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Best Bass Boat Brands By Hull Construction, Affordability, and Size

When an angler searches for the best bass boats for sale, they are going to be presented with plenty of options. An overwhelming number of options, actually. The market is flooded with everything from big fiberglass bass boats that cost as much as a small house in some parts of the nation, to small aluminum bass boats that can blast across the lake at highway speeds. But a boat doesn’t necessarily have to be the biggest or the fastest to be your very best choice. And many of the best bass boat brands offer affordable options that may not have all the bells and whistles, but still represent an excellent choice for anglers on a budget. So, who builds the best bass boats of all? It’s debatable, but the following brands undoubtedly deserve top billing.

 

 

Best Aluminum Bass Boats

Aluminum bass boats usually—though not always—offer performance a tick behind their fiberglass cousins, but aluminum rigs also come with plenty of advantages. They’re lighter, so they’re easier to tow and easier to handle at the boat ramp. They require less power to attain similar speeds as fiberglass boats, reducing operational expenses and improving efficiency. And they generally cost less than comparably sized fiberglass bass boats.

 

Crestliner

The Crestliner brand lands on this list because it offers one of the widest ranges of bass boats, with 10 models that range from relatively inexpensive 16-footers to 21-foot fishing machines carrying up to 250 hp. They also offer a wide range of deep-V models which may not be bass boats strictly speaking, but do offer a great alternative to people who enjoy bass fishing on big lakes and reservoirs where large seas are a consideration. We particularly like the confidence this company shows in their boats, offering a limited lifetime warranty on seam welds and a three-year bow-to-stern warranty.

Crestliner boats for sale

 

Crestliner MX19

Crestliner MX19. Crestliner photo.

 

G3

The G3 Sportsman series includes nine models from 16’10” up to a whopping 23’11”. While all are designed with bass fishing in mind, this builder offers them in camo patterns as well as glossy finish so they can do double-duty as hunting boats. Most models offer solid if not spectacular performance, with several boasting top-end speeds above 50 mph. And the G3 packages are comprehensive, with trailers with swing-away tongues, fishfinders, electric trolling motors, and everything you need to sign on the dotted line and head directly for the lake.

G3 boats for sale

 

G3 Sportsman 1610

G3 Sportsman 1610. G3 Boats photo.

 

Xpress Boats

Few aluminum bass boat brands can claim to build fishing machines that can compete with fiberglass in the performance department, but Xpress boats can be spotted leading the pack. Their X21 Pro rigged with a Yamaha VF250LA, for example, can run at 73 mph. And the X19 Pro hits 70 with a VF200LA. These boats also feature all-welded construction, huge casting decks with integrated stowage, and a long list of options for customization including perks like SeaDek liners, Hot Foot throttles, and Wet Sounds stereo systems.

Xpress bass boats for sale

 

Xpress X21 Pro

Xpress X21 Pro. Xpress Boats photo.

 

Best Fiberglass Bass Boats

Ask a serious bass angler if they’d choose fiberglass or aluminum if price were no consideration, and most will give fiberglass bass boats the nod. In most cases they offer better top performance, a smoother ride, more integrated features, and looks that can’t be beat.

 

Bass Cat

Bass Cat boats have long been known as top performers, with models like the Lynx running at speeds in the upper 70s with 250 horses on the transom. They offer 10 models and each and every one is a high-performance fishing machine with top-notch components and accessories, including real standouts like a Siren Marine remote monitoring and tracking system and custom “Wave Crusher” seats with Cool Touch vinyls.

Bass Cat boats for sale

 

Bass Cat Lynx

Bass Cat Lynx. Bass Cat photo.

 

Caymas

A relative newcomer to the market, Caymas Boats was started in 2018 by National Marine Manufacturers hall-of-famer Earl Bentz, the brain behind such competing brands as Triton and Stratos. The line includes six models from 18’6” to 21' 4", all of which feature competition-level performance including in some cases speeds in excess of 70 mph. Caymas has also quickly established a reputation for building boats that run smooth and dry in a chop, along with boasting top-level fishability.

Caymas boats for sale

 

Caymas CX 20

Caymas CX 20. Caymas Boats photo.

 

Ranger

No compilation of top bass boats would be complete without including Ranger, a brand that’s been in the bass world as long as there have been boats purpose-built to serve it. They’ve been building bass boats for well over five decades and currently offer nine dedicated bass fishing machines. Although they also build aluminum boats, fish and ski boats, saltwater boats, and pontoon boats, Ranger seems destined to hold a spot among iconic bass boat brands.

Ranger boats for sale

 

Ranger Z520R

Ranger Z520R. Ranger Boats photo.

 

Small and Mini Bass Boats

While competitive-level bass boats are great for large reservoirs, lakes, and rivers, there are also plenty of bass to be caught in smaller waterways where casting from miniaturized bass fishing boats make more sense. The range of choices in this venue isn’t quite as broad as it is with mainstream bass boats, but these standout brands still provide some excellent options.

 

Hobie

Hobie’s range of fishing kayaks may consist of one-man fishing machines, but these micro-boats are primed for fishing. Hulls are rotomolded polyethylene, which is more or less indestructible, and their design is sit-on-top, which is more or less unsinkable. Their 13 different fishing kayaks are also incredibly customizable, with track-mounting abilities that let an angler place rod holders, electronics, tool holders, and more, where they prefer. And their pedal drives allow for hands-free propulsion so you can use your hands for what you want—holding a fishing rod.

Hobie boats for sale

 

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14. Hobie photo.

 

Pelican

Pelican manufactures boats out of Ram-X plastic, which is rugged and UV-resistant. Their line includes everything from canoes to pedal boats, and among the choices they offer are a pair of boats that are ideal for fishing in small waterways. These are extremely affordable, and both the Bass Raider and the Intruder 12 will fit into the bed of many pick-up trucks. 

Pelican boats for sale

 

Pelican Bass Raider

Pelican Bass Raider. Pelican photo.

 

Sun Dolphin

Sun Dolphin is another manufacturer of polyethylene boats that run the gamut, and their current lineup includes four fishing models. All are simple, small boats (ranging from 8’7” to 12' 0"), are quite inexpensive, and can fit into the bed of many pickups. The included accessories won’t range far beyond seats and molded-in cupholders, but these tiny fishing machines are great for prowling ponds and accessing tiny waterways where larger boats dare not go.

 

Sun Dolphin Sportsman 10

Sun Dolphin Sportsman 10. Sun Dolphin photo.

 

Affordable Bass Boats

When it comes to affordability in boats for bass fishing, all of the small and mini bass boats described in the category above could be well worth your consideration. But if you need an inexpensive, full-sized bass boat for more than one person, read on:

 

Lowe

Lowe builds a spectacular range of aluminum boats including everything from utility craft to pontoons, and their lineup includes 10 models specifically designed for bass fishing. They’re available with a wide range of accessories, options, and powerplants, giving buyers the ability to semi-customize a boat to fit their needs and their budgets. Some, such as the Skorpion 17, provide new bass anglers with the ability to step into a complete boat-motor-trailer rig for under the $20,000 price-point.

Lowe boats for sale

 

Lowe Skorpion 17

Lowe Skorpion 17. Lowe Boats photo.

 

Nitro

Nitro builds bass boats of all levels, from beginner boats to professional level. They land in this spot thanks to smaller offerings like the Z17 and Z18, which are some of the least-expensive fully featured fiberglass bass boats around. As we put together this roundup, the Z17 list price comes in at under $30,000 yet includes a Mercury 115 hp outboard and a custom-matched trailer. All Nitros, the Z17 included, sell with a healthy list of standard features ranging from trolling motors to fishfinders.

Nitro boats for sale

 

Nitro Z17

Nitro Z17. Nitro photo.

 

Tracker Boats

It will be surprising to some to see Tracker on this list, because their bass boats aren’t the fanciest nor are they the fastest. They are, however, some of the most affordable bass boats around. Tracker is one of the biggest builders of aluminum fishing boats in the country, and they do pass on the savings that come from economies of scale. Price one out, and you’ll find that it delivers a bang for the buck that’s second to none.

Tracker boats for sale

 

Tracker Pro Team 190 TX

Tracker Pro Team 190 TX. Tracker Boats.

 

While “best” is subjective, popularity is not. And the popularity of certain brands was made evident in a StrawPoll opinion poll ranking bass boats by factors including quality, comfort, fishing features, performance and efficiency, reputation, and warranty and support. Here’s how the popularity contest shook out:

  1. Ranger
  2. Triton
  3. Nitro
  4. Bass Cat
  5. Skeeter
  6. Phoenix
  7. Tracker
  8. G3
  9. Lund
  10. Crestliner

Which of all the bass boat brands we’ve discussed will prove to be the best choice for you? That’s a question we can’t answer. But if you carefully consider each of the options and how they match up to your own personal needs and wants, one thing is for sure: there will soon be a new bass boat sitting in your driveway.

 

This article was published in April 2023 and updated in May 2024 by Lenny Rudow.

 

Written By: Lenny Rudow

With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites. Rudow lives in Annapolis, Maryland, and is currently Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk; he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.

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