For years, you’ve been dreaming about it. You’ve scrimped and saved. You’ve borrowed loaners from friends and relatives.
But now, you’re finally ready to buy your own bass boat.
To some people, a boat is nothing more than a “hole in the water where you pour your money.” To others, it’s a sacred sanctuary, a treasured possession and a means to an even greater end: snagging some nice bass.
Here are a few factors to consider before you buy your first bass boat.
When you buy a boat, you’re not just buying a boat—you’re buying a fishing ecosystem. In 1978, Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris revolutionized bass boats by selling them as package deals: ready-to-fish rigged boats with a motor and trailer.
Today, Bass Pro Shops sells these boats at retail stores and dealerships nationwide. And sister company Tracker Marine carries five different boat brands, including TRACKER®, NITRO®, MAKO®, TAHOE® and SUN TRACKER®.
The good news? The one-stop shopping experience is more enjoyable, and the overall price is more affordable. On the low side, bass boats can run from $10,000 to more than $50,000 (aluminum boats tend to be at the lower end of the school, while fiberglass jobs run at the higher end).
Each bass boat is different, with a wide variety of features and specs. But there are a few you should give a little more attention: beam, fuel capacity and dry storage.
Beam: Basic boat options are comparable by their length, but a boat’s beam—its width—is just as important. A simple rule of thumb: The wider a boat is, the more stable the fishing experience.
Boat Motor Size: It's important to select the right motor size, as an undersized motor will have to work harder to properly power your boat and, thus, will require more maintenance. Do research to be sure your motor has enough power to pull the weight of your boat -- plus passengers and cargo. For more on boat motors, check out this video on engine operation:
Fuel Capacity: Fish on large waters, rather than small lakes and ponds? Look for a rig that has a tank capacity of 40 gallons or more.
Dry Storage: This factor might seem less important, but bass fishing is the sport of gear-gluttons. Buy a boat with too little storage, and you may regret it later. So, before you buy a boat, lay out all your equipment to give yourself a visual sense of how much storage you’ll actually need.
Boat Trailer: Get your boat safely from point A to B with the right trailer. Some key elements to look for are safety features, load guides for easy loading, and corrosion-resistant materials. Click here to learn more about trailer maintenance.
Boat Cover: Protect your boat from the elements with a boat cover. Peruse our handy boat cover buyers guide to get the skinny on these accessories.
The most important tip for buying a bass boat? Enjoy the experience. Schedule a stretch of time to consider your options and view various models. Don’t rush. And have a good time.