No matter how you like to fish, having just the right boat makes all the difference when it comes to comfort, convenience and success on the water
#2 IF YOU MOSTLY CAST
If you’re the kind of angler who prefers casting rather than trolling, you’re going to want a bass boat—end of story. With their spacious, elevated decks and unrivaled creature comforts, bass boats can’t be beat when you’re tossing lures all day long.
Fibreglass models are pricey, but they offer incredible stability on the water and they’re almost completely immune to being pushed around in the wind. Aluminum bass boats are less expensive and easier to tow, but their lighter weight means they’ll blow around more in the wind, requiring frequent corrections with the electric trolling motor.
When shopping for a bass boat, forget the glitzy metal flake finishes and focus instead on the width of the boat as it’s measured at the chines—those sharp ridges where the sides of the boat meet the bottom. And I don’t mean just at the transom, but over the full length of the boat. Wider boats deliver far more stability on the water by spreading the load over a greater area. This can make a big difference in stability when you lean over the side to land or release a fish.
What’s more, boats with wider bottoms plane faster, stay on plane at lower speeds, and allow you to enjoy better fuel economy with their greater hydrodynamic efficiency. Wide boats also let you enjoy terrific performance with smaller outboards, helping to keep the overall package more affordable.
On some boats, the chines are sharp enough to form a 90-degree angle between the sides and bottom, while still others extend beyond the bottom, giving the hull a slightly M-shaped profile. These so-called reverse-chine models deliver the driest rides by deflecting spray downward, keeping it out of the boat. They also tend to provide more grip for superior handling while turning. The downside is a bit of a rougher ride in choppy water, but since most fishing time in a bass boat is spent on relatively calm water, few buyers ever worry about that.
Inside the boat, check the dash profile to ensure you can mount electronics without impairing your forward view. On some boats, you’ll need to use a RAM mount or similar articulated bracket to hold your display unit in place where it’s not blocking your view.
Marine carpet has long been the standard flooring in bass boats, but newer PVC and vinyl floors are a better choice these days. On a rainy day, thick deck carpet can soak up a huge amount of water and add hundreds of pounds to your boat’s weight, impairing performance. Carpet can also take days to completely dry out, while durable PVC or vinyl will shed water rather than absorb it, and dry in minutes.