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I'm Buying A New Bass Boat What Brands Are Best?

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I'm a first time boat buyer. I have been on a few of my friends boats but I'm wanting one of my own now and I was wondering what brands are better or if they are all bout the same. Any suggestions on for what I might buy?

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Every brand has its devotees and detractors.  Some ride better, others are faster, while yet others have more storage space.  Quality varies, as do prices. 

 

What satisfies me may not please you.  The most important part of any package, and is likely to need the most maintainence is the motor.  Mercury, Evinrude/Johnson, Yamaha etc., are all similar in price, performance, and reliability.  Most of the boats come with one of these models.  In some cases, you may be able to choose your powerplant, while others come with a particular brand. 

 

Unless most of your fishing is done on the larger bodies of water, most of your time on your boat will be at the bow using a trolling motor.  On the small ponds and lakes around here, I can fish for eight or ten hours, and burn no more than three gallons of gas.

 

Fill up the 55 gallon fuel tank on my boat and I can fish for a couple of months, and that's three or four times per week. 

 

The important thing to keep in mind is that the fish do not know, nor do they care if you're in a canoe, kayak, float tube, or a full blown 80,000 dollar bass boat.  In the end, it will depend on your wants, preferences and finances, not necessarily in that order.

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In today's world, if I were buying a new bass boat I'd only look at 3:  Bass Cat, Ranger, and since I haven't seen the Champion/Stratos cross I'd take a close look at them. 

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Are you fishing rivers or lakes, whats your preference on gas, whats your tow vehicle, are you fishing tournaments...

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How much can you afford?

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Best bass boat for what? Where? How much? How often?

To me, the best is Gambler/Sterling or Bullet.

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I will be mostly lake fishing. Its a 55 acre lake. thats close to the house but i would like to take fishing trips to bigger lakes.I have a ram 1500 to pull it. I want a good I'm willing to put the money in for one. I don't want to spend 80,000. I was thinkin more in the ball park of 30,000 ish.

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Here's something in your price range, if you are willing to "settle" for a leftover, and can find one.  I got this 2011 Nitro Z-8 at the BPS in Foxborough Mass for just over 28,000 dollars.  It's sticker was 32,000 and change.  It was reduced by 3,000 dollars and I got a one thousand dollar BPS gift card which brought the net price down to the 28 and change.  Powered by a 200 horse Optimax Pro XS, hydraulic steering, lighted front compartments, boarding ladder, 55 gallon fuel tank, two live wells with separate controls for each.  It only had three options, a custom ratchet cable cover, trailer brakes on both axles, and retractable tie downs.

 

The only difference between it and the 2012 version is that the '12 has a 68 gallon fuel tank rather than the 55 gallon in the '11.  I traded my 2009 Z-7 and got three thousand less than I paid for it two years earlier.

 

DSCN0103.jpg

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55 acres? Not sure you need anything more than a 16' jon boat for that.

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Everybody will have their own opinion on what's best. What's best for you may not be whats best for me. Do as much research as you can. Alot of the big mfg's are making a less expensive line to compete with Nitro. Good electronics and a power pole can cut deeply into your budget.  A 1 or 2 year old boat already took the depreciation hit and still have plenty of warranty left on them, which means you can get more boat for your money. From the research I've done, the best quality 'glass boat today that fits my needs is a Charger.

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55 acres? Not sure you anything more than a 16' jon boat for that.

A Bullet will get him there faster :respect-059:

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55 acres? Not sure you anything more than a 16' jon boat for that.

I was thinking a kayak.  Way less hassle to unload and travel with and i would bet in a lake that size the amount of water covered in a given period of time woudl be about the same.

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Question, would you turn a 16 year old loose on a 30 thousand dollar car. Of course you wouldn't. There are some growing pains that go with with boating just as there are with cars. Not just with safe operation of the boat, but the maintenance, upkeep, and small mechanical problems that will pop up if not closely watched for. And also the handling them boat in shallow or very rough water. Not to mention your comfort level of backing and handling a 20+ foot trailer.

I understand that you may have a lifetime of boating experience on large boats. But since you did not mention it, I'm assuming that you do not.

My suggestion, buy a boat. However, do not break the bank. You should be able to find a used boat for less than half of 30k. I would suggest a 16 -17 foot boat with a a smaller motor. An aluminum boat would be good.

Use it for a season or so and if you still want a nice bass boat then sell it,and go get one. I say this because alot of people get goo goo eyes and after a few months they lose intrest.

Remember you can save alot of money by looking thoroughly and buying used. Then you can use more money for gear!

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Since you're looking for a bass boat past the "entry level" price, you'll want to make this decision less with input from us on the internet and more from your friends with boats and experiences you've had in person.

 

I've owned my first boat for a couple months now and already I'm thinking of things I would like to upgrade to when the time is right. Fortunately, my purchase price was entry level (below $20k) which means I'm not underwater, can sell/trade if I choose to do so. It's exactly why I chose a cheaper boat for my first one. 

 

There's good advice in this thread. You won't know your personal bass boat habits until you have one of your own. If you have the experience for the more expensive fiberglass models (and I don't just mean putt-putting around once in a while on a friend's boat) then go for it. If not, you may not want to go through the experience of ramming a $30k boat into a dock ramp. Don't ask how I know the pain of such a thing. 

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well i will say im stuck on rangers, in my opinon they ride the smoothest although they are not the fastest, but keep this in mind you get in rough water you will pass any bullet blazer or your fast boats cause they just can't handle rough water.

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My 21' Bullet can handle some pretty rough stuff.  I fish Ontario and Erie all the time.  Been out in some nasty stuff.  The 21XDC is nothing like the lighter 20' competition hulls.  Plus, it outruns most anything.  Not saying it's gonna outrun a Skeeter in 6' waves (no one should be out in that in a bass boat, lol), but to say it can't handle rough water isn't true at all.

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we have some pretty rough water down here when we have tournaments that are 100 plus boats. and my 20 ft ranger with a 150 will run in rough water against any boat. Now smooth water obviously they outrun me by a mile lol

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You talking about that 391 in the other thread?  Nice boat, but it's more like 19', and probably pulls about 45-50 with the 4 blader.  I can run that in 2-3' rollers no problem.  1' chop is where I can really get the most top end speed.  Contrary to popular belief, you get more speed in a little chop. That said, your back will be in better shape when you catch up to me, heh.  Though, the ride on this Bullet is MUCH better than on my 18' Xpress.

 

:fishing1:

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we have some pretty rough water down here when we have tournaments that are 100 plus boats. and my 20 ft ranger with a 150 will run in rough water against any boat. Now smooth water obviously they outrun me by a mile lol

I dont know man my buddies 20 ft triton might give you a run for your money with his 250 lol 

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The best one is the one that is paid for and not financed.

x2 being able to swing the payments is not the same as being able to afford it. 

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I fish smaller lakes and some rivers, I have a 1994 17pro tracker.

It works great for what I do and I'm not worried about dumping a few logs.

Good luck looking, I went to the Novi fishing expo this past weekend and seen some

killer boats.

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It works great for what I do and I'm not worried about dumping a few logs.

 

I love a good tin boat.  I've gotten through some "interesting" cover in my Xpress.

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my 391 will run over 60 in almost any water condition 63-64 crabs been worked on holes poked in exhaust my dads been a boat mechanic for over 30 years lol

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I climbed around a few boats last night at the annual Fishing Expo. These I can remember, Triton, Ranger, Express, Bullitt, Allison, Nitro, Phoenix, several tin boats and probably some glass that I can't remember.

All of these boats look good and are probably good boats. But one has impressed me for a couple of years and it is the Phoenix. The thought gone into storage compartment lay out and use is great. There is no comparison with the boats at this show.

I did not price any boat nor ride in any but if I was in the market I would not buy without looking and driving a Phoenix.

The only drawback I saw was the small console. It did not offer much protection from the elements, however some folks prefer an open cockpit and this one is open. This may sound a little confusing but the actual console is fiberglass top and bottom. Meaning no wires exposed above the drivers feet. This is the only bassboat I have seen with a closed console. And that may contribute to the small look of the console.

If you at any spring boat shows and they have a Phoenix take a look at it. And no I have no affiliation with any bassboat brand except Champion(I own one)........................Al

 

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