A New Era for High-Performance Bass Boats

Launched at the 2019 Miami International Boat Show, the Mercury Racing MAX5 ST the hottest new propeller for lightweight, single-engine bass boat capable of exceeding 85 mph.

The recent design evolution by leading builders of high-performance bass boats will leverage the performance of new four-stroke outboard motors offered by Mercury Marine and Mercury Racing. These boats are faster than ever, easier to fish, and better for the environment.

For anglers seeking more velocity on their way to the perfect fishing spot, the 4.6-liter V8 Mercury Racing 300R outboard and new propeller offerings from Mercury Racing have been a game-changer during the 2019 season. The all-new five-blade Mercury Racing MAX5 ST propeller paired with the Mercury Racing 300R has proven to be the perfect match for many high-performance bass boats. The five-blade MAX5 ST offers great hole shot and low slip percentages throughout the RPM range to deliver optimal fuel economy and top end speed on many bass boat models. Here are a few examples.


Allison Boats

The company perhaps most-synonymous with ultra-fast fishing rigs is Allison Boats of Louisville, Tenn., and its XB-21 BasSport models are a great platform for both the Mercury Racing 250R and Mercury Racing 300R outboard models. The highly efficient XB-21 hull is packed with high end fishing technology and Mercury Marine’s advanced range of controls. After extensive propeller testing, we’ve determined that both the four-blade Mercury Racing Pro Max and 15-inch diameter Mercury Racing MAX5 are great propeller options for this setup. The 15.25-inch Mercury Racing MAX5 ST is a great match for the Allison XB-21 BasSport 2+2 models rigged with Mercury Racing 300R power.

Bullet Boats

Bullet Boats offers several models of 20-foot to 21-foot 10-inch length that may be equipped with a Mercury Racing 250R or Mercury Racing 300R outboard. In our testing with this Knoxville-based builder the Mercury Racing Bravo I FS propeller is a great choice, but to squeeze the most performance from either outboard model on a Bullet bass boat there really is no comparison to the MAX5 ST. The MAX5 ST provides lightning-fast hole shot and less than 10 percent slip, which improves fuel economy and top-end speed. Both the Mercury Racing Bravo I FS and MAX5 ST props feature tuned, shortened barrels for reduced stern lift and have pushed lightly loaded Bullet Boat models rigged with a Mercury Racing 300R outboard beyond 100 mph.

Ballistic Boats

Ballistic Boats of Fruitland, Idaho, is a relatively new entrant into the high-performance bass category. Its single model, the 22-foot 3-inch Ballistic .223, features an all-glass helm display and vacuum-infused construction, and has topped 90 mph with a legitimate tournament load and a single person aboard when running the Mercury Racing 300R and MAX5 ST prop. According to Ballistic owner Jim Wells, some owners prefer the Mercury Racing Bravo I FS for its outstanding hole shot and mid-range performance, and top speeds in the mid-80 mph range. We look forward to seeing more Ballistics on the water with Mercury Racing 250R and Mercury Racing 300R outboard power!

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41 thoughts on “A New Era for High-Performance Bass Boats”

  1. If you haven’t ridden in one you owe it to yourself to go for a test drive , this is one solid boat with the Mercury power plant

  2. What do You recomend in pitch on a Max 5 st? I have an Allison 2000 ss with Merc 200 sx.Mostly we are 2 p.in the boat. Is this prop also good for stability(maybe a little less chinewalk). I’m a beginner to “padboats”
    Appriciate your answer

    1. Sven,

      The MAX5 will not be the propeller of choice for your setup. It is only for the new outboards which feature the larger diameter Sport Master gear cases. Great propeller choices for your setup would be the Pro Max or Lightning ET.


      1. ET is your best bet especially on that SS if your setup properly ( NoseCone, Jackplate.)
        Depending on what motor any 2.5L is your best bet.
        Opti may had a bit more weight than you’d like to an SS. Or a 4 Stroker .
        Although can be done by the right blokes ,
        If possible stick with the 2.0L 2.4 L 2.5 L

  3. I have a question on my current setup. I’m running a 1998 Norris Craft with a new 4 stroke 250 pro xs. Currently running 27 trophy at 84mph tournament loaded. My hole shot is horrible. Steer me in the right direction on props.

    1. Robert,

      You would need to sacrifice some top end speed in order to gain hole shot, I don’t think you’re going to be able to match that top end with a different prop. The Pro Max would help some, and remain pretty close to your top end speed. The Bravo I FS would offer much imrpoved planing, but you could lose up to 5 mph on top end. A lot of guys are running the new V8 motors with all the vent plugs out on their props to help planing.


  4. I am installing a V8 300R on my 20 ft flats boat. Need bow lift and looking faster cruise speeds in the 4500 rpm range .. Can you suggest a propeller ?

    Thank you

    1. Andrew,

      What is the model of the hull and did you go with the Sport Master gear case? In a Sport Master application, the most efficient prop will be the MAX5 ST. Because of the fifth blade, it hooks up much better than a Bravo style propeller at elevated engine heights.


      1. Hello Nick – sorry didn’t see your response earlier..

        Its an Islamorada Boca 20 … TM lower …. Getting 70 mph at just shy of 6k rpm WOT … 25p Fury on it currently …

        Thanks !!

        1. Andrew,

          Consider the 26 pitch Bravo I FS. Expect all aspects to improve: hole shot, mid range, handling, and top end. RPM at WOT will increase about 150 due to the Bravo running a little lighter in pitch.


  5. Hi , I’ve got a new force 19x with a 300r and a torque master box over here in New Zealand that I use for water ski racing. Hull weight is 240 kg ( not counting gas or driver and observer ) 90mm jack plate with prop shaft 45mm down . Best one up speed so far 89.5 mph with a 28.5 promax . 2 up is 85 mph with a 27 pro max .I love my set up but always looking for more speed . Any ideas on where to go from here

    1. Wayne,

      Those are awesome numbers. 89-90 mph is about the most you will get out of the Torque Master gear case, any higher and you should be running the Sport Master for added stability and better water pressure. 9% slip with the Pro Max is also great, I wouldn’t change a thing.


  6. Hi Nick,
    I have a 300R on a ViperS, bassboat (an equivalent in the states in a Gambler) it is just under 20ft long. I would like to know what prop and pitch you would recommend. Something to keep in mind is that we run at an altitude of around 1400m – 1800m above sea level. Thanks very much.

    1. Leon,

      Which gear case are you running? I know of one here in the states that is running a Torque Master with a Bravo I FS prop. Running mid to upper eighties, he should end up around a 29.5 pitch. That is a great all around prop and a safe bet for you. If you are running a Sport Master, consider a MAX5 ST, 28 pitch. And a heads up the new Sporty likes to be run very high.


      1. Hi Nick. I am running Sport Master. We are trying to source max 5 in Africa but not easy. What pitch would you run a pro max.

  7. Hi Nick, I have run the 300R in and now I need to start testing props, the boat that I am running has a lot of natural bow lift so would you say the Promax or the Bravo?
    If I was looking to run the Max5 ST what pitch would you recommend?

    1. Leon,

      A 30 pitch Pro Max should be a good fit. I am hesitant to recommend the MAX5 ST without knowing more about the boat since it is a pricey prop. Another great guy to talk to would be Tim at Fastbass Marine. He might be able to sell you one as well.


  8. Hi, We have a Max5 ST coming into Zambia from Dubia to test. I am not sure if I will get out the water with a 30 at our altitude of 1300m or 4200 feet above sea level. Did a few hours on the boat last weekend , what a motor.

    1. Leon,

      It is going to be a big wheel, and you need to run the engine high to get the most out of it. Most guys run the MAX5 with the prop shaft 1.5″ above the pad at least. I think you can spin it, only one way to find out!


  9. HI Nick
    Please have a look at this video and let me know your thoughts.


    The boat manufacturer is worried about blow-out with the motor so high, water pressure is around 1.3bar it was quite rough when I was running and I was 1 up got to around 123kph to 128kph, rpm only 5400 to 5600.

    1. Leon,

      Engine height looks about right, water pressure is good. The size and profile of the new gear case’s skeg helps to eliminate blow out. The prop is hooking up pretty well for you. Looks like you will need to drop down in pitch to a 28 if you are running a 30.


  10. Hi Nick
    We have a Max5 27.5 coming to Zambia soon (hopefully this week). I have tested again with the 28 Bravo but I prefer the Promax. At our altitude and fuel quality I dont think I will spin a 30.

  11. Hi Nick, How you. Today we tested the Max5 ST 27.5, what a great prop. Got to around 134kph at around 6050. Holeshot is good enough, I had full tanks and full live well. 1 person up so got a little twichy at 134. With 2 up I am sure we will be well into the 138s. We are running at 974m above sea level.
    My boat is a fully kitted bass boat with Ultrex, Solix 15 and 360 mega on the front so to get to this speed is very impressive. The grip on the Max 5 ST is so good and even at 130 the gearbox is very honest.

  12. I have a video of the box again if you are interested I am sticking it on Youtube as well as 1 of a holeshot.

  13. Nick would the Max 5 ST be a good selection for a Bullet 21 ST. Running a 250 R sporty lower.
    Been running a 29 pro max stock.. 12 inch hydraulic Jack plate.
    Hole shot is on the bad side with 2 people and full load. Top end depends but best has been 83 at 6000 rpms.

    1. Jeff,

      Yes consider the 27.5 pitch MAX5 ST. With all of the vent plugs removed, it is a rocket out of the hole with the new V8s on a Bullet, and also vastly improves mid range fuel economy. Most are running 1.5 to 2 inches above the pad on top end.


    1. Jeff,

      Should be 2-3, depends on how much higher you can go with the jack plate compared to where you were running the Pro Max in order to get RPM out of it because the MAX5 will stay hooked up.


  14. Nick.
    Have hydro jack plate 12 offset.
    And a couple time with just me and running at close to 2 inch above I have seen 87 mph.
    Which is not bad seeing how I have 4 batteries and a 112 Minnkota hanging on the front.
    Have ordered the prop. Should be at Steel Creek Marine by the time I get back from North Dakota.
    Will let you know how it goes

  15. Nick.
    Got back in town last week. Had the 27.5 max5St at the house. Saturday morning swap props and took it out. Had full load of fuel and all my gear. Hole shot was way better. Was on plane at 4000 rpms. Even filled the live fell 3/4 full and was a good hole shot. I took and raised the backplate to 2 inchs to see how the hole shot would be. Still got up quick but just as it laid down it spun up. Still got on plane but could tell to high.
    Went out to river and turned it loose. At 5900 rpms was running 86.9 at 2 inches above the pad. Feel as if it had tons left in it. But want to get use to the way it handles. Feels as if the whole boats higher. And with the Bullet SST seems to needed the nose up to get topped out.
    With the air temp at 95 degrees I think it will be fine.
    Also took and check prop slippage
    and it’s down to below 3.
    As soon as I get back in town will see what it will do.
    Must work to play for toys

  16. I am running a 2019 Nitro Z21 with a 250 4s. Runs well with a load and one person but really falls off with second person. Would this new prop help and what kind of top end loss?

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