The Best New Boats For 2007

No matter where

you like to fish, the latest models of

fiberglass boats

provide a dizzying array of options.

(February 2007)

Years ago, fishing boats had one primary function: They kept your feet dry while you were on the water. Not so today. Modern boats usually are designed with specific sportfishing tactics in mind, and they're transporting anglers farther and faster than ever before.

Whether they're decked out with a massive V6 outboard, spacious live-well, luxurious carpeting or metal-flake paint, today's fishing boats are loaded with features your grandfather never could have imagined. If you're thinking about buying a new craft, the choices have never been better or broader.

To help you wade through the options, here is a preview of the top new fiberglass models for 2007.

Bass Cat

www.basscat.com

Bass Cat has reintroduced the Pantera II as part of its 35th anniversary celebration. At a length of 19 feet, 1 inch and beam of 93 inches, this 2007 version is the first Bass Cat since 1976 without fins or handrails.

The floor plan features dual rod lockers and huge dual storage boxes on the front deck, as well as a divided cooler. Two extra-large rear-deck storage areas straddle dual livewells. A new console is featured, as is a neat step-to-the-rear deck. This step matches the top cap of the boat and is built to house a throw cushion, plus a retractable grab strap for the passenger.

The Pantera II is rated for up to a 200-horsepower engine and comes in Advantage or Premium package models with three engine options.

Carolina Skiff

www.carolina-skiff.com

Carolina Skiff's motto, "Anything Is Possible," sets the bar high, but the DLV Series of boats seems to rise to the occasion. From shallow flats to deep channels, spray-reducing bows and high gunnels make for high and dry running under a variety of conditions. Once anchored, the boats become stable fishing platforms.

Besides being virtually unsinkable, these durable fiberglass boats are easily maneuvered when trolling or on plane. The modified V-hull design features livewells, extra storage compartments and plenty of seating.

The DLV Series comes in four models ranging in length from 19 feet to 24 feet, 10 inches and can handle 115- through 200-horsepower outboard engines. All of the models feature 96-inch beam widths and 26-inch-deep gunnels. Maximum passenger capacity on this line is from 11 to 16 passengers.

Champion

www.championboats.com

The 210 Elite from Champion Boats has many new features anglers are sure to appreciate. The sleek and sophisticated style of the newly redesigned console is the first thing to catch your eye. Its precise gauge placement enables you to flush-mount the popular large-model electronics.

Then you are drawn to the improved design of the compartments housed in the 20-foot, 9-inch hull that boasts a beam measurement of 95 inches. These areas provide excellent tackle and dry-storage options.

Next, your attention focuses on the modern digital switching at the console. All the functions of the 210 Elite are commanded with the push of a button. Other standard features include a 40-gallon livewell and Sea Star Pro hydraulic steering. The fuel capacity of the craft is 50 gallons to feed up to a 300-horsepower motor.

Nitro

www.nitro.com

The new 21-foot Z9 from Nitro is strong and light. From the anti-fatigue padded bow deck to the restyled seating and shock-absorption system for the helm and passenger seat, fishermen can ride and fish in comfort. There are two positions for the bow seat pedestal and a folding fishing chair aft. Stainless-steel grab bars and molded-in steps to the aft deck make it easy to move around in the roomy interior.

The boat's modular console design allows the purchaser the option of either the wide-open single-console configuration or the popular dual-console version for added passenger comfort.

The driver's console features lighted, multi-functional gauges to keep you on time and monitor the oil level in your reservoir. All electrical functions are controlled by digital switching with a soft-touch booted panel, and wiring connections are sealed. The Z9 has hydraulic tilt steering with through-deck hose fittings.

Compartment and storage-area lids are welded aluminum for strength and rigidity. The Z9 also features two large, aerated livewells with recirculators, timers and pump-out systems. The Z9 even includes an oxygen-generation system in each livewell.

Polar Kraft

www.polarkraftboats.com

The new Outlander V186 Side Console from Polar Kraft is a rugged deep-V-hull boat designed especially for the multi-species angler looking for stability, safety and room to maneuver. It comes loaded with standards, including a 27-gallon gas tank, a heavy-duty gunwale and an oversized livewell. The 18-foot, 6-inch length and 92-inch beam of the boat can handle power plants up to 115 horsepower.

Three fold-down fishing seats are standard, with an extra-wide floor for maximum maneuverability. On the portside is a 44-inch aerated 18.8-gallon livewell, and in the bow, a baitwell with removable bait bucket.

To conveniently store all your fishing gear, there are in-floor, starboard bow and port-side storage areas, along with separate battery and anchor storage. Multiple rods can easily be stowed in the starboard lockable rod compartment.

Procraft

www.procraftboats.com

It may not be the biggest bass boat in the tournament, but Procraft's new fiberglass Pro 186 is a high-performance fishing platform that can get you in and out of the best fishing holes no matter where they are.

This 18-foot, 4-inch boat is roomy and stable with a 90-inch beam and built on a hand-laid hull with a fiberglass, foam-filled stringer system.

Performance and handling features like the modular console with full instrumentation make handling a breeze. And there are plenty of great fishing features: a 34-gallon livewell system with timer, recirculator and pump-out capability; oversized, lockable rod boxes port and starboard; and plenty of tackle and gear storage below deck.

Additional features include single- or dual-console configuration, built-in cooler in the bow deck, bow-light and integrated horn, non-skid bow and stern mats for safe footing, aft drop-in tackle storage boxes and 39-gallon fuel tank.

Ranger

www.rangerboats.com

In response to the rising popularity of competitive redfish angling, Ranger Boats has added the 183 Ghost to its saltwater line. The company's engineers designed the 85 1/2-inch beam of the 183 with input from the nation's top pro redfish anglers.

The new design of the 18-foot, 3-inch hull makes the boat ideally suited for gliding across choppy water, as well as stalking fish in flats as shallow as 9 1/2 inches deep. A maximum 150-horsepower rating coupled with a 35-gallon fuel capacity means anglers can enjoy more comfort, faster access and greater range in finding areas that hold fish.

There's easy access to storage, batteries, breakers and pumps, plus features such as an aerated livewell/ baitwell with high-speed pickup and in-line filter. There is also a poling platform, recessed trim tabs and additional storage in the gunnels and under the deck.

Skeeter

www.skeeterboats.com

Skeeter's new ZX22V Bay Boat is designed specifically with inshore saltwater fishermen in mind. Its 14- to 16-inch draft allows anglers to float shallow for inshore sportfish. Its length of 22 feet, 6 1/2 inches and beam of 101 inches provide ample space for eight passengers, plenty of gear storage and maximum use of the boat's bow and stern fishing platforms.

A 32-gallon livewell and console baitwell feature fill and recirculation modes with timer to keep the bait and catch fresh. Gear and rods can be stowed in the bow storage box, insulated 32-gallon starboard/bow fish box, four tubular horizontal rod holders and rear storage area.

The center console features tilt hydraulic steering, a comfortable leaning post with removable 94-quart cooler and courtesy lighting. There is also Yamaha instrumentation, including multi-function speedometer, fuel gauge, clock, tachometer, trim gauge, horn, oil status, and analog water pressure gauge. The fuel tanks hold an impressive 60 gallons.

The ZX22V can accommodate a wide selection of engines of up to 250 horsepower.

Stratos

www.stratosboats.com

If you're tired of unstable decks, cramped spaces, lack of dry storage and the noisy nature of most other aluminum boats, Stratos Boats' new 176XT may be the craft for you. It's longer, wider and touts more interior storage and fishable deck space than many comparable aluminum models.

It also comes with loads of standard equipment, such as a flush-mounted remote throttle control, modular console, aerated livewell with timer, and bow and console panels with switches. You can choose from a wide range of factory-rigged outboards of up to 75 horsepower. When matched to the 23-gallon fuel capacity, the boat offers good range, too.

Custom details, such as plush marine-grade carpet, gas spring lid assists, four tackle storage boxes, lockable storage compartments and a running rod rack with strap, add to the craft's overall utility. The boat has an 84-inch beam and 17-foot, 6-inch length.

Tracker

www.trackerboat.com

For 2007, Tracker has released an improved model of its popular Pro Team 175, the new Pro Team 175 TXW. This aluminum boat is 5 inches longer than its predecessor at 17 feet, 8 inches, while also being 6 inches wider with a beam measurement of 89 inches.

It also features even larger casting decks and a brand-new interior design. There's a new switch and instrument panel, as well as a console that can accept an assortment of electronics to help find the trophies.

A full-width bench seat with step to the aft deck gives a comfortable ride. It's carpeted with sun- and stain-resistant fishing-friendly marine carpet, and has an aerated, divided livewell with timer and pump-out feature.

Among the other quality assets are pinchless seat hinges, an expanded cockpit area, lockable bow-deck storage with a dry box and cooler. The aft deck includes tackle storage with trays, and lockable rod boxes are located on the bow center and port side.

Triton

www.tritonboat.com

The latest from Triton Boats is the TR200 X2, a 250-horsepower-rated tournament model available with single or dual consoles. This model boasts a length of 20 feet and a width of 94 inches. The 53-gallon fuel tank can be matched to power plants of up to 250 horsepower.

The boat comes loaded with a long list of standard features, including all-composite construction, Sea Star hydraulic steering, an automatic bilge pump, oversized rod lockers, locking storage boxes and a divided high-capacity livewell.

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