Anatomy of a bass boat: The state-of-the-art machines used by professional anglers
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Friday, February 22, 2013
2/22/13 at 5:11 PM
Bassmaster Classic coverage: From the morning launch to the evening weigh-ins, get complete Classic coverage. And find more on the event, including a Google Maps video tour of Grand Lake and maps of Tulsa’s entertainment districts and restaurants.
View an interactive graphic of the anatomy of a bass boat.
Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Fred Roumbanis of Bixby let us take a closer look at his bass boat. The Triton 21XS Elite with a 250-horsepower Mecury Pro Verado motor is one example of these state-of-the-art machines that are worth $60,000 to $70,000 with all their features.
His is similar to other boats with a 21-foot fiberglass hull, 95-inch beam and dry hull weight of 2,000 pounds for stability and for smoother running at speeds up to 80 mph.
Look closely and you might be surprised at the many features these tools of the professional bass fishing trade provide.
Original Print Headline: The state-of-the-art machines used by professional anglers
1. GPS and Sonar Imaging
Located on the front deck on the console, global positioning system (GPS) map display units as well as sonar imaging units allow anglers to see the contours of the lake and underwater structures (and fish) at a glance. Sonar imaging allows picture-like views straight down as well as a side-view. Anglers can set "waypoints" stored in removable avionics chips so they can quickly return to exact fishing locations.
2. Main Console
Adjustable seat, steering wheel and foot-pedal accelerator make driving comfortable. The lever at the side controls the motor transmission for forward, reverse and neutral. Switches and buttons include the starter, horn, trim adjustment, hydraulic jack plate, shallow-water anchor system, live well pumps, various lights and power to various accessories and the bilge pump. View screens and dials include in-dash GPS, side-mounted sonar imaging, voltmeter gauge, tachometer, water pressure (in motor), speedometer and fuel gauge.
3. Power Center
Rear compartment allows access to four batteries: three 12-volt marine grade deep-cycle batteries wired in series for the trolling motor and one battery for the starter and other accessories. Also in here is the main power switch, a battery charger, spare parts or fluids, oil and power steering fluid reservoirs, bilge pump, live-well pumps and hydraulic pumps for the shallow water anchoring system.
4. Live Wells
Live wells are insulated and hold 40 gallons or more on most boats with options for constantly pumping in fresh water and/or recirculating and aerating water (adding oxygen) in the tank to hold fish for long periods of time. Anglers sometimes add pure oxygen, ice and salt-based additives to help fish stay healthy, especially in hot weather.
5. Rear Storage Compartment
Heavier storage items go in the rear compartments to help optimize balance for speed. Things back here include heavy plastic baits, tungsten weights, spare prop or other boat parts and tools.
6. Electric Trolling Motor
A 36-volt trolling motor provides 101 to 109 pounds thrust on an adjustable-depth, 45-inch shaft. Foot control pedal is inset into the deck to allow the angler to stand comfortably with one foot on the pedal, which controls both direction and speed.
Like "a duck call for fish" with a controller on deck and omni-directional speaker mounted to the trolling motor housing it stimulates fish in the area with programming that emits a variety of sounds that mimic activity of baitfish and predatory fish.
8. Front Fishing Deck Controls
Padded carpeting on the deck makes it easier to be on your feet all day. Controls are conveniently grouped on the bow for the trolling motor, shallow water anchor system, Hydrowave, GPS and sonar imaging.
9. Rod locker
Most pros carry a selection of rods and reels rigged for a variety of conditions. A pro might have 16 to 20 rods rigged and in the boat, although the space could accommodate up to 50.
10. Front Storage Compartments
Storage locker spaces have slots for organizing containers filled with the hundreds of baits, hooks, extra fishing line and various fishing hardware pros may have on board. Other lighter-weight items stored up front might include life jackets, rain gear, extra warm clothes, rope, helmets, first aid kit, push poles, paddle, and a flare gun.
11. Removable Console
Typically removed for tournament fishing to provide room to fight fish and handle fish quickly.
12. Ice Chests
Tournament anglers don't stop to eat and typically grab a quick drink or snack while motoring from place to place. A built-in, 28-quart ice chest is located in an easy-access location. Removable 12-quart ice chest is located under the center seat.
13. Measuring Board/Tool Space
A measuring board pulls quickly from a slot for quick measuring to make sure fish are legal sized in a spot where other slots and trays hold tools needed for unhooking fish and re-rigging or repairing rods and baits.
Most professional anglers run a 250-horsepower motor allowing them to push their 2,000-plus pound boats up to 80 mph on the water. Motors weigh 500-600 pounds depending on the model. Fuel capacity on pro boats is 40 to 50 gallons.
15. Shallow Water Anchor System
Hydraulic "grasshopper legs" extend poles down 8 to 10 feet to instantly anchor a boat in place. They are programmable to drop one pole or both at one time (in fast, medium or slow speeds) with a single push of a button at the front of the boat or at the main console.