Best Bass Boats – Top 7 Picks for 2023
Puma FTD SP
Crestliner PT 20
People go boating for several reasons. Sometimes you just want to spend some quality time with your family out on the water. In other instances, you may want to entertain some friends and catch a couple of beers while you’re at it.
For some, it’s the perfect opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life and spend a night or two surrounded by nothing but the open ocean. Most boats are designed to do a bit of everything. You can use them for angling, day cruising, entertaining, and even for overnighting.
Bass boats, on the other hand, are slightly different. You can’t use them for anything other than freshwater fishing. They are highly-focused and specifically built to give you the best and most efficient fishing experience yet.
Although they are called “bass boats,” you can also use them to catch other kinds of freshwater fish. That being said, we’ve reviewed the 7 best bass boats and put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you choose the best vessel for your needs.
How to Choose the Best Bass Boats – Buyer’s Guide
Buying a bass boat – any boat – can be an emotionally charged decision. You might take one look at a boat and immediately get taken by its smooth curves and general aesthetic. But, before you fork over a wad of cash, you might want to pause and think about the “why” behind your decision?
Here are a few things you need to think about before you spend your hard-earned cash on a vessel that may end up breaking your heart a few short weeks down the line.
Bass boats don’t fall in the category of water vessels that need to be docked at a slip in a marina. People usually store them in their garages and tow them to the water when they need to use them.
Therefore, it is important to ensure that your vehicle will be able to get it to and from the water efficiently. Bass boats, and their respective trailers, can weigh 3,500+ lbs. when fully loaded with fuel and the required gear. So, the vehicle needs to have the proper rating to tow the boat up winding roads in the mountains or hills.
Most first-time boat buyers aren’t aware of all the subtle nuances that center on boat handling. It’s not just about how your boat performs on the water; it’s everything from how you launch it to how easy it is to retrieve it once you’re done with your angling activities for the day.
Keep in mind that while these vessels may appear light, they’re far from it, especially if you’re handling it on your own. Look out for boats that have features designed to make the process a little bit easier.
New vs. Used Bass Boats
Purchasing a used bass boat comes with several benefits. For starters, it costs significantly cheaper than what you would spend buying a new one.
Then, there’s also the fact that you get more boat for the money. A new boat of the same class would likely cost a lot more in comparison. Plus, you get great value for your money if you get a used boat that’s in mint condition.
Now, we can’t very well ignore the fact that you could also end up buying a lemon and land the very same headaches the initial boat owner was trying to get off their hands. That’s why it’s important to know what to look for when buying a used boat to ensure that you don’t end up getting a raw deal.
There are several boat buying resources on the internet you can use to help you identify any red flags right away.
If you can, it’s also a good idea to buy from someone you know and trust. And, when you do go to inspect the boat, tag someone along from your local fishing club or a person who’s well-versed in boats to help you identify any potential issues if you’re not sure what you should be looking for.
Type of Boat
Not all bass boats are created equal. The first question you need to ask is – What size water do you intend to be fishing in? If you plan to do it on a small lake or river, then a smaller bass boat with a modest outboard motor will suffice.
If, on the other hand, you plan to fish in a larger lake, consider getting a larger vessel to give you more stability. Shoot for something in the range of 19 to 23-feet, especially if you’ll be traversing 20 to 30 miles to get to the fishing spot.
Aluminum vs. Fiberglass Bass Boats
The other thing you need to think about is the construction of the watercraft you intend to buy. Most bass boats come in two flavors – aluminum and fiberglass.
Aluminum bass boats are generally cheaper than their fiberglass counterparts and tend to be more forgiving when bumps, knicks, or other mishaps occur. However, one drawback is that they tend to ride rougher and, given their lightweight nature, are likely to get blown around by the wind quite easily.
Fiberglass bass boats cost anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000. They are, however, better equipped to handle rougher choppier waters and don’t get blown around as easily. So, you get a much smoother and faster ride compared to aluminum vessels.
Last but certainly not least, you need to consider the dry hull weights of the bass boat models you’re thinking of buying. This information is usually indicated in the boat specs.
The hull weight paints a picture of the boat’s construction and performance on the water. Super-light hulls will give you the speed you crave, but at the expense of a smoother ride.
Their performance also tends to decline when the boat gets weighed down with fishing gear and other accessories that you bring with you on your fishing expedition. As a result, the boat may end up developing stress cracks over time.
Get the Most Out of Your Fishing Experience
Now that you know how to pick the best bass boats, any of the 7 options we’ve reviewed in this guide would be a great starting point. You’re about to make a major purchase, so don’t rush the process.
Take your time, compare the different models, and make sure your preferred boat features align with your specific angling needs. Happy fishing!
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