After a period of contraction as far as the overall number of choices in boat manufacturers during the late 2010’s, the past couple of years has seen some new options for your bass boat budget in the region. Falcon boats now has a Virginia dealer. Earl Bentz’s new Caymas bass boat has arrived. Supply issues still remain and the cost for the average fiberglass 21’ “tournament rig” has reached the $65K+ mark, but we still love our shiny, fast bass boats and those that can afford them as still buying them. For others, aluminum remains a viable, lower-priced option.
A little news before we get to the rundown of boats; Lowrance and White River Marine Group, builders of performance fishing boats including Tracker®, Nitro®, Triton®, and Ranger®, announced an increased and renewed partnership recently that will see even more Lowrance products as standard items.
“We are excited to be renewing and expanding our partnership with White River Marine Group, and to be able to offer increased product choices to anglers — both as standard and upgrade options, including our award-winning Ghost™ trolling motor,” said Lucas Steward, Executive Vice President of Lowrance. “Nitro, Ranger and Triton boats are synonymous with performance fishing and share long-time fishing DNA going back decades, similar to ours at Lowrance.”
The new, model year 2022, Nitro “Pro”, Triton “Patriot”, and Ranger “Cup” models will be rigged with the latest, high-end sonar technology from Lowrance with production starting this summer.
The bulk of the boat ranges from 18 to 21 feet come equipped standard with a vast array of Lowrance products — including the Ghost trolling motor with Hybrid Dual Imaging (HDI) Nosecone, HDS LIVE displays with preloaded, highly detailed C-MAP® charts, along with the highest definition sonar on the market, ActiveImaging™, and ActiveTarget™ Live Sonar.
Tournament-ready, Lowrance product installations will be featured on Nitro Pro, Triton Patriot Packs, and Ranger Cup boats as follows: all 21-foot boats will include two HDS-12 LIVE displays, Ghost Trolling Motor, Active Imaging, ActiveTarget Live Sonar, NMEA 2000 and Ethernet, all 20-foot boats will include two HDS-9 or 12 LIVE displays, Ghost Trolling Motor, Active Imaging, ActiveTarget Live Sonar, NMEA 2000 and Ethernet, all 19-foot boats will include two HDS-9 LIVE displays, Ghost Trolling Motor, Active Imaging, ActiveTarget Live Sonar, NMEA 2000 and Ethernet, Nitro 18-foot boats will be built with two Elite FS 7 displays, Ghost Trolling Motor, Active Imaging, NMEA 2000 and Ethernet, multi-species boats will feature two HDS-9 or HDS-12 displays, Ghost Trolling Motor, Active Imaging, NMEA 2000 and Ethernet.
Now, let’s look at many of the boats you’ll be seeing in area dealers’ show rooms this year.
If you hadn’t already heard Earl Bentz is back in the boat building business with Caymas. The company was founded in 2018 and the boats are built in their own Ashland City, Tennessee plant. Bentz was a pioneer boat racer/boat builder that created bass boat companies like HydraSports, Stratos, Javelin and Triton and he’s taken all he’s learned over his many years in the industry and produced the Caymas fresh and saltwater hulls.
THE CX 20 is the fastest model in Caymas’ line of premium tournament bass boats. The CX 20 hull is 20’ 4” in length and sports a super-wide 96” beam with a 17” running pad that is said to make the handling and performance of this boat exceptional, greatly reducing the chine walk at top-end speed. Most anglers are powering the CX 20 with a 250hp outboard and enjoying speeds over 75 mph. The boat comes standard with a four-bank onboard battery charger, waterproof fiberglass storage compartments, and comfort-padded front deck with a Lowrance® HDS 9 LIVE at bow, a Lowrance® HDS 9 LIVE at console and Lowrance® 2-IN-1 Active Imaging with a Lowrance Point-1 antenna, NEMA harness, ethernet cable, Oxygen Innovations livewell system, keel protection, a custom boat cover and a dual disc brake upgrade on trailer.
Caymas also offers 18, 19 and 21-foot CX bass boat models.
Down in Newberry, South Carolina there is a relatively new bass boat builder that regional anglers have taken a shine to. Falcon offers hulls of 21, 20, 19 and 18’, the most popular of which is the F20 Predator. At 20’2” long, 99” wide with a hull weight of 1,890 pounds, 50-gallon fuel tank and 250 maximum hp rating this boat hauls bass. This boat has rocker-style switches throughout, a sliding tackle tray in the fiberglass center bow storage compartment, a step cooler to the front deck, a dry box that holds two, Plano 3600 boxes in front of the passenger seat, 6 mm foam decking in the cockpit, storage compartment, step up to back deck between driver and passenger seats and chrome trailer fenders. A number of additional standard features including, LED courtesy lights, LED compartment lights, LED livewell ligh, LED lights on front deck, custom cover, Minn Kota Ultrex 112 iPilot Link with MDI and Humminbird Solix 10 and 12 units make the F20 Predator a great tournament boat.
The Falcon F20 Hybrid is essentially the same boat but with features 6 mm non-absorbent, non-skid, UV protected, textured foam on all deck surfaces.
Take a look at the 2022 Falcons at Propeller Dynamics in Prince William, Virginia. 804.706-1847.
This Mercury-owned company has amazing array of models including the Adventure, Angler, Baron, Fisherman, Fury, Impact XS, Pro-V, Pro-V Bass XS, Pro Guide, Pro-V GL, Pro-V Limited, Pro-V Musky XS, Rebel XL, Renegade, Tyee and Tyee Magnum.
The most popular models regionally are probably the Pro-V Bass XS and the Impact XS line. The Pro-V Bass XS comes in a 1875 XS and a 2075 XS version. These modified v-hull boats are far lighter than fiberglass bass boats, operate well in shallow water and offer good value. The 2075 hull is 20’10” long, 96” wide, holds 49 gallons of fuel, will accommodate up to 250 hp and weighs 1,850 pounds.
See the 2022 Lund Boats at Mid Atlantic Watersports in Louisa, Virginia. 540/893-6111.
The Nitro Z21 XL Pro is the flagship model of the eight-boat line that includes hulls of 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 feet. This boat measures 21’2” long, 95” wide, holds 60 gallons of fuel, weighs 2,150 pounds (package weight 4,050 pounds) and accommodates up to 300 hp. You can choose a Mercury 250 L Pro XS FourStroke with TorqueMaster lower unit/gearcase for $67,595 or a Mercury 300 L Pro XS FourStroke with TorqueMaster lower unit/gearcase for $70,995. This is a tournament ready “Pro” edition boat with many of the features touring pros have on their boats including Hot Foot throttle, Pro Trim lever on the steering column, 4-bank, 40-amp battery charger, oxygen generator in dual livewells, touch screen control panel, key fob remote, LED lighting in the bow compartments, Lowrance electronics and trolling motor (see above), master switch, Interstate trolling motor batteries and a ventilation fan system in the bow storage compartment.
Take a look at the 2022 Nitro boats at Anna’s Marine Center in Louisa, Virginia. 540/894-9222.
Gary Clouse’s Phoenix boats have been a popular choice for the region’s anglers for the past 15 years and any given weekend you’ll see many of them and their distinctive graphics at tournament weigh-ins.
At the top of their four lines is the 21 PHX model, intended as THE tournament angler’s top choice.
This hull is 21’6” long, 96” wide, holds 50 gallons of fuel, weighs 1,950 pounds and accommodates up to 250 hp.
Clouse was one of the first to incorporate a large, center storage box in the bow of his boat designs that included rod storage tubes. He also designed a convenient day box just in front of the console where you can stash your favorite baits. The PHX driver’s console is now larger and will accommodate even the largest fish finders flush mounted.
This boat has a USB power outlet, LED courtesy lights, LED livewell lights, Lowrance electronics, an underseat net storage area, padded front deck, stainless steel slam compartment latches, the Phoenix Culling System, a snake light, Hot Foot throttle and custom cover.
Anglers looking for the top-of-the line bass boat will want to see the Ranger Z521L Cup edition. This boat is 21’8” long, 98” wide, weighs 1,950 pounds (GVWR 5,400), holds 51 gallons of fuel and up to 300 hp. The bow has a massive, center rod box as well as a starboard side rod box. Among the many standard amenities this Cup series Ranger sports is power ventilation rod storage, insulated/gelcoated cooler with drain, driver and passenger foot rests/braces, tournament measuring board, AGM starting battery, Lowrance fish finders and trolling motor (see previous), three RD80 lithium trolling motor batteries, a NCO GB40 jump starter, Hot Foot, some seriously lux seats, digital switching at bow and console, LED lighted compartment and livewells, LED navigation lights, LED courtesy lights, trailer back up lights,
Equipped with a Mercury 250 L Pro XS with TorgueMaster the package is $87,895. Step up to the Mercury 300 L Pro XS with TorqueMaster and you’ll need $91,295 to walk out of the dealership with your new Ranger.
Skeeter does have some seriously high-end, special editions (FXR21 Apex) but what has made them the #1 selling bass boat in the world is their ZXR series consisting of a 21’ and a 20’ edition.
The ZXR21 is 21’4” long, 97” wide, weights 2,275 pounds, holds 48 gallons of fuel and up to 250 hp. Standard features include a Minn Kota Ultrex MDI iPilot Link 112-pound thrust trolling motor, two 8” Minn Kota Raptor shallow water anchors, gimbel mounted Humminbird Helix electronics (Helix 12 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G4 and Helix 9 CHIRP MEGA DI GPS G4), passenger custom console (factory-installed or shipped loose), padded front deck, LED storage lighting, Dry Dock compartment ventilation system, MK15 amp 4-bank battery charger, Hamby Keel Protector, battery master switch, Oxygenator Livewell Aeration System and Hot Foot throttle,.
Equipped with the Yamaha VF250LB SHO VMax outboard a Skeeter ZXR21 sells for $68,195. These boats also have a limited lifetime structural warranty, a 10-year limited, transferable structural warranty and a three-year limited component warranty. They are also paying up to $5K for owners winning most eligible regional tourneys.
Take a look at the 2022 Skeeter boats at Anna’s Marine Center in Louisa, Virginia. 540/894-9222.
At press time there are no new models planned from TRACKER for 2022. They currently offer six modified V models with the Pro Team 195 TXW at the top of the line, six deep V models with the Targa V19 WT at the top of that line and nine jon boat models with the Grizzly Sportsman 2072 CC at the top.
Take a look at the 2022 TRACKER boats at Anna’s Marine Center in Louisa, Virginia. 540/894-9222.
Triton has pretty much the only all-new boats for 2022 in the 21 Xrt. This boat is 21’ long, 95” wide, weighs 2,020 pounds, holds 47 gallons of fuel and accommodates up to 300 hp.
The newest flagship Triton is said to be designed with an intense focus on raising the bar on both performance and fishability. The hull is a proven design but the top deck is new, adding a much-needed seven inches of deck width that permits larger openings for storage boxes and an enlarged port side rod box. A new console design offers the capability to mount twin 12” screens. A refreshed bow station holds electronics at the ideal angle for viewing, no matter the light conditions, and that 300-horsepower rating on a 21-foot even boat is eyebrow-raising.
A long list of standard features includes touchscreen console controls, a four-bank battery charger, lighted compartments, a center bow storage box with rod storage, a starboard rod locker and port storage compartment design under a padded front deck.
Equipped with a Mercury 250 L Pro XS with a TorqueMaster gearcase the Triton Xrt sells fro $73,995. Upgrade to the 300 hp Mercury and the price is $77,395.
With eight glass-infused aluminum AVX models, one glassed-infused ADX deep v model, two Infused Composite Construction fiberglass VX series bass boat models and four fiberglass DVX multi-species models, Vexus is a unique option for the region’s anglers.
The VX 21 is the company’s flagship fiberglass bass boat. At 21’11” long, 97” wide, 57-gallon fuel capacity and 300 maximum horsepower rating this was a long-awaited boat from many ex-Ranger Boats employees. Vexus does not list a hull weight for VX boats.
Some unique features include a forked bow design, high density EVA foam pad on the center bow compartment lid, the Vexus AirWave™ pedestal seat base for diver/passenger, LED lighting everywhere, glass-infused compartments. an epoxy coated fuel cell and the ability to choose a custom poliflake or HardCase™ paint with clear coat protection finish.
A fully equipped Vexus VX21 sells for $79,495. There are Victor and Revolution accessory packages available.
This Arkansas-based aluminum boat manufacturer fields six model lines for 2021; the Sportsman, the Blackhawk, the Predator, the VS Stick Steers, the Tomahawk and Renegade.
War Eagle Boats has built a reputation of having the toughest aluminum boats on the water. All models are built using all welded aluminum and the wings transom design that creates superior handling, even in choppy waters.
Since 1992, War Eagle Boats have been a force in the duck hunting industry, providing customers with the best camo paint jobs in the business. Each boat is individually painted using a tested process that produces HD camo results that blend perfectly with your environment. The Sportsman Gladiator model is a regional favorite with duck hunters that install mud motor type outboards on them.
The Predator and VS models are popular with crappie guides and pro anglers throughout the south.
If you are looking for a boat that can fish as hard as it hunts, then check out the Blackhawk series. These models come fully loaded and are built on an 18°V hull that not only provides a smoother ride but will keep you dry. The best feature of the Blackhawk is that the layout can be customized with either a side or center console, each with an impressive list of standard equipment.
The 2170 Blackhawk is a center console fishing and hunting rig that measures 21’6” long, 98” wide and holds up to 150 hp. The 961 Blackhawk is 19’5” long and 89” wide and is rated for 115-150 hp depending on the console choice.
The Tomahawk and Renegade models are more intended for bass fishing.
Stop by Tomahund Marine on Rt. 5 near the mouth of the Chickahominy River for a look at the 2022 War Eagle boats.
Rivalling even the mighty Bass TRACKER line, Xpress Boats offers models in eight categories: bass, bay, skiff, catfish, crappie, hunting, utility and jon.
Area bass anglers have taken to the X21 Pro model that, when properly matched with a 250 hp outboard can push 80+ mph. There’s also an X19 Pro and an X18 Pro model.
The X21 Pro is 21’ long with a 95” beam that handles up to 250 hp and holds 40 gallons of fuel. Many anglers are opting for the Xpress Appearance Package with custom fitted SeaDek in a striking, color-coordinated pattern.
Take a look at the 2022 Xpress boats at Propeller Dynamics in Prince William, Virginia. 804.706-1847.