If you enjoy bass fishing, and spend any time on social media, you’ve seen the photo of the Legend Boat cresting the top of a wave in extremely rough water. I would guess the nose of the boat was thirteen to fourteen feet above the bottom of the swell. The closest thing I’ve experienced to this kind of wave or swell action is bass fishing on Toledo Bend. At times, the weather is bad, and the drive to your fishing location can be dangerous, especially if you are not experienced in driving a boat in these conditions. I personally have never experienced swells of this nature in a bass boat. Four foot, maybe five feet, but these were six to seven foot swells on a specific location on the Columbia River. Being a Legend Owner, I was very intrigued by this photo and called Legend Boats CEO Dean Smith to get some more information about this boat’s set up. Dean put me in contact with the owner, but what I didn’t know at the time was that this phone call was going to let me in on a little secret.
The man driving the boat in the photos is David Swendsied. Some might say David is crazy, others might say David is an adrenalin junky, but the facts are, David is an accomplished tournament angler, as well as skilled and knowledgeable about tournament boat performance. The truth is that David is going to be the bass fishing angler’s best friend. Waking up in the middle of the night a year ago, David had an idea. An idea that took incredible leg work, money, and support to pull off. However, all said and done, I think David is onto something that could help us as bass fisherman in a way that has not been done before.
When you buy a car, there are endless resources available to review the vehicles in your budget. In buying a vehicle, you can research what independent companies have to say about the vehicle. These companies will put vehicles through tests to see how they hold up against a set of predetermined standards. Things such as fuel economy, crash tests, comfort, handling, the list of data collected and available is nearly endless. If you take the time, you can research vehicles to the point that, before you leave your house to go shopping, you know what you want and even what you will have to pay for it. You’ll know what you can expect as far as service, dependability, and resale value. Because of these independent researchers, you don’t have to believe what the car salesman says. That salesman better have the statistics from one of these independent companies to back up his story.
Currently the bass boat industry does not have anything like this. We, as consumers, have to take the word of the boat companies. If they tell us that they are the best rough water boat on the water, we either have to find a fishing buddy that has one and test the boat ourselves or take their word for it. Some companies (Legend Boats is a good example) will do everything in their power to make sure you get a test drive. However, many times the distance, location, or time itself prevents this from happening on the consumers part. Social Media has helped with this, in that you can go to forums and ask questions and owners from all over the world can help you make a decision. We have to be honest with ourselves here, if you spend 40-70 thousand dollars on a bass boat, would you say it wasn’t what you expected? Let’s face it, things like “it bounces in rough water like a railroad box car”, or “it handles like trying to ice skate with banana peels strapped to your shoes”, are not something you hear from a new boat owner. Every new boat owner, no matter what brand, is excited about his purchase. No matter what, his purchase is going to be the best boat he has ever been in. Personal pride prevents many from saying publicly, “I expected more for 70 thousand dollars”. Then there is the flip; social media trollers, people that purposely put out bad or wrong information just to ignite a war of words, leaving the researcher questioning the validity of the information.
Enter David’s idea and “Project X”. While David’s idea continues to evolve, you probably get the idea by now. He takes boats and mates engines to them and then puts them through a set of predetermined parameters to establish how well the boat measures up against the needs of a bass tournament angler. Notice I said meets the angler’s needs. His project is not out to determine if a manufacture is not telling the truth, but to establish data that a consumer could use to make an educated purchase. This concept was not accepted well by many companies. However, Legend Boats and Yamaha Outboards were the first manufactures to step up to the plate.
At first you might say this has been done before. David agreed, but said, “Bassmaster occasionally publishes boat data. However, those numbers (data) are prepared by the manufacturers. We’ve also seen bass boat tests in Bassmaster, but those tests are not of a tournament ready boat. Bass and Walleye Boats magazine does some fantastic work, and I don’t want to take anything away from their great efforts, but again is it a tournament ready boat?”. David went on to explain that he wants to put boats through a set of parameters that are exactly like a tournament, to include fuel, rods, livewells, sodas in the cooler, everything that an angler experiences when he launches his boat tournament morning. This will give an angler a solid idea of what to expect when he purchases this boat and motor combination.
“We have a long way to go with this, taking one boat manufacture and measuring all possible parameters with a motor, is very time consuming and very expensive. Both of which were far beyond my expectation”. After talking with David for almost two hours, I can see that his attention to all possible conditions and desire to have the truest data, might nearly drive a normal man insane. Having to wait for the perfect weather forecasts to do various water tests was time consuming, needing a cool morning to do top end speed, then again a summer morning for top end speed, or high winds; the list of conditions is endless. “One day we spent eight hours and ran 8 different props, finding that three completely different props all performed identically. Lots of gas, in order to do proper testing you have to make sure the fuel tank is at the same level for each pass”.
Bass Angler Magazine will be the exclusive publisher of Project X. If you are not already a subscriber to Bass Angler Magazine click this link to get signed up before the the fall/winter issue. Bass Angler Magazine subscription details. While David let a few things slip, I had to promise not to let out any details. David did say, “I was very pleased with this combination. It performed, as well or better, than expected in many areas”. Being a Legend Owner myself, I am exceptionally pleased with my boat and Mercury Motor set up, but I’m very interested to see what the data reveals when David publishes his findings.
David’s idea will bring the boat purchasing power back to the angler. We will no longer need to guess; with research we’ll be able to find independent information on boats, motors, and how those boats and motors performed together.
To discuss this great project visit us in the Ultimate Bass forums Legend Rough Water Test
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