New Boats: Better Ways to Get to the Fish

No matter where or how you like to fish, there's something for you in this

year's crop of new boats. Here's a quick look at many of the new models.

By Ed Harp

Before you buy any "big-ticket" item, you probably consider your choices. You take a look at what various manufacturers have to offer. You review their Web sites, compare quality, options, features, your needs and price.

Once you have a little basic information, you visit a dealer to check everything out in person. Finally, you probably ask for a demonstration.

What's true for cars, trucks and other expensive purchases should be just as true for your fishing boat. It's a major investment and one that you'll spend as much time in as humanly possible.

With that in mind, let's take a look at what you can expect in the 2005 fishing rigs. Whether you're in the market for a boat right now, or just enjoy a little window-shopping, it's always fun to see what's new.

ALUMACRAFT

(www.alumacraft.com)

Alumacraft Navigator 185

Alumacraft has added the Navigator 185 CS to its popular Navigator Series for 2005.

Standard features include a twin-plated 2XB hull system with an extra wide 96-inch beam to go with its 18-foot, 7-inch length. Two livewells are included along with twin 8-foot rod lockers.

It'll handle a 150-horsepower motor and carries 41 gallons of fuel. That's enough for all day and more on the water. Combine this with a relatively light weight and this boat will get you there in a hurry should the need arise.

BASS CAT

(www.basscat.com)

Bass Cat Puma

Bass Cat's new Puma is 20 feet, 4 inches in length and, with a 94-inch beam, it has plenty of room for you and a couple of fishing buddies. The maximum horsepower rating is 285 and the Puma carries 52 gallons of fuel.

This is a top-end bass boat, with plenty of standard features. If there's something you want that doesn't come standard, you can always have it added as an optional upgrade.

CAROLINA SKIFF

(www.carolinaskiff.com)

Carolina Skiff 21 DLX

Carolina Skiff, the well-known Waycross, Georgia, boat maker, has several models for those looking for a fully functional, basic fishing boat or a fully rigged family, multi-purpose craft.

There are three lines of Carolina Skiffs: the DLX Series, the Semi-V Series and the J Series. Each has its own set of accessories, including several sizes of center consoles, front decks, aft decks with livewells and several styles of seats.

Champion 223 Elite

Champion boats have something to meet any angler's needs. No matter if it's their 22-foot, 3-inch 223 Elite or their 187 CX, their bass boats are functional, reliable and tournament-tested.

Champion multi-species models include the 194 Fishunter. At 19 feet, 4 inches, it's big enough to handle just about anything freshwater fishing has to offer. It's rated for outboards up to 225 horsepower and is fully equipped for serious fishing with a quality trolling motor and onboard livewells.

Fisher ProHawk 170

Fisher offers a full line of fishing boats, including modified V-hulls, deep V-hulls and pontoon boats.

The Pro Hawk 170, with a huge 87-inch beam, has plenty of storage room in the bow, and a 23-gallon livewell. The 17-footer is rated for 90 horsepower and includes a longitudinal stringer system and a 17-degree dead rise. It boasts big-boat performance without the big boat.

G3 Angler V 165

G3's new Angler V 165 Fish is a fishing boat designed for a serious deep-V boat enthusiast. Standard features include a walk-through windshield, fold-down fishing seats and high-grade marine carpet. Put all this on a .080-gauge hull and you have a serious big-water boat. The Angler V 165 Fish is 16 feet, 8 inches in overall length and 84 inches at the beam. The maximum outboard you can hang on it is 150 horsepower. It even comes with a tilt steering wheel and a Sony Marine Entertainment Station for those times when the fish aren't biting.

GODFREY MARINE

(www.godfreymarine.com)

Godfrey Polar 1810 Bay

Godfrey Marine produces a full line of offshore, skiff and bay boats for multiple applications. The Polar line includes 15 models in five different styles, including the 1810 Bay Boat, an 18-foot center console model rated for 130 horsepower that includes a large forward casting deck and a generous insulated fish box.

Among the larger models is the 2700 Center Console, a 27-footer rated for 600 horsepower. It includes a 50-gallon lighted baitwell and a large cnclosed console, along with plenty of storage space.

Lowe TR204 Trinidad

Lowe's new model, the TR204 20-foot Trinidad, is a high-quality pontoon boat with full fishing capabilities.

Standard features include stainless-steel hardware and heavy-duty 23-inch double-welded pontoons with three air chambers. On top of that, there's a seven-ply, pressure-treated seamless wood deck. Access to the boat is easy enough through the wheelchair-sized portside gates and full-sized bow gate.

Anglers and guides will find the trolling motor harness, aerated livewell and built-in 7-foot rod locker just what they need.

The TR204 is rated for outboards up to 90 horsepower.

Lund 1950 Magnum

Lund has a new series of big-water boats. They're called the Lund Magnums and come in three models - the 2150 Baron Magnum, the 1950 Tyee Magnum and the 1850 Tyee Magnum.

The aft area of these boats is roomier than ever before. The high back wall prevents water from splashing over the transom as well as providing security when working with downriggers and hauling fish aboard.

These are serious big-water boats. They range in length from 18 feet, 6 inches to 21 feet, 10 inches. Their beam measurements are equally impressive. They can handle outboards up to 300 horsepower and offer fuel capacity up to 78 gallons.

MIRROCRAFT

(www.mirrocraft.com)

MirroCraft Aggressor

MirroCraft's new Aggressor 1651 comes with a side console and an 86-inch beam for maximum comfort and safety on the water. (The 1650 offers tiller steering and the 1652 offers a dual console design.)

The 1651 is 16 feet, 9 inches in length and has a bow depth of 35 inches and a transom height of 20 inches. This, combined with the extra-wide beam, should give serious anglers everything they need for a successful fishing excursion. Upgrades and options are available.

Nitro 911 CDC

Nitro's 9 Series Performance Bass Boats are the top of their line. They offer a wide range of choices for bass anglers.

The 911 CDC is over 20 feet long and has a beam width of 98 inches to provide fishability, comfort and safety on the big water that serious anglers regularly fish.

It comes standard with a 225-horsepower Nitro EFI outboard motor along with a 67-pound thrust, 24-volt MotorGuide trolling motor. The Lowrance 1440A in-dash flasher, Guardian Livewell System and Interstate batteries round out the standard package. A variety of upgrades are available.

POLAR KRAFT

(www.godfreymarine.com)

Polar Kraft 178 FS

The Kodiak V 178 FS is a first-class fish-and-ski boat for those anglers wanting to combine a little fishing with family activities.

It's 17 feet, 8 inches long, has a beam width of 92 inches and, with its .100-gauge hull, should provide years of fun and recreation for everyone in the family. This Kodiak is rated for outboard motors up to 150 horsepower and comes with a 27-gallon fuel tank.

Standard equipment includes a 1,000-gallon bilge pump, a 750-gallon aerator pump, double-riveted hull seams and an accessory harness with ATC fuses.

PRINCECRAFT

(www.princecraft.com)

Princecraft Super Pro 198

Princecraft's Super Pro 198 SC replaces earlier models, including the 188 BT and the 188 DLX from their Super Pro Tournament Series.

It's made from 5052-H36 aluminum, will handle an outboard up to 200 horsepower and comes equipped with a 60-gallon gas tank. The Super Pro 198 SC comes standard with two livewells: a 30-gallon one in the stern and

a 20-gallon model in the bow.

With a length of 19 feet, 5 inches, a beam of 97 inches and a maximum depth of 38 inches, big water will be no problem.

ProCraft 192 Super Pro

The new 192 Super Pro model is made for bass fishing. It's offered in two designs - a single console and a dual console.

At 18 feet, 6 inches, with a beam of 94.25 inches, it offers comfort, safety and stability. The standard package on the single-console model includes a Mercury 150 SR6 with stainless steel prop.

Also included in the standard package is a MotorGuide 24-volt trolling motor, Gator Mount, Interstate batteries, a Lowrance in-dash flasher and livewell system. Upgrades are available.

Ranger 185 VX Tour

Ranger's new 185 VX Tour Edition is a serious bass boat for serious bass anglers. With an overall hull length of 18 feet, 5 inches and a beam width of 92 inches, there's plenty of room for you and a partner.

The 185 VX Tour Edition is rated to handle a 175-horsepower outboard, carries up to 40 gallons of fuel and can handle a total onboard weight of 1,365 pounds. It offers anglers two rod boxes; one will handle rods up to 7 feet, the other rods up to 7 feet, 6 inches. Various upgrades are available.

Skeeter TZX 200

With a full line of fishing boats, Skeeter has plenty of choices for anglers, no matter where they fish. From the ZX, TZX, SL, SX to the ZX Deepwater Series, anglers can choose from entry level boats to those suitable for professionals, and from boats designed for both fresh water and salt water.

One 2005 model, the TZX 200, measures 19 feet, 5 inches with a 92-inch beam. It is rated for 200 horsepower, and comes with a 50-gallon tank. Anglers will find integrated rod strorage, an under-the-seat cooler and spacious storage options.

A similar model, the TZX 190, is a foot shorter and is rated to handle 175 horsepower.

Stratos 201 Pro XL

The Stratos Pro XL Series offers anglers several choices in bass boats. The models in this line include the 195, 200, 201, 275, 285 and 295. They range from economical, basic rigs on up to the more luxurious models with lots of bells and whistles.

The 386 XF multi-species model is new. It comes standard with enough rod storage capacity for six 8-foot rods.

Stratos also makes the 21 MSX. It's specifically designed for the needs of walleye anglers.

Sun Tracker Fishin' Barge

The Bass Buggy and the Fishin' Barge models from Sun Tracker offer consumers a combination of family fun and fishing from the deck of a pontoon boat.

The Fishin' Barge 21 Signature Series is designed for "family-sized fishing fun." It comes standard with a Tracker 25 EL Pro Series outboard with an aluminum prop, an extended motor pod and a 23-gallon fuel tank. It features a pop-up changing room, three fishing chairs that can be placed in five separate locations, two aerated livewells and lockable rod storage. Upgrades include a Mercury 90 Optimax motor.

Tahoe Q3 SF

Tahoe offers two models of ski-n-fish boats.

The Q3 SF OB model comes standard with a Mercury 90 ELPTO outboard with an aluminum prop. There's also a quick-connect 12-volt, 52-pound thrust trolling motor along with an 11-gallon livewell.

The Q4 SF model is larger at 19 feet, 5 inches. It's powered by a MerCruiser 3.0L 135-horsepower inline, four-cylinder stern drive. A 12-volt, 54-pound thrust trolling motor and an 11-gallon aft aerated livewell are included in the standard package.

Tracker Tundra 21

Tracker offers models from small utility bass boats suitable for fishing farm ponds up to high-performance aluminum bass boats that are suitable for competition a

t the highest levels of bass fishing.

If you need a small, tough johnboat, check out their Grizzly Series. If you're looking for a utility boat, consider one from their Bantam, Sun Wheeler or Sunfish lines.

Tracker's lineup includes the popular Tundra and Avalanche models. The Tundra 21 DC is the company's biggest deep V boat, measuring 21 feet, 3 inches long, and features dual consoles and a 96-inch beam. It comes with a 60-gallon fuel tank and a 250-horsepower rating.

Trackers can be purchased as a package or customized to your individual needs.

Triton TR 21X

Triton's new X Series combines fishability, performance, safety and styling. The manufacturer has increased the front deck room as well as added two front seat pedestal mount locations. Anglers will find many other improvements that are standard features, not expensive options, on the X series.

Of particular note is the Res-Q boarding ladder. It's integrated into the stern of the boat and can be released with a removable pin by the operator. It drops three full steps to offer easy boarding from the water. Triton maintains this is one of the most innovative safety options in the industry.

War Eagle Tomahawk

War Eagle, long known for tough boats, has stepped things up with their 962 Tomahawk. It's almost 19 feet long, has an 84-inch beam and will handle a 150-horsepower outboard.

The 962 comes standard with a divided 68-quart insulated livewell, an insulated ice chest, quality rod boxes and plenty of extra storage.

All models come in a wide variety of colors as well as various camo patterns.

X-Press HD18CC

X-Press Boats' new HD series is designed to be strong and solid. It features two layers of .100-gauge aluminum filled with urethane foam between them, resulting in a tougher, quieter hull bottom that is almost 3 inches thick.

One model, the HD18CC, is an 18-footer with two raised casting decks and a center console. Rated for 115 horsepower, it includes a livewell, a baitwell and plenty of storage capacity.

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