What Is a Bass Boat (and Why is it Different Than Other Fishing Boats)?


Bass boats are only one of many kinds of fishing boats out on the market. Each one of them was created for a specific purpose, but what are those purposes and what is the best one for your needs? Let’s take a look at some of these types of fishing boats and find out which one you’re seeking.

Bass boats typically feature aerated livewells, a flat deck, and the powerful outboard engine. The whole idea of this boat is to allow for the best possible fishing experience. Bass boats typically feature aerated livewells, the flat deck, to the powerful and speedy outboard engine.

So what about the other fishing boats, and what is so different about the bass boat? There are many things that differentiate these different types of boats. Each one has specific amenities and features that allow for the ultimate experience, depending on the experience you’re seeking.

What is a Bass Boat?

There are many reasons that people go boating. People go to relax, race, get an adrenaline rush or fish. With all of these many uses, it makes sense that there are so many kinds of boats that fulfill each of these needs.

Well, in this light, the bass boat is extremely focused and efficient. It’s one purpose and goal is to allow people to have the best fishing experience possible.

Bass boats are great for fishing in freshwater. Most commonly it is used to catch bass, but other kinds of freshwater fish can be caught too. The deck is completely flat and the profile of the boat is very low to the water.

This allows for great control of the boat in high wind situations and in shallow waters (which is the ideal place for fishers). Although, the lack of a deep v-hull, bass boats can be difficult to control in choppy waters.

Bass boats use outboard motors which are very beneficial for many reasons. They aren’t extremely loud, which allows for a more relaxing ride as well as a lower chance of scaring off the nearby fish.

They’re also extremely accessible and easy to service. The fact that they are not on board also allows much more room for people and storage on the boat.

These outboard motors are normally very powerful (150-300 hp) as well. This power in speed, as well as the low profile, allow the boat to travel far and fast which is important as an angler.

This speed and power, as well as an aerated livewell on board, allow optimal time for fishing, that is, the whole point of the trip. This combination of features and design aspects allow freshwater anglers to spend the majority of their time reeling fish in, and less time trying to get to the main event.

Unlike some other boats who pride on being versatile, the bass boat promised a focus on fishing and nothing more. Many other fishing boats fit at least five people in them at a time, but the ideal amount of people on a bass boat is two. The maximum number of passengers is 3. This boat is used on inland lakes and rivers and ranges from 14 – 25 feet long. One of the best parts is that this reasonable size allows for this boat to be easy hauled on a trailer.

“Bass boats are the ultimate tool for the serious freshwater angler.”

Discover Boating

That being said, while this boat is perfectly designed for freshwater anglers, if you have any other uses for a boat other than freshwater fishing, another boat may be the way that you have to go. Bass boats can be one of the more expensive freshwater boats to operate and buy accessories for.

Bass Boats vs Other Fishing Boats

When looking for the kind of boat that will be best for you, you need to know your purpose and a few other things. According to the blog Extra Space Storage there are three things you need to think about before knowing what boat is best for you.

  1. What the boat will be used for?
  2. How much time will you actually spend on the water?
  3. How many people will you want to be able to fit on the boat?

Bay Boat

Bay boats are very similar to bass boats with only a couple of small differences. While the bass boat sits flat and short on the water, the bay boat has higher sides and deeper v-hulls. It is used mainly for both fresh and saltwater fishing. The bottoms of these boats are almost always made of fiberglass because it holds up to the abrasive salt water. This being said, these boats cannot be ridden out in the middle of a large body of water because of the tiny profile.

Differences

While the higher sides of the boat may cause the boat to be difficult to navigate in windy situations the deep v-hulls allow for smooth sailing in even rough or choppy waters. It also allows for a couple more people to ride than the bass boat does with the maximum number of people on the ship allowed being five. Bay boats are also the better option for fishing in saltwater.

Similarities

The bass boat and the bay boat are actually quite similar though, despite their differences. Both are mainly focused on one task, that being the ability to be used for fishing. Bay boats are also a similar size range, as they usually range from 17-25 ft. This means that they both can easily be transported on a trailer.

They also both have livewells in the boat. A livewell pulls in water from the body of water that you’re in and allow you to keep the fish alive inside the well on the boat. This feature is a life saver for anglers who want to stay out on the water all day without their fish getting old.

Bowrider Boat

Bowrider boats are known as the most popular powerboats for families because of their safe nature and large maximum capacity. The bow area is expansive and allows for many passengers to ride in that area, hence the name bowrider. Along with this, there is expansive seating behind the cockpit area with its windshield that protects from the ocean spray. With all of this seating, there can be up to 10 people in a bowrider at a time.

Differences

A bowrider has a deep V-shaped hull that allows the boat driver to navigate easily and smoothly through many kinds of water conditions. It also holds five times the people than a bass boat does and still has ample storage space. It also can be much larger than a bass boat, as it ranges in about 16-35 feet in length.

One of the big things about a bowrider boat is that it provides a lot of versatility when it comes to possible uses and activities of the boat. While bass boats are used for bass fishing, bow riders can be used for water sports, fishing and day cruising.

Lastly, (and most importantly to some people) a bowrider is a much more affordable option in the long run because the insurance cost is lower as well as the maintenance costs being lower.

Similarities

One similarity between these two kinds of boats is that they are both easy to transport. Neither of them is too unreasonably large which allows the owner to tow it using a trailer. Both of these boats are also not the best boats for extremely choppy waters. Even though a bowrider will do better than the bass because of its v-hull, but neither will endure well with the choppy waters tossing them side to side.

One other similarity is the fact that neither the bass boat or the bowrider offers a space to be protected from harsh weather, should it occur. While the bowrider does have a windshield, there is nowhere on either ship to find complete protection. This makes sense though. You have to give and take, and to have a small boat means less room for a place to hide from the storm.

Center Console Boats

Center Console boats are known for being hardy, stubborn and most of all, reliable. It is a simply designed boat that focuses on only a few purposes and exceeding at each of those. The console for the boat, as the name gives away, sits at the center of the ship. This center console and deep v-hull join forces to create a boat perfect for sport fishing.

Differences

Not only is this ship a great ship for sport fishing, but it’s also great for day cruising with its many seating options. The center console boat can hold anywhere from 5 – 8 people and ranges anywhere from 18 – 55 ft. in length.

With the deep v-hull, it is a breeze to carry these babies through the water at ease. The covered center console also protects from the weather and provides some protection to the passengers as well.

Similarities

Some of the similarities between the center console boats and the bass boats have to do with the purpose of these boats. The purpose of both of these boats is for fishing. They are used in lakes and rivers because of their smaller size. The larger center console boats can be used offshore in larger bodies of water though.

Both of these boats rely on outboard motors to propel them through the water. These outboard motors are extremely durable and are able to work and do their job even in the choppiest of waters. Also, they’re relatively easy to transport from place to place using boat trailers, which takes out a lot of the stress of boating.

Lastly, an unfortunate similarity between these two boats is the fact that they are both one of the most expensive fishing boats to own and operate.

Fish and Ski Boats

Fish and ski boats are very similar to bowriders with a load of seating and the windshield protecting passengers from ocean spray. But fish and ski boats are the dream boat for someone who wants their boat to provide them with lots of versatility among water activities. It’s like one big build-a-boat with its ski racks, platforms and fishing chairs that can be added and taken away depending on the needs of the owner.

It’s a perfect boat for a big family who have lots of different interests and desires while out on the water, as it can hold up to 8 people on the boat at one time. Along with fishing, this boat allows opportunities for day cruising and any number of water sports including waterskiing.

Differences

While the fish and ski boats operate on lakes and rivers like bass boats, they can also be operated on bays and oceans, which can double options for families or owners.

Along with the opportunities for so many activities with this boat comes the ability to remove and replace components of the boat.

Similarities

There are, of course, similarities between these two boats. One is that they’re easy to transport. They are basically the same size, fish and ski boats sitting at an average length of 16 – 22 ft. This means that the same size of boat trailer (being a reasonably sized one) could carry both of these boats.

An unfortunate similarity is that there is little to no protection from the elements if a large storm comes out of nowhere. But again, this is expected from boats this size. Despite their size though, they both offer ample amount of storage space for fishing gear and water sports equipment.

Dual Console Boat

A dual console boat is the exact opposite of a center console boat. While you can move freely about the ship around the console in a center console, in a dual console the console is the main area of the ship. It has a large protective windshield. The front and the back areas have little nooks that allow you to cast off from both ends of the ship.

Differences

Dual console boats are good for just about any kind of water activity. From fishing to wake-boarding, it does it all. It’s a great option for anglers as well as people just looking for a pleasure boat. It can be used for day cruising, saltwater fishing, and watersports.

Because it doesn’t have a specific use or purpose though, it loses some of its unbeatability. It’s not going to be the best fishing boat out there, because that is not its main purpose. A bass boat, on the other hand, is going to the best boat around for fishing in freshwater because that is what it is specifically designed to do.

Similarities

Both dual console boats and bass boats use outboard motors to propel them through the water, which means they both have ample space for storage and passengers.

While dual consoles can be a bit longer than bass boats, their size is still close to the same, as the dual console ranges from 18 – 40 ft.

Offshore Boat

An offshore boat is specifically designed to be able to travel into deeper waters and leave the shore in the past. If planning a long fishing trip out on the water, these are almost always the best option. These boats have standard or optional features for catching large fish. One of these features is outriggers for multiple lures in the water at one time.

Differences

Bass boats and offshore boats almost couldn’t be any more different when it comes to fishing boats. Bass boats always stay close to shore in more shallow waters and are much smaller than offshore boats.

These boats are innately bigger than any other, as they have to be in order to stand a chance against the large waves that come when further offshore. They also always have a t-top which protects passengers from sudden storms and gives them somewhere to take cover. Bass boats, on the other hand, don’t really need this cover, as they are never far from shore.

Similarities

Both offshore boats and bass boats come with aerated livewells. These can be used to hold the fish you catch and/or bait that is used to catch these fish. Offshore boats typically have fish boxes as well to store catches that have died.

Why Choose a Bass Boat

So what situation would it be best to purchase a bass boat? This boat is going to be best for avid anglers who seek to get to their favorite freshwater fishing spot quickly and efficiently and be able to stay there for however long they want. It’s also best for maybe one or two people. It’s definitely not the best option for a family of avid fishers, as there simply isn’t room on the boat. If this sounds like you, a bass boat will definitely give you the ultimate fishing experience that you desire.

If you are seeking something that will allow more people to be on the boat, allow opportunities for more activities, or want to go out into saltwater or offshore, there are many other boats that will fill your needs much more completely.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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