Pelican Bass Raider 10e Review
I bought my Pelican Bass Raider 10e about three years ago when I moved to an area that gave me access to a private 60 acre lake. It took me about two years to figure out all of the modifications and accessories I needed to make it just the way I like it.
Although I had some tough times and pushed my handyman skills to their limit (which wasn’t very far) I still feel that this boat is an incredible value and opens up a whole new world to most bank fisherman.
This is the very boat that inspired me to create this website and I’m now convinced that these mini bass boats fill an incredible void between bank fishing and the world of Nitros, Skeeters, and Rangers.a
Length: 10’2” or 310cm
Width: 40” or 127cm
Weight: 145lb or 65kg
Capacity: 600lb or 272cm
Maximum HP: 3.5HP (motor not included)
Electrical: 12v outlet at bow pre-wired to stern
Stability – Will you tip over?
Probably the most common question online about these boats is “How stable is it and will I tip over?” The answer is no, it would be pretty tough to flip this boat. The beauty is that it’s actually a mini pontoon boat which makes it much more stable than a boat with a typical bottom or a jon boat.
There are plenty of bigger guys using these boats and almost all report that they feel completely safe and stable while fishing. I myself am a little guy at 5’ 09” and about 150 lbs so this wasn’t a huge concern for me after hearing the big guys felt stable.
I, however, prefer to stand while fishing and do feel that I have to be careful to keep my balance especially if someone else is in the boat with me. If I’m standing and my buddy behind me leans all the way to one side (without me seeing him because he’s behind me) it can get a little dicey.
This isn’t the boat’s fault though and I doubt even if I lost my balance and fell overboard the boat would even come close to capsizing. It’s just a tiny area to stand in and having someone moving around behind you can trip you up if you’re not careful.
Bottom line on stability – If you’re a big guy at 200+ lbs you should be perfectly stable in this boat and sitting while fishing. Probably even more stable than fishing from a jon boat. If you’re a smaller guy like me you won’t have a problem and can even stand if you’d like.
Seating – Is it Comfortable?
The Pelican Bass Raider 10e comes with two folding, swivel chairs. The seat and back are hard plastic and the base has two “feet” that fit perfectly into grooves on both sides of the boat. This allows you to easily slide the seats up or down the length of the boat to give you the legroom you desire
I find the hard plastic seats do the job just fine for me and as I mentioned above, I prefer to stand while I fish so I’m only really sitting while I’m trolling to the next spot or tying on a new lure.
The only modification I’ve chosen to make here is adding this seat pedestal to my chair which raises me up a little bit higher.
I mainly did this because I switched to a foot controlled trolling motor and sitting higher allows me to run the foot control better but it also ended up being a lot easier on my knees. If you’re a taller guy I would definitely recommend adding these to your seats.
Many people, especially those that sit the entire time, prefer to upgrade the hard plastic seats to a cushioned option. That can easily be accomplished by picking out the cushioned seat of your choice and attaching it to the bases that come with the Pelican Bass Raider 10e chairs.
The Pelican Bass Raider 10e has a ridged floor that is intended to allow water to collect in the cracks and keep the raised part dry and less likely to be slippery.
The ridged flooring isn’t completely uncomfortable at first but after an entire day on the water it definitely takes a toll on your feet and causes a little more fatigue than necessary.
I would say this is the most common modification the Pelican Bass Raider 10e boat itself. People have added decks made from plywood with marine carpet to the bottom of their boats to get a more typical, flat, carpeted deck.
There are even some folks that are just using a yoga mat or other cushioned floor mat to lay down on the boat floor.
If you do look into creating your own deck keep in mind how much weight you’ll be adding to the boat and how that’s going to affect it’s portability. That’s the only reason I haven’t added a plywood deck to mine…
The Pelican website and most retailers of the Bass Raider list drink holders and storage compartments as part of the boat’s features.
Do not expect to use the drink holders to hold drinks or to store anything in the storage compartments…
What they are referring to is the molding on both sides of the boat.
The drink holders are just little circles to sit a drink on and the storage compartments are the same, essentially a tray to set a lure on.
The word “compartment” is a little misleading as there’s nothing to open up and nowhere to store anything.
The Pelican Bass Raider 10e has a 3 prong 12V outlet at the bow that runs 8 AWG wiring through the inside of the boat to the stern where it ends with ring terminals for your battery.
I didn’t use the pre-wiring in the boat for the first year or two as I just connected my trolling motor directly to my battery at the stern and went fishing.
Eventually I bought a foot controlled trolling motor and wanted to use it at the bow so I did end up using the pre-wiring.
If you want to make use of this wiring you’re going to have to add a plug to the wires on your trolling motor that will fit into the existing 3 prong outlet. This kind of thing is not my cup of tea but ultimately I accomplished it and so can you.
One thing to watch out for is the in-line fuse that’s on the battery terminal side. Mine burnt up at some point and there are plenty of reports of that happening to others online as well.
Ultimately I cut the in-line fuse out (after it melted) and bought this Minn Kota Power Center battery box which has a breaker. Having the breaker protects the circuit and there’s no longer a need for the fuse.
I would recommend you go ahead and get the battery box and should your fuse ever melt on you just cut it out and keep using the battery box.
Portability – Can you get it where it needs to go?
This is where the Pelican Bass Raider 10e really shines, at least for my situation.
I live in neighborhood that has two natural, private lakes totaling about 100 acres of water. My house is about 5 blocks from the water so I can’t just push my boat off my backyard and there’s not any type of boathouse to keep it at.
I assume you have to drive your boat to your favorite fishing hole as well and most likely much farther than I do.
I keep the trolling motor, seats, battery, and all accessories off the boat so that I can easily get the boat in and out of the truck and down to the water. Once I’m at the water I load everything onto the boat and push off.
This boat is perfect if you own a pickup truck like me. It’s width fits perfectly between the wheel wells in the bed and with my tailgate down it only sticks out about 2 feet.
I drive a crew cab F150with the short bed (5.5ft). I can load the boat into the bed myself by setting one end on the tailgate and then going around to the back and pushing the rest of the boat in.
Throw on one tie-down strap and I can go to the lake in my neighborhood or take a road trip anywhere with it.
If you have a pick-up truck and want to throw a boat in the bed, this is the boat for you.
If you don’t have a truck OR you’ve made your boat very heavy with modifications and can’t/won’t disassemble it for transportation, you need to plan on having a small trailer to tow it with.
There are 4 handles on the boat, 2 on the bow and 2 at the stern. The handles at the stern are actually on the sides which you can’t use if two people are carrying the boat at both ends.
The boat does have a substantial lip all the way around it and that is what the person at the stern will have to hold onto. Not having the handles there doesn’t make a big difference as the lip is sufficient to hold onto.
If your path to the water is all grass I would not be concerned about dragging the boat however I would not drag the boat on concrete, gravel, or rocky ground. The plastic will scratch over time if you do this and I wouldn’t want any weak areas on the bottom of the boat.
I personally don’t have a long distance to go between my truck and the water but some folks do and they’ve had to come up with a dolly to pull the boat with.
How long will it last?
Pelican offers a 2 year limited warranty on the hull of the boat and a 1 year guarantee on the pre-assembled accessories. You can read the full warranty here.
These things are built to last. The plastic is Pelican’s RAM-X material that is used on all of their kayaks and boats. It’s an impact resistant, multi-layered plastic with a UV protected finish.
I have had no issue with this material or the boat’s construction itself in the 3 years I’ve owned it.
I wash my boat off after every use and store it in my garage, leaned on it’s side against the wall. The majority of folks store their boats outdoors which is perfectly fine although you should consider covering it so that it’s not battling the elements on a daily basis.
These boats will last many years, especially if taken care of. Many folks have used them for 10 years with some reports of up to 30 years (this was an older model, the Pelican Bass Raider 8).
The bottom line is that you will get your money’s worth for this boat, especially if you take care of it. If you decide to upgrade in the future you can even sell it on Craigslist and get some money back for it.
Price and Where to Buy
The price for these can fluctuate from about $500 to $800.
Academy Sports + Outdoors (which is where I bought mine) currently has them listed for $599.99 however it’s only available in stores. Most Academy stores in my area have them in stock but if you don’t have Academy in your area they can be a little tough to find.
Dick’s Sporting Goods has been known to carry them as well but sometimes for a little higher price. Expect to spend between $500 and $700 on a brand new boat.
In this price range the competing small fishing boats would be the Uncle Bucks Pond Prowler II at $699 and the Sun Dolphin Sportsman at $499.
The Sun Dolphin Sportsman is lighter but also shorter and the Uncle Bucks Pond Prowler II is very similar in weight and length. All of these are great boats but in my opinion you are getting the larger boat for the small boat price with the Bass Raider 10e.
If you’re looking for one step up from these boats check out the Sun Dolphin Pro 120.
One thing I didn’t realize is how much I would end up spending on accessories and modifications. By the time I “completed” my boat I had spent more on accessories than I did on the boat.
In the grand scheme of things though, I have an awesome small fishing boat that I can use to get around my electric only lake and catch big bass for less than $2500 bucks.
That definitely beats buying a $50,000 bass boat and fighting traffic on public lakes. For me it’s the only way to fish and well worth the money.
What’s it like fishing out of the Pelican Bass Raider 10e? Well, I can get as shallow as I want just like a kayak. I frequently fish with a buddy or my girlfriend in the boat as well and don’t have any issues.
For me and most others I read about online, the largest challenge was steering the boat and fighting the wind.
This boat is lightweight even with two people in it and 10 – 15mph wind can make fishing pretty tough. I went through a pretty long trial and error process to figure out what works best.
The majority of folks online say that adding a rudder to the boat will greatly help you fight the wind and keep you from spinning like a top while trying to cast.
At first I had a handheld trolling motor on the stern and this was a huge problem for me. I often had to turn or move the boat in the middle of every cast which meant taking my hand off my reel and adjusting the trolling motor.
Instead of making my own rudder I found the Bullnose Rudder which attaches to your trolling motor and this helped tremendously. I had much fewer “adjustments” while fishing as the boat wasn’t constantly spinning.
Later on I switched to a foot-controlled trolling motor at the bow and attaching the rudder to the trolling motor there doesn’t work.
It’s not a huge deal because I can now make adjustments with my foot and keep fishing, but I ultimately found that having a shallow water anchor pole is a good solution to this problem as well.
Now I’m trolling by foot and when I find an area I want to take my time with I shove the anchor pole into the water and relax.
Final Thoughts on the Pelican Bass Raider 10e
The Pelican Bass Raider 10e is an incredible little fishing boat. If you’re fishing smaller bodies of water, electric only lakes, farm ponds, or just want to get out on the water without buying a full blown bass boat, this thing is right up your alley.
Having this boat has grown my passion for the sport of bass fishing and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed outfitting it the way I want. It will last as long as I need it to and I can’t imagine I’d ever sell it.