Interview with Rick Pierce, Owner, Bass Cat Boats
By Dave Mauldin, professional fisherman and field editor FishExplorer.com
Dave: Hello Rick, I spent many years in a Bass Cat boat. In the years when B.A.S.S.
Limited us to 150HP, The Pantera II was the perfect bass boat! Many of us (including you,
Your dad and many more competed across the country in the Bass Cat 19’ boats with 150’s)
The Bass Cat family has graciously accepted me back, after a brief absence. I’m very
Glad to be back in a Bass Cat boat. Tell our audience what makes Bass Cat so unique in the
Rick: Dave, we’re glad to have you back and congrats on your top finishes in your recent
Tournaments. The Pantera II is a great boat in our lineup and gaining even more popularity in the recent few seasons. It seems folks really like the efficiency and performance of that model again. Of course it is a few tweaks down the water from what we ran in the early 1990’s.
Bass Cat Boats is a unique company in the industry as we are the only one left that started from our own molds and continues to be owned and managed each day by the family. We don’t have any partners or investors and we live here where in the area where we build the boats. Each boat we see at some point. Our homes are here and we are entrenched in the community.
Dave: I’m now running the Puma FTD which you recommended.
You’re very familiar with Texas waters. Tell us about the Puma and contrast
It to your other models.
Rick: We know you compete on the big waters in Texas: Sam Rayburn, Toledo Bend, and others. Most everyone in Texas is in those larger and windy bodies of water. That 20’ hull has been through evolution in the last five years that really put it out in front of many using older hull designs. We tweaked the chines and pad area to gain performance and ride, which those Texas lakes need. Plus there is no water chasing up the Vee hull to spray back on you and get you wet. Boats are a sacrifice and we tried to find a nice compromise with today’s engine offerings in this new hull.
As for the Top Deck assembly, the integral net scabbard and more things like the compartmentalized storage for separating your gear are really handy for a tournament angler. It may not be as feasible for the local angler who wants to open one box and get to his stuff; though for those serious anglers it helps a lot on organization over one big lid area. Then the livewells are the new triangle shape with smaller lids to contain the fish. They allow us to gain about 10 gallons of water from other wells. And the excessive depth helps to break up the ammonia that strangles the fish’s ability to breath. There are just a lot of features on the 2011 Puma FTD for the angler who’s serious and those will carry over into the 2012 model year in a couple of months. There won’t be any major changes to that model.
Dave: What else separates Bass Cat from the rest of the boating industry?
Rick: First and foremost the history and tribal knowledge we have from 40 years of building a Bass Cat boat. There are so many little things that we have learned over the years and it keeps us from repeating those mistakes in new techniques and designs. Whatever you do a new energetic mind is great, though sometimes the old dog remembers why they changed something. We think a lot of the history and tribal knowledge has been executed by the failures in the marine and bass boat industry at all levels. Things like shrouding our steering hoses all the way from the helm to the engine and square head custom made screws which both cost a considerable amount and we do for a reason. Many of our competitors do not.
Then the amount of product we do ourselves, such as wiring harnesses in house and we spec. our products rather than shelf buy what someone else uses. Even our 6 bolt jackplates are unique in their design. Then we build our own trailers and have for about 30 years. This helps us to fit and build a better product gain not repeating errors of the past. For instance we have seen tube frame trailers come and go in this business four times at the custom level.&