The Bass Cat Cougar FTD is engineered and built to handle all the heft and torque from the latest four-stroke performance powerplants. Our test rig combined a near-80 mph top speed with tight, predictable and smooth handling in our choppy test waters. It’s efficient too; we clicked off 4.7 mpg at a best cruise speed of 33 mph at 3,500 rpm, giving a fishing range of 220 miles.
The Cougar is also available in the Hybrid 203 version, which engages the venerable Champion 203 running surface, and now boasts Bass Cat’s latest construction and materials while maintaining a solid reverence for the Champion’s V-bottom and reverse-chine shape. Rock-solid on the water, it generated 73 mph in our tests, with a gentle ride and steady steering at speed.
Both models are fast, but also designed to fish hard. A wide foredeck—FTD stands for Full Tournament Deck—enables anglers to stand shoulder to shoulder when fishing between docks or in timber. A padded deck keeps them comfortable, as does the custom trolling-motor pedal pocket and dual leaning seat sockets. Rod lockers are dry and padded, and keep rods secure. LED lights come on in compartments when the hatches open. Livewells are triangular and deep instead of broad and shallow, which stops sloshing that can injure the fish.
The FTD is tastefully flashy too. The gelcoat is glossy, with brilliant metal-flake and crisp color accents. Both Cougars are 100 percent fiberglass, with an 18-layer factory-built fiberglass transom bonded together with the stringer-box grid in a vacuum process that produces a rigid hull that stops oscillation. The rot-proof hull and structural grid add strength and performance, and reduce weight.
The Cougar’s piping and tubing were true and plumb; its tinned-copper wiring harness was properly loomed and supported all the way to each terminal or component. Custom touches abound too, such as undercompartment lighting activated by stainless-steel lid switches, and illuminated Lucite gunwale grab bars, and a custom-molded console fitted with all standard instruments and plenty of space for a multifunction display.
- Wide, spacious fore and aft decks make for a platform that won’t crowd an angler and partner.
- Heavy-duty Marine Town stainless locks and hinges, plus extra-thick seals, ensure hatches and lids close watertight and don’t rattle.
Dry Weight: 1,805 lb.
Seat/Weight Capacity: NA
Fuel Capacity: 52 gal.
How We Tested
Engine: Mercury 250 Pro XS FourStroke 250 hp
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Fury 14″ x 24″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 15 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Bass Cat Boats – Midway, Arkansas; 870-481-5135; basscat.com