What’s new in the world of high performance boats? It appears the way many of us wil be buying boats is evolving with Johnny Morris’ Bass Pro Shop acquired Cabelas AND Ranger Boats over the past 36 months. Nitro and TRACKERs are now being sold at Cabelas, it remains to be seen what will happen with Ranger.

  A new player is emerging in the bass boat market. The new company is stacked with former Ranger Boat executives and craftsmen. We’ll be paying close attention this spring when it’s said they will roll out their first model. See related story on page 20.

  One thing is certain, that area boat shows are the best place to see the most boats in one place so you can compare features, prices and what you like. Here’s a preview of what you’ll see in many area dealers’ showrooms and at the shows.

 

Bass Cat

  Bass Cat purchased YarCraft back in 2011. Two years ago Bass Cat and YarCraft were bought by Correct Craft (manufacturers of SeaArk, Nautique, Bryant and Centurion Boats among others).

  For 2018 Bass Cat will have two new models; the Pantera Class and the Lynx.

  The new Pantera Classic will open doors to the segment of anglers demanding total performance in a value-conscious package. This hull is 19’6” long, 90” wide, weighs 1,550 pounds, holds 30 gallons of fuel and accepts up to 200 hp. Gone is the narrow bow with the trolling motor pedal and seat jammed way up front. You now have 62.5” of width where the seat pin is located. There’s also underseat storage and a cooler in the middle step box.

   The primary design objective of the new Pantera Classic was to achieve all-around efficiency. As many anglers are gravitating to rigs with a smaller footprint for ease of towing and storage, the new Classic is designed to meet that demand. The 19’6” hull takes the 90” beam forward for plenty of functional front deck space while still allowing the rig to fit comfortably into most 8’ garage spaces. 

 The streamlined hull design carries itself well with a 24-volt trolling motor, it can also store a larger 36-volt series motor. Rated for a 200HP engine, this boat performs exceptionally well with a 150HP power plant. With 30-gallons of fuel capacity, either engine will enjoy ample range.

  Storage onboard the new Pantera Classic flows nicely from bow to stern. The front deck hosts a new design with never before done offset box lids and an 8’6” rod capacity. Anglers can easily access their front tackle storage without having to move around deck rods. Additional twin seat and large rear storage units accommodate a full tournament load for you and your partner.

   The all-fiberglass console can accommodate screens up to 12” and offers plenty of legroom for taller anglers. Anglers can quickly access the 32-quart and 24-quart coolers nearby from the comfort of the driver’s seat.

   Also new from Bass Cast is the Lynx. This hull incorporates what Bass Cat learned about wide body hulls while tooling the Jaguar and Caracal boats into one of the most efficient, performance oriented, wide body boat they’ve built. It measures 20’8” long, 96” wide, weighs 1,930 pounds, holds 60 gallons of fuel and accommodates up to 300 hp.

   Never one for copy-catting or building cookie cutters Bass Cat wanted the Lynx to have the maximum amount of storage and deck space on both ends of the boat. Forward is an off-center rod box that will hold 20+ rods with several in the 8’6” length easily. Port rod storage is also available with starboard tackle storage for everything you might need for any tournament. 

  Port and starboard storages can be opened without moving rods, as there is space behind the lids for rods with the lids open. Aft storage is large and maximizes every square inch of space available. 

  The wide hull and deep bow rise provides a rock solid platform for fishing or running. If you’ve always wanted a Bass Cat with room to spare in every way that crushes rough water, the Lynx can fill that dream.

  MARE of Aquia and MARE, Inc are two area Bass Cat dealers. You can reach them at 540.657.1136 or 301.898.3717.

 

Nitro

   Johnny Morris’ original flagship boat line is headlined by the Z Series bass boat hulls. There’s a Z21 Z-Pro Package, the Z21, the Z20 Z-Pro Package, the Z20, Z19 Z-Pro Package, a Z19, Z18 and Z17.

   The ZV21 Z-Pro Package ($53,595 with a 225 L Mercury OptiMax Pro EX) is 21’2” long, 95” wide and holds up to 300 hp and 55 gallons of fuel. The hull weighs 2,150 pounds. The Z-Pro package includes a Lowrance Elite 9Ti in the bow, a Lowrance Elite 12 Ti in the console, two Power Pole Blade Edition shallow water anchors, a Minn Kota Fortrex 112-lb. thrust trolling motor with cable handle, pneumatic lumbar supported driver’s seat, the T-H Marine livewell culling system, keel protector, four-bank, 40-amp battery charger, Hot Foot throttle and Pro-Trim lever, two auto-bilge pumps and extra trolling motor battery, an upgraded cranking battery, LED lighting, ventilation fan system in the bow compartment, LED trailer lights, aluminum wheels and new seven-pin connector.

  You can see the 2018 Nitro boat at Anna’s Marine Center. 540.894.9222 and MARE of Aquia. 540.657.1136.

 

Phoenix

  Phoenix boats have become a popular option for serious area anglers. Gary Clouse’s boat company has worked hard to earn that business with value-packed boats that feature fast, stable hulls.

   The all new Phoenix 20 PHX is based on the same platform of the 21 PHX that Elite series anglers trust to get them through the roughest of conditions. It offers the same deck layout as the larger platform with the massive center tackle storage box and incorporated center rod storage along with the day box built in to the front deck.  The bow shroud is offset for better graph visibility and the console shroud is larger to accommodate for bigger flush mount units.  All of these features combined with the shorter platform offer you the best in rough water ride and the ability to get you to the secret fishing spot a little quicker.

  The boat is 20’6” long, 96” wide, weighs 1,950 pounds, holds 50 gallons of fuel and accepts up to 250 hp.

 The Phoenix 919 Pro XP is the latest in the Phoenix line up. At 19’8” with a 96” beam and wide front casting deck, this model is being talked about a lot by the region’s anglers.

   A Lowrance HDS 9 Touch Gen 3 and HDS 7 Touch Gen 3 with structure scan, tandem trailer with gatorhyde finish, are all standard!  Couple this with a 225HP motor and you will have a great tournament rig!

   MARE of Aquia and MARE, Inc are two area Phoenix dealers. You can reach them at 540.657.1136 or 301.898.3717.

 

Ranger

  The popular Z Comanche Series sees some new hulls added for 2018. The Z521L ICON  (retail $98,995 is described by Ranger marketing folks as iconic. It’s a  completely custom, limited-edition Z521L Icon.  A fitting tribute to Ranger®’s 50-year legacy of superior quality, innovation and design, this anniversary dream rig is packed to the gills with exclusive features. 

 Adorning the commanding, redesigned hull is a custom color package that won’t be found anywhere else. Bow to stern the Icon is loaded with ultra-premium standard equipment from the Minn Kota® Ultrex 112-pound-thrust trolling motor to the massive Lowrance® Carbon units, including an HDS-16 flush mounted at the dash and an HDS-12 at the bow.  

   Further loaded out with two 8-foot Power-Poles, an exclusive 50th Anniversary traction pad floor liner, custom steering wheel, Bluetooth stereo and innovative L.E.D. light package, the  Z521L Icon is built to stand out.  

  Functional beauty is added by way of a gloss black Atlas jackplate, black chrome stern grab handles, and a 6-foot Hamby’s Keel Protector. The tandem-axle, Ranger Trail® trailer is also tailor-made for the Icon with more custom features, from the 50th Anniversary L.E.D. fender lights to the black chrome-accented wheels and exclusive underwater loading lights.

 The Ranger Z521L Icon.  This limited-edition, 50th Anniversary dream rig redefines the term “flagship.” The hull is 21’7” long, 97” wide and handles up to 250 hp. Fuel capacity is 53 gallons. The hull weighs 2,025 pounds.

   Z521L ($70,195) The distinctive Ranger Comanche L Series designs feature new hull and deck styling, Ultra-Comfort bucket seats, a new digital ignition keypad, redesigned stern grab handles and consoles, L.E.D. lights throughout the interior and trailer for functional beauty that sets you apart.

   Underneath and inside the Ranger L Series are the processes, materials and craftsmanship that have made Ranger the nation’s premier manufacturer of fiberglass boats. A high-strength pultruded transom, fiberglass stringers, upright, level flotation and a foam-filled hull all add up to that legendary One-Piece Feel Interloc Construction® and responsive performance for which Ranger boats are known. The Z521L hull is the same as the ICON’s.

  The Ranger Z520L ($68,795) Z520L is the rig that many top professionals rely on to get them to the fish and back quickly, safely and comfortably. The Z520L was designed to be the most performance-minded, angler-friendly and feature-rich rig in the 20-foot class.

  Mash the gas and the Z520L jumps out of the hole and the responsive hull makes crossing wakes at full tilt a breeze. The colossal, padded casting deck is ripe with ample storage and the bow can hold a 12-inch graph while the newly revamped console can house a 16-inch screen. The hull, deck and console have been redesigned to set you apart on the water.  Ranger continues to redefine the ultimate bassin’ rig, and the new Z520L Comanche is crafted with the proven tournament-winning DNA that has been so successful throughout the past 50 years. This hull is 20’9” long, 95” wide holds up to 250 hp, 53 gallons of fuel and weighs 1,850 pounds.

  MARE of Aquia and MARE, Inc are two area Ranger dealers. You can reach them at 540.657.1136 or 301.898.3717.

 

TRACKER

   The TRACKER® Pro Team™ 195 TXW 40th Anniversary Edition includes a package of premium upgrades to help the region’s budget-minded anglers compete and win, including two Lowrance® HOOK-5 color fishfinders, a more powerful trolling motor, an extra battery, an upgraded charger and a trailer spare tire and bow step with grab handle. It’s based in the 195 TXW—the biggest, most powerful all-welded Mod V boat we’ve ever built. TRACKER will be using the brown and orange original Bass Tracker, throw-back graphics to commemorate the 40th anniversary of building TRACKERs.

   At 18’ 7” long and a generous 8’ 2” beam, it’s as smooth and stable as an aluminum bass boat can be. It’s also loaded with storage compartments for all your tournament gear, including a center rod locker for 12 rods up to 8’ long. It comes standard with a 150HP Mercury® outboard and features our Revolution™ Mod V hull with Smooth Ride Guarantee. And it’s backed by the TRACKER Promise—the best factory warranty in aluminum boats.

  The TRACKER Grizzly 2072 hulls are popular options for area anglers. There’s a 2072 CC intended for mostly fishing, a 2072 CC Sportsman and a new 2072 MVX CCX Sportsman Kicker that includes a Mercury 9.9 hp on the stern with a steering station and throttle on the bowfishing platform.

  This is a rugged beast of a boat truly built for bowfishing perfect for hunting fish on the river, bay or lake. The removable, elevated deck gets you up high for more accurate targeting with a bow and less deflection for your arrow—and super-bright LEDs illuminate your quarry with 28,000 lumens. And with the deck removed, it makes an excellent craft for any type of fishing, even in bigger lakes and bays. The boat is 100% aluminum construction with a .100 hull and .190 floor guarantees durability, and the hull, stringer, transom and decks are all-welded to for a rock-solid, unitized structure that can withstand rough fishing and hard work.

You can see the 2018 Nitro boat at Anna’s Marine Center. 540.894.9222

 

Skeeter

  Skeeters are still manufactured in Kilgore and are owned by Yamaha. Skeeter pioneered many now industry standard features including aluminum deck lids, a compartment ventilation system, stretched sponson/no-splashwell back deck design and aluminum frame deck inserts.

  There are three Skeeter lines available; the FX, ZX and SL (fish/ski) that come with Yamaha outboards.

  Most of the area’s anglers will be interested in the FX 20 and ZX225 or 200 models.

  The Skeeter FX 20 is 20’1” long, 95” wide, weighs 2,075 pounds, holds up to 48 gallons of fuel and accommodates a maximum of 250 hp.  It comes standard with an amazing list of features including a Lowrance HDS Carbon 12 in the console dash, a Lowrance HDS Carbon 9 in the bow and a Minn Kota Fortrex 112 trolling motor.

  The ZX225 is 19’11” long, 95” wide, weighs 2,075 pounds, holds 44 gallons of fuel will accept up to 225 hp.

   You can see the 2018 Skeeter boats at Anna’s Marine Center. 540.894.9222