View Full Version : Buying a bass boat but also for crappie

03-10-2016, 10:04 AM
I keep getting closer and closer to just give up cancelling the urge and go buy a new boat, lol. Desiring to take my time and get one that would serve me for the rest of my life (wishful thinking?), I have tallied several design ideas but those are either general features or are for bass fishing. But, I would like to do more crappie fishing. Is there anything that comes to mind as for features to consider for crappie fishing?

I do not envision myself spider rigging, just fishing one rod, probably (never done anything more than that). As for general features... 19', more or less, boat, probably 90-150hp. I really don't see a need for the way I fish to go faster than 40-44mph. I am not decided yet on fiberglass versus aluminum. I also want a state-of-the-art troll motor and am not afraid to spend for it because a troll motor is so important to the way I fish. I am undecided on settling on one live well versus two. It is not a deal killer to have just one, I can make a couple of steps to put a fish in. But it's been awhile for me to catch one fish after another. A front live well might come in real handy. I also think I want a boat with some open floor space. If I am wanting fresh fish, I sometimes like to take an ice chest and put them on ice immediately. Another thing that is a must for me is lockable rod storage.

I sometimes have a buddy along but fish alone alot too.

And ideas some to mind for crappie fishing? TIA!

03-10-2016, 10:29 AM
Even though you say you won't spider rig, if you get hooked on crappie fishing it will happen. My first consideration would be front deck width. Glass or Aluminumn. You have lots of choices in both categories. Lots of glass boats today in the 150 class that will match the pricing on your upper end Aluminum boats.

Now if I had the money this would be the boat I would buy with a 140 suzuki.
Boat Models - SeaArk Boats - Arkansas (http://seaarkboats.com/boat_models/view/95)

M R Dux
03-10-2016, 10:54 AM
I agree 100% on the 140 Suzuki 4stroke engine but I would contact Bill at Big River Marine(BRM on the forums) for pricing on his Excel Crappie series. He destroyed my local dealers on pricing on my Excel Bay Pro 203 and 140 Suzuki.

03-10-2016, 11:43 AM
I don't know where you are in LA but if it is anything like the area around Baton Rouge where my brother lived I would definitely go with aluminum. Stumps are no fun in a 'glass boat. I have owned one 'glass boat and will never own another. The weight being the biggest reason. I have pushed my 16' aluminum boat off a rocky shore by myself, while I ran my 'glass boat on a sand bar and had to get help to get it off even with a 135HP motor. If you are thinking of taking it out in the Gulf you might consider 'glass for the stability that comes with the extra weight.

My :twocents

03-10-2016, 11:51 AM
I have Crappie fished out of a bass boat for the last two year, I have it For Sale now, me and the wife purchased a 18' Pontoon I am setting up for Crappie Fishing, cant wait to get her on the water231713

03-10-2016, 01:59 PM
An Xpress XP-200 might work for you. It's rated for a 115hp (or 150hp with hyd. steering), open floor space, lockable rod locker, wide enough for 2 added seats on the front deck and it has plenty of battery space for a 24v trolling motor. Runs 40-45mph with a 115hp. You can even get a 2nd live well up front if you go with the "catfish" model.

03-10-2016, 07:15 PM
I came out of metal boats and went to glass this last go around. Wish I had done it sooner. A bad lower back and the activity of a metal boat just don't get along. The size of the metal boats folks are talking of would be a different animal than what I came from. i have a 17'8" glass bass boat and it is a very comfortable platform, albeit skinny in the front end compared to some. I won't get into the argument of glass vs aluminum as that has been beat on some much it's plenty tender already. A wide front end to accommodate two anglers, the live well thing isn't a big deal. I have one in the front that I use for dry storage. The few steps don't matter to me. Storage for tackle and safety gear, which has to be readily available, is more an issue to me. A four stroke would consume less fuel but weigh more. Mine has a 150 and I would put a 115 Yammy 4 stroke tomorrow if the bank could stand it. The old 3 carb outboard runs great but really likes the fuel. You've gotten some really good advice so far, and my two cents for what it's worth, and I think you're on the right track. Get as big as will fit the garage with as many ponies as you can afford, and do your homework on things like vinyl VS carpet and storage issues and things and you'll do fine. Good luck with it. Keep us posted, I for one am paying attention to what you decide and why. You teach us all.

03-10-2016, 07:53 PM
Well one boat for me just won't do.

But one of my boats is a 17 ft Ranger R70 sport with a 115 hp Johnson V4 engine. It's twenty two years old now but everything still works good. This boat sold new for 15,000 dollars. The front deck is small by today's standards. But it has an optional flippin deck and you can store a cooler under it,or leave it out and set the cooler in there. It has a front and rear livewell. It runs top end about 50 light loaded and 45 or so heavy loaded. I generally cruise 3/4 throttle or so at about 35. I have an 80lb thrust 24 volt trolling motor,a boarding ladder,stereo. You can use one of the rear hatch storage areas for a cooler.They have foam injected all around them,hold a lot,and hold ice pretty well. The rod locker is small.

It will not flip over,it will not sink even if swamped. It won't ride as easy as a bigger bass boat....but you are safe in it under any conditions. Mine has been on Kentucky Lake,Barkley Lake, Ohio river,Tennessee river,Cumberland river,Mississippi river,Tablerock,LOZ,Greers Ferry, among numerous other places.In the worst storms you can imagine,in barge and yacht traffic in a high wind,8ft rollers and bigger. You just have to take it easy in those conditions and know how to drive through it or ride it out.

I fish single pole. I imagine it has had 10,000 fish or more caught out of it. If you count everything everybody has crossed the gunnel with.

I would prefer an R80 with a 150 all things considered. Dual console is good if you want the other person to be comfortable. But just in the way otherwise.About all a single pole general fisherman needs,especially if you fish a lot by yourself. Doesn't take a lot to pull it.

If you got the money and what not something bigger is nice but you see what I've done with mine.Some of the newer boats have better rod lockers and wider front decks even in the 17,18 ft class. Front livewells are harder to find now I think.

I would take a 19 footer with a 175 or 200 if you'll buy it for me.

03-10-2016, 08:00 PM
My next boat will be fiberglass 18-21' with 120+ hp four stroke. That said I'll still have my 16' duck boat with 40 tiller and my plastic pond jumper.

Fiberglass just rides so much better. Not to mention a whole lot quieter

lowe rider
03-10-2016, 09:36 PM
I was also wanting a boat to fish for crappie and bass both and in the end the bass boat won. My last boat was a Tracker V18 Allfish. It had a lot of walking around room but it came at the expense of small decks and storage space.

When I seriously started thinking about a new boat I looked at aluminum boat in the bass and crappie versions in the 18' class. I really liked the crappie boats for the front live well and the 3 across seat bases but the lower front deck and the livewell didn't leave much room for storage compartments.

I ended up buying a 2015 Triton 18TX with a 115HP Mercury 4stroke. It now has an 80# Minnkota Fortrex on it and I put my graphs off my Tracker on it. I also bought a double seat rig from EZ Poleholder and Hitek rod holders so I fish 2 off the front when I want to. This boat is 18'8" long and runs 45-50 MPH. I mostly fish by myself lately and single pole quite a bit but also like to do some trolling.

While I don't think any boat will work equally well for fishing for both bass and crappie I think the bass boat is better if you're going to do both. For me having the big front deck and lots of storage outweighed the convenience of the crappie version.

03-11-2016, 09:05 AM
An Xpress XP-200 might work for you. It's rated for a 115hp (or 150hp with hyd. steering), open floor space, lockable rod locker, wide enough for 2 added seats on the front deck and it has plenty of battery space for a 24v trolling motor. Runs 40-45mph with a 115hp. You can even get a 2nd live well up front if you go with the "catfish" model.

I have been eye-balling Xpress boats for a year, they have a good reputation. That model does look like worthy of consideratioin.

03-11-2016, 10:57 AM
Checkout the Ranger RT188C. I bought one last year and really like it. It has a Mercury 115 4S and all the bells and whistles. Plus two live wells. Rides and handles great.

03-11-2016, 11:17 AM
Checkout the Ranger RT188C. I bought one last year and really like it. It has a Mercury 115 4S and all the bells and whistles. Plus two live wells. Rides and handles great.

I checked out a Ranger aluminum boat in the past few days... don't recall the model right now but it was center console with lots of floor space around the console; that is what caught my eye when I went over to look at someone's boat in the parking lot. I didn't even know Ranger made an aluminum boat. I am undecided on aluminum versus fiberglass. The Ranger line is one I will consider.

EDIT: Looking at the model you suggested, there is alot of merit in that layout. I see a couple of things i *really* like.

03-11-2016, 09:13 PM
I researched every make of aluminum boat for 4 months and bought the Ranger. It is a solid and very stable boat.

lowe rider
03-11-2016, 09:30 PM
By the way the Triton TX and CTX boats are basically the same as the Ranger aluminum boats. They come down the same assembly line in the same factory with a few cosmetic differences. I bought the Triton because I got a better price on it.