No matter how skilled you are as an angler, you can’t enjoy fishing long-term if you don’t own the right kind of boat.
Are you planning to go fishing with a partner? Or do you want to enjoy a fishing trip with a group of friends? Your answer will decide what kind of boat you invest in – a bass boat or center console.
And when it comes to these two boats, you can’t make a hasty decision. Both are excellent fishing boats but come with their set of pros and cons.
So if you are confused about which one to buy, then you are at the right spot. In this article, I have listed some of their details and compared them in terms of structure and functionality. Keep reading!
Characteristics of Bass Boats
As the name suggests, a bass boat is a small boat for fishing bass and other panfish in freshwater bodies. These boats are made of aluminum or fiberglass and have an average length of 17 feet and a width of 95 inches.
They typically have V-shaped hulls and come with powerful outboard motors and trolling systems.
Advantages of Bass Boats
Here are some of the reasons why bass boats are a personal favorite of the majority of anglers:
Large Storage Capacity
A bass boat has one or two large built-in livewells and can carry a large amount of fishing tackle. The typical flat front deck has several storage compartments beneath, specially designed to keep all sorts of fishing equipment.
Easy to Handle
It is easy to maneuver bass boats through shallow waters and around obstacles. This is because you can paddle them around as they are small and lightweight. You can also change your fishing direction while seated on swivel chairs.
What’s more, you can pass through tunnels and low bridges and keep your boat steady with the help of power poles.
Disadvantages of Bass Boats
Since nothing is ever perfect, bass boats have a few drawbacks too. Some of which are:
When it comes to fuel consumption, cost, and maintenance of bass boats, you will be surprised by the facts. These boats use four to five gallons per hour of fuel and have prices as high as $20000 to $50000.
Whether it’s a bass boat or center console, each one requires an equal amount of time for maintenance. But you need to wipe a bass boat dry every time you take it out of the water, or you would be left with stubborn spots.
Moreover, the fiberglass hulls are prone to sun damage, cracking, and breakage, which can cost you a lot of money for their repair. So if you fish on a frequent basis, a bass boat is not a good option for you.
Less Seating Room
Another disadvantage of bass boats is that they can only carry a few people on board. These boats, designed primarily for bass fishing, have enough room to be comfortable for two people. However, you can fit up to four people in some varieties.
Generally, though, bass boats have limited seating capacity and more flat deck space.
You can end up with a sunburn in bass boats as they don’t come with sunshades. Also, since these boats sit flat and short, chances are you’ll find yourself soaked in water when fighting a big fish. This makes them comparatively less comfortable.
Characteristics of Center Consoles
As the name suggests, a center console has a console (control panel) that sits in the center of the boat. These are single decked, open hull boats that are uniquely designed to provide walking access to all sides.
These boats are usually 18 to 40 feet long and are available in six types, namely: technical poling skiff, flats boat, bay boat, offshore, hybrids, and cats.
Advantages of Center Consoles
Center consoles provide an array of benefits to its owner. Here are some of them:
A major advantage is that it provides a 360-degree angle for fishing. You can cast in from the rear, the sides, or the bow (front of the boat) and have plenty of space to move around when struggling with a big catch.
It can easily fit five to eight people on board, making it a good choice to fish and cruise with your friends and family.
A center console is a fuel-efficient boat with 3 gallons per hour of fuel consumption rate. Furthermore, these boats are cheaper as compared to other boats with a price range of $10,000 – $50,000.
You can use a center console for fishing in both saltwater and freshwater as these boats can keep their balance in the heavy ocean waves. Moreover, center consoles are not just restricted to fishing.
These boats can also be used for enjoying thrilling watersports like water skiing and wakeboarding. The central helms of these boats provide the captain with a greater visual range, which helps them stay more connected and aware of the boat’s situation.
Some new center console models come with additional features of forward lounging, transom seating, and galleys with stove and freshwater faucets. So with a center console, you can just hang out with your friends one day, fish for salmon the next day, and hunt down some Mahi Mahi the day after.
Disadvantages of Center Consoles
Center consoles do have some setbacks, as all boats do. Some of them are:
Less Storage Capacity
Despite being spacious, these boats have a small storage capacity and don’t have the room to store larger items. So you may want to keep a few extra things, but it’s not possible. They usually have small storage compartments suitable for keeping bait, hooks, etc.
Difficult to Maneuver
You cannot pass under a lowset bridge or go through a lake tunnel in a center console, as most of these boats come with a large hardtop.
Also, if you run into the trouble of failed engines, you would be stuck in the middle of nowhere! Centre consoles are too heavy and huge to be paddled.
Bass Boat or Center Console: A Short Comparison
Bass boats and center consoles, both, are designed for fishing purposes mainly. With a bass boat, you have an expensive small vessel with limited personal space that can carry a large amount of fish tackle. You can fish in a wide array of freshwater fishing spots.
Hence, bass boats are preferred by serious anglers and those competing in bass fishing tournaments.
In comparison, a center console is a large, spacious, budget-friendly, and comfortable boat that allows you to fish in both saltwater and freshwater. This boat is a better choice for people who enjoy staying out on the waters and fish for recreation.
In terms of speed and durability, a bass boat and center console are pretty similar to each other.
If you want to take your fishing hobby to the next level, I would suggest investing in a bass boat. Or, if you like to recharge your batteries on weekends with your friends or family, then a center console is what you need.
It all depends on your budget, the type of water you fish in, and how enthusiastic you are about fishing. But no matter which fishing boat you decide to buy, make sure you take a test ride before making the purchase.