Bass Boats Guide

Table of Contents

Bass Boats: Catch a Dream on the Stream

There’s no mistaking the best use of a bass boat. These vessels are perfectly equipped for cruising in shallow water and looking for a prized fish. However, they’re also safe, and exhilarating water craft. Here’s everything you need to know about this unique type of freshwater fishing boat.

What Sets Bass Boats Apart?

Upon first inspection, it’s impossible to ignore many of the innovations that come with most bass boats. These vessels are uniquely specialized for shallow water fishing and landing the perfect trophy fish. Here are some of the unique features that these vessels have.

The low sides and elevated seating positions on this vessel make it easy to see into the water without being blinded by glare. That helps the anglers on board spot where the fish are and cast their lines accurately to where they are. Most bass boats have two elevated seats, one forward of the driver and one aft, so that you have multiple vantage points and can accommodate two anglers. These seats fold so that you can drive safely without too much wind resistance. The low sides of the boat are also perfect for pulling fish on-deck, so that you don’t have to lean over into the water to bring your fish on board.

Bass boats have an elevated floor that is carpeted, which means it provides good traction if it gets wet. Boat makers design this flooring for stand-up casting, much like the casting platform on a deck boat. That carpeting also comes in handy when you land a fish, as it will hold the slippery creature so that you can pull out the hook and measure it to make sure it’s a keeper.

No one can deny that most bass boats look sharp. They often feature glittery paint schemes that are eye-catching and hard to miss. That’s not just for good looks (although it partially is.) Glittery paint does a better job of hiding surface scratches and imperfections, which happen often when cruising through shallow water. That paint can also help reflect light on the surface of the water, hiding the boat from unsuspecting fish.

Finally, bass boats are fast. They’re minimalist, lightweight, and often have big engines perfect for getting out to the perfect fishing spot. That speed is an enormous benefit when you’re competing in a bass fishing tournament. It allows you to get to the prized fishing areas faster than anyone, and stay out later so you can make the cutoff time. Almost all bass boats have outboard engines, which allow the fishermen to trim the propeller up, out of the water so it doesn’t hit any underwater obstructions or get caught in debris. They may even have a small trolling motor to help maneuver the vessel in very shallow water.

What are the Primary Uses of most Bass Boats?

When it comes to what you can do with a bass boat, you might think that your options are limited. They’re only good for bass fishing, right? Actually, that’s not the case. In fact, there are many great uses for these vessels.


The biggest thing to know about bass boats is they are absolutely designed with bass fishing in mind. That means many of the quirky things about them, like elevated seating positions, low draft and short sides, are designed to make it easier for fishermen to land a big fish. However, they’re also ideal for other types of fishing.

Many bass boat builders offer fiberglass hull options, which are perfect for those who want to fish in saltwater rivers or bays with short waves. Since these boats have short sides, they’re not ideal for rough water. However, in protected harbors, marshes, and deltas, these boats can thrive for those who want to go fishing or even digging for clams. You can also use bass boats in marshy or reedy saltwater applications, like pulling crab or crawfish pots, or even catfishing.

Many people like bass boats for spearfishing, as the short sides make it easy to get in and out of the water. If you’re alone while fishing, these boats can get a little tippy, so consider trimming up the outboard motor, and using the advantage of lower draft to pull your vessel into shallow water to make re-boarding easier.

Water Sports

Bass boats are quick, which makes them a fun option for those who love to have a thrilling experience on the water. There are a few things to note before you start tubing, however. For example, since many bass boats have outboard motors, it’s best to get a tow point that circles around the engine casing so that the rope is further away from the propeller where it can get tangled and cause damage to the boat.

Bass boats normally have large decks, which are perfect for keeping tubes, water skis or wakeboards. However, they tend to have limited seating options for friends who want to travel with you. Since you should always have a spotter on the boat when engaging in water sports, it might be a little small for most crews. However, for families that will leave some of the occupants on the beach or sand bar, this can be a great option.

Are Bass Boats Safe?

When most people think of a safe boat, they usually think of a vessel that has high walls and seats passengers deeper in the boat. That might lead some to believe that bass boats are dangerous. Contrary to popular belief, vessels are actually pretty safe when used properly.

Any boat can be unsafe if you take it in conditions that are beyond your skill level or control. That means it’s important to know your limits as a captain of a boat. You should also know the limits of your vessel. For example, bass boats are designed for calm, inland waterways like rivers, lakes, ponds and protected harbors, which means they should not be used offshore or in the open ocean. Doing so can create a dangerous situation for the captain and any passengers on board.

The low sides of a bass boat makes it easy to pull fish on board when sitting in the boat. That also means that waves and wakes can cause the boat to take on water. This usually isn’t an issue, though it can mean that you get your feet wet while traveling. While these boats can take on water, they’re often very hard to capsize or flip during regular operation, which means they’re relatively safe.

Our Favorite Bass Boat Brands

Many of our favorite bass boat brands have been included in round-ups for our favorite deck boats or pontoon boats. That’s because what makes a great bass boat can also make a great day boat or lake cruiser. That goes to show just how capable and experienced these companies are at producing quality boating equipment. Here are our top bass boat brands.


Tracker is unique among bass boat manufacturers as it offers three different hull options that are all perfect for freshwater fishing. The moderate and deep V lines of boats have a classic construction that’s perfect for cruising quickly through the water. Meanwhile, their line of Jon boats feature a wide, square-front design, perfect for bringing family or friends on board.

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We first mentioned Skeeter in our Bay Boats article, and now we get to highlight their huge line of bass boats. These vessels are over-engineered and packed with features, meaning they’ve got you covered for whatever fish you’re hunting. If you’re looking for a larger vessel, definitely put them at the top of your list, as the average Skeeter bass boat is between 20 and 25 feet, giving you plenty of room for people, cargo, and fish!

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If you’re looking for a truly luxurious and fast bass boat, look no further than Ranger. These bass boats come complete with Mercury Pro engines, giving them the speed they need to get to your favorite fishing spot in no time. They also offer comfortable seating options, meaning you can stay out for long days on the water, cruising in comfort. They’re ideal for the serious angler who wants to fish in style.

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Nitro’s Z line of bass boats feature fiberglass hulls, meaning they’re ideal for those who may be fishing in salt or brackish water. Aluminum hull fishing boats can corrode in saltwater, causing durability issues. You’ll never have to worry about corrosion in a Nitro. Better yet, they feature compact options, all under 21 feet, so you know you can get into the tight locations that fish like to hide in.

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With plenty of economic vessels for the bass fisherman or duck hunter, Lowe makes the perfect boat to get you on the water. They have options like center and side console boats that help maximize the on-deck space so you never feel claustrophobic when fishing. These vessels are perfect for carrying you from the summer fishing season to the fall and winter hunting season for a perfect, all-weather vessel.

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What Bass Boats do the Pros Use?

Many bass fishermen have custom boats that are made specifically for them by sponsors. However, some use the very same boats that you can buy right from the manufacturer. For example, Otto DeFoe and Michael Neal, two of the top three bass fishermen in the world both use Nitro Z21s as their boat of choice. These vessels are big enough to accommodate a crew and all the gear they need to land prizewinning fish, including DeFoe’s winning bass in the 2019 Bassmaster Classic.

Now that you know a thing or two about bass boats, it’s time to get your hand on one! The best thing about these boats is that they’re often economical, meaning they’re perfect for someone who’s itching to get on the water. However, that great value means they’re incredibly popular, and nearly flying out of boat seller’s lots. Take a look at our variety of bass boats today at!