The very best bass boats around are highly specialized and very expensive, but if you’re looking for your first boat or have limited economic means, you’re probably trying to sort through the myriad of countless new bass boats for beginners. That can be a daunting task, but we’re here to help. This roundup of beginner bass boats boils down the field to ID 10 top contenders that are easy to learn to operate, easy to maintain, and easy to afford, including:
Crestliner XF 179
Crestliner has long been a stand-out in the field of beginner bass boats, with a wide range of aluminum rigs that are reasonably priced and rigged for serious fishing. The XF 179 is an excellent example, starting with a $23,196 starting MSRP that includes a 60-hp outboard and a bunk trailer. Stand-out features include a 23-gallon livewell with both an aerator and a timer, eight-foot rodboxes, a Motorguide X3 bow-mount trolling motor, and a fiberglass console with room for 12-inch electronics. Also note that this is an all-welded boat with 0.10-inch-thick aluminum in the hullsides and bottom.
See Crestliner XF 179 boats for sale or visit Crestliner Boats for more information.
G3 Sportsman 1710
Rigged and ready for action with a 40-hp Yamaha outboard, the G3 Sportsman 1710 costs far less than most new cars at an MSRP just under $27,000. The standard features you get in the base package, however, will probably cause you to do a double-take: a Minn Kota 55 Edge electric trolling motor, a Lowrance HOOK Reveal 5X fishfinder, a two-bank battery charger, an aerated livewell, a locking rodbox, built-in tackle trays, and a custom trailer are all included. If you want to jump into competition from day one without having to do a bunch of extra buying and rigging, this package is ready for action right out of the box.
See G3 Sportsman 1710 boats for sale or visit G3 Boats for more information.
Lowe Stinger 188
The Stinger line was given a recent refresh by Lowe and the resulting package looks and feels like a high-end fiberglass bass boat, but without the high-end pricing; MSRP starts at $30,710 with a Mercury Marine 75 ELPT FourStroke outboard and a trailer. It benefits from a wide-beam design (stretching the tape at 7’10”) and enjoys enhancements like a red-backlighted console, lighted toggle switches, a recessed trolling motor foot pedal, and bucket seats. With an 18’8” length overall, this boat also delivers a lot more sheer space than many competitors that cost significantly more.
See Lowe Stinger 188 boats for sale or visit Lowe Boats for more information.
While most beginner bass boats are aluminum as a matter of simple economics, the Z17 is a fiberglass fishing machine that manages to keep cost down to a $30,995 MSRP with an outboard and a trailer. Here’s the real shocker: the standard powerplant is a potent 115-horsepower Mercury ProXS FourStroke that will have you racing to the hotspots at over 50 mph. On top of that, the package includes a bow-mount trolling motor, a 23-gallon livewell with an aerator and timer, and a Lowrance HOOK 4 fishfinder.
See Nitro Z17 boats for sale or visit Nitro Boats for more information.
Ranger is known for building high-end bass fishing boats and it’s hard to argue that any of their models are “inexpensive,” but their entry-level Z185 can be had for a hair under $43,000 and that gets you a fiberglass model with a 150-horse outboard plus a custom trailer with hydraulic brakes and Road Armor protective coating. Other significant stock features include a livewell with Venturi aeration, stainless-steel compression locks on the hatches, a Lowrance HOOK Reveal-5 fishfinder, a lithium-capable Dual Pro onboard battery charger, and a Minn Kota Edge 70-pound-thrust electric trolling motor. And this boat is built like its larger siblings, with a rock-solid pultruded transom, a fiberglass stringer grid, and gas struts on the large hatches.
See Ranger Z185 boats for sale or visit Ranger Boats for more information.
Skeeter ZX 150
While the $39,695 NAP price tag may be another relatively high one for this roundup, let’s remember that this number is still well under the average price for a new pick-up truck in this day and age — many middle-class Americans will still find it thoroughly affordable. And this package is also one of the most powerful in this group, running with a Yamaha V Max SHO VF150 outboard that will net you speeds in the 60-mph range. That’s a lot for a beginner to handle, but it’s also enough to take you from an amateur to a pro. Getting a ZX 150 also gets you bigger, better accessories than most beginner boats deliver, like a 10-amp three-bank battery charger, a standard (and upgradable) Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP fishfinder/GPS, tilt-hydraulic steering, a 24-volt 70-pound-thrust electric trolling motor, and a 12-inch jackplate.
See Skeeter ZX 150 boats for sale or visit Skeeter Boats for more information.
Tracker Pro 170
Of all the dedicated bass boats out there, Tracker takes the most affordable pricing prize with the Pro 170. This 16’8” long, 6’5” wide rig comes with a 40-horsepower outboard and a single-axel trailer at the roundup-winning “no haggle no hassle” price of $19,195 including prep and freight. The package deal also includes must-haves like a fishfinder (a Lowrance Hook2 4x) and electric trolling motor (a Minn Kota 45-pound-thrust Edge). We should also note that in 2021 the Pro 170 got some enhancements, including Tracker’s Diamond Coat 2.0 powder-coat/clear-coat finish and an all-welded two-piece hull with pressed-in strakes and chines, which carry on for the 2022 model year.
See Tracker Pro 170 boats for sale or visit Tracker Boats for more information.
Triton 179 TRX
Don’t let the model name fool you with the Triton 179 TRX, which starts the Triton lineup but is 18’6″ long and has a 7’7″ beam. It also comes with a 115-horsepower Mercury on the transom and a trailer with Road Armor and Vault hubs sitting underneath the hull, at the $31,995 base price. And despite the relatively low price point everything about this boat screams quality from the nitrogen-filled struts on the hatches, to the stainless-steel cleats, to the integrated Res-Q retractable boarding ladder. Even the forward “bike” seat is unusually nice, with a hydraulic pedestal and the Centric II seat mesh suspension.
See Triton 179 TRX boats for sale or visit Triton Boats for more information.
With a starting point of $28,395 the Vexus AVX181 offers some unique perks thanks to what they call a “glass infused hybrid design.” Several larger parts, like the console, stowage compartments, and the livewell, are molded from fiberglass. That gets you the slick gel coat finish and good looks, while saving cost as compared to the average bass boat made entirely of fiberglass. It also means you benefit from the light weight of an aluminum hull, and the stock 60-hp powerplant has plenty of oomph for the rig. The AVX181 also features some big-boat perks like both forward and aft livewells and a pad hull design.
See Vexus AVX181 boats for sale or visit Vexus Boats.
At $27,795 with a Yamaha VF90LA and a BackTrack trailer, the Xpress H17 has something other aluminum competitors in the same size and price range rarely offer: 0.125” thick 5052 aluminum construction. Most boats in this class have 25-percent less hull thickness, and some have hullsides that are even thinner. That extra beef will give any boat owner, beginner or not, confidence in the ruggedness of their fishing machine. The H17 also boasts Xpress’s “Hyper-Lift” padded hull design, which makes for a faster, drier ride. In fact, with 90 horses on the transom the boat can easily cruise in the mid-30s and tops out at over 46 mph.
See Xpress H17 bass boats for sale or visit Xpress Boats for more information.
To learn more in-depth information about bass boats, be sure to check out our Guide To Bass Boats article.
This article was last updated in May of 2022.