we had a 23' bayliner with a 9' beam ,and a small cuddy cabin,305ci merc i/o. it handled and rode great, even in 4-6 footers. personaly I'd go with the biggest you want to trailer.a wide beam is best .as you know lake erie can turn bad in a blink of an eye .do not be tempted to forgo security and safety in size for trailering conveniance. have had friends do it only to regret it and buy larger boats. hope this helps
I'd get a used 18 1/2' Lund. Having a walk thru windshield is nice for Erie or you'll get soaked sometimes. Make sure and have a radio, driftsock, gps (is great for tracking drifts or trolls) and a kicker motor. The kicker is more important than an electric motor for Erie. You don't want to chance everything on 1 motor.
I have the 2006 18.5ft Lowe Fishing Machine and I just love it. It is a little bit cheaper than the Lund I believe. Make sure you have a radio, gps, fishfinder, and drift sock. It is light enough and easy enough to trailor by yourself. You can fish 4-5 people out of it with no problems. It has 2 live wells so if you fish any tournaments you can keep your fish separated. It comes with an electic motor up front if you do any marina fishing, wether it be crappie or bass. If you do a lot of bass fishing or just fishing with the trolling motor, I would upgrade to the 24volt trolling motor system instead of the 12 volt. It also comes ready to go for Downriggers if that is your thing. The slots are already on the boat, you just need the brackets. It comes with a Mercury 90hp motor....I upgraded to the Mercury Optimax 115 and it pushes the boat around 42mph.
The max rating is 7 people or 1115lbs.
Also, the hull is lifetime guareented. It is a welded hull with 0 pop rivits to worry about.
With all the upgrades it will cost you less than 20k
I would opt for an alumunum boat in the 18 to 20 foot size range, outboard powered. My choice's would be Lund, Crestliner, Starcraft. The outboard should be close to the maximum power rating.* Make certain the model you choose has enough cockpit and rear deck depth for you to feel comfortable.
The full /walk through windshield is a plus but dual console will work (but not as well). Don't forget to make sure the boat comes with a quality, well cared for trailer with surge brakes. Four bunks are the best but not needed if you are in the 17 foot range. I WOULD NOT get a trailer with roller bunks.
Above all, consider purchasing from a reputable dealer that will offer some sort of gaurantee. If you purchase from a private individual, make arrangements to have the motor checked by a certified mechanic and test every electrical component on the boat. Get the boat out on the water and give it a workout against a decent chop if possible to see if the hull is tight.
If you have a friend that is experience in maintaining and operating watercraft in your size range, by all means ask for his opinion and comments.
Good luck and take your time shopping.
* MAke sure the outboard is close to the maximum power rating for the boat.
Too many people purchase marginal power which will be a disadvantage in rough /stormy conditions.
I like the new Starcrafts the LEWT Pro's are running right now.... sweet boats... Blue Dolphin can chime in here....
2006 Fisherman of the year, What's the problem with roller trailers? Wait don't tell me maybe ignorance is bliss... No No tell me ....
Mine makes it possible for me to load my 24' 4000lb boat on the trailer perfectly every time.... trust me that's a vast improvement over my loading on a two bunk trailer.... I can still hear the folks at the ramp laughing at me...
2006 Fisherman of the year? What's the problem with roller trailers? Wait don't tell me maybe ignorance is bliss... No No tell me ....
Mine makes it possible for me to load my 24' 4000lb boat on the trailer perfectly every time.... trust me that's a vast improvement over my loading on a two bunk trailer.... I can still hear the folks at the ramp laughing at me...[/QUOTE]
I thought we were discussing 16 to 19 foot boats. Are you loading on roller bunks or roller cradles? Big difference.
I had roller bunks on a 15.5ft Sylvan And it was a pain in the butt to try and power load alone as you had to keep the motor running to stay forward on the bunks. Do you power load alone or do you crank it on? Maybe I don't know what I'm missing by not cranking.
Shortdrift, see I knew you had a reason of experience to discourage the roller trailer! CW261 that sounds like a reasonable concern as well to assure you have the appropriate # of rollers vs bunk area. I crank my boat on the trailer self loading or otherwise.
Even when I go back to a smaller boat I will have the guide on rollers. It's so much easier to get aligned by yourself no matter how windy it is. I bent over one of those side guide-ons with a 14' tracker in a 30mph wind from a storm that blew up on Alum creek while loading up.
Dream machine I would go with the "NEW yet to be named model" Starcraft with a walkthru, 200hp main, 9.9 kicker with troll master and pantherlift. lowrance 7300c GPS and 27c DF Sonar, tite loc or lpg rail mounted track rod holders
Well we've been through this before and I guess I'll be the one to say it...again.... Glass boats regardless of make will give you a better ride in lake Erie's nasty chop, they don't pound like aluminum, if your an open water erie fisherman and don't need to worry about rocks I'd go glass. The hulls are quieter and they seem to be a little more stable. Lunds are the best aluminum boat you can buy along with C-liner and The new starcraft STX that the blue dolphin runs is the cats meow of aluminum boat, deadrise plays the biggest roll in a good riding aluminum on Erie the new starcraft has a sick deadrise on it and cuts great in big water. Aluminum boats are also wetter boats due to not having bow flare like a glass boat can have with the expeption of a Tundra they are said to be a very good dry ride in rough water, I'll believe that.
This is only how I see the comparison and of course everyone is going to say what's best based on what they own but you can't argue aluminum rides better than glass who cares what brand they are it's physics.
Drive both on Erie you be the judge, it's your boat and your money.
one like mine of course! full foam floatation means unsinkable and really dampens noise. no carpet, just hose the interior out. two live wells, one in floor fishbox, 63 gallon gas tank, 140 hp "johnzuki" 4 stroke that just sips gas, bimini with front and side enclosures for cooler weather. 24 v trolling motor . gimbal mounted trak system rod holders and gimbal mounted downriggers. sweet ride!
Mike I saw your boat over the weekend when I was next to you, nice rig, you got that thing layed out for Erie NICE. My boat is unsinkable also, nice dry and quiet even when it launches off big waves and lands hard, and you don't blow out your back.
Yeah your right ICE BERGS straight ahead... but how many knuckheads like us go out in those extreme conditions, did you also notice I knew almost everyguy that was on the radio, more knucklheads just like me, hey we caught fish and didn't damage the boat, and you got to put on a jiggin clinic for me!! to bad you didn't get to see my trolling in action.