Best 18 foot bass boat survey? Best 18 foot bass boat survey?
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    Best 18 foot bass boat survey?
from Dave (  
11/24/2005 7:47:00 PM


 Whats the best boat in the 18 foot range. Looking for something that has a decent ride and will handle a 175HP engine, dont want a tandom axle trailor. Whats the word? Thanks!

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   boat from PowerwormWBC  11/24/2005 8:03:00 PM
My vote would be a BassCat Sabre with a 175 Opti.

   my vote from jamo1 (  11/24/2005 8:11:00 PM
The best ride in an 18 footer by far is a hydra-sports LS185. Don't know if you can find one as they stopped production in 1997. If you want Brand new, take a procraft 185 out for a test ride. I think you'll like the results.

   Best boat in 18Ft. from thomxdc (  11/24/2005 9:38:00 PM
A 18 Ft. Triton rides real well and has good speed with a 150 HP.I've been with a friend of mine that has one and we have been all over lake st. clair and the detroit river with no problems.

   Second... from willwork4fish  11/24/2005 9:51:00 PM
the Sabre. Mine's got a 150efi and it does just fine but when I bought it a 175efi was no longer available and couldn't justify the $3500 jump to the Opti 175. I looked a lot, Ranger, Champ, Stratos, Charger, even kicked around Legend but had never seen or ridden in one and at the time would have had to drive to Ark. to the factory. I fish rivers mostly but have had it out on Lake Michigan in some big sh!t for an 18 footer and it handles great. It's also real dry. Get the 5 1/2" jackplate with it, you do have to tweak it in a little. Also, have not been in another boat of any size with a better holeshot.

   best 18' boat from Brad (  11/24/2005 10:07:00 PM
without a doubt a ranger 461vs. i have taken mine from one end of lake mead to the other in high seas. it isn't bad if you know how to drive, pretty quick, stable platform,tons of storage, and most of all sits flat and low to the water so the wind dosen't effect it. the best boat i have ever fished out of.

   461 Ranger from beartrap  11/24/2005 10:35:00 PM
agree with above post....sits low in water and might get you a little wet but will get you back..have owned a 17 1/2 ft Hydra-Sport and two 18 ft. Javelins and the Ranger is smoother ride in rough water than any of them....nobodys 18ft will compare with a 20ft.

   Sabre from Phil (  11/24/2005 10:54:00 PM
Another vote for the Bass Cat Sabre. A 175 Opti will make this smokin' fast rig with an excellent ride. Very well built, lifetime warranty forever, and backed by the best customer service in the industry. Check them out at If you have other questions about them don't hesitate to ask. Good luck in your search!


   best 18 foot from Rodney Heupel (  11/25/2005 1:36:00 AM
Why that would have to be the one I own, a G3 HP180 with a 115HP fourstroke!

   Best 18 footer... from Backlash Wi  11/25/2005 7:50:00 AM
Be sure to check out the Venom Cobra 188. 18' 8", rated for a 200HP, rides and handles like a dream and you won't believe the storage. Here's their website: www.venomboats,com

   Cobra from TomM  11/25/2005 7:59:00 AM
Another vote for the Cobra 188. I'm partial because I have one. I've been in and driven the 461/2, test drove a Sabre while looking for a new boat but, sorry, after driving the Cobra there was no comparison for me. I found nothing better in the Ranger than the Cobra and the only thing better about the Sabre was speed.


   Ranger 461vs from Whiteboat  11/25/2005 8:04:00 AM
Best 18' boat ever built. Ran mine for 8 years and mis it. i prefer it to anything that is made today.

   Dave from Mike I. (  11/25/2005 8:57:00 AM
I sort of lean towards the Ranger because I'm a Ranger guy, but all that is subjective.Sometimes buying a boat is like buying a pair of shoes, it has to fit you, if you know what I mean.

   Best 18' from Chuck (  11/25/2005 10:03:00 AM
I'll bite... I'll assume that you are asking about newer boats and not old. With that said, the layout of today's 18' is, imo, better than those boats built in the 80's and 90's.

Since I'm over 6' but not over weight, I needed a boat that I could fit behind the steering wheel in and a hull that had some performance to it. Those two criteria ruled out the Champion (187) and the Skeeter(tzx 190) because I needed a shoe horn to fit behind the steering wheel. I ruled out Ranger because of the cost it would take to get it to run with all the other 18' hulls on the market. Nitro and procraft were ruled out due to a general consensus of a lack in quality, but those Nitros are a tight fit behind the steering wheel too.

That left two boats for me. A Triton tr186 and a Basscat Sabre. Both boats perform well and the fit behind the steering wheel is excellent. Since I liked the layout of the Sabre better and the rave reviews about Basscat as far as quality and service, that is the boat I chose. In retrospect, I wish I had purchased the Triton. Too many quality issues with the 'cat.

Just being honest here so if you guys want to due the old BFHP hog pile feel free.

   Opinions from Mike T. (  11/25/2005 11:16:00 AM
It's all in the opinion of the buyer. If we all had the same taste we would all have exactly the same boat. Drive the different boats or ride with someone who has one. People will always give you a ride in their boat, because in their opinion it is the best one. Decide for yourself. Don't forget price and dealer reputation. If you buy a boat it is better to spend a little extra and have good dealer service than to save a few bucks and have to travel 10 hours to the dealer to get it fixed. As far as the boats go, the differences in construction or which one is "best" is going to be comparible with any of the major manufacturers. Have fun shopping. The boat show season is on its way. That's a good time to see them all side by side. These are my opinions and I didn't mention any specific brands for the sake of not starting an arguement.

   No best one boat in any size out there from JohnM  11/25/2005 11:41:00 AM
With that said when I bought I narrowed it down to the 187DCX and the Sabre. I went with the 187DCX since C&O Marine is one of the best dealers in the nation and they were in my town made it a no brainer. I am also 6 foot and weigh in at 260 so I guess I fit the "keeper" rule LOL. I fixed the shoe horn problem with a optional tilt wheel. I would suggest taking all of the ones on your short list to the water for a hour or so and then make your decision. I have been VERY pleased with my Champion, 175 Johnson combo.

   18 footer from Bob (  11/25/2005 11:58:00 AM
Ranger 188vs or Basscat Puma. You can't go wrong with either of these boats as previously mentioned. In my opinion, they are the best-built most durable boats on the market. I fish Lake Fork weekly (stump-infestation and I like it) and these two are consistently the most trouble-free boats in our large bass club. They are not as fast as an Allison or Bullet, but they fish extremely well and can withstand the constant pounding and stump-jumping.

   Correction-Bass Cat Sabre not Puma from Bob (  11/25/2005 12:00:00 PM
Sorry about that. I fish out of both models. The Sabre is the 18 foot model. Regards

    Ranger 185 hands down winner. from Shelby (  11/25/2005 7:02:00 PM
The Ranger 185vs has been priced with the best of them year after year. Its the most stable 18 and a half footer in the water. Thats what your looking for in a 18 foot boat, not speed. STABILITY and FISHABILITY is key.

Ranger 185 hands down!

your in Bama, Southern wind blown, shallow, spring lakes make big waves. If you want an 18 footer then it better be the most stable and you can run a 185 in some bad stuff and fish in bad stuff without bouncing like a pop can and getting sea sick. I say try that in the little meow meow!

speeds a non issue in a 18 footer, the 185 will be less than 5 mph off the competitors speed. Your going to be way slower than a 20 footer with a 225 so it doesn't matter. 5 mph isn't enough to justify getting a less stable boat. The price tags are all about the same so you might ought to get the best in the 18 foot class. RANGER!

   ChampioN all the way from champ187 (  11/25/2005 9:07:00 PM
YOu can't go wrong with a Champion 187. I've got an Evinrude 175 Intruder on mine. Plenty of storage, decent speed and the best layout of any 18 foot boat around...not to mention the ride. I've been very pleased and would not consider another boat. Hoping to get a 198 or a 203 within the next year.

   While Shelby makes some good points.... from Judd (  11/26/2005 12:31:00 AM
he is also slightly slanted toward the Ranger ;)

So here is my slightly slanted toward the Cat comments. There are a couple of things that aren't mentioned, like weight is what makes the Ranger so stable to be exact there is around 300-350 lbs difference in boat weight. That can impact your towing/stopping abilities depending on what you are towing with it. With todays gas prices that can also affect your mileage although probably not much, it definitely isn't hurting the cause.

That weight among hull designs also slows that boat down to a difference more like 7-10 mph difference. I know a couple of guys who are not touching 60 w/ a load in a 185 and I know of one guy around here touching 67-68 w/ his 150 Sabre. If you don't think there is that much difference in those speeds run down the lake w/ both at the same time and see, it will surprise you. Plus it will go a long way when running against the bigger faster boats too.

As far as bobbing up and down, if you order a 52" shaft MK w/ a Sabre and you can't keep that trolling motor in the water then you really don't need to be fishing out there with a 18 foot boat anyway.

The ride will be significantly better in the Sabre too and not near as wet.

I am not saying the BassCat is the boat for you. Yes, it is my choice in that range but you need to go run the boats you are looking at and look them over really well. Don't just look at the boats look at the trailers and decide what you want to spend your money on.

PS - you mentioned a 175 in your initial post and the Sabre is a rocketship w/ a 175.

   Triton 186 speed? from Jay (  11/26/2005 8:47:00 PM
What can you expect speed wise in a TR186 with a 150? And what is the ride like in rough water(3-4 foot rollers)?

   18 footers from Flippin nuts (  11/27/2005 11:42:00 AM
I have own a Champion and a Skeeter was impressed with both boats,,I would take a Skeeter or Champion in a heartbeat,,will not say anything good/or bad about others because i have not owned any others..



   Speed and ride... from Herk FE (  11/27/2005 6:47:00 PM
I don't know for sure, but I'd guess somewhere around high 50's for speed. As far as ride... well, I'm here to tell ya that I get a chuckle out of a lot of the posts I read on here with folks "supposedly" blasting around in 8'ers, and how their boat drives like a dream in that stuff, bla bla bla. Those are the same folks that think > < that big is 12"!!! I'll just say that unless the hull has USS *something* written on the side, the ride in TRUE 3-4 foot waves will be ROUGH!!!

   The best 18 footer from Captain Marvel (  11/27/2005 11:15:00 PM
You should look into an 18' Bumble Bee. I am on my second one and have had no problems with either. For an 18' boat it does a good job in rough water, and it is rated for a 175. My Optimax 175 bumps the rev limiter (5750) when turning either a 25" Tempest or Trophy. I could turn a 26" prop, but the hole shot would suffer with a heavy load.

   185 stability from Shelby (  11/28/2005 12:33:00 AM
The keel is pushed as far forward as any bass boat made and its heavy in the front. It will break those 2-3 footers while your fishing on the deck standing up. You will get some spray from the big waves breaking and slapping against the hull but the boat will be SAFE and stable to where you can actually fish standing up without having to brace yourself for the next wave. You more than likely won't fall off the deck while in that ackward position when a wave comes and hits you unexpectedly. Some of the other brand boats doing that bouncing stuff, well, if ya hit a wave just right and get a sudden unexpected bounce while in that ackward position the chances are greater that you'll not get spray but a swim. (I would much rather have the spray personally)

The Ranger front deck is the widest in the business on the 18 footers, especially up at the point where its needed the most (front pedestal seat-forward). I'm not saying its a great rough water boat, its only an 18 footer but I do believe its the best in its class.



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