bass boat

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This is what Greg has been seeing in his dreams — and soon it will be his new reality.

For the past year and a half, I have been on the fence about whether to buy a new boat or to hang on to the boat I have and simply repair and replace things as I go. I love my boat. It’s a 22-foot Ranger with a 250-hp Mercury on the back, and it’s never stranded me as long as I have owned it. But sometimes, you know it’s just time to go new.

In the past, I have written a few times about possibly selling my boat. For one reason or another, the timing never seemed right. Something would come up: Selling our rental house, getting a new vehicle, maintenance at the house we live in, almost cutting my thumb off, and so on. There was always something that derailed my plans going forward that made me pull back and stay with my current boat.

When most people decide to get a new boat, it’s usually because they’re no longer happy with their current boat. That couldn’t be further from the truth for me. My big Ranger runs great in heavy winds and rough water. I love the boat for that reason. Outside of normal maintenance and wear on the boat and the motor, I haven’t had any issues with it.

So why get rid of it now? Well, here’s the truth: I’m not getting any younger, and I’ve always wanted to buy a brand-new bass boat.

Today’s boat buyer has so many options. You can pick the size boat that fits you, the motor size and sometimes brand you prefer, your favorite brand of electronics and where you want all of them mounted, trolling motor and size, your pole anchors (either Talon or Power-Pole) — even your own color scheme. Are you kidding me? It might force me to get a new truck just to make everything look “cool” as I roll down the highway, but hey, why not? It might be the last time I can pull this off before I retire.

I have settled on a fairly reasonable number for my big Ranger. I am listing it for $10,400. My goal is to have it up on before the day is out and see what kind of interest it will draw. It needs carpet and new upholstery. But the battery chargers, batteries, power steering cylinder, aerators and alternator are all new this past year. It has a 9-inch side-scan Humminbird and a 36-volt Minn-Kota trolling motor.

According to the book numbers on it, in fair condition, it should be able to draw a little over $14,000. But right now, I would prefer to simply get it moved because I have a window where by putting in my order for the new boat, it will take six weeks for it to be built, rigged and delivered. After our Classic tournament is over for our club, I have exactly eight weeks to get that new boat ordered and delivered. So it is more important to me to move my current boat and make room for the new one.

What am I looking to buy? Well, I have become enamored with the new Nitro boats. I am looking at a 20-footer with dual consoles and a 225-hp four-stroke Mercury. I am leery about going down in hull length because I’ve been spoiled by my Ranger, but from all accounts, the ride between the 20- and 21-foot boats is not that different. So I decided to go with the 20-footer with pro package rigging. I won’t scare you with the price of this new rig — but like I said, my window of opportunity is now, so I am going to take advantage of it while I can.

So finally, the decision has been made and I am definitely moving on to a new boat. I am excited to get it, but I plan to finish my season off strong in my current boat and send her to a new home with one last first-place finish under her belt. That’s the plan, anyhow. I just need the bass to cooperate. But considering where we’re fishing, I feel pretty good about my chances to do that.

Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at

Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at


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