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Best Bass Boats


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I realize this question has probably been asked before but I am new to the forum and in need of your informed opinions.

I am going to be in the market about mid summer for a new bass boat.  I have only had the opportunity to fish off an older Nitro and a 2002 Triton enough to only have an opinion about older Nitro's and newer Tritons.  I am looking at spending $30-$40k.  I am really only interested in the more popular mainstream names...I know builders like Bullet and Bass Cat might be some of your favorites but I want to stick with Ranger, Triton, Nitro, Skeeter, Stratos, etc.  Thanks

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ONE WORD "CHAMPION"!!!! The name says it all. You can get a 188 Elite with all the extras and a 200hp Mercury Optimax for less than $35,000.00 18'8" long with a 92.5" beam. Boat rides great handles better than any other I have ever driven and has tons of space for your gear. Look at this one before you purchase something. The 198 Elite is nice too under $42,000.00 for this one. Look at Champions before you buy!! Once you drive one you will understand what I am talking about.

Tight Lines,

Fatdaddy151

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I purchased my 1st bass boat in 1974, it was a Ranger DTR-10. I have bought 2 boats since than, Both Ranger's. The latest 1 in 2002 I have never had the 1st problem with any of the 3. I mean not 1. They are not as fast as some but they are not in the shop when you could be fishing. If I were spending that kind of money the only choice I would be making is which Ranger do I want.

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ONE WORD "CHAMPION"!!!! The name says it all. Boat rides great handles better than any other I have ever driven

I TOTALLY agree, my dads champion handles rough water like bugs under a car tire, you never know its there.  Ride in one and you'll never go back..

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I appreaciate the input that you guys have provided thus far. Something interesting that I found on another site...

These are from JD Power & Associates Rankings of Bass Boats

2003-2004

Builder, Overall Rating, Quality & Reliability, Value for Money, Ride & Handling, Exterior, Features

Ranger 5 5 5 5 5 5

Javelin 3 3 3 3 3 3

Nitro 2 2 2 2 3 3

ProCraft 3 3 3 2 3 3

Skeeter 4 5 4 4 4 4

Stratos 3 3 3 3 4 3

Triton 4 4 4 3 4 5

(Ranger won the overall award in 03-04)

2004-2005

Builder, Overall Rating, Quality/Reliability, Value, Ride/Handling, Design, Fishing

Bass-Cat 5 5 5 5 4 5

Ranger 5 4 3 4 5 5

Nitro 2 2 2 2 3 3

ProCraft 2 2 2 2 3 3

Skeeter 4 4 3 4 4 4

Stratos 3 3 3 3 3 3

Triton 4 3 3 3 4 5

(Bass-Cat won the overall award in 04-05)

I thought that these were somewhat interesting and I was suprised to not find Champion on either list considering the mention that Champion has been getting from others on other forums I have been watching.

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I have to put my 2 cents in on this one. Go out and find a Gambler to take a ride in and you will be sold for life. They handle like no other and are very well made. The fishing decks are all aluminum and the rest of the boat is a fiberglass composite. These boats have no wood at all so there will never be a rotting problem. The next boat on my list would be a Champion, they are very nice and faster than most (not Gamblers) so that would be my next choice. You really need to find a Bass club and ask some guys to take a ride, most guys are very proud of their boats and would love to show it off. This is the best way to get a back to back feel of different brands and models.

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  • BassResource.com Administrator

Like cars, the bass boat you own is ultimately comes down to personal preference.  Some guys love Ford, other hate them and love Dodges. Still others prefer Chevy's.  

Then there's the mini-vans, eco-cars, luxury cars, sports cars.... nearly everyone swears by their car and loves them.  But, not all of them are the best choice for you.

Same goes for boats.

Here's some articles to help you decide what's important to you:

http://www.bassresource.com/fishing/buying_a_boat.html

http://www.bassresource.com/fishing/a_new_boat.html

http://www.bassresource.com/fishing/buying_first_boat.html

http://www.bassresource.com/fishing/bass_boat_features.html

http://www.bassresource.com/fishing/boat_buying_license.html

After reading these articles, visit dealers, talk to owners of boats (you could join a club, but heck, just hang out at the ramp and talk to guys as they come off the water), and then test drive.

Good luck!

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I would have to say bass cat, I have never ridden in one but have looked it up and it seems to be an awesome boat. I have not had the pleasure to ride in to many high end bass boats, but i have ridden in some pretty new PRO-CRAFT boats and they fish very big, also they have lots of storage, and they are stable in rough water.

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Once again many thanks to all of you who are giving your "2 cents", it is appreciated. I have belonged to several different Bass Clubs from Oklahoma to Oregon and I have ridden in lots of different boats for 5-10 minutes here and there. The problem is that I have only had the opportunity to long extensive hours in the two boats I mentioned in my initial post. This leaves me with numerous other unexplored options that could take me years to attain the hours of on the water experience I need to make a truly informed decision. This leaves me with the next best option and that's you guys. I don't want you guys to tell me that boat "A" is better than boat "B" because maybe you have owned one of each and you had a run in with a customer service person at one or the other when taking it in for service or something like that. That could be as much your fault as it was the customer service persons. In other words, try not to give me a biased opinion on anything other than the boat itself. I want to know your opinions on how well they hold up mechanically, how well they handle in various conditions, how comfortable is the ride, does your equipment stay dry under "ALL" conditions, do the live wells have sufficient insulation in the lids to prevent them from over-heating under direct sunlight (I realize that the water is circulated in the live wells to prevent this but there is still that space in between the lid and water surface that can get really hot and have an effect on the fish). Just stuff like this. I don't want to be like Gerald Swindle of BASS and be out there breaking my rods to get them out of their storage and tossing them in the weeds. I am not sure if this was pre-Triton or not. I don't think he would tell the story if it was about his current ride though. I guess comfort and fishability are my first two priorities.

Top speed is important but most of the top end boats will run plenty fast enough for me and I have no reason to do 80+mph....70+ is fine with me. If I can find a boat that is the ultimate fishing machine and flat out hauls a$$, that's great but not required. Thanks to all of you again.

Mac

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I have said this once in a previous post but I will say it again. All boat manufacturers are really on the same field. They are all very comparable on ride, quality, speed, and fishability. Now with that said you need to look at exactly what you want. Some boats are faster but this usually in turn gives up some of the boat ride, some boats are slower but they may handle better. Boats that are made with quality in mind might suffer on one thing or another. A boat that is fast and handles well may not be made with as many quality companents as some of the others. What you need to do is sit down and decide for yourself what you really want. Quality, Speed, Ride, or fishability. It is just like Glenn put it everyone has their own personal choice because that is what fits them best. I would say in todays "NEW" bass boat market you should look at how the boat is laid out and go from there. Find one that you are comfortable in. Just shop hard and make the dealers let you drive the boats you are interested in. Beside whatever you get I am sure you will be happy with it. And you are the only person that needs to be happy with the purchase. Don't buy a boat just because somone says they are the best, and don't overlook one because someone said they are junk. Try the boats out and make the call on the info you have gathered on your own.

Tight Lines,

Fatdaddy151

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since I cant talk you into a Gambler, check out the skeeter or champion.  A guy in our bass club has a 2004 Triton tr-21 that has major problems with the transom. It flexes under power. I have not heard what the company will do about it but I'm sure they will correct it. I just dont think a high$$ boat like that should be having those issues.A lot of guys I fish with own Champions and I think they are top notch.  I hope you enjoy whatever you buy, even if its a ranger!(just kidding Glenn)

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