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Bass Boats of Old

By Nic DiGravio

bass fishing boat

My Bass boat may up there in years, but like her owner, she is not old!  We don’t feel old!  We are always ready to get out on the water again and again!  Maybe that’s why I purchased the old Adventure.  Looking at her long sleek hull, something caught my eye.  It was the registry numbers!  Something was familiar in the numbers.  Her birth registry numbers were the same as my own!

You might say that there was something special in the air that day.  Even though I was more than twice her age this Bass rig was love at first site.   She is 19 years old, but she still has heart . Come tournament time she still moves quickly when needed!  The Johnson engine is old too but I see it as 8 years young and still performing like a youngster!  Plain Jane two-stroke technology is still going strong.  Just add oil, and gas of course, and go!  The big ‘John’ definitely has enough horse to push my rig! 

When purchasing an old Bass boat don’t let the years in service bring you down.  Every Bass rig has potential of lasting many years when properly maintained.  They are built to last! 

If you are unsure of the boat’s structural integrity, do as I did.   Hire a ‘glass pro’ to check it out for you.  Yes, that’s right, a ‘glass pro’.  I paid a few dollars for a local known fiberglass expert to pay me a visit.  He did all the testing throughout the boat.  During the process I was a little nervous because you never know, but I felt confident t he would be pleased with my purchase.   He told me that it was hand woven!  Now, I must say, I looked at him in a daze and asked, “What the heck does ‘hand woven’ mean”?  “Basically”, he said, “It’s built with light weight in mind combined with structural integrity!”  Well, he was right there because I know the boat is definitely built for speed!  And structurally she has his confidence and in turn mine.  The old ‘sea bird’ has proven it over and over again! 

bass fishing boat

An old Bass boats worst enemy is the weather.   The best way to stop the sun and rain from aging our prize is with wax, of course and having a cover for our rigs is good practice too.  Keeping it in a garage or covered area away from Mother Nature will ultimately prolong its life.  Some don’t have any choice, as I did, in leaving it vulnerable to the outside.  But with a good cover you can keep the damage at a bare minimum.  When I purchased my Bass boat it was definitely weathered.  I know darn well that it sat in the sun and rain. 

One way to tell is when the clear coat starts to flake.  All metallic paints have clear coat to make it shine. When hairline cracks occur in the clear coat water gets in underneath giving it a hazy, cloudy look, then eventually flaking off.  We can’t clear coat the whole boat again, unless you are Howard Hughes, but what we can do is stop the process.  The best way to do that is by purchasing a spray can of clear coat at your local paint shop and spraying the edges of the damaged area.   Just scrape off the ‘cloudy’ areas and after cleaning it thoroughly, like a wound, spray on the clear coat.   What this will do is stop the water form getting in and keep the clear coat from flaking any further. 

There are a lot of awesome Bass boats out there with engines getting bigger and bigger!  But when you think about it; in order to make a stronger product, weight is always a factor.  So in order to push that big beautiful heavy machine you need power, hence the 300 horses to keep up with the lighter, more stealth rigs. 

I am not a boat ‘snob’ by any means.  There are incredible rigs that are superb Bass fishing machines.  Ranger, Bass Cat, Triton, Skeeter, Champion, and Pro Craft, to name a few, are great examples of solid Bass boats.  Unfortunately, they get old too!  So why forget about them.  Why not keep their luster and beauty for years to come by taking care of them.  Keep them looking their best!  An old Bass rig, what ever the make, is a proven rig in keeping up with the vigorous Bass fishing adventures on the water.  You never know, that old rig can teach us a few things about Bass fishing.  If only some of them could talk!

Bottom line; be proud of your old rig!  Look at it this way.  When pulling your old and ‘mature’ Bass boat into a boat launch parking lot picture your rig as the well kept sparkling old Cadillac pulling into a BMW parking lot.  You can’t help but get stares!    

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