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Best Bass Boats – Top 7 Picks for 2020

Best Overall Choice
Puma FTD SP

Puma FTD SP

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Best Premium Choice
Crestliner PT 20

Crestliner PT 20

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Best Budget Choice
Skorpion 17

Skorpion 17

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Kyle W by Kyle W Updated on November 10, 2020. In Boats

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 for 2020 and put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you choose the best vessel for your needs.

Best Overall Choice

1. Puma FTD SP

Puma FTD SP

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Having been around since 1971, Bass Cat is no stranger to the boating space. The company continues to outdo itself year after year in building some of the best bass boats in the industry right now.

Their passion and commitment shine through the Puma FTD SP. Now, this isn’t your regular bass boat. It is built for high performance and comfort. It has a spacious interior, padded front deck, and is fully-loaded with Humminbird Electronics, which provides everything you need for a successful bass fishing expedition.

The Puma FTD was designed for people who take boating seriously. Standard features include a Minn Kota 3-bank charger, SS boarding ladder, keel guard, illuminated livewells, and several other fishing-friendly accessories.

Pros

● Built for high performance
● Comes with loads of fishing-friendly features
● Trailer included in the purchase

Cons

● Doesn’t offer any protection against the elements

Best Premium Choice

2. Crestliner PT 20

Crestliner PT 20

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If you’re looking for a bass boat that’s guaranteed to give you an edge in the water, the Crestliner PT 20 is designed to do just that. This 20-foot aluminum vessel is a beast on the water, thanks largely to its all-welded hull that makes it exceptionally lightweight.

It has a rock-solid construction that makes it several times more durable than fiberglass and is extremely low-maintenance, which is ideally what you want in a bass boat.

Standard features include an expansive bow deck, a recessed trolling motor with precision control to reduce fatigue, ample bow storage for rods and other fishing gear, a premium console, and an ergonomic seat to give you more maneuverability and comfort when fishing from the bow.

Pros

● Ample storage for fishing rods and gear
● Highly durable construction
● Low-maintenance

Cons

● You might get wet in rough waters

Best Budget Choice

3. Skorpion 17

Skorpion 17

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You don’t have to spend a small fortune to become a bass boat owner. There are several affordable options available in the market right now. You just need to know where to look.

Lowe is a household name in the bass boating world and is well-known for its wide range of affordable bass boats. The Skorpion 17 is perfect for any budget-conscious angler looking for a low-maintenance, dependable, and rugged craft.

It comes with a bait bucket, aerated livewell, expansive bow, and aft casting decks, as well as pedestal fishing seats, all designed to keep you focused on reeling-in your catch. This vessel delivers excellent value for money.

Pros

● Rugged and durable
● Delivers great value
● Perfect for hunting and fishing

Cons

● Not very fuel-efficient

4. Sportsman 1910

Sportsman 1910

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Most bass boats aren’t designed to handle choppy waters. The Sportsman 1910, however, is the exception to the rule. Its all-welded heavy-duty aluminum construction and hydraulic steering system make it remarkably stable on the water.

It comes with a center rod locker, aerated livewell, lockable storage, two fishing chairs, a transom saver, and several other fishing-friendly features.

All in all, if you want a reliable bass boat that’s guaranteed to give you a smooth ride on your way to the fishing spot, even in rough water conditions, the 1910 Sportsman will get you there in style.

Pros

● Quite stable even in choppy waters
● Plenty of storage
● Comes with lots of fishing accessories

Cons

● Designed for two people only

5. Nitro Z21 Pro

Nitro Z21 Pro

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If there’s a bass boat built to navigate shallow water, it’s the Nitro Z21 Pro. It delivers outstanding performance at every turn and is powered by a powerful Minn Kota trolling motor.

You’ll particularly like the Minn Kota Talon shallow-water anchors that hold the boat in position once you start fishing for bass.

Standard features of the Z21 Pro include a hydraulic folding fishing seat, Humminbird flush-mounted fish-finder with down-imaging capability, a livewell culling system, padded bow deck rod holders, and lockable center storage.

Pros

● Ample storage for fishing gear
● Solid, durable construction
● Ideal for navigating shallow waters

Cons

● High deadrise

6. Lund Pro V Bass XS

Lund Pro V Bass XS

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Most bass boats come as two-seaters. But what about those days you want to take the entire family out for an afternoon on the water? You’re certainly going to need a bass boat with more than two seats to do it.

The Lund Pro V Bass XS tournament fishing boat excels in every way. Not only is it designed for high performance on both shallow and rough water conditions, but it also comes with four-person pedestal-style seating. So, you can tag your spouse and kids along for a fun fishing expedition.

Standard features include two expansive casting decks with a bow and center rod storage and an aerated livewell, a must in any fishing boat.

Pros

● Comes with four seats
● Ideal for shallow and rough waters
● Ample storage

Cons

● Not as fast as other boats in its class

7. BC 210

BC 210

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If you’re in the market for an entry-level bass boat with all the features you need to get the hang of bass fishing, you’ll like what the SeaArk BC 210 has to offer. It features a 10-degree all-welded aluminum hull design, which works like a charm to cut through the water effortlessly for increased speed with less drag.

It has everything you need to make your bass fishing experience memorable and efficient. Standard features include a 43-gallon aerated livewell, two rod-boxes that can fit up to 22 rods, a built-in cooler, and several other fishing accessories.

All in all, this is the perfect beginner boat for anyone who wants to take up bass fishing.

Pros

● Hull design increases speed and efficiency
● Comes with lots of fishing accessories
● Plenty of storage

Cons

● You may get wet at high speeds

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.

Tow Vehicle

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.

Boat Handling

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.

Hull Weight

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!

Are you looking for the best trawlers? Check out our top picks for 2020.

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