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Thread: Newish to offshore/bay fishing. Looking for boat. Need advice

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    Default Newish to offshore/bay fishing. Looking for boat. Need advice

    A little about my self:
    Born in Anchorage, mother born in Ketchikan. Moved to Idaho when I was young. Came back to Alaska because of the Army and plan on staying. Half of my family live in Anchorage and came up during the summers. I have been out a lot, but never really navigated. I have a lot of experience in freshwater, but ocean water is obviously much different.
    Looking for a good entry level boat for around 10K. I will only be cruising around K-Bay and PWS. My family has a cabin in Homer with friends that have a cabin in a couple bays across K-Bay. I also already have a 15' achilles inflatable with a 30hp
    The main purpose is to get across to Tutka, China Poot etc... to get to the cabins, hiking and exploring. I would also like to do a little halibut and salmon fishing in the safer areas. Fuel efficiency, low maintenance priority. I wont be going far offshore.
    What I have been looking at: 90% of the time, the boat will be cruising around K-Bay in and out of the far side bays, McDonald Spit, Seldovia etc...
    1) C-Dory 16ft angler
    2) HC Searunner 18ish
    3) 19' Kalamath with twin 35s
    4) Bayliner Trophy
    5) Seaswirl Striper

    Ive heard good things about the Kalamaths, but an enclosure would sure be nice and the wife would be much happier . We have no kids yet...
    Thanks for your opinions, expertise and advise !

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    Member greg01alaska's Avatar
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    Purchased my first boat for the salt in Seldovia, a 24' Trophy with the Alaska bulkhead. I really liked the handling characteristics of that boat especially in nasty seas. The sleeping accommodations were a little cramped and it lacked a head but She was warm and dry. The Admiral decided that there should be a head on any boat we were going to spend time on, thus moving on to a little bit bigger boat, with a head. There are many threads here on this forum debating the pro's and con's of glass vs. aluminum. Educate yourself with these threads as there are many good boats out there of both types of materials.
    "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away."

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    Member outaMT's Avatar
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    Meathead Ė

    Iím in the same boat as you Ė pun intended. Iíve got a 19 foot Weldcraft and just now really starting to get into the salt fun, and itís a tad on the small side for my liking. Just my opinion based on a little personal experience, a 22 foot minimum with a hard top would be well suited for what you want to do. Iím looking to upgrade over the next couple of years. That extra bit of boat is worth it when tides and wind start getting sketchy, and youíll feel a bit more comfortable getting further off the dock to explore new places.

    Good advice regarding research on glass vs aluminum. Good options either way you decide.

    10k may be a bit low for a turnkey boat Ė if you could up your budget to 25 or 30k, thereís usually some good deals on decent used boats that may be just what youíre looking for. Keep an eye on Alaskalist and Craigslist.

    Good luck -

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meathead View Post
    ...a good entry level boat for around 10K.
    The $ cap kinda puts a squeeze on your options. Adding a cabin squeezes more. Might help to consider this a "transition" boat to get you through a couple or three years of familiarity training while saving for something more in line with your long term needs. Save some and sell the transition boat for close to what you have in it, and you'll end up with a lot more boat in the end. Exposing my prejudices, I'd pick the Klamath from your list and just limit your days rather than trying to use it in the wrong weather. Might help to buy your wife a new designer set of raingear for the time being, in lieu of the cabin, promising to trade it in along with the boat when you get a cabin in a few years.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    A couple of thoughts on saltwater boats for the South Central boater. Iíd say the first consideration is what is an appropriate boat for your use vs. constraining yourself to a budget that might get you stuck with a boat that met your budget goals but doesnít really fit your use. Youíll be dollars ahead just paying for a water taxi from Homer across the bay than getting a boat that doesnít server your needs.

    Whether you plan to head out of a Whittier, Seward or Homer your criteria for a boat should be one that can be run safely and reasonably comfortably in a tight 4í chop, as no matter how carefully you plan to watch the weather you are pretty much guaranteed to find yourself in those conditions even as a day boater. You donít have to go offshore to get into nasty conditions when the wind is whipping, you just have to leave the harbor. Yes there are plenty of glass calm days, but all of those bays have sufficient fetches that it doesnít take much wind to kick up a nasty chop. The big problem with too little boat is after driving five hours to Homer itís real tempting to think the conditions arenít that bad and heading out when you should be heading back to Anchorage. Having a boat of sufficient size for realistic summer conditions is a much better choice than a boat that will work in perfect conditions that might not materialize when youíre able to go boating and being tempted to take that boat out when you shouldnít be boating. Thereís a big difference between living in a seaside community when you can pick and choose your weather days all summer long and can get by with a 16í skiff, and driving 100ís of miles for a weekend trip and having to deal with the conditions at hand.

    IMHO a prudent minimum is a 20í skiff with at least 50 hp but better yet 90. You can run in a reasonable chop, have room and capacity for a reasonable amount of gear and have room to fish. Moving up to a 22í boat with a cabin will give you a boat that is 10 times as enjoyable to use. Thereís a huge difference between fishing when the temps are in the 50ís and itís raining you get frozen to the bone and then have to motor up and are getting that rain at 20+ knots all the way to the harbor vs. walking into the cabin, pealing off your wet outer layer and cruising back to the harbor.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Thank you all for the great tips. I did look at the glass vs metal debacle. At this point, as brownbear said, I am looking for a transition boat for a couple years to get my feet wet and save up. Im not planning on financing anything. My goal is to eventually move into a 22' C Dory angler. We do have a cabin in Homer so hopefully Ill be less tempted to push my limits. Ill look for something in the 19-22' range with at least 90hp to get around. Our friends in home have a NIAD. I wish I could find one of those for a reasonable ammt.

    Paul H, Thats a great idea. Ive taken MAKO taxi a couple times when I was younger. Do they allow you to roll up an inflatable with motor and bring it on board??

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    I've been in your shoes, and for what it's worth, if fuel efficiency and low maintenance are the priority then an aluminum boat with outboard(s) should be your focus.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I've never used the water taxis but friends have and they've taken kayaks with them. I imagine if they can handle a kayak, a deflated inflatable and engine should be no problem.

    If/when I upgrade, I'm going with aluminum. Summer is too short to have to deal with paint/gel coat. Aluminum isn't maintenance free and you still need to keep an eye on corrosion, but all in all tough to beat for AK conditions. Another thing to consider is cruising speed in realistic water conditions for various hull types. As you get more comfortable in the various ports you'll find yourself heading a bit furher out and being able to cruise in the +/- 30 knot range vs +/- 20 knots can be the difference between spending most of your day fishing vs. most of your day boating.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Add the Tolman Skiff to your list, more than capable for the area's you mentioned. Scores of these being used in K-Bay. Used Jumbo for sale on Craigs List now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 580SN View Post
    Add the Tolman Skiff to your list, more than capable for the area's you mentioned. Scores of these being used in K-Bay. Used Jumbo for sale on Craigs List now.
    A 20 or 22 Tolman is the cat's meow for K-bay and plenty to venture further out in on good days. I was on a 20 with a small cabin recently and was really impressed. The cabin was a little small for my needs but it was definitely an awesome utility boat!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 580SN View Post
    Add the Tolman Skiff to your list, more than capable for the area's you mentioned. Scores of these being used in K-Bay. Used Jumbo for sale on Craigs List now.
    I saw that jumbo on there, its beautiful. A little over my price budget though. I do like Tolmans, but I heard they quit making them and you pretty much have to have someone build one for you. Ill keep my eye out for another Tolman. Im currently deployed, but im hoping to pick something up over the fall/winter when the prices are down.

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    Default Tolman Skiff

    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    A 20 or 22 Tolman is the cat's meow for K-bay and plenty to venture further out in on good days. I was on a 20 with a small cabin recently and was really impressed. The cabin was a little small for my needs but it was definitely an awesome utility boat!
    Tolmans are known as a light weight planning hull boat that because of their low hp requirements are very fuel efficient. For more info go to fishyfish.com .

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Renn passed away last year, so yes no more Tolman built Tolmans. There are a few boat builders building them and a few folks making CNC cut kits which save some labor.

    The upside of building your own if you can configure it exactly the way you want it and save quite a bit over having one built for you. The downside is you need a large heated space to build one and depending on the configuration ~1000 hours of spare time over a couple years to complete one.

    Honestly I have no idea where I found the spare time to build one and wouldn't even consider building one at this point in my life. But it did allow me to get into a very versatile boat that has allowed us to explore and fish PWS, the Gulf and K-bay.

    Seemed like lots of progress the first six months.



    You can build one in a two car garage, but with limited space to build it will take you much longer



    ended up being several more years getting to this point



    We just happened to bump into Renn and have him give it a once over and a thumbs up

    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Thats a beautiful boat, love the classic look. How are Harvey Dorys?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Renn passed away last year, so yes no more Tolman built Tolmans. There are a few boat builders building them and a few folks making CNC cut kits which save some labor.

    The upside of building your own if you can configure it exactly the way you want it and save quite a bit over having one built for you. The downside is you need a large heated space to build one and depending on the configuration ~1000 hours of spare time over a couple years to complete one.

    Honestly I have no idea where I found the spare time to build one and wouldn't even consider building one at this point in my life. But it did allow me to get into a very versatile boat that has allowed us to explore and fish PWS, the Gulf and K-bay.

    Seemed like lots of progress the first six months.



    You can build one in a two car garage, but with limited space to build it will take you much longer



    ended up being several more years getting to this point



    We just happened to bump into Renn and have him give it a once over and a thumbs up


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