Are Jon Boats Good for Bass Fishing? Yes And Here’s Why

Bass fishing on a Jon boat

Jon boats are one of the most versatile inland utility vessels in the world. For hunting and utility work Jon boats are second to none but many people wonder if they are good for bass fishing. Are Jon boats good for bass fishing?

A Jon boat is a great watercraft for bass fishing. Bass are freshwater and brackish water fish that inhabit lakes, creeks and rivers. Bass like to congregate in shallow mossy areas to prey on smaller fish. As Jon boats are the perfect watercraft for navigating these waters, and are easily customizable for fishing, they make great boats for bass fishing. 

Bass habitat

To understand why a Jon boat is such a good fit for bass fishing we first need to take a quick look at the behaviors and habitats of the most common bass fish species.

Bass fish are abundant in freshwater lakes, rivers and creeks and can be found in brackish waters throughout America. They are one of the most popular fish among freshwater anglers.

Both largemouth and smallmouth bass will congregate in mossy, sheltered areas of lakes, creeks and rivers.

The best time to fish for bass is May through July, when the bass stay in the shallows hunting minnows.

Both early morning and late in the evening are the best times to fish for bass because they are more abundant as the fish tend to take shelter from the sun during the day and will be harder to locate.

Bass fish are the most active when the day’s temperature is cool and the sun is not as bright.

Largemouth bass

Largemouth bass are abundant in different types of waters. Largemouth bass can be located in both freshwater and brackish waters.

These larger bass love to swim in slow moving rivers, creeks and streams, especially those with soft bottoms.

Largemouth bass fish are very fond of clear water and are usually solitary swimmers. However, younger largemouth bass will congregate in schools and it is not unusual to see a few adult fish in the same small area though not interacting.

These fish will also look for some form of protective cover and can be found in areas with logs, rock ledges, water vegetation, and even man-made structures in the water.

Although largemouth bass can live in a variety of habitats they thrive in clear quiet water.

Smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass are usually found in large, calm, clear, deep water lakes. They also like cool, clear streams with a moderate current.

These fish prefer gravel or rubble substrate bottoms and will seek shelter and shade from boulders and other large water obstacles.

Striped bass

Stripped bass like to swim in calm coastal waters and are also found in bays.

Occasionally they will swim into rivers – usually in the spring to spawn.

Although more common in open waters, some populations of striped bass are landlocked.

Why fishing bass in a Jon boat is a great idea

The habitats of bass fish are ideal marine environments for using a Jon boat.

Below are some of the key reasons why a Jon boat is perfect for fishing bass.

The perfect boat for bass habitats

A Jon boat is an exceptionally stable flat bottom vessel that excels on cam water. The hull design of a Jon boat lends itself well to all inland bodies of water.

In the type of calm water environments that bass fish inhabit a Jon boat will be incredibly stable.

With its flat bottom and low freeboard a Jon boat has a very shallow draft. This means a Jon can be used to enter areas of water that are very shallow (even only a few inches deep) thus allowing the angler to easily access bass when they are hunting in the shallows.


On the type of calm water that bass fish like, a Jon boat is one of the most stable watercraft you can find.

Fly fishing from a Jon boat is as easy as it is from a river bank. No loss of stability is felt when standing on, or even moving about on, a Jon boat when on calm water.

It has stealth & speed

A Jon boat is also a great boat for stealth as a boater can use a paddle, oars or even punt the boat with a pole in order to quietly enter feeding grounds. But this doesn’t mean a Jon boat is stuck with only manual propulsion.

A Jon boat can be fitted with an outboard motor as well as having a paddle, oars or pole. The motor can be used to quickly move from one area to another and then oars, paddle or pole can be used to sneak up on fish.

A Jon boat under power in calm waters is fast, smooth and incredibly comfortable to ride in.

It’s customizable

A Jon boat is not only very versatile but it is also extremely customizable as we demonstrated here. The Jon boat is one of the most popular small utility boats across the world simply because of this.

From duck hunting to transportation and utility work a Jon boat can do it all. And, fishing is no different.

Being easily customizable a Jon boat can be fitted out for any type of fishing. Rod holders can be attached to the boat with a few screws and some brackets. Oars locks, for stealth fishing, likewise can be fitted on a large Jon boat in an hour or less.

Although a Jon boat has plenty of deck space for gear, and catch, it is easy to add livewells and other deck storage units for tackle, gear, rods etc.

You can also add swivel chairs to a Jon boat to aid you in your fishing efforts.

For information on how to set up your Jon boat for bass fishing read this article.

Fishing for bass on Jon boat (video)

How a Jon boat compares to a bass boat

Apart from the huge difference in price there are a few other key differences between a bass boat and a Jon boat.

Differences between a bass boat and Jon boat:

  • A bass boat has remote steering.
  • A Jon boat has a trolling motor in addition to optional oars, paddle and a pole.
  • A bass boat has a covered deck.
  • A Jon boat has an open deck.
  • A bass boat has a deeper draft than a Jon boat and can handle rough water.
  • A Jon boat can navigate extremely shallow waters but it is not good in rough water.
  • A bass boat is not as stable as a Jon boat in calm water.
  • A Jon boat is so stable in calm water that you can stand on it to cast off and walk around on it without any loss of stability.
  • Bass boats tend to be heavy.
  • Jon boats are extremely lightweight.
  • Bass boats can handle more powerful outboard motors than Jon boats.
  • Jon boats can be fitted with oars and use a paddle for stealth.
  • Bass boats have enclosed storage.
  • Jon boats are extremely customizable.
  • Bass boats are expensive.
  • Jon boats are fairly cheap.
  • There can be tens of thousands of dollars difference between the equivalent sized bass boat and Jon boat.
  • Having an an expensive bass boat take a knock can depress you for weeks.
  • A Jon boat can take a serious amount of damage before you can even notice it.

Converting a Jon boat to a bass boat

For those of you who would love a bass boat but only have the budget for a Jon boat there is good news.

As already mentioned above a Jon boat is very customizable. It is so customizable, in fact, that it can be converted into a full-on bass boat.

If converting a Jon boat to a bass boat is something you would be interested in doing as a home-build project read our article how to convert a Jon boat to bass boat for instruction son how to do that.

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