Let me clear the air on something that seems sort of oddball for saltwater fishing!
The End of GnarTooth
During 2017 it was becoming pretty clear that I needed a new boat, because the Blog was growing and I needed a boat to match that growth.
I suppose any excuse is a good one to get a new boat, but if I really wanted to take my fishing to another level then I needed something to match those needs.
Sure, my flatboat, affectionately known as “GnarTooth”, was great for the marsh and, even though she had caught a lot of fish, had her limitations that kept me from serving inshore anglers.
As a young kid my father took me fishing in that boat, so there is certainly the sentimental value, but even more since I rebuilt her in 2015.
We had been through a lot together! We fished everywhere from Slidell, to Venice to Dularge. Everywhere!
As you can imagine, replacing her wasn’t an easy decision.
What replaced GnarTooth?
The Tracker 195 TXW
What the hell is that?
It’s a bass boat.
Why in the hell did you buy a bass boat?! This is saltwater fishing!
Because it perfectly matches my needs and, with those needs in mind, outperforms similar-sized bay boats.
The Tracker is faster, floats shallower and handles chop just as well.
Plus, I’ve already fished out of them and they’ve met my needs.
But to be clear, let me gloss over those:
I gotta be fast.
This boat needs to quickly get from point A to point B because time is of the essence, especially seeing this isn’t something I do for fun, it’s how I make my living.
Low Wind Profile
T-tops are not for me. Neither are large consoles or freeboard.
They increase the surface area wind can grab onto, making boat positioning difficult and requiring a larger drift sock.
Can’t be a gas hog.
I had a boat that was a gas hog and really disliked it, for obvious reasons.
To put things where they are out the way.
Rods should be stored out of the way, keeping them out of the way and freeing up casting space.
Because more storage.
No live shrimp for me. I just don’t use them anymore because I don’t need them.
But it’s still good to have a live well for tagging trout or the occasional tournament.
The days of remote-controlled trolling motors are over.
Doing it right means keeping your hands free and having a foot pedal is awesome for that.
A recessed one is even more Gucci.
My back is pretty shot for a 32 year old.
Years of humping rucks in the Marines did a number and it’s nice to be able to sit down in an actual seat, not a leaning post or cushion.
Oh my goodness is it nice.
Most inshore anglers cast overhead because it’s easy and well….it works.
But advanced casting like roll casting, pitching and flipping require an open deck with small gunnels.
This is relative, but getting in and out of redfish ponds is a must.
Its gotta fit in my garage. No slips or storage units.
I trailer to different locations and don’t want to be relegated to one.
What boat matches those needs?
A bass boat. All. Day. Long.
Not only does it do those things I listed, but it does them better than similar-length bay boats.
Yeah, I know.
I won’t be able to fish Breton Sound.
It’s just too much for a boat under 19ft in length!
But with that said, even when I did rock a big bay boat, the only days we went were the days you could sneak out with a smaller boat.
We fished inside on the days two and three foot seas were predicted, or even one to twos.
Besides, you’ve passed up a lot a fish by the time you make it to Breton Sound!
A bass boat fits where I am fishing…
When I fish the marsh I am usually targeting redfish or speckled trout, and sometimes bass, especially since they are becoming more prolific and retain the title of “America’s Fish”.
Everyone’s needs are unique and the boat that best fits mine is a bass boat.
After that, a flats boat.
After that, a bay boat.
If you’re still skeptical, then just wait and see. :)