A Look Back at the History of Skeeter Boats

In 1948, the first Skeeter Bass Boat was built by Holmes Thurman in Shreveport, LA. It was just over 13-feet long and made of molded marine plywood with a flat bottom. The boats acquired the name “Skeeter” because their long, needle-shaped nose resembled a mosquito.

Skeeter became one of the first innovators to use fiberglass in the boat construction process. This revolution greatly increased the number of boats that could be produced as well as the quality of the boats. In 1961, Ben Cook moved the Skeeter plant to a bigger operation in Longview, Texas. This milestone marked the start of Skeeter Marine. During this period, the first fiberglass boats were built, and stick steering was developed to control the longer 15-foot “Super Skeeter” and “Skeeter Magnum” Boats. Who knew that many of us would be sitting in 20’, 21’ and even 22’ rigs today!

The next step for Skeeter was another expansion to the company’s current plant site in Kilgore, Texas. In 1975, they introduced a 150-horsepower, V-bottom bass boat called the Wrangler. At the time, this model was an extremely popular option on the increasingly expanding bass circuits. The Wrangler was Skeeter’s first creation that most closely mirrors today’s bass boats.

The front cover from the 1976 Skeeter Catalog (Courtesy of Skeeter Boats)

In 1983, the Coleman Company, famous for its camping equipment, purchased Skeeter. Soon after this acquisition, the popular Fish N’ Ski lineup was launched. During the 80’s, Skeeter also introduced the first SX model. Skeeter’s future remained bright with recognized hull designs that continued to lead the industry.

As bass fishing and, more specifically, bass tournament fishing began to grow at a rapid rate during the late 80’s and early 90’s, Skeeter introduced the ZX series of bass boats. These boats incorporated advanced-hull designs and modern styling that took users to a whole new level. During this same time, walleye tournaments were being introduced for the first time in the North. Serious walleye anglers needed a boat to take on huge bodies of often rough water. The answer was Skeeter’s line of deep-V boats. In 1994, Skeeter’s most popular walleye model took the triple crown for Angler of the Year in all three major professional walleye circuits.

Looking down on the Skeeter ZX175 from 1993 (Courtesy of Skeeter Boats)

In 1995, the demand for boats to run faster and more efficiently with more tackle, gear, fuel, and battery power than ever before was met with the addition of a 21-foot 300ZX, which accommodated high-output 200 and 225-horsepower motors. This was the beginning of the size and caliber of boats that are used in 2017. An all-new SX product line was also introduced in the late 1990s, which brought the basic ZX design into entry-level and mid-range priced boats. Customers had more than 35 new models to choose from throughout the mid 90’s, fitting the needs of all levels of anglers.

In 1996 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., acquired Skeeter Products, Inc. This collaboration brought new resources and advancements to Skeeter’s product line. Skeeter brought out new hull designs and graphics for the all-new ZX202 and ZX185, and a new ZX Big Water/Deep-V line was introduced for the saltwater market.

In 2001, a new Torque Transfer Transom and Stringer System was introduced on the ZX bass boat models, setting a new industry standard for modern boat construction. This unique system transfers the vertical torque and energy from the engine to the stringer system in the bottom of the boat, virtually eliminating stress on the transom, deck and hull sides, while providing lift along the entire keel of the boat.

Skeeter launched the i-Class series in 2006 with cutting-edge modular consoles, improved comfort and fishability, and the new Digital Multifunctional System, which permits control of all onboard systems with the use of touch keypads.

The introduction of the i-Class in 2006! (Courtesy of Skeeter Boats)

Most recently, Skeeter introduced the FX21 and FX20 Limited Edition Bass boat series which is available in six brilliant color combinations and comes standard with several state of the art options from all the latest and greatest companies, such as Minn Kota®. In 2016 Skeeter was also nominated for the CSI award for the fourteenth consecutive year in “Excellence in Customer Satisfaction for Fiberglass Outdoor Boats.”

“Skeeter’s goal, to build boats that are engineered like no other, permeates everything we do—from our design and manufacturing methods to the courtesy we extend each time you walk into a dealership. From no-corners-cut construction all the way to the winner’s circle, Skeeter’s pursuit of perfection is evident in the best-engineered bass boats on the water today.”

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This document contains many of Skeeter’s valuable trademarks. It may also contain trademarks belonging to other companies. Any references to other companies or their products are for identification purposes only, and are not intended to be an endorsement.

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