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  • Writer's pictureCorey Goldie

Aluminum versus Fiberglass


Aluminum versus Fiberglass, is one better than the other? This is a fair debate because the answer is a personalized solution. And quite simply put, the answer is yes! But it’s not what you think.

With fiberglass boats, you will always hear people say the ride quality is superior and in some cases it is. But not always. With modern technology the humble old aluminum boat has come a long way and improved ride and noise quality.

So why would you choose one over the other?

· Ride quality.

· Build quality.

· Price point.

· Reliability.

· Resale value .

These are all valid points and should be considered when purchasing your next boat. I have owned both and I can see why there is such a divide in opinion. I think we have been sold hard on fiberglass for years without truly looking into what is out there in the tin market.

I have to say it’s definitely a horses for courses scenario and there really isn’t a one size fits all. The gap has definitely closed both in price and features. Gone are the days of cheap aluminum boats, that’s for sure. You can still buy a cheap boat that’s not what I am saying. Most of this is based on the tournament Bass boat market but it can be used for all styles of boating and fishing. As I have said, what suits your needs. With thousands of variants, I have kept this article focused on Bass boat styles.

Let’s start with debunking a few myths. The first being you need to have a fiberglass bass boat to win tournaments. This sales pitch has got old real quick and I say to all the diehard glass fans take your blinkers off and have a good look at what’s happening out there. Because the last 2 Bassmaster classics (yes the biggest richest Bass tournament in the USA) have been won by Pro anglers running Aluminum boats and for the first time in years there are several anglers running aluminum boats at the elite level.

Now this is not saying glass boats are bad because they are not (horses for courses) for many years if you wanted a high output motor that was your only option. There were many other reasons, dry storage, bigger and faster, that sort of thing was why glass was better. But now with companies seeing the bigger picture a lot of development has gone into aluminum to close the gap.

So when we talk about expendable income not many people can afford the top of the range bass boats out there. No way should you have to buy a boat worth more than a house and set yourself into a loan for 30 years, but that’s where we are at with some boats in both styles up over 100k mark for base models. Then you have to add all the electronics to keep up with the jones. It’s getting very expensive.

The biggest mistake I see time and time again is the initial outlay of hard earned cash for a tournament boat. Modern society dictates we start at the top, instead of the bottom and working our way up. Sure this makes me sound like my dad (back in my day) but it’s a reel problem in the sport. Pardon the pun.

So to make sense of my rabble I have been scrolling the interweb thing and found some surprising results. Firstly, if you want a new glass bass boat in this country you will probably need to sell a kidney or your first-born child, maybe both. With a 100k starting price the average angler can’t afford this or maybe it’s just me. So, we look at the second hand market and wow it’s not much better. I have seen 10 year old boats for 80k and then some much older boats for around 50k. Anything under that, and there are a few, they need major work to make them a clean nice looking boat. Now that’s a lot of money as far as I am concerned, so what are my options? My suggestion here is to look at the aluminum market. There are many companies out there doing bass style boats now a little caveat like anything not just because it’s new doesn’t mean the build quality is the same. Pro tip: do your homework.

If you want a bass style boat but don’t want what could possibly be a fixer upper (pro tip again why are they selling?) You have the option to buy new and of course get a warranty on your investment. So now I can insert the shameless plug here. My Bass pro 498 is a middle of the range bass style boat with a boat motor trailer package and will set you back 50k. Now the blood pressure will rise in all the diehard glass fans BUT… yes I am not comparing apples with apples. It’s not 200 hp. It’s not whatever excuse you want to insert. You haven’t read anything I have said until now.

My point is, look around. Make an informed decision. Don’t go and put a second mortgaged on your house over 30 years for a bass boat. Now saying that, if you have some Mum and Dad money, won the lotto or can just afford it then pay as much as you want and do it.

Start small and work your way up. I see too many people pay big money for boats in a spur of the moment and then work out that the prize money in this country will not help them pay off the initial outlay.

It was a big decision to go with the Basspro three years ago. It was an informed choice and it did and still does suits my needs perfectly. In that time I own the boat outright, its mine no mortgage needed.

Yes it won’t suit everyone but at least make a pros and cons check sheet and buy what suits your needs. I will do another article on why I made my choice, but I think I have waffled on enough to get my point across.

Take care on the water

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