HELPING MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE FOR 50 YEARS
Born in Oklahoma, Ron Pierce first dream of his own hand-built boat was manifest in a boat he stored on at his parent’s home and ran with his grandfather’s outboard, usually without his granddad knowing it. That old wooden boat was the start of many memories which would unfold over time. It was that dream that opened the door to a new world for young Ron. From that old wooden boat other boats followed as the Pierce family got more and more active on the water. But Ron Pierce did not initially set out to build boats or be a professional angler. Perhaps taking the words of “The Graduate” to heart, he built a successful career in the plastics industry, but restless Ron was looking for something different when he purchased a small restaurant following in the
footsteps of his wife’s parents. However, he found cooking chickens too monotonous for a dreamer who loved to fish.
Remembering the joy of the boats of his youth, the Pierces decided to start building fishing boats in their garage. The year was 1971 and Bass Cat was born. The need for more space found them moving to a small military style Quonset hut. This too was quickly outgrown. By the end of 1972 they were building boats where the factory stands today in Mountain Home, Arkansas, a state that could lay claim to the global center of the bass boat world.
Those first Bass Cats could be purchased for less than $1,000.00. The entire package wouldn’t run more than $2,500.00. While boat technology and prices have certainly changed, the drive to help anglers make memories has not. Pierce’s boats led the way for many innovations- recessed
trolling pedals elevated electronics, battery chargers and interior box lighting. They also were innovative in their production techniques that delivered boats that were more than just screwed together. In 1977, they took their vee hulls in a new direction, a direction since widely copied by the rest of the industry- a design which led to the first 19 foot, 200 hp rated wide beam bass boats. That Pantera Pro model was revolutionary and ultimately paved the way for the introduction of the it Pantera II and Sabre- their first true tournament machines.
The Puma could very well be their most innovative tournament boat with the introduction of a new wide body to accommodate larger engines. Pierce drove Innovation as integral to their mission. But he also focused on the anglers needs and priorities, something that has become part of their focus through their Owner’s Board,
Pierce passed away in 2016, but he left his mark on the bass boat industry and the community and fishing world in general. He was a member of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and even served as mayor of Mountain Home for ten years. His employees, the people of Mountain Home, and his fellow anglers were very important to him and he made it a priority to treat them all like family, a value still prevalent at Bass Cat today.