The original Sun Tracker Bass Buggy was the industry’s first family fishing pontoon boat -- way back in 1983. And it’s still a classic today. Each year the folks at Tracker keep improving and adapting it to the wants and needs of fishing families. The practical, no-nonsense layout targets families who want a basic, affordable pontoon boat for cruising around and some casual fishing.
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 (2011-) Captain's Report
A Pontoon Boat Rigged for Fishing
Tested By Capt. Bob Smith
Sun Tracker is running a special right now on the venerable Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18. Prices range from $9,995 for the toon powered by a 20-hp Merc to $12,395 for one powered by a 40-hp 4-Stroke EFI BigFoot.
For 2011 Tracker has added a flip-flop seatback on the midship passenger seat so you can sit forward or backward as you cruise. The builders has also added closed, roto-molded storage under all the bench seats. There’s ample room for eight people, and if your family is serious about fishing, a deep aerated livewell comes standard for 2011. The optional Fish Package adds a bow-mounted trolling motor with wireless remote and a fishfinder.
The extra-wide side door is wide for wheel chair access.
A Close Look
Although you may think of pontoon boats as primarily vessels for getting around to beaches or lake shore with the family while having a great time or party aboard, Sun Tracker originally built its models specifically for fishing. Pontoon boats certainly make a stable platform that can get into skinny water. And no fishing boat could be more comfortable or safer. You never have to worry about capsizing this boat!
From the top down, this boat is a study in simplicity.
The Bass Buggy 18 has added features like a set-back motor pod for improving useful space aboard. A 42-gallon fuel tank resides in the pod saving more room. The new Bass Buggy is more stable now with 24” diameter multi-chambered logs constructed of .080 marine grade aluminum.
The Bass Buggy 18 offers three entry points. One up front, one on the side that is extra-wide for wheel chair access and finally one at the back. All have double latched gates that open inward and a safety latch system that required them to be lifted up to swing them open. (That makes them harder for the little ones to get them open fast.)
There are two removable casting seats up front. In the port bow you have an 8-gallon livewell with 500-gallon per hour aerated pump. Over on the starboard side is a storage compartment. The test boat had two tackle organizers held in the starboard box with a bungee cord so the gear would be easily found when needed. Both corners have cup holders.
Leaving lots of open space for anglers to quickly get from side to side, front to back.
Resilient roto-molded bench seats occupy the center cockpit seating on the port side. Both the side and back bench cushions are held on the bench with piano hinges on the front lip and have abundant storage below. The center pie-shaped piece between them does not come off.
The helm pod has a covered trash bin in the front with two cup holders for the cockpit riders. Underneath the helm is a cooler that slides into place. I would prefer to see this held in place somehow, although I doubt you will do any racing turns that may dislodge it from its storage area.
Who said less is more? Simplicity makes operation easy for both youngsters and oldsters.
Behind the Wheel
The helm has a smoked windshield deflector screwed into place that adds a bass boat look to the rig. A stereo with CD player and flip-up cover is at the left of the wheel. A long, shallow tray is in front of the wheel for coins, glasses and your wallet. You’ll find a 12-volt DC adapter for portable gear and rocker switches to the left of the wheel for controlling navigation lights, aeration system and accessories.
A livewell is standard equipment for 2011.
Rigged for Fishing
The stern area is also ready for fishing. You have another removable fishing chair on a pedestal on the port side behind the L-shaped bench seat. In the corner of the bench on the back are additional cup holders for the stern fishing crew. Three rods can be stored upright along the port side. Through the rear entry you have a very nice extra wide flip boarding ladder.
For 2011 Sun Tracker has some new screw-in bases that take the wobble out of the pedestal seats. They are not shown here.
The Bass Buggy 18 has a deck length of 19’ 7” and a deck width of 8’1”. The pontoon length is 18’4” and this pontoon is approved for carrying up to 8 people or 1315 lbs. This model comes standard with a 20-hp Mercury 4-stroke outboard but can use multiple models up to a 40-hp EFI BigFoot Mercury 4-stroke outboard. Approximate package weight is 1,344 lbs.
The Bass Buggy 18 can be used for more than just fishing.
If you like the versatility, maneuverability and stability of a pontoon and want to have as much fun with the family as you do fishing, the Bass Buggy 18 from Sun Tracker certainly has the personality and features to fill the bill.
If you have a house or summer cottage on a lake or river and you don't have a boat, you are missing the best part of waterfront living. A pontoon boat is about the least hassle of any boat type we can this of and they are loads of fun. At Sun Tracker's low prices, it's hard to go wrong with one.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 (2011-) Standard and Optional Equipment
= Standard = Optional
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 (2011-) Warranty
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 (2011-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 (2011-) Price
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 (2011-) Price
Base Price (MSRP)
Price as Tested
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
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