Boat Test: 2024 Bass Cat Caracal STS

The Bass Cat Caracal STS combines innovation, style, and durability in a fishing package that performs well.


This new Caracal STS (Soft Touch Series) hull features better load carrying—especially with heavier four-stroke engines—as well as handling and rough-water capabilities.

Bass Cat Caracal STS running fast
The Caracal’s nimble hull offers a comfortable ride in rough chop. Bill Doster

Test conditions included rough water. Consequently, 74.6 mph was our best—with a very short run-up. In clean water, this rig is capable of 80-plus mph. We went zero to 30 mph in 7.5 seconds, with significant bow rise on initial acceleration. Throttle it at 40 mph, and it quickly accelerates.

Bass Cat Caracal STS forward platform
The large bow panel permits flush-mounting two stacked graphs; three can be mounted with additional brackets Bill Doster

Interior and Accessories

The new Caracal STS features long-awaited rod ramps in each gunwale. Large center storage boxes complement a rod storage box on the port side. A small “day box” gives quick access to frequently used items. A center step to the foredeck houses a cooler.

Bass Cat Caracal STS helm
The new sculpted console accepts a flush-mounted 12-inch graph. Bill Doster

The large bow panel ­permits flush mounting of two graphs without external brackets. Three can be mounted by combining flush fitting and brackets. All lids are supported with new soft-closure seals and Bass Cat-exclusive Lift-Latches, which allow one-step closing with complete water protection. New custom billet wire covers give a clean look.

Bass Cat Caracal STS cockpit seating
Triangular livewells are deep for safe fish transport and to keep water from sloshing. Bill Doster

A recessed trolling-motor pedal tray offers a removable block for fore or aft pedal placement. There are two seat pedestal sockets to match.

New cockpit features include a sculpted console with a flush-mounted 12-inch graph and Custom Reflex padded flooring with STS logos. There’s an optional JL Audio sound system available. Tilt hydraulic steering with an optional Bob’s Machine Shop hydraulic setback jack-plate controls the Mercury 250XS. Billet grab bars are within easy reach of the pilot and co-pilot. The bucket seats were plush but firm. The exaggerated side bolsters delivered support in the rough. Both seat bases tilt forward, revealing storage.

Read Next: Bass Cat Jaguar STS

Bass Cat Caracal STS aft platform
Easy access to pumps, screens and rigging is under twin hatches at the transom. Bill Doster

Aft, triangular livewells, engineered to keep water from sloshing, result in healthier fish. Even the stainless-steel lid latches are mounted on the sides of the livewells as opposed to on top of the lids, to keep the sun’s heat from transferring to the water within. That’s thinking.

This new Caracal STS is an excellent example of whole-boat engineering and design.

How We Tested

  • Engine: Mercury 250 Pro XS FourStroke
  • Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Fury 14″ x 24″ 3-blade stainless steel
  • Gear Ratio: 1.75:1 Fuel Load: 52 gal. Crew Weight: 500 lb.

High Points

  • Reflex PE floor padding gives a clean look and luxurious feel to the cockpit. 
  • Bow panel houses dual flush-mounted  graphs. No brackets required.
  • Rod ramps in each gunwale are sure to please serious anglers.

Low Points

  • Though Bass Cat CEO Rick Pierce will disagree with me, I don’t like a hand throttle for a 70-plus mph boat; years of racing and high-speed boating have taught me to prefer a foot throttle, which allows for both hands on the steering wheel.  
  • Wiring under aft hatches could have used a neatening with a few clamps and tie-straps; Bass Cat assures me that this has been addressed. 

Toughest Competitor

Ranger’s 520R measures about 9 inches longer, holds about the same amount of fuel, and can reach just over 68 mph with a Mercury 250 Pro XS and 23-inch-pitch Mercury Fury propeller. It sells for $98,000 as tested. 

Pricing and Specs

Price:$109,570 (as tested)
Displacement:1,890 lb.
Transom Deadrise:16 degrees
Fuel Capacity:52 gal.
Max Horsepower:300
Available Power:Mercury or Yamaha outboards

Speed, Efficiency, Operation

Bass Cat Caracal STS performance data
Bass Cat Caracal STS Certified Test Results Boating Magazine

Bass Cat Boats – Midway, Arkansas;