Bait Boats have sparked debate and discussion among anglers ever since their introduction. Some anglers state they are a form of “cheating”. To be honest, that’s really just testament to how effective a bait boat can be.
They beat other conventional methods of bait application on many fronts. A bait boat provides easier precision, less disturbance in the swim and the ability to deliver good quantities of bait at a time.
Granted, bait boats can be expensive and some people might not see the value in them, which is fine. But, If you’re going to call every piece of tackle technology cheating then I hope you’re out on the bank fishing with a hand line.
When it comes to buying a bait boat, you can be spoilt for choice. They can also vary wildly in terms of both features and price.
To help remove some of the confusion and save you some research time, I’ve listed what I feel are the best bait boats currently on the market for carp fishing.
I’ve tried to choose from a range of features and budgets. If your budget is less than £500, you can click here to skip ahead to the sub-£500 bait boat section.
Best Bait Boat for Carp Fishing - Product Reviews
- Compact and easy to transport
- Catamaran hull design ensures stability and buoyancy
- Electromagnetic hopper with 1.5 kg bait capacity
- Provides easy and precise manoeuvrability
- A patented efficient hook release system
- Moderate runtime and coverage perfect for Uk waters
- Lacks some advanced features like GPS tracker or fishfinder as standard
- Not suitable for large continental waters
Firstly, it features a shiny jet black finish with two large white headlights and two blue rear lights. The lights are bright enough to really stand out when moving in the lake so you can see how the boat is orientated.
The Waverunner Atom recently underwent a revamp and now comes with an upgraded 5.8 GHz radio gear, which means minimal interference from other boats.
One of the most notable elements of the Atom is its’ compact design. This makes it easy to transport and manoeuvre. The transportability is further helped by a well-padded handle on the top of the boat.
Among other clever little design features, it has a catamaran hull that makes it very stable on the water. Unless you are faced with some seriously heavy waves, you won’t lose your bait boat or any of the contents.
An ideal style of boat for the UK’s carp lakes. In fact, Waverunner specifically designed this boat for UK waters.
This statement is also true when you consider the 400-500 meter coverage range. This kind of range might not cut it for large waters on the continent but is ideal for the majority of UK lakes.
What impresses me the most in this compact bait boat is its fail-safe return mechanism. Whenever your boat ends up out of reception, one of its two propellers will be cut off and the boat will return at 180 degrees until it comes back in range.
As for bait boat-specific functions, there is a single hopper that can deliver around 1.5 kg of bait at a time. The hopper has an electromagnetic operating system and that means efficient unloading and refilling without any latches ever getting caught.
On top of the hopper’s clever opening, the boat also has a magnetic hook release system. This system works independently from the hopper so you can keep your hookbait separate from the main hopper full of bait.
How about the battery unit? The Waverunner Atom comes with lead-acid batteries and these give about two hours of runtime. However, you can upgrade these to lithium batteries to increase runtime to as much as six hours.
So, in conclusion, I feel the Waverunner Atom is an excellent mix of value, features and innovative tech.
With its compact design, magnetic hopper, thoughtful rear line clip, good runtime and coverage range, it perfectly justifies its price tag. As standard, it lacks some of the advanced features like a built-in GPS, fishfinder, or camera.
Best Overall Bait Boat
Anatec Catamaran DL Brushless/Lithium
Anatec is a big name in bait boats and it is hard to keep them away from any such lists for long. They were the first manufacturer of the popular catamaran hull design and are vastly popular among British fishermen.
As the name indicates, the Anatec Catamaran DL has a simple yet efficient catamaran design. This makes it quite stable and suitable for choppy waters. Any catamaran style boat tracks well and this bait boat is no exception.
For me, what sets Catamaran DL apart is its easy serviceability. You can easily remove it’s top and change or service its parts and batteries. As a result, you can save a lot of time and money by maintaining the boat yourself.
For bait delivery, it has two independent hoppers and each of these can hold upwards of 1 kg of bait. As they operate separately from each other, you can use this feature to deliver bait at different locations in one trip. You can also control the hatch opening speed and this enables you to spread bait over a larger area.
In this newer, upgraded version of the DL, its two brushless motors work on two 7.4V 12A lithium batteries.
The brushless motors help the boat glide through the water with ease and at a decent pace. These motors power two propellers that can be operated individually, giving you the ability to make fine adjustments and also make U-turns.
The boat does not need an antenna to operate. This means there will be no snagging with any overhead branches or foliage.
There are six ultra-powerful LED lights on the front with twin lights on the back and these are extremely helpful in foggy conditions and, obviously, at night.
The Catamaran DL also features a simple and ingenious rear line clip. The clip enables you to release the hookbait independently from the bait inside the main hoppers. You can control this hook release mechanism from its Graupner handset.
The only point I hear some people complain about, although it doesn’t matter to me, is the weight of this boat. It is heavier than many others but as long as the performance doesn’t disappoint (it doesn’t!) I don’t see an issue, personally.
Other than that, there is so much to like about this feature-packed bait boat including robust construction, super-easy serviceability, perfect floatation with a catamaran hull and highly customizable bait delivery.
The Waverunner Shuttle can be described as the younger sibling of the Waverunner Atom, we discussed earlier. These two bait boats have a lot in common and you can expect similar performance. The Shuttle, however, is a smaller boat and is going to cost you around £50-100 less than the Atom. Thus, it provides a good feature-rich option at a lesser price.
One natural concern with a smaller bait boat can be its limited bait capacity. However, the Shuttle surprises us with a 1.5 kg capacity, which is very large for its size. This is due to the one large magnetic hopper that runs the length of the boat.
This model weighs in at 6.5 kg and has a length of 48 cm so it is compact and easy to transport. There is also an ergonomic handle on the top. Such features make it ideal for a more mobile angler as it can easily be carried in most rucksacks.
Like the Waverunner Atom, its hopper operates via an electromagnetic system so there is nothing to get stuck when releasing the contents.
One drawback I have personally felt with Waverunner boats is that they have funnelled hoppers, which is not ideal for spod mixes as some of it never leaves the boat.
When it comes to power, the Shuttle works on two engine-operated propellers and has a coverage range of 400 meters depending on the weather conditions. On top of that, it now comes with a 5.8 GHz radio gear.
Waverunner’s fail-safe mechanism ensures that your bait boat never goes out of range. This mechanism essentially works by making the boat turn whenever it gets to the end of its range until it receives a signal again.
There are detachable solid weed guards on propellers. These do affect the speed of the boat so, if you are not fishing in a weedy lake, you can remove these for a faster ride.
Just like Atom’s other boats, there are LED lights on the front and back to indicate which way the boat is facing. There are also three more lights that act as a battery meter. You can also check the status of the battery on your handset.
Talking of batteries, the boat operates on two 6V lead-acid batteries that give you around two hours of runtime. The handset operates on rechargeable AA batteries.
The Shuttle also features Waverunner’s patented rear line clip. This gives you the ability to tag the hookbait separately from the hopper and release it in a different position than the main load. Of course, you can still place it in the hopper and release everything together as well.
In summary, the Waverunner Shuttle is an impressive, compact bait boat that promises a lot.
It has good battery life and coverage. Plus, there are multiple other handy features like the fail-safe return mechanism and rear line clip for effortless hook placement. If you are looking for a feature-rich bait boat from a top manufacturer and at a decent price, the Shuttle won’t disappoint.
Best Value Bait Boat
CULT Ranger Bait Boat
Cult produces its Ranger Bait Boat series in three basic configurations and you can further customize these by adding things like a fishfinder and GPS functionality.
At first glance, we see an 8kg well-moulded boat with a stainless steel bolt joining the hull and the upper section. There is a silicone gasket in between and this provides a watertight seal between the two sections.
The boat has two battery compartments that hold one lead-acid battery each (lithium battery models are also available). The good thing is that these compartments have magnetic lids to keep water out. Thanks to these covers, the boat is virtually unsinkable.
From an aesthetics point of view, the first thing to catch the eye are its car-like tail lights, which I think look pretty cool and, of course, are very helpful for seeing which way round the boat is in the water. In addition, there are three battery indicators in the rear.
On the front are three LEDs: two smaller lights at the sides with a larger central lamp that can be turned on and off from the handset.
Like the previous boats on the list, the Ranger has a safety feature which results in the boat performing a larger circular route whenever it goes out of the range in order to bring itself back into range.
The boat has a 600m range but this may not quite be reachable unless the conditions are perfect so it is unlikely to reach much further than most other boats.
However, one area where Ranger certainly beats many of its competitors in run-time. At healthy 3-4 hours run-time on the lead-acid battery model and around 6 hours on the lithium version.
For bait delivery, there’s a large hopper that holds around 3 kg of boilies. A major plus is that you can add a divider to the hopper and have the 2 halves drop independently from each other. This makes this boat versatile and can help you feed different areas in a single trip.
Like other entries on the list so far, Cult Ranger also has a rear line clip that finds its function in placing hookbait separate from the main payload.
For getting out into the lake, the boat operates on two propellers that have a weed guard that you can remove depending on the lake conditions. If the weed guards are removed, it can get to a top speed of 100 feet per minute as opposed to 60 feet per minute with the weed guards on.
Like many others, the Ranger has used the popular and stable catamaran hull design.
The newer version of the Ranger operates at 5.8 GHz frequency which ensures no interference from other devices.
The configuration reviewed here also comes with a basic fishfinder that delivers signals directly to the remote.
So far, I’ve been reeling off feature after feature but what about the drawbacks?
In all honesty, I can’t point to any major shortcomings in the Cult Ranger. But, if I have to nitpick, I would say the wire connectors don’t seem to be very durable and I’ve heard reports of them failing. However, you can always improve on these by adding new and better ones.
I also feel it does have a relatively bulkier profile and I’d be worried about it getting stuck in overhanging foliage around the margins.
Other than those very minor points, the Cult Ranger is not groundbreaking or wildly different from its competitors but improvements on some existing features might make it a better choice in the price range.
These include better battery timing, more coverage range, customizable hopper, prefabrication for fishfinders, and robust watertight construction.
Angling Technics Microcat MKIII
- Stable and quieter operation with jet pumps and catamaran hull
- The low profile makes it good for shallow waters
- Two hoppers that operate individually or simultaneously
- Compatible with Angling Technics’ echo sounder for feature finding
- Easy-to-operate handset
- Low hull height limits it to calm and shallow waters
- Modest runtime of 45 minutes
- Can be termed as a bit overpriced considering the competition
Angling Technics are one of the pioneers of the bait boat industry in the UK. Over the years, they have made a name for themselves and are known for introducing innovation and newer technology in bait boats.
The third version of the popular Microcat is easily their best-selling model and has a lot to stand out from the crowd.
The first noteworthy difference from other entries on the list is that it is operated by jet pumps. This makes this boat quieter so adds that element of stealth, which is key for shallower waters. The downside is jet-operated boats drain the battery more quickly and this is what we see in Microcat as It has a modest 45 minutes run time.
Secondly, this boat has a sleek, low-profile design. The height makes it perfect for placing bait below overhanging trees. This is further aided by an internal antenna that helps to avoid snags.
Unfortunately, the low profile means a lower hull height and that does reduce stability in choppy waters.
For bait delivery, it has two hoppers that you can operate either individually or simultaneously. You can also place your hookbait in one of the hoppers if you want to place it separately from the other bait.
In addition, there are two line guides on the undersurface of the boat and those can also take out your line and rigs.
With the Microcat MKIII, Angling Technics have done a great job in delivering a well-made well-performing bait boat and they have even improved some of the limitations of the previous versions.
Its low-profile design with quieter jet pumps makes it perfect for shallow waters. However, the lower hull height makes it vulnerable in rough water. It provides precision and adjustability with bait application but has a relatively low runtime if operated with the standard batteries.
Best Bait Boats for Under £500
All the boat baits in the above sections are class-leading and come with some nifty features but they do come at a high price.
For anglers who just want to test out using a boat or for those who don’t require many advanced features, the costs might not be worth it.
So, I decided to create a short section for the more budget-conscious. Of course, £500 is still not cheap by any means but bait boats can be had for over 3 times that amount. Here are my favourite bait boats for less than £500.
Goolsky Flytec Boat
If you are not a regular angler or simply want to trial a bait boat for a while, this next budget option could be a perfect match for your needs.
At first glance, you can see the Goolsky Flytec is a bait boat with a rather flat hull. This is compact and exceptionally lightweight at around 2.0 kg. It is also durable thanks to the injection-molded ABS construction. The flat hull design means it is stable, but not necessarily fast.
It has a rubberized handle on the top, which increases its portability and makes taking the boat to and from the water easy.
For bait application, there are two medium-sized hoppers on the rear end and these operate independently of each other. In total, the hoppers can carry around 1.5 kg of bait. It must be noted that there is no line clip feature in this boat for your rig so you must use one of the hoppers for taking your line out.
I have to say the operation of the hoppers is not silky smooth all the time and sometimes you may need to make more than one attempt to release the load. The shape of the hopper also prevents a complete release of wette, heavier baits like spod mixes.
For power, the boat operates on a rechargeable 5200 mAh lithium polymer battery which provides around 5-6 hours of runtime on one charge. It takes about 12 hours of charging time so you’ll have to be prepared and make sure you give it enough time to charge before heading to the lake.
Be mindful of the fact that lithium polymer batteries are notorious for being susceptible to overcharging. However, they generally have a low profile and have low chances of leaking electrolytes.
The handset operates on four standard AA-sized rechargeable batteries but these are not included in the package.
There are three small LED lights on the right hand side to show different battery levels. There is also a searchlight on the front end, which is not the brightest but is good enough for most conditions.
Flytec claims the operating range for this boat to be around 500 meters. I have seen some reports to say this may well be an overestimate. Many users claim around 150-200 meters of range in good conditions.
In conclusion, the Goolsky Flytec Boat will serve you well if you fish in smaller, calm lakes. It has a basic but satisfactory set of functions with decent performance both in terms of bait application and boating.
Of course this boat is never going to match up to the ones above but there are a few areas where we would have loved some advancement.
With that being said, the price it comes at makes it a no-brainer for intermittent or new anglers.
Best Bait boat for under £500
Lake Reaper Bait Boat
Lake Reaper has one standard bait boat model and is available in two colours; black and camouflage. You can also add the optional fishfinder and that would cost you an additional £200.
The first thing to surprise me about this boat was its lighter weight for the size. It is merely 5.7 kg in weight and at 59 cm length, this is easily one of the lightest bait boats out there. It does make it easy to carry and there’s even a moulded handle to help further.
It is operated by two 6 volt lead-acid batteries and these provide a good runtime of around three hours. You can recharge these with a 240v mains charger that comes with the boat.
The coverage of this bait boat is also good at around 400 meters of range.
The boat is fairly tall with a height of 22 cm so it sits up higher in the water and can handle some choppy waters easily. With its hybrid hull design, it is both stable and quick on the water.
For your bait, It only has a single hopper that holds around 1 kg of bait. There is no line clip mechanism. Therefore, you would have to place the hookbait on the bait and releasing isn’t always as smooth and precise as it could be.
The newer versions of the boat now feature a digital battery indicator on the side, which is visible from some distance. However, it would have been better had it been shown on the handset but it lacks any display whatsoever.
All in all, the Lake Reaper is an excellent bait boat for the money. It has a robust yet lightweight construction and is quite stable on the water. For baiting, its single hopper features a trap door system and provides precision.
You can be critical of it lacking a line clip for independent hook placement and some other higher-end features but this is a great boat for less than £500. In fact, I am going to say the Lake Reaper is the best bait boat you can buy for under £500.
ZJRA Bait Boat
The last entry on this list comes at that sweet spot where you can expect a great value for your money. At around the £400 mark, the ZRJA Bait Boat has a robust ABS construction that should provide a long usage-life.
At 56 cm length, it weighs in at only 3 kg and is extremely lightweight for the size.
One thing I would personally recommend readers is to pay close attention to the serviceability of this bait boat. You can detach the different sections easily and without needing professional help. You can save a few headaches and some money with easy maintenance thanks to this detachable structure and quick-release batteries.
On the subject of batteries, it operates on two 3.7 volt lithium batteries and these do take a while to charge. However, on water, they can give you a good three to four hours of run time.
For baiting, there are two hoppers that operate separately and can hold around 3 kg of bait in total. Unfortunately, there is no separate line release mechanism and you’ll need to place your rig inside one of the hoppers, which is not always desirable.
One disappointment in this boat is its short coverage range. It has a coverage range of only 300 meters and that too is in the absolute best of conditions.
Other than that, you can expect a pleasant experience with this budget-friendly option. It has a durable construction and is quite stable and quick on the water. The good runtime makes it suitable for 10-15 bait trips in one charge. There are some shortcomings but nothing big enough to be a deal-breaker.
Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API