(page 1 of 3)
Heartland waters offer everything from some of the best bass fishing in the nation to incredible panfishing in backwaters that may be accessible only by skinny-water-running jon boats. Then there’s our world-famous catfish and an open-water striper fishery that many say has never been better. Whether you’re a hardcore angler or a fair-weather family fisherman, here are some watercraft you just might want to consider based on how you prefer to wet a line.
Bass Fishing Boat: Nitro Z-6
Priced at $20,000 matched with a 115-horsepower Mercury OptiMax and a custom trailer with swing-away tongue, the Nitro Z-6 from Tracker Boats is a great choice for serious Heartland anglers who want to chase bass as well as most of our other popular gamefish species.
The Z-6’s 17-foot, 4-inch hull is built of hand-laid fiberglass and carries a 90-inch beam. There’s three-across seating, with steps that lead to the aft deck and folding fishing chair. Up front is a bow bicycle seat. The all-inclusive rig comes with a 32-gallon livewell aft with timer, divider and pump-out system; a flush-mounted Lowrance Mark V fishfinder; and a Minn Kota Edge 12-volt, 54-pound thrust, foot-controlled trolling motor.
Storage abounds in port and starboard aft lockers with drop-in boxes molded to accept tackle trays; passenger rod storage with hold-down strap; port and starboard bow lockers; a center bow rod/gear locker; and an insulated cooler. www.nitro.com
Length Overall 17 feet, 4 inches
Beam 7 feet, 6 inches
Draft 1 foot, 1 inch
Hull Weight 1,300 pounds
Fuel Capacity 22 gallons
Max. Power 115 horsepower
Base Price $19,995
Pontoon Fishing Boat: Qwest 7518 VX Fish
This 19-foot pontoon is all about fishing in comfort, offering dedicated deck space fore and aft for angling. The boat, from Apex Marine, includes fishing features such as a fiberglass livewell, a rear fishing station with rod holders, a rod rack on the forward casting deck and a Humminbird fishfinder as standard equipment.
Seating for anglers includes two folding fishing seats on removable pedestals on the bow and a matching set on the stern. In the cockpit, there’s a 46-inch-long reclining bench seat to port for relaxing between bites, and a deluxe captain’s chair with folding armrests at the helm.
Pontoons with 23-inch diameters and full length keels are underfoot, supporting a premium carpeted deck constructed of marine plywood with a lifetime warranty. A large bimini top is overhead of anglers on board, while aft is an aluminum rear-entry ladder. The Qwest’s deluxe fiberglass helm features a carbon-fiber dash with tachometer, volt gauge and accessory switches below the fishfinder. www.apexmarineinc.com
Qwest 7518 VX Fish
Length Overall 19 feet, 4 inches
Beam 7 feet, 7 inches
Dry Weight 1,325 pounds
Fuel Capacity 22 gallons
Max. Power 70 horsepower
Base Price $18,745