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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:00 pm 
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Hi again guys!

I am in the market for some shade on my 22-2 now that I have relocated to Florida, and I experienced the sun without any shade last summer.

In order to keep myself from completely burning to a crisp next summer, I have gotten 6 quotes on both a T-top with an electronics box and a stand-thru T-tower (basically a half tower disguised as a T-top).

I am here to find out your opinions on a T-tower versus a T-top. Does a recreational fisherman use a T-top enough to justify the extra cost versus a guide who is out on the water daily? The structures are only about $1200 difference in price (I will rig myself over time if I go with a T-tower). Shade of course is my primary concern, which is why I am looking at a T-tower & T-top instead of a half tower or T-top.

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I am trying to find out what will be better for my use now, for my future use once I learn the water down here better, and what type of structure would be better for resale down the road(hopefully that won't happen anytime soon)? I know a lot of 22-2's have towers instead of T-tops around Tampa Bay at least.

I have been a bass & striper fisherman on lakes during my pre-Florida life. I love to chase after snook & redfish. I do like inshore fishing quite a bit, and a 22-2 is more suited for inshore fishing than offshore. I fly fish quite a bit inshore, which I will have to work on with a T-top in the way. Bruce (Bergertime) has generously taken me out on his boat for some offshore fishing, and I enjoyed myself a lot. I would like to occasionally do some offshore fishing as well if conditions permit.

Do the guys with towers that are fishing recreationally use the upper station enough to justify the drawbacks(leaking zipper in canvas for the pass-thru, rigging an entire second station, added fabrication cost)?

How beneficial is a T-tower for sight fishing? Could I flycast from the top of the tower?

Which option would you guys pick if the cost was this close, and you were in my position?

Thanks for your input,
Ben

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:56 pm 
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first- welcome to FL.

I wouldn't think of it the way you are,,, trying to "justify" in a rec vs guide situation... FL is FL and SUN is SUN... spend any good amount of time in the sun, and you are doing irreparable damage to your skin.

I have fished on boats with both. T-tops are usually easier on the wallet, and can provide more shade based on design.

I have a halftower, with the sunshade that goes over the lower station and livewell seating area. this is roughly 5' long and 3.5' wide. it provides a good amount of shade. I had 2 rod holders mounted straight up on either side of my upper station and if/when drifting/slow trolling/idling around lobstering, I use an additional beach umbrella up there.

towers are great for providing additional visibility in the shallows or along weed lines, as well as creating "space" as 1 or 2 people can be elevated off the main deck to create more people room.

as with all metal fabrication- your options are only limited by your imagination and wallet.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:58 pm 
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additionally--- regardless of t-top, tower, bimini.... load up on sunscreen and a UPF sunshirt/hat whenever you are on the water.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:37 pm 
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If you're a fisherman the T-Tower is the way to go hands down! The fact that you're new to the area and will be searching for fish it's a no brainer. Resale will be better and the only draw back is extra cost. You'll need hydraulic steering and Morse controls.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:41 pm 
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What is stated above, along with the top photo of the 1/2 tower with the insert makes it a t-top anyways. No brainier get the 1/2 tower.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:57 pm 
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Not to mention you don't have to unfold and fold up a tower every time you launch it.

The more shade the better. And as mentioned get some long sleeve UPF rated wicking shirts, hats, and buffs. and good UV blocking sunglasses.

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:10 am 
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The first thing I thought while reading this was how every time I'm out fishing, I wish I was able to climb up on top of my t-top.
If the cost isn't a deal killer, go with the tower.
And welcome to glorious FL!

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:12 am 
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here's a few pics of my halftower. puts my feet about 4.5/5' off the deck. I think its 4" about the standard/original windshield height on the Aquasport console. low enough for me to comfortably see over, but high enough to allow the passengers on the front seat of the console to not hit their heads. . I went with 2.5' legs to give a little beefier look and provide extra room for any wires/hoses I may run.
my sunshade is roughly 3' wide and 5' long. the shade is about 7' above the deck.

here's some pics for reference.

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:33 am 
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I will add 1 more to a half tower. If you can afford it, it will be as valuable of an asset as a chart plotter/fish finder. I know that sounds weird but up there you can see further and mixed with a good pair of shades you can see oyster and sand bars way faster.

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:56 am 
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Hey guys! Thanks for all of the feedback!

I always have my sunglasses on, my goofy looking sun hat, and I got a bunch of Aftco UPF long sleeve shirts and pants for my birthday!

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My goofy hat while shaving my beard off in stages. Haha.

One of my reservations about the T-tower was the additional expense of rigging the upper station, and the fact that I won't use it right away other than as a spotting tower. I won't rig the upper station right now, but once my steering cable needs to be replaced in a couple of years, I will switch over to Uflex hydraulic steering for both stations. My Original Yamaha throttle is getting a little worn, and eventually I will move to the Morse dual lever throttles. As you can see, I would want to take it in stages instead of spending too much money now, as paying off student loans would take priority. I'm sure I will be happy with just a T-top as well, but I don't want to have that "what-if" feeling and shortchange myself on a better fishing experience if possible. Plus, spending $1200 more now is a lot cheaper than trying to convert a T-top into a half tower later.

The one other question I have would be, can I fit my VHF radio inside the upper control box once the steering helm and Morse control is mounted on there? It may be a reach up there, but I am 6'3". This would essentially allow it to double as my electronics box, since that is the only item I would mount inside an e-box.

Thanks for the pictures Omnifish! I see you have an electronics box under your upper seat as well. I want my frame to look very similar to yours, but just have more of a T-top style shade that wraps around the sides and front too. Have to make it fishable, but family friendly as well!

I can't help but think that the upper station would be a good place to fly fish from unobstructed as well. I've had many occasions where one two people on the boat are using spinning gear, and another guy is whipping his fly line around everyone's head or getting it caught on deck hardware. If you could cast from an elevated position, then maybe it would be easier to accommodate everyone.

Thanks Guys,
Ben

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:02 am 
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check craigslist. ive seen towers go for 1200-1500$. especially over in your neck of the woods.

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:22 am 
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plenty of room in the upper box. my uflex steering is the tilt style- so it takes up more than normal in the box, but there is still room. I originally had my radio up there before I built the lower box, but I would have the radio, and a small shoebox size rubbermade for phone, wallet, keys and still have stuff room for a tshirt/towel.

as mentioned- check Craigslist, if you aren't in a rush- there can be some finds on there occasionally. otherwise- piece it together over time. I have a morse control listed currently for $50, so deals are out there.
when searching for your steering helms, just make sure they are compatible for dual stations- some SeaStar systems aren't.

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:37 pm 
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Hey guys! Thank for the additional info. I have definitely found some decent tops on Craigslist, but they are either full towers or older t-tops with pitting or other issues. I am keeping my eye out though.

I really think the T-tower is the best way to keep the wife happy with shade while still having fishing functionality for me. The upper control box being able to fit a VHF radio is another plus for the t-tower. I just want to make sure my vhf will work up there before I rig the upper station and afterwards.

To rig an upper station I know I will need:

1. Additional steering wheel
2. Dual Morse controls set-up in parallel
3. One set of new throttle cables for Morse controls
4. Hydraulic steering helm
5. Hydraulic lines for upper station
6. Upper key switch & kill switch
7. Required gauges

Is there anything else I am missing? I have heard about getting a hydraulic balancing line to equalize everything between the two helms. I have read about getting the higher capacity Seastar helm to handle dual station without issues, but can the Uflex hydraulic system handle two helms without issues? Do I only need one set of Morse throttle cables, and both Morse controls will work off of the single set of cables?

Thanks for all of the wisdom!

-Ben

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:13 pm 
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So i see pitting is a concern. Just remember aluminum can be blended and painted. You can get a lot of years out of a painted ttop. the other stuff im not sure about. can honestly say ive never had a second station

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:17 pm 
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I have a Uflex steering system. the additional hydraulic hose you are talking about is called the "compensator" line. this is a necessary line on all dual station setups. that's what I was referring to when I said to check what helm you have/plan to purchase as not all Seastar systems allow dual station options.

you will need T fittings for your hydraulic lines also (typically installed at the lower helm- then your upper station connects to one side, and the other goes to the motor).

you will also need to run lines for your trim and any jackplate and/or porta bracket you may have.

on my tower- I have a power feed running to a distribution/fuse block and a ground line running to a buss bar for accessories I have running up there. I also ran a distribution block to help make things like my Anchor light and speaker wires a little cleaner.

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