. It looks totally cool at rest though, and takes chop beautifully. Those run around $5000 - $8000 with a 2 stroke. Another choice is a classic Montauk. They have lower freeboard which I prefer for fly fishing, are rougher than the 170 and have less room inside, but are light enough to power with a 60 although a 90 is better and stable as a 13. Those you can find for $9000 - $10,000 with a four stroke; about $3-$4K less with a 2 stroke.

    If you want to feel safe anywhere on the Sound and have the money, a 170 Whaler with a Merc 90 is pretty hard to beat. You wouldn't think twice about a run from Seattle to Victoria in decent weather. You can find a pretty good one for around $20K.

    When I lived in the San Juans I ran a 14' Hi Laker from Roche Harbor to Sidney and back several times a week, mostly at night, and never gave it a second thought. That doesn't mean it was smart! Radio, flares, oh hell no. Today I wouldn't do it that way, but now I realize I'm not invincible. The Whaler makes you feel safe and secure because it is--it will bring you home when other craft may not.