Choosing a Bass Boat Motor – Avoid This Mistake!

Boats cost a lot of money. When choosing an outboard motor for your bass boat, this is the one mistake I have seen anglers make time-and-time again.

When buying an outboard motor, always purchase the maximum horsepower for the rating of the boat you intend to purchase.

The reasons why this is a must are important to the life and longevity of your outboard.

Check the Rating Plate By the Driver’s Console

The U.S. Coast Guard rating plate will be positioned near the driver’s console. Often it will be right on the sidewall near the gear shift or throttle. 

The rating plate will have a clear and concise statement explaining the maximum horsepower engine the boat can handle. 

Important Reasons for Buying the Maximum Horsepower Outboard

When I talk to potential boat owners about this, the first thing that often comes up is speed. 

That is not the reason this outboard motor consideration is so important. While some anglers love to jet down the lake at 60+ mph, speed is not the most important reason why purchasing the maximum horsepower is critical.

RPMs and Wear and Tear on the Outboard

Unlike a car, outboard motors do not have a transmission that switches gears and keeps the RPMs low. On outboard motors, the RPMs climb as the throttle is pushed. While our vehicles rarely hit 6,000+ RPMs, it can happen with an outboard.

As you can imagine, this can put stress and strain on the motor. Especially when running for prolonged distances. 

If the motor is undersized, or not the maximum rated outboard, then the stress can be even greater.

A motor that is rated for the boat will get up on pad and maintain a comfortable cruising speed while running at fewer RPMs.

Savings on Gas and Oil with a Properly Sized Outboard Motor

Running at fewer RPMs means less gas burned and less oil needed. Over the lifetime of the boat, the savings can be substantial.

Factor in less wear-and-tear on the internal mechanisms of the motor and the savings can be huge.

Using the Properly Rated Motor Also Means Safety

There are times when we are out on big bodies of water with our bass boats and the weather turns bad – fast.

When the waves and chop reach extreme levels, a motor that is rated for the boat is going to keep the driver and passengers safer. The power is there to steer and maneuver the bass boat at low speeds and provide the sudden bursts of thrust needed to navigate such awful conditions.

An underpowered motor is the last thing an angler wants if a storm blows in fast. 

Ideally, we are never in those conditions, but it happens, and getting back to shore safe and under control is paramount. Speed is not a factor in big waves – control is.

If Cost Needs to Be Reduced, The Motor is Not the Place to Do It

This is the argument used most of the time. Motors are so expensive.

True. No one is arguing that.

My suggestion is to go down a size in the boat if needed to save on cost and still purchase the maximum-rated motor for that size.

As a consumer and bass angler, you will be much, much happier with a 19 ft boat that is powered correctly than a 20 ft or 21 ft boat that is underpowered. 

Save money in the size of the boat, not the motor.

Many Years of Experience Has Taught Me This about Bass Boat Motors

I have been fortunate to travel across the country chasing bass. 

In these travels, I have met and talked with thousands of great folks. When this topic of bass boats comes up, this is the biggest regret I hear. 

The number of boat owners I have talked to that wish they didn’t go with a smaller motor is too many to count.

But I can say this with 100% confidence. 

I have never talked to a boat owner that regretted buying the maximum horsepower motor for their rig. Never.

The Only Time Buying a Smaller Motor is Suggested

On some waters, the motor size is regulated. 

If you fish most of the time in a place with such motor restrictions, then purchasing the smaller motor makes sense. 

For example, lots of private waters owned by associations put a cap at 10hp. 

If this is the case, odds are you are not buying a bass boat, but this is just an example.

If you ever have questions about outboards and bass boats, feel free to drop me an email. 

Purchasing a boat is an exciting experience. The last thing wanted is regrets after the purchase.

Tight lines. Be safe and remember to encourage someone today. You never know how you may change their life forever.

Isaiah 6:8

Steve Rogers

Steve spends his time filming and writing about bass fishing. You may even see him in your area. If so, stop and say "hi."

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