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Bass Boats For Dummies?

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I love learning new things and so it's common for me to read stuff like instruction manuals (boring I know).

I've searched for information regarding bass boats, including this site, but I'm looking for even more information. Is there a book, site, instruction manual, pdf that anyone can recommend for someone looking for information?

For example, I'd like to know more about all the different mechanisms of bass boats and how its different parts move/are used. Topics like these interest me:

  • Safety Features
  • Emergency Information (Do they have bilge pumps? What the heck is a bilge pump? lol)
  • Standard Features vs. Optional Features
  • Latest advancements in bass boating over the past 1-10+ years
  • How an outboard motor works
  • How a trolling motor works (foot pedal usage, compensating for wind/current)
  • Navigation in large waters
  • Communication between boats (does this even exist or is it just cell phones?)
  • How to tow a bass boat
  • Trailer mechanics/how-tos
  • Proper launching/landing (YouTube is great for seeing but it's not very instructional)
  • Common vernacular for bass boats
  • Etc...

I'm not looking for one source that answers all these questions, just giving a sampling of what I mean. I've found that many bass boat people were lucky enough to have learned plenty from parents and relatives at an early age. I never had that so I'm learning from scratch. I don't want to be that guy who decides to buy a bass boat with all the fixins' and doesn't know a thing. It's like the guy on the slopes with brand new gear but can't ski.

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There are "oogles" of boat handling and safety courses that will address most of your questions. Depending on the state, you may be required to have a boat operator's license. If so, you will be required to take a boating course and pass a written test to get the license. Even if it's not required, you should sign up for a course.

It will include navigational rules of the "road", required and recommended safety equipment, info about aids to navigation, etc. This should be the first step in learning about boats.

As to features and options, they vary from one boat to the next, and even in the same brands and models from one year to the next.

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Order catalogs from the manufacturers you are interested and compare each level of bass boat they offer and then among all of them.

Visit a boat dealer and ask questions.

Join a bass club and fish out of many types and styles of bass boats and you will find out what you like and don't like.

Remember the motor manufacturer will have information on the motor. The boat manufacturer will not have the motor details, etc. so order bass boat motor catalogs from the manufacturers of your choice.

Experience. You need experience to learn about your bass boat and how it operates; how to launch and trailer; how to forget to put in the plug and wonder why you are sinking; rod and reel storage; fishing platforms; stability; speed; and safety.

Every person on this site has their preceptions of boats, motors, trailers, tires, optional equipment, storage compartments, live well size; one or two live well pumps; and on and on and on.

You will have a lot of fun looking at the various catalogs this winter and learning about the types of bass boats, their sizes and prices.

Have fun and let us know which ones you like best.

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Fishing Rhino's suggestion about taking a boating safety course is excellent.

Local Power Squadrens, the Coast Guard and your state's game and fisheries department offer these courses.


Some of the instructors and course material take the position that you have a boat or that you know about boating. They do not go into detail as they should and you can find yourself lost in the discussion.

As an example, here is a question on the Virginia Safe Boating test at the end of the course with my crazy answers other than for the correct one:

"What do you do when trailering your boat?"

A. Watch out for local animals at the ramp.

B. Look at the girls in their topless swim wear.

C. Raise the motor.

D. Take a leak off the ramp.

If you have a boat you know answer C is correct. If you do not have a boat or have never been around boats when they are being trailered you may not select answer C.

What got me upset was that this subject was never discussed in class. We saw a dumb and boring video on launching and trailering your boat but none of the instructors mentioned the importance of raising your motor so it would not get damaged by the ramp.

Everyone who owns a boat knows how important it is to raise the motor. Also, unplug the trolling motor so it will not accidently spin when you hook up the strap to the front boat hitch.

One more suggestion. Go to a ramp and watch how the people launch their boats. You will see all kinds of things, some funny while others are aggravating.

Boating safety is your #1 priority and we all know you will be a better informed and safe boater after you do your homework and take the safe boating course.

Let us know what options you add to your new Ranger Z522 Comanche!!!!


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If you buy a boat from a good dealer they will go over everything you need to know about the boat and all of its functions as well as take you to the lake and teach you how to operate it and teach you ramp and lot etiquette.

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