A tournament-ready bass boat that wastes no space
It’s impossible to look at a modern bass boat and not feel amazed at how every inch of space is put to efficient use. That’s especially apparent when said boat is built by a company like Crestliner, which doesn’t just enjoy years of experience as a manufacturer of aluminum bass boats, but an even longer and richer heritage building aluminum V-hull fishing rigs for multi-species anglers.
Case in point is Crestliner’s new PT 20, a 20-foot bass rig that never ceases to astonish with its intelligent design and fisherman-friendly features. Formed from beefy .110 gauge aluminum plate for its bottom, sides and transom, this is an all-welded, serious fishing machine that’s more than tough enough to burrow right into shallow, stump-filled bays where trophy bass roam. The layout is typical bass boat standard, with raised front and rear decks concealing storage spaces beneath. But it is Crestliner’s execution that makes the PT 20 stand out.
For starters, the cockpit between the front and rear decks is often neglected as dead space in aluminum bass boats. But not so on the PT 20. The seating is surprisingly plush, with the primary seats for the driver and navigator being particularly supportive and comfortable for a no-nonsense fishing rig. The provision of a third, center seat offers more than the usual comfort for the occasional extra friend who comes along. The BOSS MGR350B stereo system makes long runs to and from distant spots more entertaining.
The helm console is clearly laid out, making the most use of limited space with multifunction black sterling gauges for the speedometer, tach, fuel and trim, a 12-volt power outlet, tool holder and a small but functional windscreen. The idea was to preserve as much dash space as possible for aftermarket electronics, and in this Crestliner succeeds admirably, with plenty of room for flush-mount displays of up to nine-inch screen size. The hydraulic steering is easily controlled with a durable but comfortable stainless steel with a padded grip. Under foot, 16-ounce marine-grade carpet over an aluminum floor offers a sure grip and long life.
The business end of the boat is the front deck, of course, and here the PT 20 delights. A central in-floor rod locker holds 10 sticks to 8 feet 6 inches, along with a couple of flat Plano-style boxes along each side of its carpeted interior. Twin gas rams support the lid while in use, allowing the angler the use of both hands for storing or retrieving expensive rods.
Additional storage compartments to the port and starboard sides of the deck accommodate a dozen more rods if needed, or bulky gear like rain suits, PFDs and rain jackets. There’s also a rod ramp topside, with straps for security while running, and two more storage compartments ahead of the rod lockers.
Under the rear deck, a 45-gallon aerated and insulated live well features a timer, an interior divider, a re-circulation system and pump out – exactly as tournament anglers expect. An automatic bilge pump, a pair of floor bases for removable, pedestal-mount fishing seats, a recessed cove in the front deck for the electric motor foot control, and yet more in-floor storage for tackle, rain suits and other gear give the PT 20 serious fishing credentials.
Rated to handle outboards of up to 200 horsepower, the PT 20 is an honest 50 mph boat. A 200 horsepower Mercury OptiMax turning a three-blade prop with a 19-inch pitch will put the boat on plane pretty much instantaneously, take it to 30 mph in about six seconds, and top out at 55 mph turning about 5,800 rpm. If you’re low on fuel, cut it back to around 3,000 rpm where you’ll find optimal fuel economy of 5.4 mpg while still running at around 26 mph. Crestliner offers an available Hot Foot throttle control as an option on the PT 20, and it’s one upgrade that most serious anglers will take.
Crestliner’s PT 20 is a well made, well designed bass boat that will stand up to the bumps and grinds that go hand-in-hand with serious tournament fishing. Check it out.
Crestliner PT 20 Specs
Length: 20’ 5”
Dry weight: 1,567 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 32 gals.
Passenger capacity: 4
Maximum power: 200 hp