Skeeter Boats has been manufacturing bass boats since 1948. Since then, the company claims to “have been setting the standard, raising the bar, and leaving the rest of the boating industry in the wake of our innovation.”
They now produce five lines of bass and all-around fishing boats ranging from 18 to 25 feet.
The company has been in the business of building boats for more than 70 years. But how good is Skeeter Boats? Let’s take a closer look.
Here’s How Good Skeeter Boats Are:
Skeeter is known for making some of the best bass boats in the world. Skeeter Boats are known for pushing the boundaries for technological innovations. The company is also known for building strong hulls, and their Skeeter FX R 21L has been voted ‘The Best Bass Boat For Rough Waters’ multiple times.
A Brief History Of Skeeter Boats
The first Skeeter Boat was built by Holmes Thurmond back in 1948 in Shreveport, Louisiana.
His new design incorporated a flat bottom with low sloping sides that made the boat easier and faster to maneuver while out fishing.
This first boat was over 13 feet long, made of molded plywood, and had a long pointed bow. It was powered by a small outboard engine, enabling the boat to zip along on freshwater lakes quickly.
With the long pointed bow shape, this speed earned the boat the nickname ‘skeeter,’ a slang word for mosquito.
Whether he planned it or not, Holmes Thurmond can be credited with turning the bass boat industry around by designing a boat that started the bass boat boom. Because he influenced the bass boat market, he was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall Of Fame in 2012, despite passing away back in 1970.
However, Thurmond did live to see some of his success. By the 1950s, the Skeeter had progressed from wood to fiberglass construction, and Thurmond sold the molds to Ben Cook. By the 1960s, the brand was very popular, and they moved production to bigger premises in Longview, Texas.
During this time, the fiberglass construction techniques allowed more models to join the line-up, and the all-new ‘stick-steering’ was developed. This new steering helped control the longer 15-foot Super Skeeter and the Skeeter Magnum models more easily.
During the following years, the company expanded and moved to bigger premises in Kilgore, Texas, where it is still building Skeeter Boats today. In 1996, Skeeter Boats was bought by Yamaha Outboards. Combining the top outboard engine manufacturer with the innovative boat builder has meant that the company has gone from strength to strength.
Today Skeeter Boats can celebrate more than 70 years of boat building history, and they still produce their infamous bass boat line alongside bay boats, walleye fishing boats, and fish-and-ski models.
How Reliable Are Skeeter Boats?
All Skeeter Boats built from 1996 are equipped with Yamaha outboard engines, which are known to be one of, if not the most reliable outboard engine brands in the world.
However, you don’t get to last more than 70 years in the boat-building business without building reliable boats. Skeeter builds strong boats that last.
They are a mid-tier boat popular with professional and amateur anglers alike. Many professional tournament fishermen use Skeeter as their boat of choice (unless sponsored by another brand).
In addition, there are many fishermen on the various forums who have been fishing out of the Skeeter Boats for 10 years or more. They are still very happy with their boats. Like any boat and outboard engine brand, the reliability comes down to how well the boat has been looked after.
How Durable Are Skeeter Boats?
After Skeeter developed the fiberglass bass boat, the company offered a superior boat that became known for its durability and high specifications.
In addition, Skeeter Boats was one of the first to be approved by the US Coast Guard (USCG), which was a huge endorsement of their high-quality durability and performance.
Looking at the reviews, Skeeter Boats are extremely durable, and the hulls are even known to be resistant to damage from impacts or collisions. While being easy to maneuver, all this makes them well-suited to the overall fishing and boating experience.
A quote from a bass boat fishing forum pretty much sums it up:
“If you want a rugged boat that will get you there and back, last for a long time and won’t throw you around in rough weather, you can’t do better than a Skeeter.”
What About Older Skeeter Boats?
Older Skeeter Boats are still sorted after, and many are still around. A quick search on Boatrader.com came up with an old Skeeter Wrangler from 1978!
However, just like any older boat, if you are looking at an older Skeeter, there are some problems to look out for. The hulls are known to be strong, but there was less fiberglass used on some of the older models, so rotting transoms and floors can be a problem.
If you have some basic skills and are a bit handy, restoration can be straightforward.
The older Skeeter Boats still have fans, and some of them swear that they are some of the best fishing boats ever made.
Do They Still Make Parts For Older Models?
We could find no information about whether Skeeter still makes parts for older models. Having searched their website, we could not find any links for replacement parts or accessories.
However, we found a link to owner’s manuals dating back to models produced from 1980 to 89, which are free to download. These manuals provide useful information for anyone seeking to replace older boat parts and accessories.
The next best place to start looking for parts for any model would be your nearest Skeeter dealer, who may be able to source older parts.
In addition, some online boat part dealers carry Skeeter Boat parts, including SkeeterBoatCenter.com, TinysFiberglass.com, and RNR-Marine.com.
You will need to provide the boat’s year and model to determine if the part you are looking for is still available. And, if by chance you do know the part number, include that information in your search.
What Are Typical Problems With Skeeter Boats?
Unfortunately, every boat brand can have its problems, and Skeeter is no exception.
The common problems with Skeeter Boats to look out for include the following:
Gel Coat Issues
there are some complaints on the forums about spider cracks and other minor flaws.
There are just as many comments from owners with zero complaints!
Various Water Leaks
Skeeter Boats taking in water seems to be a typical problem, but different causes exist.
One seems to be that the through-hull fittings have not been properly sealed, allowing water to seep through.
Another common thread is that the storage compartments leak when it rains or when washing the boat, leaving a big mess.
Porpoising at low speeds has been mentioned on a couple of different forums.
Skeeter Boats are reportedly weight-sensitive, so if your boat is not set up or trimmed correctly, you could have this problem.
In addition, if you have not distributed the weight evenly when going out on a fishing trip, this can also cause the uncomfortable ‘porpoising’ motion.
Skeeter manufactures their trailers specifically for Skeeter Boats.
There are many complaints about loading issues, but there are many comments that people don’t know how to load their boat correctly.
In addition, there are complaints that the trailer does not work with other brands, plus issues with the trailer rusting.
How Long Do Skeeter Boats Last when Compared to Similar Brands?
Similar brands to Skeeter Boats include Bass Cats, Nitro, Ranger, and Triton.
All of these brands followed in the footsteps of Skeeter, who were the first to produce a fast bass boat.
Skeeter makes a top-quality product, and they have sold many thousands of boats. The hulls are built to last, which is proven by how many Skeeter Boats you see on US waters.
As to how long a Skeeter Boat will last compared to similar brands, this comes down to how well each boat has been looked after. If you look after your Skeeter Boat and follow the routine maintenance plan, it should last as long, if not longer, than any other brand.
Do Skeeter Boats Hold Their Value? (Do They Depreciate Faster Than Normal)
One thing that everyone should know is that a boat is never a good investment. Any boat brand will lose value fast during the first few years of ownership and then even out.
While there is a perception that Skeeters don’t seem to hold their value as well as some of the other brands, it is just that, a perception.
Again, it comes down to how well the boat has been looked after – a Skeeter Boat that has been well maintained will not depreciate any faster than any other brand. They are a popular boat and very sought after.
Are Skeeter Boats Still Being Made?
Today, Skeeter Boats are still being made in their factory in Kilgore, Texas.
In fact, in 2018, the company expanded this factory by adding a 43,000-square-foot trailer manufacturing facility.
Their production process has moved with the times, and the company uses state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques and materials that were first used in the aerospace industry.
The company now offers the following models:
- The Bass Boat range includes the FXR series, plus the ZX and the ZXR series;
- The Bay Boat range offers the SX series and includes both fishing and family options;
- A range of Deep-V Hulls named the WX series;
- The Solera series is for all-around fishing, skiing, and family fun.
The boats on offer today range in size from 18 to 25 feet.
Nowadays, Skeeter Boats continues to lead the way in engineering, design, and customer service. In 2019 Skeeter accepted their 19th consecutive Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) award for “Excellence in Customer Satisfaction for Fiberglass Outboard Boats,” proving that they have very happy customers.