After a period of contraction as far as the overall number of choices in boat manufacturers during the late 2010’s, the past few years has seen some new options for your bass boat budget with several new brands in the region including Falcon, Vexus and Camas. There’s even word that there will be a new rig designed by pro angler Jacob Wheeler coming soon.
Wheeler appears to be working with Ikon Boats, a subsidiary of HCB Yachts and there is a note on their IG page that they are “rooted in hydrasports heritage”. Hydra Sports is HCB Yachts now. They are makers of large, luxury yachts and fishing boats. So it appears there’s going to be another high-end bass boat added to the marketplace.
Where the bass boat market is going as the country comes down from historic boat sales numbers due to the Covid outdoor effect and inflation is anyone’s guess. Now, let’s run down what you’ll see at the shows, from Bass Cat to Xpress.
With 10 models to choose from all manufactured in Mountain Home, Arkansas, Bass Cat has always set itself apart from other boat builders. The flagship Jaguar is perhaps the largest bass boat on the market at 22’ long, 94” wide, 60-gallon fuel capacity and able to hold up to 450 hp. The Puma STS is a popular boat among high end area anglers at 20’7” long, 96” wide, 60-gallon fuel capacity and the ability to accommodate up to 300 hp.
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 96” beam. Most anglers are powering the CX 20 with a 250hp outboard and enjoying speeds over 75 mph.
Caymas also offers 18, 19 and 21-foot CX bass boat models.
Is it a new bass boat or pipe dream? The website said they have so many boats ordered they are delaying release until spring 2023. The Excel XL 200 model handles 150 to 200 hp, measures 20’ long, 95” wide, holds 34 gallons of fuel and weighs 1,990 sans outboard.
Made in Mountain View, Arkansas this is an aluminum bass boat that appears to have been well thought out. Some nice standard features include single or dual fiberglass consoles, bucket seats, fiberglass livewell, a center rod box, Humminbird electronics and Minn Kota trolling motor, an ergodynamic console that features clustered gauges and accommodates up to 10” electronics, a nifty recessed trolling motor well and bow shroud that accommodates up to 10” electronics and offers two, two-inch conduits for network wires, cup holders at the bow and cockpit, adjustable foot rests, C-channel trailer frame and Syntec non slip padding on the step up cooler lid to the front deck and on the center rod box lid. www.excelboats.com.
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 light, 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 features 6 mm non-absorbent, non-skid, UV protected, textured foam on all deck surfaces.
Take a look at the 2023 Falcons at Propeller Dynamics in Prince William, Virginia. 804.706-1847.
This Brunswick Corporation-owned manufacturer of aluminum boats will offer a redesigned fast and stylish Stinger 8-Series bass boat for 2023.
The Stinger 198 is 19’8” long, 94” wide, weighs 1,336 pounds, holds 31gallons of fuel and up to 150 hp. The Stinger 188 is 18’8” long, 94” wide, weighs 1,296 punds and accommodates tup to 115 hp.
Built on a cross-lock stringer system, the 2023 Stinger 8-Series boasts a strong foundation offering anglers a stable ride, rigid flooring, and a lifetime of durability. Additionally, the 2023 lineup includes a complete refresh of Lowe’s most feature-packed models, all designed with the highest-grade components in the industry. Everything from the vessels’ seats to the roomy casting deck and rod storage were built with the express purpose of providing the most high-quality tournament-level aluminum bass boats.
New for the 2023 lineup is the sealed storage throughout, which incorporates a raised sealing surface, rigid doors, and foam padding in the interior for nearly water-proof storage compartments offering a premium look and a quiet ride.
The Stinger 8-Series has models ranging from 17’10” to 19’10” with amenities such as a 36-gallon aerated, recirculated livewell; spacious center storage box accommodating 12 rods and up to 18 tackleboxes; premium driver, passenger, and fore and aft tournament seats; and a tournament-style fiberglass console and optional matching passenger console, these boats have been manufactured with upward scalability in mind.
This Minnesota-based boat manufacturer has perhaps more models than any other boat builder in the world. There are boat options for bass, crappie, muskie, walleye, bay, great lakes, utility and hunting.
The most intriguing options for area anglers are the Pro-V Bass XS, the Renegade and Predator lines.
The Pro-V Bass XS is available in 18 and 20 models. The 1875 XS was made popular by Jon B of the Googan Squad, who used it during the filming of many of his popular YouTube shows. The 1875 XS is 18’9” long, 96” wide, holds 39 gallons of fuel and will handle up to 200 hp. The 2075 XS 20’10” long, 96” wide, holds 49 gallons of fuel and up to 250 hp.
The Renegade Lund line is positioned to compete against Tracker with 17, 18 and 19’ models. The 1975 is 19’9” long, 95” wide, holds 32 gallons of fuel, weighs 1,520 pounds and takes up to 150 hp on a modified v hull. The back deck has unique, dual pop-up seats set just outside the passenger and driver seats that also serve as lids to rear storage compartments. The cockpit floor is covered in vinyl and there is a center rod storage box in the bow.
The Predator line has models 16, 17, 18 and 20’ with the 2070 center console at the top measuring 20’ long, 96” wide with a 20 gallon fuel cell and able to hold up to 150 hp and available in an olive drab or marsh grass exterior.
Virginia’s Lund dealer is Mid Atlantic Marine at Lake Anna. www.midatlanticwaterssports.com.
This Bass Pro Shop brand boat continues to be a common site on area waters due to its dealer network and value. There are nine bass boat models from 17-21’, six multi-species hulls and two fish/ski models.
New for 2023 is the Nitro Z21 XL. This boat is 21’2” long, 95” wide, weights 1,800 pounds, holds 60 gallons of fuel and up to 300 hp. It comes factory-rigged with a Mercury 250 hp Pro XS outboard, Minn Kota Fortrex 36V 112-pound thrust trolling motor, a Lowrance Elite FS 7, touchscreen switch panel, digital touchscreen with Automation Hole Shot and Shallow Water features, a NOCO GB40 jump starter pack, Z-CORE suspension seating system, a bow dual center box for up to 18 Plano 3700 storage boxes, seven-across rod storage, magnetic under-lid lure organizer, behind the seat net storage, built-in tourney ruler and holder, MarineMat cockpit floor, padded front deck and more for around $65K – a price that cannot be beat for a similarly equipped 21’ bass boat.
You’ll find the 2023 Nitro Boats at Anna’s Marine Center. www.annasmarinecenter.com.
Gary Glouse has spent a lifetime fishing professionally and building boats. His Phoenix bass boat line has become popular among area anglers. The flagship is the PHX 21. This boat is 21’6”, 96” wide, weighs 1,950 pounds, holds 50 gallons of fuel and accommodates up to 250 hp.
The 55th Anniversary Limited Edition Z521R and Z520R Z-Comanche boats feature the complete Ranger Cup Equipped package elevated with a one-off color scheme inside and out, commemorative 55th badging throughout, RGB carpet trim lights, custom black chrome accents, and a premium heated driver’s seat with shock-absorbing air bladders in the bottom and seat back. The trailer features custom-matched fenders, 17” black Challenger wheels, and matching smoked taillights for a complete package that’ll turn heads for another 55 years.
The Z521R is a full-bodied 21’9” long, 96” wide and weighs 2,300 pre-outboard. It holds 54 gallons of fuel and accommodates up to 300 hp.
The ZZ520R is 20’11” long, 96” wide, weighs 1,850 pounds, holds 54 gallons of fuel and up to 250 hp.
The list of standard features is impressive. Some additional notable ones include dual Lowrance HDS 12 units at the console, a Lowrance HDS 12 at the bow with Active Target, a Lowrance Ghost trolling motor, three-level rod shelves in the port rod locker, two-level rod shelves in the starboard locker both with Power Ventilation, a tackle organization system, stainless steel seat bases, a line spooling station under aft lid, Ranger tournament measure board, Dual Pro charger (lithium capable), push to start ignition with proximity key fob, AGM starting batter and three lithium trolling motor batteries, dual 8’ Power Pole Anchor Blades, NOCO GB40 jump starter and more.
The 75th Anniversary FXR21 Apex is the boat that will turn many heads at the outdoor shows this winter and eventually this spring for the lucky few that purchase them.
This 21’4” long, 97” wide and 2,275-pound hull holds 48 gallons of fuel, accommodates up to 250 hp and features an exclusive black, semi-metallic gel coat with satin gold emblems. Incredible standard features include dual 8’ Minn Kota Raptors, tri color cockpit floor EVA foam flooring, padded front deck, LED storage and deck lighting, 12” Atlas hydraulic jackplate, Hamby keel protector, a gimble mounted Humminbird Helix 15 at the console, a gimble mounted Humminbird Helix 12 at the bow, a Minn Kota Ultrex iPilot 112 trolling motor, 18” wheels, the Fusion Bluetooth Audio Device and two speakers, battery charge indicator gauge and many more.
Other Skeeter models regionally popular include the FXR20, the ZXR21 and 20 and the ZX200. You’ll find the 2023 Skeeter Boats at Anna’s Marine Center. www.annasmarinecenter.com.
The Tracker Pro Team 195 TXW is the top-of-the-line aluminum boat from Bass Pro Shop. This boat is the perfect rig for young anglers just getting started in bass tournament fishing at 18’7” long and 98” wide and a total package weight of just 2,675 pounds, towable by most light trucks and SUVs. The 195 TXW holds 30 gallons of fuel and up to 150 hp. You can have one rigged with the standard Lowrance units and a 115 hp Mercury 4-stroke for around $34K.
You’ll find the 2023 Tracker Boats at Anna’s Marine Center. www.annasmarinecenter.com.
This Arkansas-based aluminum boat manufacturer fields six model lines for 2023; 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.
Stop by Tomahund Marine on Rt. 5 near the mouth of the Chickahominy River for a look at the 2023 War Eagle boats.
This is the company made up of ex-Ranger engineers and executives after the acquisition a number of years back by Bass Pro Shops. The Vexus AVX is their aluminum line and the VX is the fiberglass line.
The flagship VX21 is 21’11” long, 97” wide, holds 58 gallons of fuel and up to 300 hp. The boat sports a number of exclusive design features, perhaps the most noteworthy is the Infused Composite Construction process that eliminates spraying layers of gelcoat and offers a much more exact molding process drive by vacuum.
The AVX line is topped by the AVX 2080. This aluminum/fiberlass hull is 20’2” long, 95” wide, holds 35 gallons of fuel and up to 200 hp. Neither the VX21 or AVX 2080 has a published hull weight.
This original all-welded aluminum boat builder 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. Just ask BASS Pro Jason Christie how he likes his. 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 2023 Xpress boats at Propeller Dynamics in Prince William, Virginia. 804.706-1847.