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Unlimited Options Can Put You Afloat in the Perfect Boat

If you are getting ready to launch into boat ownership or even if you’re wanting to upgrade your own boat, now is the perfect time.

January is the season that boat dealers kick off their year and introduce new models, options, and accessories. The Houston Boat Show is the ‘Superbowl’ of boat shows. This giant show ran for nine days and closed this last weekend. If you missed it, there will be other boat shows around the area during the coming months. If you are a serious boat shopper, you will be able to find exhibits showcasing every size, model, style, color, configuration, and price range imaginable.

And that’s the short list. The list of options and accessories is limited only by your imagination and the size of your bank account.

Today’s pleasure boats offer a huge range of not only accessories and features but also hull and deck configurations and steering options. Boats and boating has gone through a fantastic revolution over the past years.

Not that many years ago, you had basically two choices in a trailerable boat: an open boat or a boat with a deck across the bow.

An open boat with nothing but maybe some flooring between your feet and the hull is dangerous. Into this category go johnboats, bait skiffs, and so forth.

They are fine as long as no water pours over the side in the form of waves, wakes, or even a really heavy downpour.

Boats that went fast enough to throw water over the bow were given bow decks and windshields.
These make them more seaworthy and provide dry storage areas but severely restrict the fishing room.

Some people choose to stand precariously on the bow deck to cast. This common practice has led to the casting deck. It is now common in varieties from little, one-man triangles to full coverage from bow to console. These decks also serve as a covering for dry storage, fish boxes, and bait wells.
Also taken for granted are self-bailing cockpits, which offer a measure of safety well beyond the old bow-decked runabouts.

This feature reached its zenith in the modern bass boat. These boats are fast, seaworthy, and decked from bow to stern with the exception of a tiny cockpit where two or three angers sit when rocketing from one fishing spot to another.

However, if you want something a little less or different, there is a boat for you. Saltwater flats fishermen like to get up high and look around for bait or birds or telltale ripples. No problem. You can get a casting platform built onto or over your steering console.

Wade fishermen and scuba divers can have accommodating decks at water level on the transom. You can even have them furnished with freshwater showers if you’re willing to carry the extra weight of the water and the extra cost.

Steering? Center, side, front, back, high, low — you name it. Tops? Soft, hard, Bimini, navys, little postage stamp Vs to full dodgers and spray curtains.

All this you take for granted. What you may not fully appreciate, however, is just how deep it goes. As you browse through aisle after aisle of boats at any big boat show, take note of the many different features available.

Check out the storage, for instance. Tackle boxes, ice chests, and bait wells now come built in. Rod storage is not only out of the way, but it is also waterproof, lockable, and, on a lot of bass boats, separate but equal for the skipper and his fishing partner. Built-in ice chests or fish boxes can be removable for easy cleaning and can be plumbed to drain overboard

Each person on the water has his own idea of the ultimate boat. It is directly related to the way that person plans to use it. The range runs from shallow draft skiffs designed to fish the skinny-water bay flats to diesel powered sport fishing boats with towers built to ply the blue waters of the gulf for billfish, and every boat style and size in between.

Then there are the options of advanced electronics such as a GPS or depth finders and enclosed heads…the list goes on and on.

After you have done all the fun research and you have picked out your dream boat this winter, you can now have the option of some hot fishing action this spring.