It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since I picked up my rig. A lot of thought went into what boat I was gonna chose. The hardest part was saying goodbye to my last one. I loved my 2000 Ranger 461VS. It was one of the best riding 18 footers around. After a few months of searching, I finally landed on a Basscat. I ordered it through Boatmasters in Livermore, California. The whole process went about as smooth as it could. Tanner and Mike made everything simple. Helps when they’re one of the biggest Basscat dealers in the Country. What was nice about this build is that it came with everything that I could possibly need right out of the gate. The only changes I made was replacing the Hummingbird electronics with Lowrance. I had to pick a color with Lime Green accents so I went with Silver Mist, Midnight Mist, and Vicious Lime. The boat came in only two months which obviously felt like an eternity at the time.
When the boat arrived, I was sitting on cloud nine. The dream had finally become a reality and I couldn’t be more excited. There are so many things to like about this rig. I took it out for the maiden voyage the first day I got it. Of course the weather wanted to throw me a curveball and have hurricane winds blowing gusts of thirty. It didn’t matter I was still going fishing. The first thing I noticed was how well this boat rides when it gets rough. Sitting at 20’4 is a big difference from my 18’8. You don’t notice the chop. This boat rides like a Cadillac. Even in four foot rollers I still didn’t get a drop of water on me or my Dad. The next thing I noticed was how fast this boat can go. Mind you I was use to topping out in the low 60’s before hearing that this new hull would touch mid 80’s which is pretty insane. In a place like the California Delta, you have no need to touch those speeds. Even though I knew it could didn’t mean I planned on punching the Hot Foot to the floor board. It was nice to finally to be in a rig that I felt I could take to any body of water. That subtle peace of mind helped in aiding with my purchase as well.
I had the choice between the Cougar FTD or the Puma through the promotional deal that Basscat was offering. I wasn’t a fan of the Puma layout. The difference between the two setups was night and day. I went with the Cougar and im glad that I did because it offered a relatively normal deck layout. The storage on this thing is wild. I got so use to having two sets of tackle in my Ranger. One set for lakes while the other was strictly for the Delta. I no longer have that issue with the Cat. This boat has over and above enough storage. I have had it for a year now and still don’t have it completely full of gear. What’s really cool about this model is that the rod locker will store 8 foot rods. Majority of the time they are out on the deck but its nice to know they will fit in the box when I wanna travel to new bodies of water. The package I got came with the Minn Kota Ultrex, two 8 foot Power Poles, and the new four stroke Mercury Pro XS. I added a stereo system cause I figured as much as I like to listen to music I may as well go all out and add in a system. Another thing that seemed to set Basscat apart when I was searching was the fact that everything on a Cat is built with a purpose. It’s hard to find anything plastic on this boat. That was a plus in my book cause I knew that it would help with longevity. Majority of other companies have a lot of components that are made of plastic.
There are a few things that im not the biggest fan of. The main one is the fact that this boat comes with triangular lids. I don’t understand why. I thought I would get use to it but its been a year and I still think it’s weird. The other issue with the livewells is that you can’t take out the center divide. That is a little bit frustrating to me. Although the mouth of each compartment is plenty big enough, I just like the option to be able to make one big well. My main reason for this is that it limits you when the time comes to box a bigger game fish like Striper. The last thing on this boat that is strange to me is how many cup holders it has. I know this sounds ridiculous but it really just blows my mind seeing 7 cup holders and a few are in places that don’t make much sense. This is a very minor issue if at all an issue but I notice it.
At the end of the day, I love this boat. I would recommend it to anybody in the market for a new rig. The guys over at Boatmasters made it extremely easy and supplied me with all the help I could need along the way. Rarely do you spend money on something and not feel buyers remorse in some sort of way. I haven’t experienced that with this boat. Whatever elements you’re faced with, this boat will exceed expectations. If you want a boat that’s built extremely well, fishes great and can get up and move the Cougar FTD is for you.