Bass Boats and Regular Fishing Boats – How they Differ

If you really want to fish, you can probably cast your line from any boat in the water. But there are fishing and bass boats for a reason. Designed with specific hull shapes, attention paid to deck space, the inclusion of special accessories and fish and bait storage and technology are only some of the details you get on a boat geared for fishing. But what makes a bass boat different from a generically called fishing boat? Before you buy a one you might want to read on.

Shopping for a Used Boat
Easily identifiable by their slender shape and swivel seats, bass boats are among the most cherished angling boats available.

The Hull on Bass Boats

These boats have less room for people aboard than a fishing boat.

This is due to the emphasis the builders of this boat type put on livewells and storage space, as well as the conditions they’re used in. Bass boats are great for fishing in fresh water, where they’re most commonly used to catch bass. These boats range on average between 14 and 25 feet, and ideally carry only two anglers, maximum maybe three. In contrast, a fishing boat in that size range fits at least five people. This size keeps most of these boat types trailerable, though, which is a great benefit.

The Seating

Those easily identifiable swivel seats.

Bass boats are easily recognized by their swivel chairs that allow the anglers to cast in any direction. This design offsets the small size of the boat when compared to the deck space of other fishing boat styles. They also allow for 360-degree fishing.

The Engine

Despite the freshwater focus and shallow draft, these boats leverage powerful but low-profile outboard engines.

The engines are usually between 150 and 300 hp. Bass boat motors are relatively quiet but quite fast, which is required to chase down the bass without scaring them away. Other freshwater boats often have less powerful engines and/or trolling motors, but bass boats are meant to move.

Shopping for a Used Boat
Unlike many other boat types, bass boats unapologetically are specialty boats made to do one thing — catch that bass.

The Accessories

Livewells are most certainly a given and top this list.

While all fishing boats ideally have baitwells and/or livewells, these boats always have aerated livewells, which keep oxygen moving in the water to keep the live baitfish alive, a must for proper bass fishing. The aerated systems also keep caught bass alive. 

The Lack of Versatility

While most boats boast versatility, the bass boat does the opposite.

As the title of this article suggests, this boat type is quite specifically fine-tuned for catching bass and similar fish. Other fishing boats are more adaptable, either from freshwater to salt water fishing, or from fishing to other activities like tow sports or cruising.

If bass fishing is your passion, you’re probably already in the market for that bass boat.

But if you’re wanting to carry more passengers, take your fishing boat into choppier waters or even the salt water, consider a different style of fishing boat. Additionally, because these boat types are so specific, they carry a higher price than more general fishing boats. Check out our bass boats for sale and our fishing boats for sale to compare.