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Jan 23rd, 2013
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203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats #13310264 10/13/19 08:34 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
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MMosher Online Content OP
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Updated with review...10-16-2019

Disclaimer: I’m not a boat salesman, dealer or have any affiliation with BassCat Boats other than being a new customer and a fan of the new Hybrid hull. I have no dog in this fight and profit exactly ZERO. I’m not a journalist or English professor so bear with me. I’m not a professional boat driver or fisherman but know my way around both. I was fortunate enough to be raised in the bass boat business with my father, grandfather, 4 uncles and mother all working for ChampioN at one time or another from the start in 1975 until the mid 80’s when pops got out of the biz. I’m about a hardcore ChampioN fan as they come and vowed to own only ChampioNs over the years. Time changes and ChampioN is no longer, sad day when they shut the door for the last time. Well folks, a new door has opened and I’ll try to do my best to tell you what I know.

In 2011-12 ish we saw the demise of ChampioN through the bankruptcy in Tennessee, new purchase with P&E, moving them and Stratos to Flippin, rebadging of the ChampioN hulls as Stratos, the outrage and rejection from the ChampioN faithful and the eventual killing of the brand by P&E. The final nail in the coffin is when White River bought them out and kept Ranger and Triton but killed off Stratos as well, but still own ChampioN and Stratos in name. Then, did the same to Legend. Shame all three made a nice rig.

The Hybrid project started around 2007 when a 203 and 181 ChampioN boats (No, there is no plans to proceed with the 181 at this time) were bought to tinker with. BCB shelved them for a few years and tinkered around. Around 2011-2012 when the above issues were going on they started tinkering around a little more seriously. I caught wind of this at the TOC on Table Rock when they became a sponsor and were giving out demo rides. My ears were now perked up. Around 2013-2014 they proceeded with the opportunity to morph a ChampioN hull intertwined with BassCat Puma top cap, technology and modernization. They took the 203 running surface, cutting a mold from it and sewed it to the Puma top cap. Interesting concept? Yup, I thought so too. Now I really started watching and listening for the whispers of this rig. Around 2013 –2014 a Prototype was cut and tested and tinkered with, then shelved, almost released, shelved and tinkered with some more, and again, and again over multiple years. In the meantime, 5 new BCB hulls were designed and introduced.

I was fortunate enough to run this Hybrid hull in 4 different test phases over the course of the past 6 years. From my first test run I was hooked and ready to put my money where my mouth was. The emails to Rick began, for the first 3 years. The last time I ran it Rick and I were standing at the dock and he asked me “Ya think we could get you in this?” A deal was struck up and the handshake deal was done. So, the emails went from once every 3 or 4 months to once a month, for another THREE YEARS. I had a ton of questions, a ton of pestering, begging to get the hull finished and soon introduced into production. The last 6 months the emails were weekly then daily. Realize, since this project started over the years a few things have changed most importantly the new Mercury 4 strokes, larger fuel cells and the bigger, heavier trolling motors. Rick had to make corrections for all of these and from my understanding there were some road bumps along the way. 4 weeks ago he asked what I wanted on it. Now things got serious. After my face stopped twitching I chose to upgrade from the 250 Pro XS 2 stroke to the 300 Pro XS Mercury 4 stroke and the Ultrex. Why the 300? Because it’s my first brand new rig, I had the money, my hard-core tourney days are over, I keep my boats for years , it’s my money AND I wanted it. He tried talking me out of it but I wasn't having it. The Ultrex was a no brainer. Single console cause I’m done with duals. I could have ordered one but didn’t even want it cause it’d collect dust in my garage. 3 weeks ago I got the final nod that she was done ready to pick up.

So I headed down to Bills Marine in Monett Missouri and got the paper work done. They’re great folks and Jeff really took care of me. I was in and out in an hour leaving with my empty piggy bank and lots of excitement. I headed south to BCB to pick her up. I can’t say the governor in my truck didn’t kick in a few times on the way Midway Arkansas and I was willing to pay the speeding tickets.

I get to the plant and check er out. I took it out and water tested it over the course of two days, tested a few props and settings. Rick, Jason and I run it and I was asked my opinion and I gave it. Rick listened, said he knew what the issue was and it would take him an hour and half to make a tweak. So back to BCB we go. Now mind you Rick, the president of BCB, personally took my rig off my truck, hooked it to a tractor and took it back to his secret shop, personally. An hour and half later he pulls it out, covered in dust, points to the lake and says “let’s go”. And we did.

The small adjustment was all she needed (and by small, I mean like a ¼ of an inch), she was loose, fast with a lots of lift, just like a ChampioN needs. A hand shake and a hug later and I was on my way back home a very happy camper. My three-year handshake deal and 6 year wait was finally done. Folks, it’s a rarity that a person's word and a handshake go as far as they do anymore. I never had any doubt with Mr. Pirece or BCB. This should tell you something about the person and business.

Was sent home with a prop or two to test out as well as my own Mark Croxin 25P Tempest. For the next two weeks I did back to back tourneys on LOZ and Table Rock taking my time breaking the engine in. I left Mt. Home with it spinning a 24 4 bladed Bravo. I’d never run one before but it’s a solid prop. Reminds me of the of Trophy. I used it for the majority of the engine break in and to get me through the two tourneys. The weekend of Lake of the Ozarks didn’t disappoint for rough water. It got really nasty but the Hybrid ate it up. I’ve never having had a rig with a hotfoot or power steering so it’s taking some getting used to. I really not a fan of the hotfoot but game on.

Length: 20’3

Beam: 94 - The top cap is a bunch wider than the original 203 but not as large as the widebodies.

Plate: 8 inch Detweiler Hydro

Hole Shot: 3-4 seconds depending on load and prop

Fuel cells: 2, 25 Gallon REAR tanks

Livewells: 30 gallon single unit, divided

Top Cap: BCB Puma, they will also have the Cougar top cap as an option. Both will come available in the SP packages or custom orders. I’m probably not the person to ask about this and it’s best if you contact a dealer or BCB.

Prop to Pad: Unknown, I didn’t measure it because of the hydro plate (This is also a new one for me). Really nice option I didn’t ask for and makes prop testing a snap.

Set up: Relatively easy as I just went from my previous experience with the 202/203 Champs and used what my butt was telling me for plate adjustments. Lift and loose is fast with a Champ. This hull will tell you what she wants relatively easy.

Prop(s): (all props tested were tournament loaded, live wells wet and full of fuel). Once I got her home the lake closest to me is only 200 acers and shaped like a horseshoe so I have to be real careful with speed runs. I plan on getting to bigger waters soon and a bunch more once deer gun season is over.

24 4 blade Bravo, Max RPMs low 70’s, it’s a good workhorse or rough water prop. It’ll be good for the guy who really doesn’t care about speed but fishing rough water a lot. I had to really play with plugs to dial in my hole shot. This prop/hull combo want all the holes plugged.

25P Tempest, 6150 (ish) RPMs High 70’s, real close to touching the 80 mark. All holes plugged.

26P Tempest (out of the box) was a major dud as most are. This one's going to get worked and pretty sure she’ll be the ticket and get me to the 80’s

24P Fury 3, 6150 (ish) RPMs, High 70’s, real close to touching the 80 mark, I haven’t much experience with the Fury and it’s real aggressive. It surprised me as most the older Champs don’t care for them. Zero holes plugged.

24P Furry 4, Max RPM’s low 70’s, not real impressive on top end or hole shot, this one stayed at BCB.

It appears the Tempest and Fury are the speed prop for this set up. The 25P Fury will be the next test after the 26P Tempest gets back.

Low Range Speed stay on Plane: 18-19 MPH (still getting used to the hotfoot)

Mid-Range Speed: Amazeballs, from 35-70 she’ll rip your cheeks off. The new Mercury 4 Strokes are the real deal. (This is also my first 4 stroke)

Expected/Predicted Top Speed (my opinion only) Tournament loaded:

With this 300 Mercury Pro XS, low 80’s

With a 250 Mercury Pro XS high 70’s

Turning: Everything you’d expect in a Champion hull. Wrist over elbow turns, no slipping.

Ride: Smooth and dry

She’ll do everything the old school Champion Demo rides can do. In rough water the spray blows out sideways like a Cat rather than up and out like a Champ. I found that interesting and kinda diggin it. IMO I think it’s a smoother and dryer ride then the 203 and my beloved 202. I put it closer to the 201 which is arguably the smoothest 20 foot rig ever made. YOU CAN over trim this similar to the Cats. If you do, you’ll know cause she’ll get squirrely, bump it down two bumps on the trim from full trim and that’s your sweet spot. There’s really not much of a learning curve if you’re used to the 201/202/203 Champs. Throttle and trim it as I've said and you’ll be smooth sailing. Overall straight line speeds is more like the 202 equally powered, than the 203. Overall performance in all conditions is truly impressive folks.



Stability: Extremely stable at rest and fishing. More stable than any of the widebody Champs I’ve ever fished out of and no comparison to the skinny Champs of old. Yes, Pat Goff, she’ll still roll off stumps like the old Champs do and not hang up. This test was done by accident several times on LOZ and Table Rock. Never have to fire up the main engine, she’ll just slip off with the TM. Gone are the rollies the skinny Champs had. My old 202 was prone to this if you put a big boy in the back doing Chris Farely cartwheels you’d better be sitting down if you’re up front. Sitting at idle she lays flatter on the water than the old skinny Champs which will really help for those of you wanting to hang stuff of the back. Ricks done a ton of work to find a balance of new technology with old technology and morphing them together to get the overall performance that the Champ folks want and expect. This hull is capable of adding or subtracting all the new gadgets that have become popular with today's modern bass boats but would make the older Champ hulls suffer ie adding basketballs to jackplates etc. We now can run the heavier engines, TM and larger fuel cells without much effort. This hull is not as weight sensitive as the 203 and relatively easy to set up like the old 202’s are. IMO what he’s done is similar to what Alan Stinson did when he tweaked the 206 hull to create the 210. Rick just did it in different ways with a different hull, with different performance characteristics and expectations of his own.



This is the hull you’re wanting if you’re looking for a modern ride and performance like the old Mt. Home made skinny Champs. It’s the ONLY production hull that runs and rides anything like em. Period. Trust me, I’ve looked.



The build, and construction, quality and customer service is all BCB, from the rooter to the tooter. BCB reputation speaks for itself.



This hull is going to make a heck of a cross over rig for those looking for everything I just tried to humbly described. While it may not be for everyone, it’s everything to someone. Namely me and the old skool ChampioN folks who love that type of performance.



If you’re looking for the ride and performance of a Mt. Home made skinny Champ then the Hybrid is the hull for you. If you’re looking for a new rig, I encourage you all to get demo rides with every major brand and multiple models. Then go visit the plants for some tours. Heck you could visit at least 5 different boat manufacturers on the Northern Arkansas and Southern Missouri boarder alone, in a day if you hustled.

Thank you Bills Marine, Monett MO, for a simple, easy purchase.

Thank you BCB

Thank you, Rick, for keeping your word.



Thanks for reading folks.



MMosher

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Last edited by MMosher; 10/16/19 09:01 PM.

I love the smell of two stroke in the morning.
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Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: MMosher] #13310278 10/13/19 08:48 PM
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Very nice


Originally Posted by Shift 3
u want more of a he's dead ratio then a she's dead percentage. after its 51% she's dead you get headaches blindness and the stream part. like dizzy i guess.
Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: MMosher] #13310282 10/13/19 08:50 PM
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James P. Offline
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Good looking rig!

Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: MMosher] #13310554 10/13/19 11:08 PM
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skeeterbugzx300 Online Content
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good looking boat

Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: MMosher] #13310605 10/13/19 11:27 PM
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Kicker16 Online Content
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good looking rig thumb thumb

Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: MMosher] #13310651 10/13/19 11:55 PM
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I love any boat that has white as the base color. Just makes the accent colors pop. Great looking rig.


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Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: MMosher] #13310768 10/14/19 01:27 AM
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BigDozer66 Offline
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Gorgeous boat! cheers

Mid to upper 80's loaded? popcorn2


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Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: MMosher] #13310770 10/14/19 01:29 AM
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Cool boat.


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Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: MMosher] #13310779 10/14/19 01:37 AM
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Less driver input than a normal cat?

Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: rxkid2001] #13310827 10/14/19 02:22 AM
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MMosher Online Content OP
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Drives like a Champ. She's a pussycat.

Originally Posted by rxkid2001
Less driver input than a normal cat?


I love the smell of two stroke in the morning.
Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: BigDozer66] #13310829 10/14/19 02:23 AM
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Still doing engine break in and playing with props. We'll see.

Originally Posted by BigDozer66
Gorgeous boat! cheers

Mid to upper 80's loaded? popcorn2


I love the smell of two stroke in the morning.
Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: MMosher] #13310831 10/14/19 02:25 AM
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Mayo Offline
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Been keeping a tab on this and it's great to finally see one. I know it's been happening behind the scenes for a while now and with the release of the Lynx and Jag was put on the back burner. Are they going into full production on this model? Is the hull a total copy of the 203 or a hybrid? Can't wait to hear and learn more. Please keep us updated!


Last edited by Mayo; 10/14/19 02:30 AM.
Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: Mayo] #13313359 10/16/19 02:12 PM
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Mayo, it goes accessible to Production in mid December, the is based on scheduling and order dates. Though right now based on orders first product would likely start end of December.

They did a full write up on it at our actual Owners Board on the BassCat.com site. The hull is a 203 in the running surface only, and the above sitting or running hull is BCB with a tweak to fit it onto the Puma/Cougar hull. Thus the different rear end where the drop back transom is stitched into the offset hull.

That took them time with today’s weights and changes in fuel loads, trolling motors, batteries, storage and more today. The boats today simply with more than they did in the 80’s and 90’s, plus four strokes being a whole new game in.

BCB

Last edited by BCB; 10/16/19 02:16 PM.

BCB
Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: MMosher] #13313421 10/16/19 02:56 PM
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Wow, nice boat! Can't wait to read the write up.

Re: 203/Puma "Hybrid" by BassCat Boats [Re: MMosher] #13313470 10/16/19 03:34 PM
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fivebites Online Content
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Any idea what the price range is going to be on it bland and loaded up. Poles, ultrex, etc


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