By Lenny Rudow
10 Bass Boats that Will Blow You Away: Cast Action Heroes
In search of the perfect bass boat? Check out these top 10 contenders.
If you’re a diehard freshwater angler looking for a new bass boat, these 10 will all be of interest—they cover the spectrum from budget-busters to economy models, from simple aluminum fishing boats to high-tech composite construction, from small pocket-rockets to large luxury fishing machines. Whatever flavor you fancy, if largemouth bass are the target, one of these fishing machines belongs in your arsenal.
Allison XB-2002 – With a top-end speed that can break 116-mph, the Allison XB-2002 ranks as the world’s fastest bass boat. Sure, it has all the usual stuff like livewells, pedestal seats, and fishfinders. Yeah, it’s built with a steel-reinforced transom, foam-core I-beam sandwich construction, and a setback transom. But what we really care about is the fact that you can run this thing faster than some single-engine airplanes. For more information, visit Allison.
Bass Cat Jaguar – If you’re looking for a top-end bass boat which can handle the largest outboards built, run at speeds fast enough to get you a ticket on I-95, and has all of the luxury appointments you yearn for—like bucket seats, an iPod/USB stereo, a tandem-axle trailer, and a ginormous six-foot forward casting deck—this could be your next boat. And the Bass Cat’s construction is just as impressive, featuring vacuum-bagging, pedestal mounts which are reinforced and glassed to the hull to eliminate deck fatigue, and custom wiring harnesses designed for each specific boat. For more information, visit Bass Cat.
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler – This fishing kayak made our list of the Top 10 Fishing Boats of 2012 for the same reasons it makes the grade as a top bass fishing machine: it’s a hands-free, uber-comfortable fishing machine which can poke and probe into tight creeks, ponds, and coves where other boats dare not tread. If you want to be able to access shockingly skinny water and reach those spots that other anglers only dream of casting to, check out the Mirage Pro. For more information, read our full review (Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12: Fish From a Kayak You Can Paddle or Peddle) or visit Hobie.
Lowe Stinger 175 – If you want to be a competitive bass angler, there’s a minimum level of performance you simply must reach. And while most fiberglass bass boats that run in the 40-mph range carry a substantial price tag, an aluminum rig that makes the grade and costs a whole lot less—around $15,000—is the Lowe Stinger 175. Is it the fanciest bass boat around? Nope. Is it the fastest? Uh-uh. Does it come with all the features of a top-shelf model? Forgeddaboudit. But if you want to get into competition for the lowest cost possible, this boat is your ticket. For more information, see our Lowe Stinger 175 video boat review or visit Lowe.
Nitro Z-6 – As one of the most popular builders around, Nitro can offer economy of scale and maximum bang for the buck. And if you want a production fiberglass bass boat that offers solid performance at the lower end of the cost spectrum, the Z-6 is a model you’re sure to be looking at. It MSRP’s under $20,000 (with a trailer and a 115-hp Mercury outboard), can hit speeds in the low to mid 50’s, and at 17’4” long with a 2,400 pound tow load, is easy to handle getting to and from the ramp. For more information, visit Nitro Boats.
Ranger Z21 I – The Ranger Z21 I earns its place in the top 10 by offering a unique fiberglass interior which is designed to allow for saltwater use. The layout and design, however, still screams of bass fishing. That means this model will serve you well on the lake yet you can also use it to probe bays and estuaries where brackish water bass are on the prowl. For more information, visit Ranger Boats.
Ranger Z522 Commanche – Another Ranger appears here for one simple reason: at 22’4” LOA and a beam of just over eight feet, the Z522 Comanche is one of the biggest bass boats on the water. Few dedicated bass fishing machines break the 22’ barrier, and if size matters to you but you refuse to budge one inch in the performance department—with 300 horses on the transom this rig breaks 71-mph—the Z522 is a top pick. For more information, visit Ranger Boats.
Skeeter FX 20 – All boats present some form of compromise, and all too often, that compromise is performance. Not so, with the FX 20. This model was designed specifically for the Yamaha VMAX SHO V6 outboards, the four-stroke powerplants that have the performance and weight of a two-stroke. The boat’s weight distribution was designed to be optimal with the SHO on the transom, and the aft end of the hull was shaped to feed water to the prop as the boat comes onto plane, speeding hole-shot. Net result? Blistering top-end speeds in excess of 75-mph. We ran this boat with the VMAX SHO, so for more information, read The New Yamaha Four Stroke VMAX, or visit Skeeter.
Sun Tracker 16 Bass Buggy – While this is hardly what you’d call a competition bass boat, no top 10 bass boat list would be complete without a pontoon—they’re among the most-used platforms for bass fishing across the nation. And the Bass Buggy 16 is worthy of note because it’s shockingly inexpensive (under $10,00 with a 20-hp outboard), and it includes basics like a livewell, Bimini top, and pedestal seats. For more information see our review (Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 16: A Pontoon Boat For Under $10,000 – Yes!), visit Sun tracker Boats, or find out why the Bass Buggy 16 also made our list of the Top 10 Pontoon Boats.
Tracker Pro 160 – This is the smallest dedicated bass boat to make our list, because it will be of interest to budget-minded anglers. With a list price of under $9,000 (which gets you the boat along with a 20-hp outboard and a custom-matched galvanized trailer) the Tracker Pro 160 has everything you need to hit the lake and get into the game: a Lowrance X-4 Pro fishfinder, a Minn Kota trolling motor, rodracks for four rigs up to seven feet long, and a nine-gallon aerated livewell. Will this be the fastest, fanciest, best equipped boat on the water? Heck no—but if your budget is a priority, you won’t find a more complete bass boat package for less. For more information, visit Tracker Boats.
- Lenny Rudow is Senior Editor for Dominion Marine Media, including Boats.com and Yachtworld.com. With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, he has contributed to publications including Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design who has won 28 BWI and OWAA writing awards.
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