View Full Version : Do i need a 4x4?

01-05-2017, 11:15 AM
Hello everyone, after 5 years of not so good economic situation i'm starting to enjoy fishing again...
A few months ago i bought an old 20' 1983 Sea Ray, a cabin boat perhaps a little heavier than a usual "fishing boat", that will be used mostly in the north and east bay area, for example Napa river, San Pablo bay, Clearlake & Berryessa lakes, Delta....

We are looking for a family vehicle that are actually decided for a #1 Suburban, #2 Yukon/Tahoe 2011-2014, but will love your opinion about the need of a 4x4 to pull the boat out of the water, since not only i'm afraid of getting stuck at the ramp, but also the options are a lot more if a 2wd will do it.

My apologies if this question is very common, that probably it is...but i couldn't find results when i searched.

Thank you very much and i appreciate your help!!

01-05-2017, 11:34 AM
4wd highly recommended for towing boats. There are times of the year at New Melones when none of the concrete ramps are in the water and we have to launch from an improvised dirt ramp. 4wd comes in real handy in situations like that.

Back in the 1980s I had a 25' SkipJack Fisherman and I absolutely had to have 4wd for some of the concrete ramps like Pillar Point that would get covered in green moss and algae. No fun getting stuck on the ramp and having to get someone who had enough sense to buy a 4x4 pull your 2wd truck and boat out of the water.

01-05-2017, 01:38 PM
I had 4x4's for almost 40 years, wouldn't be without my 4x4. I use them through out the year to get me into and out of remote hunting and fishing spots. Use them in snow country, muddy roads, gravel roads, 4x4 trails, no roads and so on. I have seldom used 4wd to pull my boat (18' Alumaweld) up a boat ramp. The few times I've used it has been on dirt ramps and low water conditions also on dirt. I've also used 4wd on super slippery and icy ramps. I also have limited slip on my truck and that will get me up most slippery ramps. The places you mention that you will be taking your boat it is doubtful you will ever need 4wd. I doubt you will be launching that 20' boat on dirt launch ramps but you never know. With all that said if the difference in cost between 2wd and 4wd is not prohibitive for your wallet then definitely go for 4wd. If you ever need it then you got it. It will also give you more confidence having 4wd than not. Should you drive up to Tahoe in the winter you won't have to worry about chaining up as long as you have m/s tires. Even though you may not need 4wd you are probably way better off with it than without. So go get yourself a 4x4.

01-05-2017, 02:57 PM

01-05-2017, 09:11 PM
2wd really limits your launching options.

01-06-2017, 11:04 AM
Nice to have, but not a must have in my opinion.

I have it, and use it a handful of times a year. It makes life easier. But I will also say, I'd be comfortable launching at most places in the bay, delta, Beryessa and Clear Lake without it. I surely wouldn't let having a 2 wheel stop me putting my boat in the water 95% of the time. The occasions where ramps are down to dirt, or dealing with snow are simple choices. Moss or tullies making for slick ramps can be overcome with shovels, and elbow grease. Drop off at ramp ends can be overcome with scouting, careful trailer placement, or plain old patience if it's a tide thing. One thing I've noticed over the years is I've sacrificed time on the water in favor of having nicer stuff, and I'm not sure it's always been the best choice.

My 2 cents is it's a judgment call. If the extra expense of buying, fueling and maintaining a 4 wheel works for you do it, it's a nice luxury to have. If your budget doesn't allow for it, or the extra cost will mean you can't afford to go more often there's plenty of ways to get wet and have fun with only 2 wheel drive.

Good luck which ever way you go.

01-06-2017, 01:46 PM
The biggest factor comes down to your fishing style and locations. I know plenty of guys who launch from the same two or three ramps year in and year out, never venturing anywhere else and therefore never needing 4 wheel drive. On the other hand, I know guys that don't care if there is a ramp in the water, how deep the snow is, if the ramp is a sheet of ice, etc., and they need it. The question, as fishwrong2 eluded to, is whether or not it fits your style of fishing/boating and your lifestyle/money needs. Me personally, I have it on both trucks (full size with v8s) and have never needed it launching and retrieving my current boat, but did use 4-Low a lot with my Toyota (4 banger) and my old boat just to avoid burning up the clutch.

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01-06-2017, 03:40 PM
Personally to me it isn't a truck if it isn't 4 wheel drive. It's definitely a must for me even if I only use it a half dozen times a year. When you need it you are f-ed without it. Snow, gravel bars on the river, boat ramps on the Sacramento river/delta getting silted in after a storm or at low tide...