Welcome! Need support, you got it. Or share you ideas and experiences.
I guess this qualifies as a small boat... I'm looking into buying about a 24' boat, preferably with a cabin. Its going to be used mostly for fishing for stripers in the bay (chesapeake bay). I've looked at Grady Whites, Parkers and Bayliner trophys. Everyone says don't get bayliner. Basically, my question is, what brands should I avoid and why... what brands are good and why? I'm most likely going to get a Grady White 24' voyager since I like the layout and their reputation, but man they aren't cheap.
I am not in your area, Miami here, so my opinions might not be of any use to you. Down here ability to handle open ocean and fish-ability are most important. To that end you can't go wrong with the Grady White and resale value is great. The Bayliner is unsafe crap IMHO. It might be okay for a bay boat but that is about it. As far as open fisherman types go old Aquasports & Makos are very good. Dusky, Rabolo, Proline are very wortwhile. John Allmands are nice "family" fishing boats with a surprising amount of room for their size but now you are getting to the limits of something you can put on a trailer. Don't know if this is any help. I don't have any first hand experience with the Parker but it appears to be a "budget" boat best bought new and sold before long. A Grady or Mako will take 20+ years of constant hard useage with no problem at all and give you peace of mind the first time the weather turns really nasty. Down here us fishing fanatics think nothing of running 30 miles out into the open ocean in 17' boats so getting home when one gets caught in a thunderstorm with 5-7' seas is a consideration. Take my word for it, you don't want to be in a Bayliner at a time like that!!
Yeah, those Grady Whites... I worked for 9+ years in the Marine Wholesale/Retail Biz and for a while there we were fitting out 24' Grady walk around cabin boats with the electronics (Icom VHF w/ 15' Ireland antennas---this combo could reach 70 miles...), Royal Flush toilets (so the 'fair crew' felt at 'home' on the range), and with two 175+ outboards these 'fisher guys' would scream down the Strait of Juan de Fuca out to sea 50 miles or so to fish Tuna in September. They would stay out in the cold Pacific 3-4 days...(!) Oh, and these boats went over the top of six figures after the 'fit out'.
Now there are MANY boats of this type. The Sea Sport comes to mind, as does the Nexus Marine "Tyee". But my favorite might be John Atkin's "Ninigret"--22' LOA, 6'8" Beam, 40 to 50 hp outboard (3 cyl. Tohatsu), nice little cabin, head, long big cockpit. The whole vessel would come in under 1/2 of the Grady--and that would be cutom built! These boats travel at 20+ mph with a 'soft ride' in a chop using little fuel. There is a certian 'fun factor' in boating and it centers on getting on the water for less. Less money, less hassel (the boat sits at home on a trailer), using less fuel, and still get the job of fishing done with low stress.
Well, that's this opine. Hope it is somewhat helpful. You live in one of the premiere boating areas on the planet. Take a break from the glossey mags and the shiney boat showrooms and get out and take a look around the waterfront... You may surprise yourself at what you find that serves your needs.
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