Bass Boats Vs. Bowriders (A Guide For New Buyers) – A Boating Guide Buyer’s Guide Report for 2023.
Are you curious to know the difference between bass and bowriders boats? While the two types of boats look similar in some ways, they are best suited for different purposes.
Bass boats are specifically designed for bass fishing and quickly moving in lakes or rivers to get where the fishes are. On the other side, you can use bowriders for fishing. Still, manufacturers design them for recreational purposes such as water skiing and other sports.
In this article, we cover the details of the pro and cons of these two types of boats.
What is a bass boat?
Bass boats, as the name implies, are known to be best suited for bass fishing or fish that are present in lakes or rivers. Bass boats are typically between 16 and 26 feet (ca. 8 m) long. Manufacturers usually use aluminum or fiberglass in their construction.
They have a shallow V-shaped hull and a large casting deck, which is helpful for different purposes. Still, they are especially suited for at least two anglers to stand and perform repeated cats. In addition, bass boats have enough storage space for helpful fishing gear.
These boats work well in shallow waters and allow safe and easy navigation when fishing. Bass boats typically use outboard motors, responsible for moving them swiftly through and over the waters.
In addition, there is a trolling motor responsible for moving the bass boat at a slow pace. Bass fish live in freshwater lakes, rivers, creeks, and dams; therefore, people use bass boats for professional bass fishing in these environments.
What are the Pros of a Bass Boat?
There are many positive points about bass boats, especially for those people passionate about fishing. These boats generally have a large deck and a great storage place, are steady, and hold their value well.
Here are the main benefits of bass boats:
- They maintain a high value for quite some years.
Whether getting an aluminum or fiberglass bass boat, you are investing your money in something that will maintain value for several years. You can use your bass boat for 5 to 7 years and then resell it for a good bargain, or at least better than the one provided by other types of crafts.
If you wish to buy a new boat after a while, you can economize a lot by investing in a bass boat.
- Large storage space
Bass boats have a larger storage space than other fishing boats. Therefore, you have enough room for fishing equipment such as rods, tackles, lockers, etc., and there is a storage area for the fish you have caught.
It is a feature not necessarily found on other fishing boats and can make a difference for professional fishermen.
- Perfect for shallow waters
Every boat has a draft, the distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull. In a bass boat, the draft can vary between 8 and 11 inches (ca. 28 cm); this is not a lot compared to other boats.
For this reason, they are best suited for navigating shallow waters, where it is usually possible to find more fish.
- Perfect for those who love fishing
While the name of this boat indicates the bass fishing intent, you can use it for other activities. The large deck allows a few people to sit (by adding fishing chairs) and fish or just enjoy the ride simultaneously.
Due to the large deck area and low bows, bass boats are very stable. In addition, since they do not sit too high above the water, they are less affected by the wind. Finally, the flat hull that has most of its surface in contact with water makes a bass boat more stable.
If you choose a V-shaped hull bass boat, the stability can decrease, although a bass boat is still more stable than other boats.
- Easy to store
Bass boats are relatively small compared to other ships, and they are not so high since they do not have any top. It allows them to occupy less space and easily store in a garage or elsewhere.
What are the cons of a bass boat?
There are also negative aspects of owning a bass boat, especially if fishing is not the only use you want to make of your boat. Bass boats are unsuitable for navigating rough waters and have less seating capacity than other boats of similar size.
Here are the main cons of a bass boat:
- It is not suitable for rough waters
Bass boats are stable boats that navigate well in shallow waters but are not well suited to deal with rough waters and offer no protection from the sun and rain.
The low bow of the boat is the cause, which prevents the ship from navigating well when there is a wind above 30mph (ca. 48 km/h) and the waters are agitated.
- Less seating capacity
Bass boats do not have much seating space compared to ships of similar sizes. So if you want to bring family or friends, remember that you cannot bring many people along, especially if you need fishing gear or other equipment.
Generally, you cannot carry more than five people in a bass boat.
What is a bowrider?
A bowrider is different from a bass boat. It is a boat best suited for recreational activities and for going out on the water with families and friends.
The ship presents an open cockpit that allows more seating space at the back, with a helm that covers that protects the people from the sun or rain.
Most people use bowriders for activities like water sports, cruising, or events where people get together and have fun. But bowriders can also be used for fishing. They can easily carry fishing gear or other water sports equipment like snorkeling, scuba diving, or underwater filming.
It is common for bowriders to have space for storing food, drinks, and a table for people on board. In addition, bowriders have a large windshield that allows the people on board to enjoy the cruise.
The boat has a stylish V-hull, instrumental to its high performance. The usual propulsion type is an outboard or a sterndrive motor reaching 60 mph (ca. 97 km/h).
Bowriders are fast and comfortable simultaneously and allow responsive navigation and turns. The length of a bowrider can range between 19 and 30 feet (ca. 9 m). Some models are built with cabin and swim platform extensions.
What are the advantages of a bowrider boat?
You might consider a bowrider boat if you want to spend some time relaxing with friends or engaging in water sports. There are several advantages to getting one of these boats.
Here are the main positive points to consider:
- Additional features
Bowriders are built with extra features to make them more comfortable for people. For example, you can get a bowrider equipped with speakers, deck lights, cup holders, a table, and storage space.
- Ease of navigation
One of the perks of a bowriders boat is the ease of maneuverability. This boat is fast and responsive. It can take sharp turns and reach high speeds while maintaining safety for the people onboard.
- High versatility
Bowriders come in different styles and designs. You can use them for various activities, from water sports, recreation with family and friends, social cruising, and fishing.
Bowriders are relatively easy to tow for visiting different lakes or seasides. In addition, they come with different price ranges that depend on the size and features chosen.
- Safety measures available
Bowriders have many security options available for passengers. These security options include:
– protective rails prevent falls into the water
– the seats usually include seat belts
– the deck is built with a non-slip surface to avoid accidents.
What are the disadvantages of bowriders?
Bowriders have some disadvantages too. However, here are the main points to keep in mind before deciding which boat to get:
- Use Limitations
Bowriders are best suited for daytime navigation since night navigation does not come standard on most models. In addition, they do not have an enclosed space where people can go in case of heavy rain and winds.
The boat is not that big to navigate safely in the ocean but is best suited for calm inland waters. Furthermore, bowriders do not withstand heavy seas
, nor were they designed to do so.
- They don’t fare well on long trips.
Bowriders do not have a fuel tank capacity that allows long trips. It can be a problem if you go too far and cannot refuel to come back. So you have to be careful about how far you can go.
- Additional features can be expensive.
Suppose you want more features in your boat, such as a GPS, lighting, additional seating space, and stereo. In that case, you have to pay an additional cost. A well-equipped bowrider boat can increase the overall price considerably.
Which one should I get: the bass boat or the Bowrider?
Choosing the right boat for you depends on the use you are planning to do with it. Initially, people created bass boats for fishing competitions. They were helpful in their ample casting space and the possibility to carry fishing gears and mount electric motors.
Despite the name, you can also use bass boats to catch other varieties of fish, especially in freshwater. So if you are passionate about fishing, especially in freshwater, then a bass boat is the best choice amongst the two.
Conversely, a bowrider is best suited for those who want to practice water sports, go out with friends and family, and spend time together. They are best suited for funny and recreational activities.
Bowriders are versatile boats that you can also use for fishing, cruising, relaxation, swimming, and many other activities.
A bowrider is the best choice if you do not have a clear idea of what to do with your boat but want to enjoy the time at sea with other people doing different things.
Are bass boat better for beginners?
Although bass boats are not so challenging to operate, they are still best suited for people with at least some essential ship experience. These boats can still reach a considerable speed and need to be cared for in specific ways.
A bass boat is suitable for those with moderate or some experience with boats. Getting some experience with smaller boats can be a good learning experience, leading to owning a bass boat in the future.
A beginner might not understand when to go out with a bass boat. It is not a boat for all situations or conditions. It can carry a few people at a time, thus not necessarily an entire family. And it would be best if you did not use it in bad weather or rough waters.
Frequently asked questions
What is the price difference between the Bowrider and the bass boat?
Generally, a bass boat can cost between $10,000 and $70,000, depending on the size and features requested. Instead, a bowrider boat can cost between A$17.000 and $150.00, with the more sophisticated model costing up to $300.000.
Can I use a bass boat to catch more varieties of fish?
Although they are called bass boats, you can use them to catch other fish types. You can use these boats in lakes, rivers, and shallow waters. In addition, you can adapt bass boats to different fishing styles.
Should I get an aluminum or fiberglass bass boat?
Aluminum bass boats are lighter, fuel-efficient, cheaper, and easy to maintain. In contrast, fiberglass bass boats are typically more stable, hard to dent (although they can crack), and, in most cases, look better.
Depending on the class of the boat, you may find that you have little choice. For example, you’d be hard-pressed to find an aluminum bowrider or bass boat. Most of these types of boats use fiberglass for their primary construction.
- Wikipedia, “Bass Boat,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_boat, last accessed October 19, 2022
- Wikipedia,” Bowrider,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bow_rider, last accessed October 19, 2022
- Wired2fish,“where to bass fish,” https://www.wired2fish.com/fishing-trips/where-to-bass-fish, last accessed October 19, 2022
- Boaterpal.com, “What is a bass boat?,” https://boaterpal.com/what-is-a-bass-boat/, last accessed October 19, 2022
- Godownsize, “Deck Boat or Bowrider?,”https://www.godownsize.com/deck-boats-vs-bowriders/, last accessed October 19, 2022