Buying Your First Bass Boat

Buying Your First Bass Boat

(By: Bill Mathis)


Let’s take a look at some areas for first time bass boat buyers to consider. First, allow me to note that there is no mention of specific dealers or manufacturers. This is not an article that will lead you to one boat or another or to one dealer or another. It’s to simply help the first time bass boat buyer with some things to consider.


What do you want to spend is the first thing you have to know. You can spend anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 on a new bass boat. Once you have a price range, I recommend you consider the following:


1. Do research on the Internet. Every boat manufacturer has a web site where you can look at all models including standard features and options. You should also request a catalog from each manufacturer you are considering from their web site. Many times the catalogs are a little easier to read and they are free. There are only a couple of manufacturers that have the price on the Internet. You will have to call dealers to get prices for most make and models. There are many boats on You can see videos of the boats in a test run with commentary, charts with mph at what rpm’s and miles per gallon at each speed. You need to be a member, but it’s simple and you’ll just get junk e-mail from them about once every two weeks. That’s cheap for good information.


2. The dealer you buy from is very important. Your boat will need service, no matter what you buy. Will the dealer be able to service your boat in a timely manner? Has the dealer been around a long while and do they have a good reputation? How long have they been selling and servicing the brand of boat you are considering? All very important.


3. If your boat comes with a choice of engine manufacturer, I recommend you buy something that has been on the market for a few years. Without naming engines, there has been a couple in recent years that were the next and greatest motor, however they had major problems. Technology is always improving, so it doesn’t mean an outboard that is new to the market is a bad motor, it might be the best on the market, but beware, you have no track record to go on.


4. Get a stainless steel prop for whatever motor you run. A stainless steel prop will withstand more and will also give you more speed. I recently saw a guy with an aluminum prop and one of the blades was nearly gone. He said he hit something small the day before and then the next day he didn’t hit anything and it just fell off.


5. Maybe most importantly, take a test drive. Some dealers are very good about letting you test-drive the boat, while a few are very hesitant about it. If you find a dealer that says no test drive, ask yourself, would you buy a car without driving it? There is one dealer I know of that will let you test drive the boat, however you have to have a purchase agreement done and if you don’t like the boat you test drive, you can use the money to purchase a different boat from them.


6. Get a recessed trolling motor pedal. It will save strain on your back and legs. This is pretty standard in bass boats now, but not all of them have it available.


7. Compare warranties and check to see if they are declining warranties or not?


8. If you will be fishing alone quite often, you might consider a single console. It gives you more room in the boat. If you will have a partner or have a child that will go with you from time to time, I recommend that you get a dual console.


9. Finally, it comes down to personal tastes such as storage, how the gauges read, seating comfort and so on.




Good luck and most of all have fun buying your new boat.


Bill Mathis is a professional angler in Minnesota.

For more information about Bill, please visit his web site at classic bass.