Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Boats! How much more are we willing to pay? – By Jason Houchins



Boats! How much more are we willing to pay?
Does anyone else feel as if the sky is the limit on boat prices? Can someone please tell me how you can justify paying $75,000 for a bass boat? I am happy for you if you can afford a top of the line rig and I have no issue with anyone buying what they want. You only live once and you mays well enjoy it. But really, do we need all that to compete in tournaments? Can a boat make you a better angler? If you will pay $75,000, why not pay 80? There are so many answers to these questions.
I have recently looked into buying a new rig and believe me I have looked at all of them twice. I will say since 2001 the only boat that I have owned has been a Triton. At one point several years ago I did have a small boat deal with Triton through a dealer, so I do know a little about it. For the record I currently do not have a boat deal with anyone, so I will try to be as unbiased as possible. After running a 20 foot boat for many years, a couple of years ago I bought a new 18.5 foot boat with a 150, and it’s great. The thing is super cheap on gas runs about 55-60 mph, and is an excellent rig. There are several pluses that the boat brings but, I miss my 20 foot boat. I miss the room, the speed, and the ride. I don’t miss the more expensive gas bill, the heavier load, the extra maintenance, but I do miss having it. Honestly for a 20-21 foot boats almost all of them are well built machines regardless of the brand. They are all top of the line boats, so it’s pretty much personal preference. The only problem I have is that I’m not willing to pay what they are asking. I just can’t do it!
We all know that it doesn’t take $75,000 to manufacture a boat. We also know that these people are in business so they have to make money, that’s the way it works. Talking with some people within the boat industry sales have slowed on the larger boats for sure. Sales have also increased in the last few years on the 18.5 foot boats and they have also increased in the aluminum line of boats. Is this a sign of cheaper boat prices? I wouldn’t bet on it. I remember when I purchased my first brand new bass boat in 2001; it costs me $27,000 for a fully loaded Triton TR 20. That of course was with my “Team” discount, that makes me chuckle. I mean are the boats today worth 150% more than they were in 2001? Sorry I don’t see it. I’m not going to say they are not built better, but what I am saying is that they are not worth the price, or are they? Well as long as people are paying that much money for them, the dealers will keep selling the boats for that price.
Let’s face it when you turn on one of many fishing shows that are bass fishing based, they are all in the company’s top of the line rig. The boat companies are smart as well, as are most all the companies within the industry of fishing. They have an unbeatable business model; be on their pro staff, buy a new boat, and you pay them to advertise their product. It’s pretty brilliant if you ask me, and if you’re going to buy a new boat, why not get a discount. It’s a cycle that may not ever be broken and it has been this way for many years. Some do get other deals through dealers, demo deals etc., but for the most part this is how the majority of team deals are based from.
After careful consideration and looking at all options, I’m still where I started. I’m stuck between want, need, and reality. One thing is for sure, I don’t see prices coming down on the bigger model boats. Why should they, there is definitely not a lack of people willing to buy them. So really the only question you need to ask yourself is, how much are you willing to pay?

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