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Bass Boats - how do they rate?

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I'm looking for a used fiberglass bass boat and seeing many different brands. I know that Ranger is considered one of the best and am wondering about other boats such as Stratos, Nitro, Triton, Bass Tracker and any of the other large names. 

 

 

Are are they all pretty good or is there certain ones I should definitely avoid like from 2005-2008 Nitro made really bad boats? Or avoid Champion boats at all cost.

 

 

 **** I'm looking at boats from about 2001 to present. 

 

 

 

Wondering about things like if a Ranger is one of the best boats and there is a 2002 Ranger and a 2007 Stratos that are similar is it better to buy the 2002 Ranger even though it's older because it's a better built boat?

 

If you wanted to rate the boat brands like 1-5 with 1 being the best in your opinion that'd be cool too. 

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There's always going to be brand loyalty. My advice with a used boat is look at alot of them and pick the one in the best condition and that best suits your needs. 2001 and up means your guna spend atleast around $5000 and up so I would test drive all your really interested in. Motors run better on the hose than in the water.

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Older Ranger hulls are quite popular and for good reason. My old ranger 482 was a fantastic ride even in rough water. Storage was a bit lacking in relation to newer models but it did okay. I really like the new Nitros but the I have heard a lot of horror stories  about the hulls from 10-15 years ago. I wouldn't be concerned /w them now. If you want a Ranger, you/re going to have to pay to play. That's just the nature of the brand. early to mid 90's rangers in good shape /w decent 2 stroke's on the back will set you back 5k-8k on average and the price will only go up from there. They hold their value really well. 

Just find a boat you like /w the right amount of storage and have it checked out by a trustworthy mechanic. Inspect it for soft spots, gel coat cracks, make sure the transom isn't cracked, etc. It's about as simple as that. Spend the 100-200$ and have the mechanic do a complete inspection of the Lower unit + motor. If everything checks out take it for a ride and go from there. Never...ever buy a used boat without having it checked out by a professional unless you are very familiar /w the motor.

There's too many boat brands to give a rating to and to be honest it would be a waste of time. Every boat company has made good and bad boats. Company X could be crap to person A but person B never had an issue. Find one you like. 

If you're looking at 2001-present that's quite the big price /year gap. Not knowing your price range I would go new. 

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BassCat, Legend, Ranger, Skeeter, Triton 

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22 minutes ago, iabass8 said:

Older Ranger hulls are quite popular and for good reason. My old ranger 482 was a fantastic ride even in rough water. Storage was a bit lacking in relation to newer models but it did okay. I really like the new Nitros but the I have heard a lot of horror stories  about the hulls from 10-15 years ago. I wouldn't be concerned /w them now. If you want a Ranger, you/re going to have to pay to play. That's just the nature of the brand. early to mid 90's rangers in good shape /w decent 2 stroke's on the back will set you back 5k-8k on average and the price will only go up from there. They hold their value really well. 

Just find a boat you like /w the right amount of storage and have it checked out by a trustworthy mechanic. Inspect it for soft spots, gel coat cracks, make sure the transom isn't cracked, etc. It's about as simple as that. Spend the 100-200$ and have the mechanic do a complete inspection of the Lower unit + motor. If everything checks out take it for a ride and go from there. Never...ever buy a used boat without having it checked out by a professional unless you are very familiar /w the motor.

There's too many boat brands to give a rating to and to be honest it would be a waste of time. Every boat company has made good and bad boats. Company X could be crap to person A but person B never had an issue. Find one you like. 

If you're looking at 2001-present that's quite the big price /year gap. Not knowing your price range I would go new. 

 

 

What year did Rangers start getting better/more storage?

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9 minutes ago, tcbass said:

 

 

What year did Rangers start getting better/more storage?

Depends on the size of the boat from different years. For example, 18' rangers in the 90s usually came /w Rod lockers that could only accompany 7' (ish) rods. Nowadays it's pretty standard in the present for 18' boats of most brands to have 7'6-8' rod lockers. I see more 8' rod lockers on new 18ft boats now. 

Older Ranger consoles were a little cramped but most bass boats were back then when you are 6'3.  If you aren't used to newer, more spacious boats than you probably won't notice it. 

Know exactly what you want and look for it in boats. Lots of unique storage out there. Even better if you go brand new. 

Every boat brand has a pretty good following. It's actually pretty hard to pick a bad boat if you go brand new. 

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I've owned three bass boats.  All Rangers.  No issues to report. 

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How are Stratos? Where do they fit in, are they in the Ford, Chevy of boats are lower than that?

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15 minutes ago, tcbass said:

How are Stratos? Where do they fit in, are they in the Ford, Chevy of boats are lower than that?

Stratos makes a lot of boats....which one?

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10 minutes ago, iabass8 said:

Stratos makes a lot of boats....which one?

 

Don't know. Just wondering if they make good boats and where they fall in with other boats. Are they like the Ford, Chevy of boats or lower, higher?

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Yes, Stratos makes a good boat. I really like the layout of their new 2016 294xle. Old fishing buddy used to have an 06 or 07 Stratos that was ridiculously under powered /w a 60hp merc but it was a good boat. Slow...but not a bad boat. 

As for where they fall in line with others... Depends who you ask. Some swear by them. Some don't. There is no right or wrong answer. 

 

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13 minutes ago, tcbass said:

 

Don't know. Just wondering if they make good boats and where they fall in with other boats. Are they like the Ford, Chevy of boats or lower, higher?

At one time they were made in the same factory as Ranger. Might even still be true.

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Stratos's secret weapon is; Mr. Alan Stinson. 

A veteran many times over, Alan was not only the founder of Nitro Boats, which he sold off to Bass Pro Shops, but he was the designer of the well known Skeeter Starfire, and the world record holding Stratos 201 hulls. He has designed every hull Javelin Boats currently have in their production line up. These are the same hulls they have been running under Javelins for some time now. He also designed the proven 19, 20, and 21 foot Stratos SS hulls. 

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I love my Stratos...But I also wouldn't mind riding in pretty much any of the other brands either.  They are all 'good'.  I'm about 2 years out from my next boat, it might be another Stratos but it could very well be something else.  Unless there is a some kind of feature that is very specific to one brand that you absolutely must have, I would just look for the best deal you can find on any of the major/popular brands...That was my plan for my current and previous boats and it will be the same for my next one ;).  

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A good friend picked up a fully loaded 2006 Ranger Z20. It is incredibly smooth, stable, solid, and full of storage for the time it was made. It is an incredible boat that is well built and will last a long time.

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The Phoenix 921 is the best big water ride I have ever experienced. A company that is trending upwards quickly, especially here in the West Coast. 

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On ‎7‎/‎7‎/‎2016 at 9:17 PM, Catt said:

Stratos's secret weapon is; Mr. Alan Stinson. 

A veteran many times over, Alan was not only the founder of Nitro Boats, which he sold off to Bass Pro Shops, but he was the designer of the well known Skeeter Starfire, and the world record holding Stratos 201 hulls. He has designed every hull Javelin Boats currently have in their production line up. These are the same hulls they have been running under Javelins for some time now. He also designed the proven 19, 20, and 21 foot Stratos SS hulls. 

Some obscure guy named Earl Bentz is the one that established the Javelin boat company with factory in Murfreesboro, Tenn.  and Stratos boat company in Old Hickory, Tenn.

 

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4 hours ago, Wayne P. said:

Some obscure guy named Earl Bentz is the one that established the Javelin boat company with factory in Murfreesboro, Tenn.  and Stratos boat company in Old Hickory, Tenn.

 

 You are exactly right!

He didn't design his boats, most were done by Allen Stinson.. Who designed the original Skeeter Starfire Who was the original owner of Nitro.

Earl use to race the Unlimited Champ Boats on the Merc racing team. He know how to setup a boat to run fast & Alan know how to build a fast hull.

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Haven't kept up to date with bass boat rankings for awhile. Allison was always considered the fastest bass boat around. Bullet and Bass Cat are also fast hulls. I owned Skeeters SF 175 and it was a very fast hull.

The past few years bass boat mfr's have gone away being bought out by Johnny Morris who owns BPS. Champion and Stratos are gone, Trident and Ranger are both owned by Morris along with Nitro.

Phoenix bass boat are becoming popular out west.

Bassmaster usually does a bass boat issue that ranks the top models.

Tom

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Earl not only worked with Alan Stinson he brought over Roark Summerford; THE foremost race/bassboat designer.

He designed the early Hydrasports V bottom bassboats and the legendary Laser bassboats. More recently he designed & built the STV (Summerford Tunnel V's) which hold more race winning records than any other hull.

@WRB y'all to check out Legend!

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I owned a ranger and loved it, wanted a brand new boat and ranger just wasn't in my price range.  So I got a Skeeter. U have no issues with either boats. The skeeter ride is much better. The Ranger felt like a tug boat compared to the skeeter. As far as when I'm stopped and fishing, the Ranger I give the nod to if I had a back boater. Both guys could be on a side of the boat and it wouldn't lean at all. That Ranger was so d**n stable, I also felt safer in the Ranger. My Skeeter feels more like a Corvette, my Ranger felt like a big SUV, if you get my drift. The Ranger live well was huge compared to the Skeeters I have now. Also take into account a dealer close by to work on it. I really wanted a Legend, but nearest dealer was over a 2 hour drive, while a Skeeter dealer was 10 minutes away. That played a huge factor.

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Phoenix are something to behold ride-wise.

Build wise Rangers could survive a bomb blast.

Triton, Skeeter, Stratos and Champions are all popular up here.

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These early 2000 520 Rangers are some of the best boats Ranger has built!      http://www.***.net/showthread.php?t=718044   If you can find one in good shape and are a little handy with tools you will have a great boat at a tremendous savings. A lot of 5 to 6 year old Rangers out their at good prices, just have to be patient and keep a Sharpe eye out for them.. Good Luck...:D

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