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#11697824 - 06/30/16 12:28 PM Entry Level Brands
clinton_c Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 01/24/13
Posts: 19
So I had this post in the boats and motors section and had not replies. Lets try here. I know a lot of it is subjective and personal choice. Just looking for different opinions.

In the next year I am looking to finance my first Bass Boat. I am looking for opinions on entry level brands of Nitro, Ranger, Skeeter, etc....all the major players. I will be looking to get into something about 25k. Not too big, but big enough for me and son Tournament fishing as well as rec. Any and all comments and reviews are wanted and thank you in advance.

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#11697882 - 06/30/16 12:53 PM Re: Entry Level Brands [Re: clinton_c]
bigbass94 Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 05/27/12
Posts: 3163
Loc: San Antonio, Texas
Buying a NEW boat these days may not be worth it. However, that is my complete personal opinion. It's your money, do what you want with it.

If you want something that's not too big but not too small, then I suggest you take a look at an 18-19 foot boat. Something like a Skeeter ZX 190 or Skeeter ZX 225 could be right in your wheelhouse. I know that you can find a heck of a deal on a used Skeeter nowadays! There are some on BassBoatCentral.com that are priced well.

Nitro's have come a long way in recent years and I wouldn't mind owning one if I wasn't such a skeeter fan. I think Nitro will be your cheapest option. Just remember, you get what you pay for.

I'd also recommend a Stratos VLO series boat or the 294 XL Evolution. Stratos boats are good boats and they've come a long way just like Nitro's.

A BassCat Sabre, Pantera, or Caracal could be something you'd like as well.

I'm partial to Skeeter because it's been such a good boat to me. I have a 2013 ZX 20 (which is similar to the ZX 250 now) and it's been a great boat. Stable fishing platform, not a bad ride, fast enough (73MPH by myself), and I've basically had zero problems. The only problem I had was with the motor and that was because they guy before me didn't break the motor in properly.

I think buying a used boat would benefit you more but like I said, it's your money, use it how you want to.

Good luck with your search and tight lines!


Edited by bigbass94 (06/30/16 12:55 PM)
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#11697906 - 06/30/16 01:02 PM Re: Entry Level Brands [Re: clinton_c]
CoachCBA Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 07/10/10
Posts: 5441
Loc: Whitehouse, TX
I love my 18.5 foot Ranger, but I'd get the ETEC instead of my Yami.
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#11697921 - 06/30/16 01:12 PM Re: Entry Level Brands [Re: clinton_c]
SAKS Online   happy
Pro Angler

Registered: 07/23/14
Posts: 647
I don't think you will be able to find a new boat at that price range unless you go aluminum. There are very good used boats out there though. I currently own a ZX190 and I like it very much. I don't classify it as entry level because it's the same as any boat just 18 1/2 ft long. I actually scaled down from a Stratos 201Pro. I prefer the smaller boat. As far as brands I don't believe you will go wrong with any of them. My advice is to pick one with a wide front deck and find a storage lay out you like and that will be your boat. Don't buy in to marketing.

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#11697989 - 06/30/16 01:42 PM Re: Entry Level Brands [Re: clinton_c]
bccougar Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 06/11/08
Posts: 869
I think the Nitro is the only one in that price range. If I was going to buy a new boat with that budget, I would probably get the nitro. I feel like at that price they have the best size boat. Their 18'8" Z7 has a really nice platform for the smaller boats. It is wide and very stable. I am a Basscat guy, but I don't think you could get a Basscat that size for that price.
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#11698043 - 06/30/16 02:13 PM Re: Entry Level Brands [Re: bccougar]
SteezMacQueen Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/02/14
Posts: 3022
Loc: Red Oak, Galveston, and Pagosa...
Originally Posted By: bccougar
I think the Nitro is the only one in that price range. If I was going to buy a new boat with that budget, I would probably get the nitro. I feel like at that price they have the best size boat. Their 18'8" Z7 has a really nice platform for the smaller boats. It is wide and very stable. I am a Basscat guy, but I don't think you could get a Basscat that size for that price.
totally agree.
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#11698065 - 06/30/16 02:27 PM Re: Entry Level Brands [Re: clinton_c]
buton Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/28/10
Posts: 1363
Loc: Cypress,Tx
With 25k you will not get good electronics. if you push for 30k with ttt you will get some good electronics.

That said with your budget is buy used fiberglass or buy new Aluminum bass boat like ranger rt188 or tracker 190.
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#11698239 - 06/30/16 03:57 PM Re: Entry Level Brands [Re: clinton_c]
clinton_c Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 01/24/13
Posts: 19
I do like the Nitro's that I have seen at Bass PRo. Haven't look at Rangers Aluminum boats. I am not opposed to Aluminum at all.

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#11698272 - 06/30/16 04:21 PM Re: Entry Level Brands [Re: clinton_c]
C130 Online   content
Outdoorsman

Registered: 06/26/16
Posts: 135
Loc: Magnolia, TX
I just bought an 08 Bass Cat Sabre and the boat looks brand new. Motor has 120 verified hours, not a scratch on the boat and always stored inside. I haven't owned a fishing boat in many years and my son loves to fish so thought this would be a great boat to get in to. There are some nice used boats if one is willing to travel, I bought mine in Tennessee. I didn't get it at what I'd consider great price but considering the condition it's in I was pretty happy with it. Something like this would be well within your budget.

Bass Cat owners forum is a great place to look around and they have some in the classifieds section. Great place to learn about their boats and get advice also. One of the downsides to the 18 foot boats is you give up some on the ride quality I think and I live near Lake Conroe which is pretty rough or can be a lot of the time I think.


Edited by C130 (06/30/16 04:25 PM)
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#11698273 - 06/30/16 04:21 PM Re: Entry Level Brands [Re: bigbass94]
clinton_c Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 01/24/13
Posts: 19
My Uncle had a Stratos years ago. Was first bass boat I ever drove. They are nice.

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#11698483 - 06/30/16 07:46 PM Re: Entry Level Brands [Re: clinton_c]
Mike_Soriano™ Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 5411
Loc: FORK
Buy used and take a drive.
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#11698488 - 06/30/16 07:57 PM Re: Entry Level Brands [Re: clinton_c]
EastTexasBassin Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 07/15/09
Posts: 793
Loc: Lake Ray Hubbard
Get a used boat from a reputable dealer. I love my skeeter, and I only paid $6k for it.

You can get an AWESOME boat for 25k


Edited by EastTexasBassin (06/30/16 07:58 PM)
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#11698524 - 06/30/16 08:32 PM Re: Entry Level Brands [Re: clinton_c]
patriot07 Online   content
TFF Guru

Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 16804
Loc: chateau d'if
Buy a used 20'-21' boat with a 200-250 horsepower motor on it. Ranger, Triton, Nitro, Skeeter would be my order of preference, but they're all good. Find the best deal you can on one that has been taken care of well and has good electronics, a good trolling motor, properly sized motor, etc.

The Z7 at $25k will have no electronics, an undersized motor, an undersized trolling motor, etc. Nitro is a good option, but you need to make sure the accessories are up to par before purchasing. No need to spend $25k to get a boat that's a few years younger but lacking essential features that you'll be missing every time you go out fishing.

I would avoid aluminum if you're going tournament fishing. Not saying it can't be done, but you'll be much more comfortable on windy days in a 20'-21' fiberglass boat.
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