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Evening all,

I have been reading through the many posts on here these last couple of weeks since signing up for the forum. You all seem to be very responsible people unlike other boards I have read in the past so I am glad I was told about this site.

Now to my question... I purchased a 20 foot center console this spring as a possible hobby. The previous boats I have owned were either cuddy cabins, walk around cuddy cabins or my little Crawdad for lake fishing so this was new to me. Luck fell into place and I got my Hobby cleaned up, repowered, and got the basics by mid september. I then went the next 2.5 months chasing around this fish you call rockfish, Stripers where I came from a few years ago. I actually chose this over deer hunting this year which is a first time not hunting in 30 years.

Anyway I have this bimini top , folded down in the front of my boat, and it works fine but I am not a fan of running distances with a bimini up. Seems like going 35 miles an hour for long periods of time does nothing but wear on the top so I usually leave it down rather than put it up and down mulitple times.

Many of you and many boats I have seen have T Tops on them with soft tops like Sunbrella material or something similar. My question is do you really get the use out of the top to justify the money for it? I have seen fold down models on the net and they seem like they would rattle apart in short order, but if I trailer a T Top it would seem to me that it would act as an aircraft wing and or rip apart. I really would like some honest advice as I am not looking to make it a shelter for wind, I can dress in layers but it would be nice when it is 85 degrees to have a little shade that I dont have to continually think about.

Sorry for being wordy but I figure my first post should be an introduction. Thanks to JL and Brandon for welcoming me to the site, I hope to contribute on items I have experience in, been on the water as a recreational fisherman for about 30 years , with my father than on my own and enjoy it more each year.
 

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I agree with you on the bimini. I had one on my previous boat and it always stressed me out how it swayed when I was runnig. The top endded up having a decent amount of loosened stitches after each season. Now I have a 24' Sea Chaser CC with a t-top (canvas top) and I definitely get good use out of the top.
  • I connect my planer board line to the front part of the top
  • I hang my Scotty clips off it
  • I get shade in the mid-summer months
  • I have the mesh bag thing on the backside for storage of life jackets, etc
  • my radar and antennas mount nicely on it
  • I have a spreader light mounted on it
  • I run 4 to 6 rods off the rocket launchers

Overall, I think it makes a huge difference for me. I just recently added spray shields and gull wings and I'm warm and dry. The canvas work was done by Creative Canvas out of Solomons and I'm very happy with the quality.
 

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I would have to agree i didnt buy a center console until i knew i could afford the t-top to go with it . i also get all the above usage out of it . i am also in the process of getting my curtains and gull wings made , met with the guy today . my folks have a bimini and every time we fish other than bottom fishing we take my boat , that bimini is just in the way. plus the t-top give people something to hold on to when standing .
 

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I have a sunbrella on my 22' WA and it's been nothing but great for me. Once I put it up, it stays up. I keep it tight and it's not given me any problems (it's going on 4 yrs old now). Not to mention that it hasn't faded at all. I've even kept it up a few times while trailering it back home at 60+ mph. Definitely worth whatever I paid for it.
 

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Just my opinion - t tops are a major pain. They really don't provide alot of shade and they get in the way if you fly fish. But, it does get cold around here in the fall, and an enclosure makes it more bearable. Bottom line, fish with folks who have them and don't have them and then make your decision.
 

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I have the Fishmaster top--LOVE IT!
It didn't rattle apart all season--I troll in the spring and fall and it gave me 7 more rod holders and a place to attach the planer boards--it doesn't seem like it provides a ton of shade, but it does more than I would have thought. Everybody that fishes with me regularly was pretty happy that I got it.

The only thing I don't like about it is that I occasionally whack it when I am get excited casting to breaking fish in the summer and forget its there--

I also like that it gives me something more substantial to hold onto

Hans
 

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I have the Fishmaster top--LOVE IT!
It didn't rattle apart all season--I troll in the spring and fall and it gave me 7 more rod holders and a place to attach the planer boards--it doesn't seem like it provides a ton of shade, but it does more than I would have thought. Everybody that fishes with me regularly was pretty happy that I got it.

The only thing I don't like about it is that I occasionally whack it when I am get excited casting to breaking fish in the summer and forget its there--

I also like that it gives me something more substantial to hold onto

Hans
 
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