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Springtime is almost here for bass fishermen around the country. Many of you have probably spent countless hours organizing your bass boat and getting all the tackle back in some logical order. When it’s too cold for that, there are plenty of bass fishing websites for fishing fans. From major bass tournament coverage to bass tips and tricks to buying the latest tackle and bass boat accessories, the online community is a huge resource for bass fishermen.
Many bass tournament professionals have said that the younger generation of tournament anglers has a much smaller learning curve. There is so much information online that you can now be learning about bass fishing without ever leaving the couch. Twenty five years ago that wasn’t the case. Other than talking to your fishing buddies and reading a magazine or two, time on the water was about the only way to learn to be a better fishermen. While time on the water is still by far the most beneficial, busy weekend warriors can’t get to their favorite lakes four times a week.
Here is what we consider the ten best fishing websites for learning about tackle and bass boats, getting national tournament coverage, and finding out about the latest bass fishing equipment.
UltimateBass.com has a wide array of bass fishing articles about every subject imaginable. Owner Mike Cork keeps the site updated frequently. There is also a fairly popular bass fishing and bass boat forum section on this site. One really neat thing he has done is the creation of private forums for bass clubs. This allows local bass clubs to have a private place to communicate in a forum type environment. Some bass clubs have their own websites with private forums but if they don’t, this is a great option.
Flwoutdoors.com is the online presence of Fishing League Worldwide, most notably a professional bass fishing tour but also having semi-pro and smaller regional tournaments as well. Among others, their main sponsors are Walmart and Ranger Bass Boats. Those are some big names and they have some of the biggest tournaments in the country. FLW has making moves in the social media and online coverage and we look for them to continue to be in the upper echelon of bass tournament organizations.
Bassmaster is the second of the two national tournament organizations. They are likely more well-known than FLW is and are the home to the most famous tournament professionals. The original Bass Anglers Sportsman’s Society was created in 1968 by Ray Scott. They’ve changed owners a few times over the years but still maintain the rank of the biggest fishing tournament there is, the Bassmaster Classic.
Bassboatcentral is the largest internet forum for bass boats online. There is a wealth of information here archived in their forums. Virtually any question about bass boats you could ask has been answered here. Need to know the best prop for your 2005 Ranger Z21? Bet the answer is there somewhere. If you can’t fin’d the answers to your questions, the people that participate on the forum are typically helpful.
Wired2fish is a relative newcomer to bass fishing websites and tournament coverage. They have a huge number of fishing tactic articles and videos and much of it is top notch. With multiple articles and content updated dailey, you can really spend a lot of time here reading and watching their videos. Wired2fish also has an inexpensive premium paid subscription with additional content.
Tacklewarehouse has to be the largest volume online only bass fishing tackle store on the internet. Headquartered in San Luis Obispo, CA, they have a great selection of pretty much everything out there a bass fisherman could want, and have the tendency to get the newest products in before anyone else. When fishermen talk about ordering tackle online, they are usually doing it here. Tacklewarehouse made popular the Free Shipping Over $50 mark that has caused most other online tackle stores to follow suit. If you need that last minute bait for a tournament, check out their overnight shipping as well.
LandBigFish is another online tackle supplier and the sleeper pick in this list. They aren’t particular to bass tackle like many others. While they aren’t discussed nearly as often as Tackle Warehouse and their website isn’t as well laid out, they have an enormous selection of tackle and great prices to boot. They have colors of tackle here that you won’t find anywhere else!
BassResource.com is an established fishing information site started way back in 1996, another one of those do everything sites. There is a wealth of fishing articles here and it is updated frequently. They have a lot of blog authors writing content. Check out their Fishing Techniques articles for some really good reading.
TackleTour.com is an online reviewer of fishing rods, reels, and tackle. They review all the new products. While they don’t typically badmouth new products too much, they do cover them completely and have great pictures. Check out their online forums for tackle enthusiasts, you can really get into the tackle scene there.
Bassfan.com is probably the most progressive bass fishing tournament coverage site out there right now. They cover all the big national events and do it well. There is a new article every weekday, making it a site to check out often. Their Dock Talk section can have some very interesting up to the minute information. Bassfan World Rankings shows who they believe are the top professional fishermen based on some mathematical magic of their tournament performances. While they might be the most well-known now, the others are nipping at their heels so they might not be up there forever.
There you have it, all these sites contain more bass fishing and bass boat knowledge than you could ever digest. Don’t sit in front of the computer all day though, get out there and catch some bass!
Whether you are a hard core tournament bass junkie or once a month fair weather fisherman, you are going to encounter issues on the water at some point. What’s the boy scout motto again? Problems can happen to you, your partner, or your bass boat. Spare parts, tools to fix things that break, and emergency supplies take up some room but they can be packed neatly and are worth it. Required safety equipment to have in your boat varies across the country so that’s not included here. Suffice to say, the first thing to do would be to make sure you have all that included as well. This is a pretty extensive list and you may choose not to include some items. Saving some weight in your compartments is never a bad plan, but I’d rather leave that fifth bag of flukes home than the electrical tape.
Battery Jumper Cables: With the livewells on and your three HDS12’s pinging away, you can run down your batteries without even thinking about it. You probably have three or four batteries in your boat and it’s a lot easier to jump the motor than moving batteries or connections around.
First Aid Kit: First Aid Kits are just smart to have around in your truck and boat.
Anchor and Rope: I bet there’s a large portion of boats that don’t have one but it can come in handy if you’re stranded. One important note here is to place it in a back compartment either wedged in a corner or wrapped up somehow. You don’t want it bouncing around day after day.
Towels: Fall in the water? Everything is wet and you want it dry? Need to clean up a mess? Stow some junky bath towels behind your driver’s seat for easy access.
Extra Bilge Pump with 6 ft of hose attached: This isn’t essential but it’s not a bad idea especially if you fish on some of the lakes that are known for huge waves.
Flares: May or may not be required by law, but either way they are smart to have. If they are required by law, make sure they haven’t passed their expiration date or if you are checked it might not matter.
Gallon water jug or coffee can: This can be used for bailing water out of the boat or putting water in your livewells. Gallon milk jugs can be cut toward the top to open them up. If you go with the coffee can, put some toilet paper in it to save some space.
Ratchet Set: Some go with a 1/4″ set and some with a 3/8″ set. You can probably get by with a decent crescent wrench too.
Screw Drivers: I’d suggest a big flat screwdriver (doubles as a small pry bar) and one of those ones multi-bit screwdrivers that will have all the sizes you need.
Multitool: You don’t need one of the crazy high dollar ones, but the $4 chinese knock-offs probably aren’t your best insurance.
Allen Wrenches: Graphs, trolling motors and other accessories on the boat sometimes need allen wrenches to get into. They aren’t expensive or heavy so scout out your boat for the sizes you might want.
Spark Plug Wrench: If you are at all mechanically inclined, this might be a good idea. If you have no business taking your cowl off, then might as well save the weight.
Stainless steel assorted screws,bolts, lock nuts: Look around your rig at things that can fail and get some spare hardware that will fit. A good example is the lock nuts or nuts that hold your 12v battery connections down.
Zip Ties: So many uses when things break!
Super Glue: Again, so many uses.
Electrical Connectors: Get a good variety of butt splice connector and other crimping connectors. Remember this won’t do much good without wire strippers so don’t forget those!
Fuses: Newer boats use breakers for a lot of things but you’ll still find fuses used. Make sure you have a spare or two for all of them on your boat. It’s an easy fix when it happens, just make sure you have the right sizes for your bass boat.
Long Handle Paddle: As with the flares, this may or may not be required by your state. With the outboard and electric motor as two forms of propulsion, I wouldn’t consider this a necessity but it doesn’t take up much room in a rod locker.
Trolling Motor Rope: Such small things can ruin a day. Either be very diligent about checking your rope often or carry a spare trolling motor rope and have the knowledge to replace it on the water. It might be worth having one of the new cable “ropes” that has a lot less chance of breaking.
Outboard Motor Prop and Hub Kit: The prop is obvious. Hit something and if it loses a fin you aren’t going very far. However your big bad stainless prop is pretty bulletproof and the inside hub is more likely to be the failure point. Make sure you have a spare hub kit that fits.
Tools to change big motor prop: These include the appropriately sized ratchet or a prop puller and a block of wood is nice to stop the prop from spinning while you are wrenching.
On water numbers in Cell Phone and 12 volt Charger: Cell phones work in more places than ever these days. Don’t let yours die at the wrong time.
Emergency Rain Poncho: Ever have a partner that forgot his rain jacket and then it rains all day?
Spare Trolling motor prop / shear pin / nut: Get the right parts for your trolling motor and learn how to fix it.
Flash light and extra batteries: We can’t see in the dark or in behind three batteries and a powerpole pump at dawn!
Toilet Paper: Probably the number one must have.
Change of clothes including socks: After you’ve fallen in the water once, you will appreciate this more.
Electrical tape and Duct Tape: Both have their uses on the water.
Extra scissors and needle nose fishing pliers: Can’t have too many.
Side cutters: From electrical wires to embedded fish hooks, they’ll get used.
Wire strippers: It’s much easier to splice wires with these instead of trying to do it with scissors.
Wire: Ten feet of some small stranded wire can fix a bad connection and get you through the day.
Rope for getting towed: And for the guy that wants a tow and doesn’t have his own.
Extra sunblock: For when your partner forgets his.
Ibuprofen and/or Aleve: Obvious
Extra hat/cap: You’ll think it’s obvious when your hat blows out and sinks quickly on tournament morning.
Spare running light or bulbs: It’ll save you when you go to turn your lights on before boat-check in the morning.
Spare Key for Truck and Boat: There are plenty of places to hide keys in your bass boat.
That’s it for now. It’s up to you to cross off what you don’t think necessary. Do you have some of your own additions? Let’s hear them in the comments.
Buying a boat doesn’t have to be a painful process. For most people, getting a loan for a bass boat is the best way. Costs for new boats vary depending on size and make, but many boat manufacturers and dealers have boats for every budget. If a new boat isn’t in the cards, used boats offer a lot of value and in today’s markets are a great option. BassBoatAds.com is a great place to take a look at the available used boats on the market at any given time. At RecLending.com, we work with boat loans every day and our business is centered in financing for the Bass Boat Industry. Even with well over 30 years of financing experience, we learn something about boat loans every day. We would like to give some common questions and misconceptions we hear and try to explain them.
- “Banks aren’t lending money on boats right now” – We are writing boat loans every day in our business. Part of the problem is that deals are not presented properly by some dealers. Deals are often turned into the wrong lenders and declines start to mount. Banks are in the business of making money with loans. Boats are good loans for banks and they want them.
- “I had a few problems; I will never get a boat loan” – We do work with a couple sub-prime lenders that will take bruised bureaus. These lenders do have higher interest rates and like to see 12 months of clean since the problem. These lenders do report to the bureau so even though the payment may be a bit higher, you’re a boat owner and re-building your credit.
- “How much down payment do I need?” – Down payment is always a good thing. Trade equity and cash down always help a deal go together. The amount of down is, in part, based on the “loan to value” ratio. The book value is important to the deal. Lenders will never lend more than it’s worth regardless of down payment amount. Lenders want to be sure they have an equity position in each deal.
- “How old of a boat can I get a loan on?” – Most lenders like 10 years and newer. We do use one lender with a classic program that will go to 15 years old. They do charge higher interest rate and again a strong book value does help. Book value is important on older boats as well.
- “Used boats have a higher interest rate” – This is true with some lenders, but not all.
- “What score do I need to get a boat loan?” – There is no magic number that works every time. We have gotten loans for people in the mid-600’s and had people in the high 700’s be turned down. Things like debt to income, amount of credit card debt and loan amount history all count as part of the picture.
- “I just got a car loan, I should be good” – Car loans have a bit lower burden of proof than a toy loan. As much as we hate to say it, a boat or RV is not a must. You need a car to get to work and the used car market is much larger than the used boat market. Just because it is a bit tougher, boat loans are written every day.
- “I am shopping for the best financing deal” – Be careful. We often see bureaus full of credit pulls and several lenders burned. Some finance people use the shotgun approach to finding a lender. We use the rifle shot. Sometimes it takes an additional shot but the least amount of activity on your bureau, the better. We also can do a “soft pull” if you’re just starting to shop.
These are just some of the things we hear every day. Yes the boat loan business is different than it was several years ago but we see that as a good thing. Financing is a specialized field. Make sure you are dealing with someone who has a track record of success and knows the industry.
Ken & Todd at RecLending.com
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