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you pay for features you don’t need? You shouldn’t – so don’t walk onto a showroom floor, and expect to find exactly what you want sitting there. If you don’t care about listening to music when you’re fishing, for example, it’s a waste to pay $500 for a marine stereo… but many of the boats you look at will already have one mounted at the dash. So use the showroom floor as an opportunity to look at examples of different models, figure out exactly what you do and don’t want, and plan to order a boat built specifically the way you want it. Force yourself to be patient about this process, so you only choose and pay for the features that are important to you. One good research tool you should use before you even head for the dealership is the Internet. While you can’t always depend on the exact pricing you find online, in many cases you can use a Build a Boat feature on the manufacturer’s web site. These web pages allow you to pick and choose what you like, while showing the price for each option and the total cost of your boat. If a model that comes close to your perfect boat is already at a local dealer, in many cases the Build a Boat section will tell you. If not, at

the very least you can go to your local dealer already armed with a list of what you do and don’t want on your new boat. There is one down-side to this tactic that you need to be aware of: It may mean waiting weeks or even months for delivery. And your choices could also have an impact on resale value; leave off popular features, and it could be harder to find a buyer when you’re ready to upgrade.

3. Buy to DIY – In many cases, dealerships make a good mark-up on the extras. Items like Bimini tops, T-tops, electronics, washdowns, rod holders, and safety gear may be no better or worse quality than those on the after-market, and you may end up over paying for them. If you get the bare boat, however, and then add on these items yourself, you could save a bundle. Once you have a dealer’s price list in hand, do some research and then decide if the savings are

needs a stiffer tip section, but a similar strong mid and butt section. The same stiffer rod is perfect for walking top water plugs or giving a slow sinker plug proper action. To successfully cast and work soft plastic shrimp imitations on light jig heads, a smoother progression in the rod’s action and a softer overall feel allows some whip to be put in the cast of a lighter lure, yet the mid section should be still be stiff enough to feel the lure – especially when a fish takes it. My own use of popping rods has been largely in the surf and offshore, but in my rod-building days I put together several for dedicated bay fishermen. My personal favorite rod blank was a Fenwick FenGlass SP 902, a 7 ½ ft blank I thought best finished with a graphite slip on handle with a trigger grip and slip on Hypalon rubber grips, ceramic guides and tip. This is a medium light action that makes a good all-round bay rod. CONTINUED ON PAGE 70

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March 2012  

THE Authority on Texas Fishing & Hunting Texas Fish & Game is the largest, oldest, and best outdoors resource of its kind in the nation. No...

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