Bass boats can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. Depending on the types of waters you fish and the distance you travel, manufacturers offer plenty of options that are easier on the wallet.
These are five models that are currently being offered for 2021. Some are aluminum and some are fiberglass. Complete specs and breakdowns are listed below.
|Manufacturer||Model||Material||Length||Package Motor Size||Fuel Cap.||Weight||Beam||MSRP|
|Tracker||Pro Team 175TXW Tourn. Ed.||Aluminum||17’7″||60hp||21.5gal||1009lbs||89″||$22,020|
How I Selected This List
There are many different boats on the market. I selected only models that were at least 17′ in length and had a minimum motor option of 60hp.
Boats that are smaller than 17′ start to lose much of the storage and deck space that bass anglers love. If you are in the market for a bass boat, here is an article about the process entitled, Bass Boats: A Complete Buyer’s Guide.
2021 Tracker Pro Team 175TXW Tournament Edition: MSRP $22,020
Tracker has been selling aluminum bass boats for a long, long time. The standard Pro Team 175TXW has been billed as America’s #1 Selling Bass Boat.
The Tournament Edition has a few additional features that cater towards the bass angler that demands the most boat for the budget.
First, shoppers will notice that the Tournament Edition comes with upgraded electronics over the standard Pro Team 175TXW. This model sports a Lowrance® HOOK2 5 Combo swivel color fishfinder w/SplitShot™ transducer & GPS on the bow and a Lowrance® HOOK2 5 Combo swivel color fishfinder w/TripleShot™ transducer & GPS at the console.
The Tournament Edition model also includes 3 batteries, 2 for the 24v trolling motor and 1 for the cranking battery and accessories. This rig also comes standard with a 3-Bank onboard battery charger, which the traditional 175 TXW does not have.
This package boat comes equipped with a 60hp Mercury ELPT 4 Stroke. The boat is rated for a 75hp, which I would highly suggest upgrading to. This adds about $1,600 to the initial cost, but the additional power and performance is something I think most every angler would appreciate.
I have run an older standard model 175 TXW for many years and the boat has been a solid performer for the price point.
Here is the link to Tracker’s website so you can take a closer look.
2021 Ranger RT188P: MSRP $27,495
Ranger Boats has been in the aluminum bass boat market for quite some time now. For those wondering what the “P” means in the model number – it stands for pad hull. Instead of the “V” shaped hull carrying through the length of the boat, the bottom flattens out and creates a pad. This type of design is found on many high-end bass boats and offers increased performance and efficiency.
The RT188P is designed and ready for an angler to upgrade to shallow water anchors if so-desired. While this does increase the price, this is a nice option to have. Many transoms on smaller aluminum bass boats are not configured or rated for this additional weight.
A shallow water anchor system could be added in the future after purchase and would make a handy option.
The RT188P is also thoughtfully laid out with port and center rod lockers that can handle a range of rod lengths. The center rod locker will easily store 8 rods up to 8’6″ in length.
There are three locations where fiberglass has been incorporated into the design: the console, the bow panel, and a third seat/step. These features give this aluminum boat a sleek and stylish design.
The rear battery compart is spacious and opens towards the inside of the boat which is nice if anglers have any on-the-water issues they need to investigate.
Take a closer look at the Ranger RT188P.
2021 Vexus AVX1880: MSRP $29,048
After the sale of Ranger Boats to the White River Marine Group, aka Bass Pro Shops, the former management and original owner, Forrest L. Wood, started Vexus Boats. In 2017, Vexus broke ground on a new boat production plant and twelve months later they shipped their first aluminum boats to dealers.
Even though this is a relatively young boat brand, there are many years of experience behind the design and manufacturing – over 50 in fact.
One of the more interesting aspects of a Vexus boat is the fiberglass infused hull. While the entire hull is 100% aluminum and wood-free, the compartments, console, bow panel, livewells, and other interior features are fiberglass. Literally, this is an aluminum boat the feels like a fiberglass boat.
I have taken a close look at these Vexus aluminum models and I can say, the design is impressive. You can tell that these folks fish and understand what bass anglers want.
This model also sports a pad hull. The design allows for this aluminum boat to have a high performance hull, like a fiberglass boat, and offers anglers similar handling.
Make no mistake, the Vexus 1880 is a serious fishing machine.
2021 Triton 179TRX: MSRP $29,995
This is the first fully fiberglass boat on this list. This nimble model is perfect for anglers who fish smaller waters and/or want to maneuver in-and-out of places larger boats just cannot reach. Here is an article comparing fiberglass vs. aluminum boats.
The entire boat is 100% wood-free composite construction and sports built-in navigation lights on either side of the bow.
This boat includes many of the same features and amenities as the higher priced models in the Triton line-up. Some of those include the Res-Q retractable boarding ladder, recessed foot pedal for the trolling motor, hi-capacity insulated livewells, and nitrogen filled lift lids.
The 179TRX also has the option to mount a smaller 90hp 4-stroke engine. This reduces the cost by $1,760. I always suggest buyers go with the largest motor that is rated for the boat. I have never talked to anyone that was upset by getting the maximum rated motor, but unfortunately, I have had conversations with many, many boat owners that were upset by going with too small of a motor.
Look at the Triton 179TRX
2021 Nitro Z17: MSRP $27,595
Nitro, as well as Tracker, Ranger, and Triton, are all a part of the White River Marine Group.
Many of you may have seen a sleek Nitro Z17 sitting at your local Bass Pro Shops.
Nitro has come a long way in recent history. They have traditionally been priced as a more wallet-friendly option in the fiberglass bass boat marketplace, yet features and benefits have taken a major upswing and now Nitro offers some nice rigs that will compete across the marketplace.
The Z17, as mentioned above, is a fiberglass bass boat that has impressive storage space for a boat of this length. The front deck lids all have pistons to keep them in an upright position when looking for gear. This is an often overlooked feature, but if your lids are lacking pistons simple tasks become much more cumbersome.
Anglers will find plenty of fishing room in this 17’4″ bass boat with a front deck covering 32sq ft of space.
See the Nitro Z17.
What do Anglers Give Up in a Boat That Retails for Less Than $30,000?
As with any industry, you get what you pay for – but this does not always mean lower quality.
You will notice that these boats under $30,000 are not equipped with many standard features that higher-priced models have. For example, shallow water anchors are not included. These are items that many of today’s bass anglers want.
Adding two 8ft Power Poles would increase the price by approximately $4,000.
Most bass boats under $30,000 also come with smaller bow and console electronics, if they even come with any as standard equipment.
I currently upgraded to Humminbird Helix 7 units on my Pro Team 175TXW and love them. Larger units would be nice, but the 7″ models have been quite adequate and improved my fishing by a noticeable margin.
The trailer is another place where those in the bass boat market can upgrade. If the base weight of the hull is heavy enough, a tandem-axle trailer could be an option. Many 19′ models are available with both a single and dual axle trailer. I always prefer the dual axle when it is an option. A tandem-axle trailer is a much smoother ride down the highway. If you do not trailer that far, the single axle will serve you for many years.
If you are in the market for a bass boat and want to avoid the hefty monthly payments, these are five models that can potentially work out for you and your bank account.
Take the time to do your research, scour the Internet, and watch plenty of YouTube videos.
If you have a dealer close-by, go and kick the proverbial tires. There are even plenty of independent bass boat dealers that are happy to take you for a quick test drive if water is close-by.
For a complete rundown on whether fiberglass or aluminum is the better choice for you, read this article.
Tight lines. Be safe and make sure to encourage someone today. You never know how you may change their life forever.