Fishing & Boat towing rig?



I need a rig to tow my boat and my 37 fishing rods and 1/2 ton of assorted gear. I saw a 1979 4x4 Suburban w/ HD 4 speed trans, 350 motor, 130,000 mi. new clutch… looks mint, said to be ex. con… Just for fishing mind you. Inside looks great. What’s the skinny on these beasts? I have a 13 mile hill to go down and up to get to the fishin’ holes also. I realize and am willing to attempt a take over of a certain middle eastern country to supply my new rig with fuel as I will have the means to transport an army!


I don’t know the road, but in general, if you’re doing much off or rough roading, a heavy Suburban may not be your car. The over hang is bad and I wouldn’t trust the frame that age w/o inspection with heavy loads in rough terrain. The worse the road, the more dedicated the vehicle. I would look for a 4wd contractors truck with tool storage compartments in back. A 4wd GMC contractor’s van, or a used plow truck. But, if the road is easy and it’s cheap enough, and you want your buddies along, why not ? But with a Suburban and boat in tow, you’re looking at a looonnng rig. Hope the turnarounds and road widths can accommodate you. I like smaller 4wd PUs myself for that use. What ever the tow rating, you can drop it significantly with it’s advanced age too.


I think if you can afford a fishing boat, 37 fishing rods, and 1/2 ton of assorted gear, you should be able to spring for a younger tow vehicle.


How big a boat? How far are you traveling? How fast do you need to go?

If the truck is in an area where it never saw salted roads in the winter that would help. The frame must still be solid. I’d have all the brake lines replaced, metal and rubber. You’ve got to have brakes you can rely on when towing and with hills in the picture.

Motor and drivetrain can handle it, but they are old.


With all due respect I never understood the logic of having an old beater for a fishing vehicle. 1, why pay for a vehicle (license, insurance, etc.) that will only be used occasionally when all that money could be used for a newer vehicle that can be used for all occasions and 2, why buy and use an older vehicle of an unknown history when the vehicle will be driven in far, out the way places at 3 in the morning.

If you can do it then more power to you buddy, that would be great. My typical fishing trip would be leaving at 2 or 3 in the morning for a 3 or 4 hour trip. I want my boat in the water at sun up, but that’s just me.


Only one road that is a washboard and a 20 minute ordeal. The hill is expressway but it’s a climb of about 3000’. No salt here in part of the NW. This rig looks amazingly fresh. Still, it’s an antique I know. Current boat is a featherweight and I want to get a second boat that will come in under 1800 lbs with trailer. We have big wide open space here and 75 mph with a boat is not insane. Lot of straight road often.

My two vehicle idea is born out of the fact I drive alone when I am not fishing and thought I might get a car that gets 30 mpg and have a fishing rig for hauling boat a gear and messy sometimes muddy fisherman. Might even guide which means clients who I better have air con. as it’s gets to 110 degrees out there and is above 90 often and that isn’t on the Suburban.

The fishing gear thing is completely out of hand. I am sure we pack $20,000 worth and it could pass 30 on some trips. Lots of fancy camera equipment and rods with reel that are worth over a grand. It’s a hobby and a biz as my partner has 3 fishing magazines. I am not loaded by any stretch, writing about fishing is a break even deal at best. I’m single and not a soul depends on me so I can lead a fishing bum life.

Sadly there is a valid reason for a “beater rig” if you go to some areas. Vandalism is so bad places we just don’t go and I hate to worry about a new rig.

Everybody’s brought up good points. What I take from this is nobody is telling me these were bad rigs or have an unreliable reputation. Given the age thought it’s probably not something you want to take clients into the boonies and have fail.

Sunrise is prime time I agree. I drive about 35 minutes to the Columbia river and maybe and hour and 15 minutes to my other local waters. After that it could be up tp to four hours.

Thanks for the input and I am leaning towards something newer to almost new… what the hell, you only live once unless your a Buddhist right!