It is probably safe to say most bass anglers dream of the time when they would own one of those fiberglass hot rods. Bass Boat Royalty – the thought of having a bunch of horsepower hanging off the back and zooming down the lake at 70+ miles per hour is just the thing red-blooded American men think about.
Over the years, boat manufacturers have been asked to add more and more capability to their boats. As capability increased, anglers were more than happy to line up to purchase the fiberglass sled of their dreams. However, due to the demands of the customer base, advancements in technology and innovative design changes these new boats are considered unaffordable by the same folks who demanded the improvements.
What was once considered an entry level boat is now becoming the only affordable alternative for many bass anglers. I am speaking about boats made from aluminum. In the aluminum market, I would say Bass Tracker certainly is in a position of dominance and has become the starter boat for many inspiring first-time bass boat owners. Many tracker owners or former tracker owners loved their first aluminum boats. However, since it was on the entry-level side of the spectrum they still wanted to move up to a bass boat with more size and features. Enter now the world of fiberglass bass boats. Unfortunately, what was once a $15K fiberglass bass boat is now upwards of $45K with some prices above the high-water mark of $100K for the current large dream machines.
Within the past few years, Ranger introduced their current line of aluminum boats, and they have been a significant hit with anglers. Ranger’s aluminum line has excellent storage and layouts, and the construction methods are approaching the safety and security of their fiberglass big brothers. I love the RT188 and the RT198P. I have had the pleasure to drive a 188 but not the 198. The RT198P features a bass boat stepped hull design and has a 150hp capability. All indications are consumers can expect further advancements in the product style of several other boat manufacturers. While these new tin bass boats are not inexpensive, they are still affordable. Within a couple years, I expect the aluminum rigs will totally dominate the bass boat market even though the high-end fiberglass products will still be a popular and desirable item. Anglers want the higher-end product; it is just a hard reality most are out of the range of many anglers’ budget.
You know what? Perhaps tracker boats will remain the first choice for entry-level bass boat purchasers. The change will be when it is time to upgrade, the new generation of aluminum boats, like the RT series from Ranger, will be the upgrade of choice. While fiberglass is still king, a new prince has entered the royal family and its construction is aluminum.
For more great blog entries from Bud, visit his continuing blog Fish ON!