April 7, 2015

The Joys and Heartache of Owning a T-Top

2  comments

You either hate them or love them. These are plenty of reasons why a T-Top may work for you, or not.

Why have a T-Top on a boat?

When I first bought my bay boat, a Pathfinder 2200V, I had no idea if I would like the T-Top or not. After fishing out of it for a few years I discovered that I really loved the Pathfinder, but had mixed feelings about the T-Top.

It has been both a blessing and royal pain in the ass.

Why I like my T-Top:

  • provides shade during the summer time (huge relief when it's hot)
  • gives me a spot to mount my all-around white light higher and in a place it can't blind me in the dark.
  • I can mount my radio antenna higher
  • a grab rail for friends to hold onto while we are underway
  • there is a lot of utility (places to tie bags to, put stuff like pliers and the landing net)
  • it is something I can hold on to while walking the gunnels
  • I can "sail" the boat using the T-Top as a sail and the motor as a rudder. It actually works pretty well for drifting shorelines and oyster beds.
shade redfish t top

The shade is comfortable to catch redfish in.

...and why I don't:

  • takes away casting space
  • during the winter it blots out the sun, making the boat a lot colder than what it has to be
  • people snag it when casting, even experienced anglers
  • a fishing rod was broke on the T-Top (enough reason to never have another)
  • more fishing rods were also mercilessly beat on the T-Top
  • It's one more thing that can break. There is already a crack through one of the support arms. It's more cosmetic than anything. I still hate looking at it.

Wind Makes It Worse

The added surface area of a T-Top is another aggravation.

Trolling motor use is difficult when wind is constantly grabbing that giant sail in the middle of the boat.

Low-profile boats do much better in windy conditions, because there is less surface area for wind to push on. A benefit of this is prolonged trolling motor life.

But this benefit is lost with the addition of a T-Top, or anything else that would present more surface area, like an elevated console or tower drive.

Navigation

Some bridges are impossible to pass under with the T-Top installed. Sometimes I have had to take the long way around because of this. I don't like that.

Summary

Choosing a T-Top depends on you and your needs. I can't tell you what's good for you, but I can share my experience.

My next bay boat will not have a T-Top. It will feature less frills and no liner. Liner, gelcoat, extra frills and shiny polished surfaces are one more thing to take care of. I don't like that.

Why? Because working on my boat falls into my least favorite time category: Time spent not fishing.

Have Questions? Then head on over to my forum, Louisiana Fishing Reports. You can get all the boat advice you want.

Click here to visit.

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a veteran of the Iraq War and former fishing guide. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.


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  • I have a folding T-Top and I Love it! The support struts pin to the back of my leaning post. I fold it down to fit in storage. Takes 20 seconds.
    Yes the top does take casting space. But for the most part we cast around it. If your grab rail can fit under so can the top…

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