Bimini v. T-Top

A conversation among Whalers
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Bimini v. T-Top

Postby bilbndr » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:01 pm

As I do my search for a boat for the 2018 season I see some center consoles without a top, some with a Bimini, and some with a T-Top. Is the T-top really that useful? Is a T-Top much better on a fishing boat?

It seems to me that [a T-Top] presents [high] wind resistance which translates into increased fuel use.

Also, winter storage and covering is more difficult with the T-top.

I'd like to hear some opinions. Thanks

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Re: Bimini v. T-Top

Postby Jefecinco » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:03 pm

There are few advantages to a fishing boat with a T-Top. A T-Top has a lot of space for mounting electronics under the frame and for storing PFDs there. Most T-Tops also have an array of rod holders mounted at the rear of the frame and sometimes outrigger poles also mounted.

A prefer no top or a Bimini Top while fishing. Our 190 Montauk, set up for fishing, has no top. I get all the shade I need from a wide brimmed hat while fishing. The bimini is nice for cruising as it does provide a lot of shade unlike the typical T-Top which provides little shade.

I agree that a T-Top reduces fuel economy and speed at WOT. It also raises the boat's center of gravity.

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Re: Bimini v. T-Top

Postby Whalerdog » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:18 am

Bimini top on my 19 Montuak is good for shade at rest. It stores badly when down and underway because it doesn't fit between deck stantions. Bimini up and underway it shakes rattels and rolls no matter how you strap it at 20 moh in small waves.

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Re: Bimini v. T-Top

Postby Dutchman » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:49 am

Yes you can mount "stuff" with a T-top but it is a solid structure that is always there. It looks great but it would surely interfere with storing.

Shade advantages are minimal.

A bimini gives more shade, and, yes, could interfere with fishing slightly, but its advantages outweigh its disadvantages tenfold:

--can get under lower bridges;
--can store easier;
--does not rattle at 30-MPH (as Whalerdog said);
--can be in the way when put down, but when folded and closed upright (not open) it is not really in the way;
--I like the looks of a T-top but would go for a Bimini top any day;
--less expense overall.
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Re: Bimini v. T-Top

Postby jcdawg83 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:22 am

I have had both and I can confidently say; if you ever have a T top you will never go back to a Bimini. Yes, the T top gives more wind resistance and it is more difficult to cover. However, in a center console boat it gives excellent shade, provides great rod storage while under way, provides a great place to install antennas, electronics, lights, speakers, etc. and also provides a very useful hand hold for walking around in rolling seas or while under way. For fishing, there is no contest. The T top allows you to fight a fish along the gunwale without the straps or supports of a Bimini getting in the way.

If you are not fishing or the boat is small, a 13 to 17 Sport would be better with a Bimini, I think a Bimini would be fine. If you are going to fish, a T top is hands down a better option. There is a reason you don't see any Biminis on large center consoles that are serious fishing boats.

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Re: Bimini v. T-Top

Postby Jefecinco » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:34 am

JC -- We agree about the utility of a T-Top for larger center console boats used primarily for fishing. For other uses it is less useful.

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Re: Bimini v. T-Top

Postby jimh » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:09 pm

A decision between a T-Top or a canvas Bimini top should be made with consideration of the weather protection available and the weather itself. If the boat is always used in warm and fair weather, a T-top may provide sufficient weather protection. If the boat is to be used in cold weather and rain, a canvas weather protection system is much preferred. The location of the boat and the weather in which it will be used will really be a big influence.

As mentioned, if angling for fish with rods and reels is paramount, a T-top is advantageous.

On our boat, we never are angling for fish, and we frequently are boating in colder weather with rain. A T-top would be useless compared to a complete canvas weather protection system.

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Re: Bimini v. T-Top

Postby ferdinando » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:33 pm

I also have a 190 Montauk. I fish as much as possible, and my bimini has never gotten in my way to fish. Had I
had a T-Top I would have never been able to put my boat in my garage which would have caused me quite a problem during Maria. I’ll always stick to a bimini!

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Re: Bimini v. T-Top

Postby Phil T » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:09 pm

Bill--you don't mention what year and model you have. This is critical. Some models do not have reinforcement in the floor for attaching a T-top.

What are you trying to gain?

What body of water do you frequent?
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1992 Outrage 17, 1992 Evinrude 115