Tin or glass?

Today, high end aluminum boats and fiberglass boats offer many of the same benefits.

Ten years ago, that decision was pretty cut and dried. If you wanted a glitzy, high performance rig, you chose fiberglass. If you were shopping for an entry level rig to fish small lakes and shallow rivers, aluminum was the way to go.

But that's not necessarily true today. Entry level aluminum boats still exist and provide a great option for the right situation. However, high performance aluminum rigs offer many of the same benefits as fiberglass boats — good looks and a comfortable ride.

"The aluminum bass boat you grew up with in the '80s and '90s is not the same one offered today," said Jeff Uetrecht, a Skeeter/G3 Boats dealer in Coldwater, Mich. "Manufacturers have made vast improvements in fit and finish and hull integrity. New hulls perform as close to fiberglass as you can get."

High-end aluminums have similar stylish appearances and amenities as fiberglass. They aren't as fast as comparable fiberglass boats with equal horsepower, but they tend to get better mileage, require less towing power and are easier to maintain. "Fixing a puncture or leak on an aluminum isn't nearly as expensive as it is on fiberglass," added Uetrecht. However, super aluminum prices aren't that much below fiberglass boats when outfitted with similar accessories and outboards.

If cost is a major concern and you fish small, quiet waters, the basic aluminum bass boat might be a good choice. But, if big water or tournament fishing is in your future, the high performance rig will serve you better and longer.

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