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  1. #1
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    Default Small freshwater boat

    So after my trip I have thought about getting a small 2 or 3 man boat.

    Something small like the guys attached. A live well would be a bonus.

    Can I hear from people who have something similar ?

    I was always told do not by a boat or a plane

    I know that if it has less than a 15hp then you dont need a skippers or something to that effect. Would want to put on a sneaker.

    Thanks for any advice... Or warnings!

    1997 Discovery 1 300tdi - Pussy Galore
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    I'll add some more thoughts tomorrow but for the love of all that is holy, buy something that needs NO fixing. You want something you can hook and go fishing with.
    "Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something, you are not here long"
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    B break
    O out
    A another
    T thousand

    That puma you looking at wont do well with a 15 hp motor, unless you prepared to go really slowly.
    Look at the TUG 20 or spider 2 or 3, or even a 3.5 m inflatable, then you don't need a trailer either

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    I wouldn't go smaller than 14ft. A good beginner boat is a Splash Bass with anything from a 50HP up on it. My dad bought one with a very low hours(17) 70HP Yamaha, two fish finders and new Minn Kota trolling motor for a ridiculously low price. Space on a small boat is limited and can make fishing a frustrating experience.

    I have a 16Ft Dragonfly with a 70HP Yamaha and it is about the right size for two people and their kit but little else.

    Skippers licenses for Cat R vessels are really a non-issue. Lots of common sense and a few hours being lectured and tested on theory.

    Boats are expensive to keep and maintain. You require a COF once per year, buoyancy every 5 years, trailer bearings should be serviced at least once per season, the engine lower unit needs new oil at least once per season, fishing line ruins lower unit seals which cost money to replace, impellers need replacement every few years (or few minutes if you ever run a motor without muffs out of the water), propellers sometimes become victims of submerged structure, I replace the plugs on my engine at least once a year, 2 stroke oil is expensive, 2 stroke boat engines can use a lot of fuel, 4 stroke engines are light on fuel but expensive to buy, fishing boats often have three or more batteries. Anything with "marine" or "boat" in the part description carries a cost penalty. However, the convenience of having your own boat, kitted the way you like it make it all worth it.
    Brandt Theunissen
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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Koebelwagen View Post
    I wouldn't go smaller than 14ft. A good beginner boat is a Splash Bass with anything from a 50HP up on it. My dad bought one with a very low hours(17) 70HP Yamaha, two fish finders and new Minn Kota trolling motor for a ridiculously low price. Space on a small boat is limited and can make fishing a frustrating experience.

    I have a 16Ft Dragonfly with a 70HP Yamaha and it is about the right size for two people and their kit but little else.

    Skippers licenses for Cat R vessels are really a non-issue. Lots of common sense and a few hours being lectured and tested on theory.

    Boats are expensive to keep and maintain. You require a COF once per year, buoyancy every 5 years, trailer bearings should be serviced at least once per season, the engine lower unit needs new oil at least once per season, fishing line ruins lower unit seals which cost money to replace, impellers need replacement every few years (or few minutes if you ever run a motor without muffs out of the water), propellers sometimes become victims of submerged structure, I replace the plugs on my engine at least once a year, 2 stroke oil is expensive, 2 stroke boat engines can use a lot of fuel, 4 stroke engines are light on fuel but expensive to buy, fishing boats often have three or more batteries. Anything with "marine" or "boat" in the part description carries a cost penalty. However, the convenience of having your own boat, kitted the way you like it make it all worth it.
    Thank you Sir!

    If the boat is smaller can I avoid the COF? Where does this kick in exactly?

    My use would be smaller dams and rivers.
    1997 Discovery 1 300tdi - Pussy Galore
    1996 Discovery 1 V8 - Mr Creosote

  9. #6
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    Quote Originally Posted by MickeyBlue42 View Post
    Thank you Sir!

    If the boat is smaller can I avoid the COF? Where does this kick in exactly?

    My use would be smaller dams and rivers.
    COF is a non-issue on a cat-R vessel. It is all about safety kit. You buy the safety kit once and have the fire extinguisher serviced annually. COF is just a check to ensure you have all the safety kit you need on the vessel and the cost varies from inspection center to inspection center (usually your nearest boat shop). Taking the general running costs of a boat into consideration a COF equals about a days worth of fuel.

    As I stated in my OP, go for a 14 foot boat to start with as a minimum. There are many people who start off with this size boat and either upgrade or lose interest so you can pick up some good deals if you keep an eye on OLX/ Gumtree/ Junk Mail.

    Things you must check when viewing a boat you are interested in:

    Check the transom. Transoms do get damaged during transit, especially when the boat is not fitted with a transom saver. Older boats also have wooden transoms which rot over time. Any play or movement of the transom caused by shaking or manipulating the motor means a very expensive repair is imminent.

    Inspect the hull for obvious damage. Fishing boats do pick up scratches but dents and tears in the fibreglass are a no-no.

    Open all the hatches to make sure they open and close properly and check the structure of the boat. Again, wood rots over time if not looked after.

    Check the livewell, bilge and aerator pump function.

    Check the GPS/ Fish Finder for functionality.

    Check the trolling motor for functionality.

    The motor is the most expensive part of the boat. Take the cover off and inspect the general state of the engine. It should be clean and tidy. A definite sign of overheating is when the paint around the cylinders has changed colour. Before even starting the motor: Take a compression tester with you and check the compression on all cylinders. Manufacturers state what the approximate values should be. You are looking for relatively even compression over all cylinders within manufacturers specifications.

    Check the lower unit for damage and cracks. Remove the lower drain plug to check for water in the lower unit gear casing (Don't worry about losing too much oil, it should only be a drip), many drain plugs also have a magnetic tip, check this for metal particles (a lot of particles/ large particles may point to an issue with the gear system). Water in the gear case points to failed prop shaft seals. This can be an expensive fix.

    Time to start the motor. Never, ever start the motor without muffs if the boat is not in a body of water, this will ruin the waterpump impeller. Connect the fuel line to the fuel tank, open the breather on the tank, prime the fuel system with the primer bulb. If the motor has been standing for a while you can lift the manual throttle slightly to help with getting the motor started quicker. In cold weather you can also engage the choke if it is of the manual variety. Some manual chokes require you to push the key in whilst cranking, others have a toggle switch below the ignition keys and older motors have a choke lever on the motor itself.

    The motor should start within 3 to 5 seconds from cold. Please note, some motors will not start readily if not trimmed vertically i.e. the motor shaft must hang straight down. It is normal for a motor that has been standing for a while to take a few seconds (max 10 -15) to get onto an even idle. Listen for any knocks or misfires. (Go on youtube and listen to 2 stroke boat engines if you are buying a boat equipped with one running out of the water, they sound different to any other engine) Check the telltale, this is a stream of water ejected on the side of the engine to indicate the proper functioning of the water pump. If it is weak or intermittent you are looking at either an impeller that needs replacement or a blocked telltale pipe.

    Engage the forward and reverse gears. Gear should engage without grinding or banging which may point to a worn dog clutch (F...very expensive fix). Also observe the propeller for any off-centre running which may point to a bent prop shaft. The propeller should be in good condition without large nicks or bent blades. Props are expensive.

    If the motor is equipped with electric trim and tilt make sure it works. Listen to the hydraulic pump, a noisy pump may point to low fluid levels and seal issues. Check the seals for leakage.

    Check the steering mechanism for excessive play.

    Ideally you should ask the seller to meet you at a body of water so you may take the boat for a test run. This is an ideal opportunity for the seller to show you how the different systems work. Take the time to offload and load the boat onto the trailer. You get really great trailers which make loading the boat a pleasure but you also get truly dreadful trailers that make loading a boat a nightmare.

    Spend at least 30 minutes on the water. You need to make sure the motor runs smoothly throughout the rev range. At wide open throttle with the motor trimmed for maximum speed the motor should be running at around its peak recommended RPM. On my boat with a 1985 Yamaha 70HP this is 5500RPM whereas on my dad's boat with a 2001 Yamaha 70HP this is 6000RPM. If it is running 100 to 300RPM under this ideal at wide open throttle then don't sweat it, however if the motor is struggling to reach higher RPM you run the real risk of overheating/ over stressing the unit. To cure this will cost you at the very least a new propeller.

    Other things to consider. The boat should plane quickly and easily. It should not take a lot of steering effort to keep the boat in a straight line at full speed. The prop should not cavitate (Engine revs going up and down when driving under constant throttle, on the plane on smooth water in a straight line)

    Now you have taken the boat for a test ride and loaded it onto the trailer, remove the drain plug.There should not be an excessive amount of water in the hull. After a full day on a body of water I usually drain about 200ml maximum from my boat mostly though my boat remains just about dry.

    What else? The trailer needs to be in good condition. Check for rust, check the wheel bearings, check the lights for correct operation.

    Make sure the paperwork is in order. A valid COF* and Buoyancy certificate is a must. The trailer needs to be registered and licensed.

    Push the seller to sell the boat with all safety gear.

    *As a new owner you will need to "register" the boat in your name by having a new COF issued. Your boat will also need a new number which you will get from SAMSA via the company that issues the COF. You will need to mark the boat trailer with you information.
    Brandt Theunissen
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  11. #7
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    If you look at a boat and the sellers wants to meet you on the water, make sure the seller does not spend 30min prior running it warm to make sure it is all good when you test.....

    Been there done that sadly.

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  13. #8
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    Two best days in a boater's life is the day he gets it and the day he sells it, been there and got the T shirt. it is a deep dark hole that you throw money in. Hope you have a better experience
    Henk
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  15. #9
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    Avoid going for a vessel that you don't need a skippers license for just for that reason...

    It's a once off and worth having. If you want to start boating that already means you have a interest and getting a skippers will make your life a lot easier in the future, giving you more freedom in this regard.

    It's not that big a hassle.

  16. #10
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    What do you want to do with a boat??

    Do you intend using it alone, or with how many persons on it?

    Do you want something small without a trailer (an inflatable or "car topper" boat), or is a trailer OK?

    Where do you intend using it, and how big and deep/shallow is the body of water?

    You dont need a skippers on a vessel less than 4 metres and less than 15HP.

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  18. #11
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Petri Oosthuizen View Post
    What do you want to do with a boat??

    Do you intend using it alone, or with how many persons on it?

    Do you want something small without a trailer (an inflatable or "car topper" boat), or is a trailer OK?

    Where do you intend using it, and how big and deep/shallow is the body of water?

    You dont need a skippers on a vessel less than 4 metres and less than 15HP.
    Two maybe three people.

    Fishing only, dams and rivers. So a live well is a want as well as a sneaker motor. Must be able to go in reasonably shallow water.

    Trailer preferably but could consider roof as I have a roof rack.

    I dont want an inflatable as I want long term durability.

    It would be mostly for myself and the Mrs to fish on
    1997 Discovery 1 300tdi - Pussy Galore
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Koebelwagen View Post
    I wouldn't go smaller than 14ft. A good beginner boat is a Splash Bass with anything from a 50HP up on it. My dad bought one with a very low hours(17) 70HP Yamaha, two fish finders and new Minn Kota trolling motor for a ridiculously low price. Space on a small boat is limited and can make fishing a frustrating experience.

    I have a 16Ft Dragonfly with a 70HP Yamaha and it is about the right size for two people and their kit but little else.

    Skippers licenses for Cat R vessels are really a non-issue. Lots of common sense and a few hours being lectured and tested on theory.

    Boats are expensive to keep and maintain. You require a COF once per year, buoyancy every 5 years, trailer bearings should be serviced at least once per season, the engine lower unit needs new oil at least once per season, fishing line ruins lower unit seals which cost money to replace, impellers need replacement every few years (or few minutes if you ever run a motor without muffs out of the water), propellers sometimes become victims of submerged structure, I replace the plugs on my engine at least once a year, 2 stroke oil is expensive, 2 stroke boat engines can use a lot of fuel, 4 stroke engines are light on fuel but expensive to buy, fishing boats often have three or more batteries. Anything with "marine" or "boat" in the part description carries a cost penalty. However, the convenience of having your own boat, kitted the way you like it make it all worth it.
    I am cured, I'll stick with the canoe!

  20. #13
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    4x4's are expensive.

    They are heavy on fuel and the service intervals are a lot of the time more often than the platkarre.
    More moving parts needs more lubrication, maintenance.
    Tyres are big, heavy and expensive, they are noisy on the road
    Greenies look at you funny from his hybrid when you roll past him in your V8...
    The Jones's keep adding heavy shiny new stuff to their 4x4 so now I also have to. and the choice is just insane
    Licensing costs are "heavy" (So to speak)
    Branches and thorn trees scratch them, tyres have to be pumped every weekend, mud goes in everywhere, dust comes into the load-bins
    As with boats, more than one battery is required because fridges is non negotiable...

    Yet we all have one, why? Because it's worth it.

    Get a boat. a BIG one, it's worth it
    Last edited by Pietsweis; 2019/01/17 at 08:28 AM.

  21. #14
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    Quote Originally Posted by MickeyBlue42 View Post
    Two maybe three people.

    Fishing only, dams and rivers. So a live well is a want as well as a sneaker motor. Must be able to go in reasonably shallow water.

    Trailer preferably but could consider roof as I have a roof rack.

    I dont want an inflatable as I want long term durability.

    It would be mostly for myself and the Mrs to fish on
    Mickey, Im not the Holy Grail of Boating by a very loooong shot, but have a couple t shirts.

    For your use??

    Something light, easy to launch and take out, easy to tow, able to plane easy with 3 people on board, able to handle shallow water yet also choppy stuff, and (NB!!) able to still plane in choppy/windy conditions. Less than 4 metres, less than 15 HP.

    I would look at something like a Splash Bass or Tug 10. Maybe even an alu boat like a Quintrex, BUT the Quintrex is gonna battle with only 15 HP (Put a 15 sticker on.......).

    Another VERY nice boat I had was a Suzumar 390 rubberduck with a 15 Suzuki. But yes, its an inflatable, and yes, you do get the odd puncture/leak.

    ARK Inflatables also offers a GREAT option, the Fishduc, with a 10 HP or so that would also be a perfect option. BUT its a fold up boat, with a soft floor. Still a VERY good option I think, ARK is a fantastic and reliable duck. Its a long narrow boat, but surprisingly spacious once you sit on it. It will handle choppy water easy peasy, shallow water not a problem, and with a small (10hp) 4 stroke you wont even need a sneaker with batteries etc etc etc.

    You can literally just deflate the ARK by "half" and fold it in your car's boot or rear load area or a DC's load bin. VERY easy boat to live with.

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  23. #15
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    Mate of mine bought something similar with a 30 Yamaha for 20K. We fly fished off it the weekend in the harbour and I reckon it will be perfect for a dam, big or small as it's small and light. And if the water gets angry, it will be able to handle it.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
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  25. #16
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    My BIL has one of these with a 40HP Suzuki motor.

    https://campingandboating.co.za/boats/arrowhead-open/

    Pro's:
    - Boat and trailer fit into a normal garage.
    - Shallow draft. We can fish water that's only 30cm deep.
    - Very light and easy for one person to handle.
    - Economical to run.
    - Wet deck design.

    Cons:
    - Doesn't handle rough conditions well. Due to the shallow draft it's a bumpy ride! (think Sterkfontein Dam when the NW picks up)
    - No live well. You can make one out of a bucket and hang it over the side. (quick fix)
    - 25l Fuel tank requires you to take extra fuel if you'll be fishing for a couple of days. (we've got another 25l tank so just swap it over in 2 minutes or less.)
    - Not too much packing space. 4 rods, a cooler box and a few lure/fly boxes only. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. There is also a front well for the life jackets, flares, anchor, paddle etc.

    It's a great little boat!!! Perfect for dams, estuaries, tidal rivers etc. It's been kitted out with a Motorguide sneaker motor on the bow and a 7" Lowrance fishfinder.
    As we're both fly fishers, a bigger boat with more casting space would be great but we get around that quite easily by only one of us casting at a time.
    The sneaker motor has one of those foot pedals which is a pain in the ass and takes up valuable deck space. If you can afford it, get one of the better models which has a remote that you hang around your neck.

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  27. #17
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    I have owned quite a few boats and am busy purchasing another at the moment. A boat can be expensive to keep and run but it is all about how you look after and maintain it. As mentioned before by others in this thread, get a boat that suits your needs and ensure that the motor has not been started earlier in the day when you inspect the boat. Arrange with the owner that a test is done on a dam to ensure that the steering system works properly or that the tiller arm works properly if the motor is of the tiller arm type, that the forward/reverse control works properly and that the motor runs properly when under load. Ensure that all safety equipment is in good condition as these can be costly to replace unless you have decided to purchase what suits you. Ensue that the trailer is in good condition and that the trailer has all the relevant paperwork if you intend towing it on public roads so that you do not have problems when registering it in your name. Boats need valid buoyancy certificates when sold unless that owner gives you an affidavit mentioning that the boat will be sold without a buoyancy certificate; you will then need to get the certificate from a person qualified to issue such a certificate. Fishing from a boat is really very enjoyable whether offshore in the ocean, on a dam, in a harbour or on a river or estuary. You do not have to carry stuff over rocks and walk long distances and can load all your items in the boat and go to wherever you decide to fish. I have had boats for the past 40 years and plan to have a boat and will hopefully be able to fish off a boat until the day I kick the bucket. Go and get one and experience what real fishing is all about...
    Last edited by Errol; 2019/01/17 at 09:57 AM.

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  29. #18
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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    Thanks guys!

    Appreciate all the feedback and suggestions.

    Will give it some thought and go from there. I love being out on the water
    1997 Discovery 1 300tdi - Pussy Galore
    1996 Discovery 1 V8 - Mr Creosote

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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Riaan van Wyk View Post
    Mate of mine bought something similar with a 30 Yamaha for 20K. We fly fished off it the weekend in the harbour and I reckon it will be perfect for a dam, big or small as it's small and light. And if the water gets angry, it will be able to handle it.
    This is a very good sea worthy type of boat for its size. I would have thought it would be to big though.
    They are actually quite dry for such a small boat due to its design.
    I am married to an Olufson. My wifes uncle made that boat.

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    Default Re: Small freshwater boat

    I recently bought an Ark Fishalot and 6hp 4 stroke suzuki. Can take up to 15hp but then the motor gets heavy. Boat is light and easy to set up and pack away. Motor is 25 kg and sips fuel. Not a speedboat but gets me where I want to go without fuss. Kitted it with milk crate fitted with rod holders (as used in kayaks) and small coolerbox. Plenty of room for 2. Can take 4. I am finding it ideal for dam fishing.
    Last edited by MIKE-SA; 2019/01/17 at 09:07 PM. Reason: autocorrect

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