Fishing is both a leisure activity and a professional sport that requires a few pieces of equipment and a boat.
While some anglers are happy using a simple rowboat to fish, others prefer boats specifically designed for the type of fish that they’re after.
An example is the bass boat.
With a shallow hull and plenty of room for tackle and electronics, it’s a fisherman’s favorite type of vessel when bass fishing.
With the average price of a new bass boat at $50,000 and more, you may wonder what makes bass boats so expensive.
Here are 10 reasons bass boats are so expensive.
Why Are Bass Boats So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Small Market
One of the main reasons that bass boats are so expensive is the small market.
In 2019, an estimated number of more than 50 million people went fishing.
The study covered various types of fishing like saltwater fishing, fly-fishing, and freshwater fishing.
Despite that large number, which was a record compared to the years before it, the market for the fishing boat is still small.
Many passive anglers tend to fish out of rowboats, kayaks, or even right off their docks.
Others only go fishing when on vacation and hire a boater to take them to hot spots for fishing activity.
Those who are professional anglers, competitive anglers, or really enjoy the hobby are the ones who are the most willing to pay for fishing boats.
Since the demand is very low, supply is also low.
Each boat manufacturer has to be mindful of how many boats they produce in a year.
If they build too many, then those are resources lost when no one buys them and a new model comes out.
To mitigate waste, boat companies only produce a small number of bass boats every year.
Since there’s a small number of them on the market, the price for them is high.
That’s because while the demand is still small, the supply is even smaller.
The problem with small demand is that it makes it difficult for independent boating companies to survive.
They may only sell a few hundred boats a year.
That might not be enough to last through the winter season when there’s hardly anyone buying a boat.
Bass boats are expensive because there’s minimal supply in the market.
The problem with a small market leads to the second reason that bass boats are so expensive.
Bass boats are expensive because only a few companies produce them.
When a smaller company can only sell a few hundred boats a year, they’re usually struggling financially.
This allows larger corporations to buy them out.
The result is a market in which only a few large companies sell bass boats.
This is a problem because it creates a monopoly.
Since most people buy their bass boats from one or two different brands, it empowers them while destroying smaller boating companies.
To survive, smaller boating companies may have to list their boats at a higher price than the large corporation.
Since bass boats are already expensive, the customer is more likely going to pay for the slightly cheaper boat from the corporation over the more expensive boat from the small company.
The problem becomes more and more exacerbated over time.
The large corporations are then able to set the price of bass boats since there isn’t anyone to compete against them aside from another company or two.
Bass boats are expensive because there are too few companies in the industry driving competition.
3. Handmade Products
Another driving force behind the high cost of bass boats is the fact that they’re handmade.
In many industries, automation has brought prices down.
Robots handle certain parts of the assembly process which removes the cost of manual labor.
Making boats is not fully automated.
While there are some areas where robots are useful, the construction of a bass boat is largely done by hand.
Certain parts, for example, need a human worker to weld them to the boat.
That’s because a boat is a specialized craft.
It has to stand up to certain environmental factors that cause most materials and objects to erode and deteriorate.
Since it needs to be safe, human workers have to do everything by hand.
It allows them to check everything, step by step, to ensure everything is coming together correctly.
Handmade products take longer to build and require more manual labor.
That drives up the cost in several ways.
The first is that since it takes longer to make, the workers receive more pay over time.
The second is that all their employees need to receive a wage for their work.
Since robots aren’t in use, boating companies are unable to reduce this part of their operational costs.
Finally, certain parts of the production process require a specialist.
Someone with specialized training has to perform certain steps to ensure they’re done right.
The process may require certain tools or carry an element of danger during its production.
Because they’re specialists, they’re often paid more than standard employees.
Handmade products are more expensive to make.
Because of that, bass boats are expensive.
As fishing becomes more popular, the demands for certain innovations also increase.
Anglers want their bass boats to be lighter and more maneuverable.
They want them to be faster and more durable.
All these innovations come with a price based on the materials that the company uses.
All major fishing boat companies use high-end and high-quality materials to make their bass boats.
The old material used for bass boats was a certain type of fiberglass.
While it performed well, it was still heavy and disturbed the fish.
Companies went to the drawing board and created a new style of a fiberglass hull.
They combined it with carbon fiber to make the hull lighter, stronger, and overall better.
The problem with these two materials is that they can be expensive.
Fiberglass is a complex material.
It’s a type of plastic made with glass fibers that are then embedded in resin.
The result is an extremely strong and durable material.
It’s ideal for fishing boats because it prevents leaks despite most forms of blunt trauma.
It’s also lighter than the traditional form of fiberglass which allows the hull to sit higher on the water.
This is important because it prevents getting caught on seaweed and other debris in the water.
It also disturbs the fish beneath the boat a lot less.
That means anglers can have an easier time fishing.
Carbon fiber is another expensive material to use.
It’s mostly made out of fibers of carbon atoms.
The result is a type of polymer that is extremely strong and light.
It has quite a few advantages like having high tensile strength, high stiffness, and high chemical resistance.
Since it’s expensive to make, using it is also expensive.
All these materials add to the price of a bass boat.
The most expensive types of bass boats often include the use of certain metals in their construction.
The most popular is aluminum.
It takes more time and skill to make a hull out of aluminum than it does fiberglass.
Aluminum also tends to last longer than fiberglass.
Due to the cost of production, the company has to place a high price on the boat to recoup its losses.
Bass boats are expensive because the materials they use in their production are expensive.
5. Comfort Features
Depending on how comfy you want to be while using your bass boat, the amount of comfort can also make them expensive.
Bass boats vary in their design and comfort level.
Some anglers don’t need a lot of comforts.
They prefer a simple chair and that’s all.
Others want to make their bass boat a place for luxury fishing.
They want several seats and benches made with plenty of padding.
Most, if not all, boat seats use marine vinyl.
That said, there are different types of marine vinyl.
Water-resistant marine vinyl helps drip off the water.
While water typically doesn’t soak through the material, there is always a chance that it may.
Over time, the water can stain and deteriorate the vinyl, too.
That’s why water-resistant marine vinyl is the cheaper option.
Waterproof marine vinyl, on the other hand, completely reflects water.
It doesn’t allow it to soak past its material.
It also doesn’t damage the material.
Since this type of material lasts a lot longer, it’s also more expensive.
Choosing one over the other can determine some of the costs of your bass boat.
The padding is another factor that adds to the cost.
If you want maximum comfort, then you want a lot of padding in your seat.
The most expensive types of padding will offer substantial cushion as well as use a waterproof material.
This ensures that even if the vinyl becomes wet, the cushion will remain dry.
Less expensive padding offers the bare minimum cushioning.
Whether your bass boat has carpet or not is another element of comfort.
Some anglers like carpet because it separates the fishing area from the social area.
It’s comfortable under their feet and makes the boat look luxurious.
Others prefer not to use carpets since they can easily get messy during fishing.
You need a specific type of carpeting for a boat since it needs to be able to handle water.
That’s expensive as well.
The number of comfort features your bass boat has, the more expensive it’s going to be.
Bass boats are expensive because of their comfort features.
6. Engine Power
A lot of thought and innovation goes into new boat motors.
Fishing boat companies are aware that their customers want more powerful engines.
These engines need to be able to provide better handling and speed than their predecessors.
Handling is important in a bass boat because most anglers find themselves fishing in tough terrain.
Whether it’s water foliage, submerged trunks, or even trees, they have to be mindful of where they’re steering.
Being able to turn on a dime can ensure that their boat remains safe.
Speed is another important factor for an angler.
Whether it’s a competition or a desire to get to one’s favorite fishing spot as quickly as possible, the faster a boat goes, the faster one can start fishing.
Because bass boats tend to be smaller compared to other fishing boats, they aren’t able to use some of the same heavy-duty engines.
They’re too heavy for the boat.
As a result, manufacturers have to create a powerful engine specifically for a bass boat.
That involves the use of resources that make the engine more expensive.
An engine that features a special quality, like increased speed or better handling, is going to be more expensive than the average boat engine.
Professional anglers typically want top-of-the-line engines for their boats.
That comes with a high price.
These engines use the latest high-grade materials to deliver the performance that they need.
Bass boats are expensive because their engines can be expensive.
Another reason bass boats are expensive is the amount of technology that they use.
Angling has never been so technical.
One of the hallmarks of fishing technology is GPS.
Some bass boats feature advanced GPS technology that allows anglers to save their current location.
If they find a fishing spot that they like, then they can mark it.
This allows them to return to exactly that spot at a later date.
GPS technology is also helpful in terms of ensuring no one becomes lost.
Whether you’re coasting along the shore or going deeper into the water, it’s easy to lose your way amid the shifting tides.
A GPS can help ensure every angler makes it back home.
The level of advancement on the GPS also determines its price.
High-quality GPS devices can maintain signals even in storms.
Cheaper devices may struggle to maintain the signal even in clear skies.
Typically, the more expensive the GPS is, the more reliable it is.
Besides a GPS, some anglers also prefer to have sonar or radar on their boats.
This can help them detect any fish activity below or near their boats.
It can save them a lot of time by helping them decide if they should move on if movement or sound isn’t detected below the boat.
The more advanced technology is extremely expensive.
Even mechanical technology like tackle restraints that allow your boat to do most of the fishing for you can cost a pretty penny.
The more tech-heavy you want your boat to be, the more expensive it’s going to be.
That’s because manufacturers have to create these products with water in mind.
Water is destructive to electronics.
Manufacturers have to design and produce their tech in such a way as to keep them safe even during a storm.
That costs a lot of money.
Bass boats are expensive because fishing technology is expensive.
8. Brand Awareness
As with most products, if a product comes from a certain brand, then it’s going to be more expensive than a generic brand.
Brand names are more expensive because they’ve built a reputation for providing high-quality products.
Their customers trust them to deliver.
They’re a safe purchase.
Because of that reputation, brand names can make their products a bit more expensive.
They do so knowing that their customers will still pay the price because they trust or enjoy the brand.
Some of the top bass boat brands include:
- Bass Cat
Many anglers love Ranger because of their hand-laid hull.
This differs from a chopped hull since it’s stronger and less susceptible to leaks.
Ranger has a reputation for being long-lasting.
Bass Cat has a strong following as well.
They’re best known for providing boats with great handling.
They prefer to make smaller boats that feel a bit intimate.
They also have a reputation for providing great customer service.
Finally, Legend is another popular bass boat brand.
It’s best known for its wide hull which provides great stability on choppier water.
It’s also made for all types of fishing including bass.
Legend’s stability allows bass fishers to reach up to 70 MPH (or about 61 knots in nautical terms) on their boats with ease.
Obviously, no matter the brand, you’re going to pay the brand’s price which can make bass boats expensive.
9. Lack Of Mass Production
Bass boats are not mass-produced like other similar types of vehicles.
Cars, for example, are.
They’re made several at a time and then shipped to various dealers across the country.
Bass boats tend to wait until an order goes in.
A manufacturer may make a couple to ensure quick delivery, but by and large, they’re made to order.
Because they’re not mass-produced, it takes more money to produce them.
Other companies can order certain parts and materials in bulk since they know they’re going to use them in abundance.
Bass boat manufacturers don’t have that luxury.
They have to order certain materials whenever they run out and they’re never sure when that might be since the market is unpredictable and small.
Bass boats are expensive because they’re not mass-produced.
Finally, bass boats are expensive because of their durability.
Several checks occur throughout the production process to ensure that the boat is seaworthy.
If it sinks or has another problem, then the company’s reputation will suffer.
That could ruin them.
To avoid that, each boat is carefully inspected for durability.
Since bass boats are made to last, they’re more expensive.
That’s because there are fewer repeat buyers.
Once a buyer has their hands on a boat, they expect it to last for most, if not all, of their fishing career.
The companies have to ensure that the one-time investment is worth it for them financially.
Otherwise, they’ll go out of business.
Bass boats are expensive because they’re built to last.
Fishing can either be an extremely cheap hobby or an extremely expensive one.
Boats are often considered toys and bass boats are no exception.
When shopping around for a bass boat, consider some of the reasons above to determine why it’s so expensive.