Anyone who goes bass fishing eventually wants to do so from a boat. Having a bass fishing boat expands your range and lets you go where the fish are instead of waiting for them to come to you. But bass fishing is a huge industry, and there are a wide variety of bass boats on the market. What are the options, and which one will be best for your fishing needs?
Bass boats are specially designed for bass fishing. They range in size from about 16 to 25 feet, with a shallow draft to allow anglers into places larger ones can’t reach, and in and around the protective cover that bass prefer. It’s not just the size and draft that makes a bass boat what it is, though. For comfortable casting in any direction, a bass fishing boat features one or more swivel chairs. Many also have built-in tackle boxes and live wells, and are outfitted with GPS and fish finders.
Another important feature for bass fishing is a trolling motor in addition to the regular outboard; this lets you sneak up slowly and quietly on the fish, and allows you to maneuver into just the right fishing spot. Bass boats may have a flat bottom or a V-hull (better for cutting through waves instead of bouncing over them).
*Is a used bass boat right for you?*
Of course, customized bass boats are not your only option for catching bass on the water. A number of other boats will do the trick. To reach the most inaccessible fishing spots, you can use a float tube. Float tubes are basically modified inner tubes, with a backrest and holders for rods, tackle, and beverages. You propel a float tube with a pair of flippers.
If you don’t like dangling your feet in the water, inflatable rafts are an inexpensive option. Bass fishing from canoes and kayaks is becoming increasingly popular; some kayak designs even have peddle propulsion to keep your hands free.
Kayaks and canoes are the ultimate in one-person stealth fishing and can get into places no other boat can go – just don’t stand up. For these options, your range is limited to how far you can paddle or peddle.
If you want an outboard, an intermediate step between these boats and a customized bass fishing boat is the jon boat. Jon boats are flat-bottomed aluminum boats which can be as small as eight feet. Without the bells and whistles of true bass fishing boats, jon boats are relatively inexpensive (you can get a 10 foot hull for under $500), and anglers often add swivel seats, trolling motors, and other features to convert them to a more specialized boat for bass fishing.
There are many makes and models of bass fishing boats. Boat size will depend on your tow vehicle and how many anglers you want with you. A two person bass boat is light enough to tow without a truck or SUV and can get into places larger boats can’t. If you intend to fish on big, possibly rough water, a larger boat is a must, and a V-hull will provide a smoother ride.
The biggest decision when purchasing a bass boat is whether to get a fiberglass or aluminum hull. Each has pros and cons. Fiberglass hulls are bigger and handle better, but they are also much pricier. A fully outfitted bass fishing boat with a fiberglass hull might cost $12,000 for a basic model to $55,000 for a tournament-level boat.
Aluminum hulls are rougher handling and more likely to get blown around when it’s windy, but they are less expensive ($10,000 for a well-equipped 16 foot boat to $35,000 for a top of the line 22 footer). Aluminum hulls take a lot more pounding; if you encounter a stump or rock you’re more likely to end up with a dent than a hole. Aluminum boats are also lighter, which allow you to have a smaller tow vehicle and a smaller outboard.
Buying a used bass boat can give you a lot more boat for your buck, but keep in mind that used outboards can be sketchy. If you are considering a used boat it may be best to consult a friend or family member who is experienced with boats so that they can help identify potential problems. Do thorough check and ask plenty of questions. Going the used route has potential to land you a great boat at an even better price
Whatever bass fishing boat option you choose, getting off the bank and onto the water will expand your fishing horizons and make an already enjoyable sport even more exciting.While you take time to think about your next Bass Fishing Boat, read more about bass fishing.