Fishing is one of the oldest activities that is still practiced by humankind, and it’s one of the earliest recorded means of sustenance in the world. Over the years, we haven’t changed much about the basic concept of fishing. You use a tool to catch a fish, located either on the water or by its side.
A boat greatly expands your capabilities while fishing, as it lets you reach deeper areas, where certain species of fish may be more common. The bass boat is one of the smaller kinds of fishing boats, though larger examples can reach over 20 feet long, and that small size means that they can be speedy.
Some hotshot anglers like beefed-up bass boats that are capable of going faster than 70 miles per hour and that got us thinking about how fast a bass boat can really go. Today, we’re going to discuss the top speed of bass boats, how much power you can realistically put in one, and whether or not any of this is safe.
What Is a Bass Boat?
Before we get into the details, let’s go over some of the basics. A bass boat is a boat which is designed for bass fishing, though that’s something that you could have guessed from the name. These boats are mainly designed for fishing on rivers, streams, and lakes, so they won’t have to deal with rough waters.
Bass boats are typically equipped with chairs that can swivel 360 degrees so that the occupants can cast their line in any direction. Another common feature is the inclusion of bins and trunks so that you can store your tackle, ensuring that it isn’t in a vulnerable position where it can be lost overboard.
Keep in mind that there are some sport fishing boats which are designed similarly to bass boats, though they’ll typically feature improved performance. The best way to distinguish these boats from real bass boats is in the design of the hull, as it will feature a more aggressive “V” shape.
Another thing that distinguishes bass boats from some of their counterparts is that they feature a live well, ensuring that you can keep fish fresh once they’ve been caught. These boats are usually made of lightweight materials like fiberglass or aluminum, making them speedy and agile, though the speed will also depend on the motor, which brings us to our next point.
The Motors on a Bass Boat
As with many other fishing boats, bass boats are designed to use two motors, each for a different purpose. The outboard motor on one of these watercraft provides the primary motive power that you’ll use to get to your fishing area and back from it, and this is what will determine how fast the boat can go.
Outboard motors usually feature a max power output of 250 hp since we have yet to see a bass boat being sold with anything more powerful than that. This limitation is due to the rules in competitive fishing circuits, most of which mandate that a bass boat can’t have a more powerful outboard motor than that.
Of course, if you want to beef up your bass boat and give it even more power than that, there isn’t anything stopping you from doing anything besides fishing competitively. However, we can’t guarantee that strapping that much power to a bass boat would necessarily be safe.
The second kind of motor on a bass boat is the trolling motor, which is designed to move the boat slowly through the fishing area. Since the outboard motor is larger, the movement of its propeller can upset the water and scare fish away, making the trolling motor a more effective choice.
How Fast Should a Bass Boat Go?
You may be wondering how fast your average bass boat can travel, and that depends on how much you paid for it and the power output of the outboard motor. If you want to have one of the fastest bass boats on the water, then you’ll want your watercraft to be capable of reaching 70 miles per hour.
Most boats with a 250 hp motor can reach a little over 70 mph, but anything beyond that starts getting more challenging to attain. Keep in mind that the vast majority of bass boats won’t even be able to reach this kind of speed, as only the top models are fitted with 250 hp motors.
Smaller bass boats can typically travel between 30 and 50 mph, and as we mentioned, it’s entirely dependent on how the watercraft has been equipped. Some of the cheapest models out there won’t even be able to reach those speeds.
Bass Boat Speed Limits
Depending on the waterway that you’re traveling on, you may have to abide by a speed limit while traveling on your bass boat. Of course, speed limits are less common than you would think while on the water, and it’s because of the simple fact that they can be rarely enforced by the authorities.
Think about how infrequently you see police cars driving around on the roads, and now consider how often you see police boats patrolling the waterways. The simple fact is that there is nobody available to enforce boat speed limits, so it is left up to the discretion of the driver.
There is also the fact that very few boats are actually capable of going fast enough to require a speed limit. That being said, there are a few places where you’ll have to watch your speed while boating, or you’ll run the risk of being ticketed, as these waterways are also actively patrolled.
Most of the time, such waterways feature speed limits because of narrow confines or other factors that make them more dangerous than average. Most of the time, boats will be limited to velocities between 15 and 40 mph.
Risks of Boating at High Speeds
Of course, the main risk of traveling in a bass boat at high speeds is crashing or capsizing, and there are plenty of factors which can contribute to such an occurrence. If you’re going too fast, then that will give you a lot less time in which you can react to factors which can potentially cause an accident.
For example, if you suddenly spot a boat coming around a bend in the river, you’ll have twice as much time to react to it if you’re traveling 30 mph instead of 60 mph. Of course, you’ll also have to consider that a boat will get less stable at higher speeds, making it easier to flip.
Keep in mind that other boaters will have to react to you as well, and they may not be prepared to see a bass boat coming at them at 70 mph. However, these are just the obvious risks for when you’re traveling too fast in a boat, and there are other factors that people don’t consider.
When a boat travels through water, it displaces the fluid that was in front of it, and this creates an effect which continues long after the boat has left the area. This is the phenomenon responsible for the creation of a wake, which is the long trail of water that you see following a boat’s passage.
A boat’s wake will become more violent if it is traveling faster, as the water is split by the craft at a higher speed. An intense enough wake can damage a boat’s surroundings, including property by the water, and it can even rock a boat hard enough to flip it over, so you can potentially endanger other anglers.
The Importance of Training and Experience
A lot of us tend to take boating from granted, especially if we’ve been fishing for the majority of our lives. However, the water still requires your respect, as it holds the power of life and death. If you’re going to operate a bass boat, then you need to be aware of the responsibility which is in your hands.
Captaining a bass boat at normal speeds is hard enough, especially when dealing with external factors like the weather. If you’re traveling at higher speeds, then you’ll need to be trained and experienced enough to handle any possible situation so that you and your passengers can be safe.
With the right training, you’ll have something to fall back on if the unexpected happens, including foul weather and similar factors. With experience, you’ll learn what to expect from your boat, and you’ll have more of a feel for the water.
However, even if you’ve been boating your whole life, it’s important to always captain your boat responsibly. Be aware of the risks of traveling at high speeds on the water, and always abide by local laws and regulations.
Bass boats can go faster than most people think, with the quickest ones reaching speeds of nearly 80 mph. We hope that this guide has provided you with all of the info that you were looking for, and we wish you luck in your future fishing trips.