The best days of a boat owner’s life are the days they buy their boat and the day they sell it. I can attest to this statement having owned quite a few boats. With that said, I’ve been looking for a boat just like this Bass Tracker Pro Deep V 16. Light and easy to tow, V hull so I can take it in the upper part of the Delaware river, and super cheap!
BUYING A BOAT AT A TOW TRUCK AUCTION
That’s right, I won this boat at an auction that was liquidating a tow service. I went in thinking I’d have to pay a lot more if I wanted to win this boat. The reality is the Bass Tracker Pro Deep V 16 is a great boat, and perfect for this area due to the lack of large lakes with most fishing happening in the Delaware. To my surprise, not many people bid. The opening bid was $600, two people went at it and I bid on top of the leading bidder at $1,200 and that was the end. After inspecting the boat I decided that $1,200 was going to be right around my limit. The boat’s interior was in great shape, the motor looked like new with good compression, and the trailer could easily sell for $600. So at $1,200 there’s no way I can lose money on the boat. It also helps that both the boat and trailer have titles. You don’t always get titles on trailers when they end up at auction.
NOT MY BEST INSPECTION
As I mentioned the boats interior is great, and the engine and trailer are super clean. The problem… the transom is very rotted. Luckily, this isn’t too difficult of a fix on this aluminum boat and should only cost about $100. It will however take a fair amount of time, I’m guessing a solid 8-12 hours all in.
You can buy just about anything at auction, I like things with motors as they can give very big returns, but it’s important you know how to turn a wrench if you go that route. I’m actually happy I didn’t notice the rotted transom, I may not have bid. I hooked up a battery and sprayed a little starting fluid into the engine and it started right up so this is a strong running boat. The outboard, a 40 hp Evinrude, is probably worth the $1,200 I paid for the whole boat.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE ARE NO KEYS?
I’m not talking about keys for the boat, I’m talking about keys for the giant hitch lock that was on the trailer. This is another important lesson, never assume anything at an auction. Items are sold as-is with no guarantees. That includes assuming a boat, car, or anything else for that matter comes with keys.
Keys are honestly not really an issue, I purchased a replacement starter switch with keys for $20 and had it swapped out in about 5 minutes and it worked like a charm. The issue here was not having a key for that trailer lock. You need to be ready to get creative in the world of auctioning.
What I did was run over to the local Harbor Freight and purchased a battery-operated disk grinder and 10 disks, I think I maybe spent $30. This thing worked like a charm and I was able to cut through the large lock on location in about 30 seconds.
This isn’t the first time Harbor Freight has come to the Rescue. I’ve driven an hour to pickup a trailer only to realize I forgot I had removed my ball hitch like an idiot. Another trailer I won didn’t have any lights, a quick visit to the local Harbor Freight saved the day with a $25 light kit. Call it the law of havoc, but eventually auctions will throw you a curve ball and you’ll need to be a problem solver.
TO SELL OR KEEP THE BOAT
My hope is to get this boat water worthy in time for the spring striper run up the Delaware. The timing isn’t ideal as it’s now just too cold to work on. If we get a random weekend of 50+ degree weather I’ll get out there, otherwise it’ll just have to wait for early spring. I think I’ll hang onto it for one season, plus I always feel more comfortable selling boats if I can say I’ve tested it and it’s great. The only similar model I see listed online apparently sold for $4,950 recently. I honestly don’t expect to get that much, maybe $3,750. With that said, it will have a new transom and I plan on installing an electric CMC tilt trim for $600. So I’ll likely list it for the $4,950 and see what happens. I’ll update once I can get back out there. Maybe I’ll even do a blog post about the repair.