If you like staying close to the water and would rather spend a weekend fishing than watching TV at home, a boat will be your best friend. However, how do you choose: bass boat or bay boat?
Although both these types are pretty spectacular in their own way, they’re built for different water bodies and activities. In this guide, I’ll discuss the similarities and differences between these two kinds.
Plus, I’ll help you decide which type is more suitable for your interests.
What is a Bay Boat?
First off, let’s talk about bay boats. Their name makes it pretty clear that these boats are made for bay and shore areas. Since they’re a bit small, you shouldn’t take them to the ocean, especially when the waves are high.
Bay boats are an intermediate between smaller, flatter boats and larger vehicles driven in open waters. Thanks to the shallow draft, bay boats offer a smoother ride.
Characteristics of a Bay Boat
A bay boat allows you to fish in shallow waters but is also stable enough to deal with deeper waters. On average, a bay boat has enough room for four or five anglers. Thus, you can use it for a weekend fishing trip with your buddies.
The smaller size of this boat, coupled with the high maneuverability, makes it easier for the sailor to move through tighter spaces.
As for the size, most bay boats range up to 25 feet. Thus, they’re big enough to stay stable in shallow parts of the water body.
Also, the size is big enough to hold all your storage items and fishing tools. Even with four people on deck, the boat won’t be crammed with your fishing accessories.
Most often, bay boats come with a center console. It helps the sailor cast the boat at all angles, keeping it well-balanced.
Possibly, the best thing about bay boats is their versatility. Besides taking them for shallow water fishing, you can also use them for a ride to deeper waters. Plus, they have ample space for people and must-have accessories for water activities.
Shape and Water Type
Bay boats, unlike bass boats, have higher sides. Plus, the V-hulls are deeper than bass boats, allowing better maneuverability.
Since these boats are made for saltwater, they have fiberglass bottoms. The material can withstand the wear and tear from the mineral content of the water.
Keeping their size in mind, you should know that you can’t ride these boats in the middle of a vast water body. As they’re smaller in size, they’ll be washed away by the waves.
Some common bay boat manufacturers include:
- Bass Cat
- BoatLav LLC
- Boston Whaler
- Caroline Skiff
What is a Bass Boat?
Opposite to bay boats, bass boats are designed to create less disturbance in the water. Moreover, these boats have low profiles and are sleeker than bay boats. The average length of bass boats is around 26 feet, and they’re large enough for two to three people.
Characteristics of a Bass Boat
One of the most notable things about a bass boat is the lighter weight. Since the boat isn’t cumbersome, you can operate it using an outboard motor or trolling motor. Thus, a bass boat is your best bet for shallow waters.
Also, you can easily find bass boats in different sizes. While some of them are for a single person, others can hold over four passengers.
A bass boat has a flat bottom that is ideal for spending long hours on the water surface. Plus, the shallow draft allows easy handling of the vehicle.
Instead of disturbing the water surface, the boat glides smoothly over the top, making fishing a breeze. In contrast, boats with V-shaped hulls, like bay boats, cut through the water and disturb the fish.
Meanwhile, the larger casting decks allow you to keep more fishing accessories onboard than fishing vessels. Most modern bass boats have high-power motors that let the vehicle go up to 116 meters per hour at full speed.
Although you most probably won’t ride at full speed, it’s great to have an option. Plus, the motors are outboard, which means they don’t make a lot of noise.
It’s convenient to have the motor on the outside for a relaxing riding experience. Besides, the sound doesn’t scare the fish away.
As the motor is not using up space on the deck, you can use this excess area for storing fishing supplies or bringing another buddy along.
Size and Water Type
Bass boats are small, just like bay boats. However, they’re not suitable for saltwater fishing. Instead, they’re the perfect take-along for freshwater fishing.
Since the bottom of the boat is close to the water’s upper surface, you can have better control of the vehicle at faster wind speeds. However, bass boats don’t have deep v-hulls like bay boats, making them harder to handle in choppy water.
Despite this tiny design flaw, bass boats are among the best fishing boats since they’re closer to the water and don’t scare away the fish.
Some common brands that sell bass boats include:
- G3 Boats
- Lund Boats
- Bass Cat
- Lowe Boats
Similarities Between Bay Boats and Bass Boats
Despite having a few differences, both these boats are made for fishing. They are smaller in size, making it easier for anglers to take them on their trailers.
Also, both boats have livewells inside them, letting you keep fish alive even on the boat. If you’re out for a long fishing trip and don’t want the fish to get old after a few hours, you’d love this feature.
You can use both these boats for:
- Recreational fishing
- Extended fishing trips in shallow waters
- Professional angling
- Water activities
Differences Between Bay Boats and Bass Boats
The major difference between both these boats is the passenger capacity. Bay boats allow more people to ride than bass boats, considering they have spacious decks.
Secondly, bay boats have deeper v-hulls than bass boats. Thus, they sail smoothly in rough waters. However, it’s harder to control bay boats in windy weather due to the deeper hulls.
Another difference is the water type they’re suitable for. While bay boats are made for fishing in saltwater, bass boats are suitable for freshwater fishing.
Bass Boat or Bay Boat: Which One to Buy?
Buying a boat is a long-term investment. Thus, you have to put your mind into making a decision if you don’t want to regret it a week later.
When looking for a fishing boat, here are a few things to ask yourself:
- In which kind of water, freshwater or saltwater, will you be fishing?
- Do you fish in shallow or deep waters?
- How many people do you want to take on deck?
- How many fishing accessories do you carry?
- Do you need extra features, like the livewell?
After considering all these things, you can go ahead and buy a boat for yourself.
If you’re fishing in saltwater and want to go on group excursions, invest in a bay boat. In contrast, if you’re fishing in freshwater alone or with a couple of friends, consider a bass boat.
Furthermore, bass boats are relatively more affordable and versatile than other kinds of boats.
In conclusion, choosing the right boat will ensure an enjoyable fishing experience, so select wisely.