2008 Aluminum Boat Review

Lightweight and durable, aluminum boats have come a long way to suit the many fishing needs of today's demanding anglers. (January 2008)

One of the biggest concerns of boating fishermen these days is the high cost of fuel. Now, as never before, fuel costs should be an integral part of your decision-making process when thinking about buying a new boat. That's where aluminum boats really shine. After all, the lighter weights of most aluminum-crafted hulls make for more efficient fuel consumption on the water and off. Aluminum boats make good sense (dollars and cents) because their lighter weight requires less horsepower to push the hull through water -- and they are lighter to trailer as well.

Another positive aspect of aluminum boats is that they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from flat-bottomed johnboats to bigger center-consoles, pontoons to cuddy cabins. Aluminum boats are tough, too, and can handle a rocky river or riprap shoreline of your favorite lake or reservoir. Therefore, if you're looking for a boat this season, here are some of the top aluminum craft on the market for the new year.

1. ALUMACRAFT TROPHY 195 DEEP V

If you fish big reservoirs and lakes for a variety of fish, you'll need a boat that offers you good versatility, comfort and durability. The Alumacraft Trophy 195 Deep V fits the bill nicely. At 19.8 feet in length, it sports a wide 98-inch beam and a maximum depth of 44 inches, which will give you good stability even in a heavy chop of a windswept reservoir. Its transom width of 96 inches will give you plenty of room for all the extra equipment you will need to fish the big water and the waves that go along with it.

Rated for 200 horsepower, this hull will give you all the speed you need to knife through the water on a rough day. Its 40-gallon fuel tank provides you with plenty of range for a day of fishing and then some. Weighing in at 1,805 pounds, the Alumacraft Trophy Deep V is very towable even with today's lighter vehicles.

A full wrap-around, walk-through windshield keeps you dry in rough water. The boat is rated for eight persons or 2,000 pounds. Some extras include two jump seats that fold away when fishing, lighted rod locker, air ride driver's seat cushion, two livewells and canvas top.

For more information, visit the Web site at www.alumacraft.com.

2. CRESTLINER FISH HAWK 1600 SC

If you are looking for a good basic boat that will handle large and small bodies of water in comfort, then the Fish Hawk series by Crestliner just might be what the doctor ordered. Sixteen feet in length with an 87-inch beam, and 35-inch depth with a full forward fishing deck and half rear deck, it provides plenty of walk-around space for up to five anglers.

The boat is well built, so it can take a pounding and give you years of trouble-free service. The Fish Hawk 1600 SC sports a side console, windshield and sizable dash. Rated for 75 horsepower with a fuel capacity of 23 gallons, it provides good range and economy as well. At 1,200 pounds, it's easy on the towing vehicle, too.

Standard features include: Lifetime protection plan, 24-gallon aerated livewell, marine grade carpeting, speedometer, tachometer and fuel gauge and several dry storage compartments.

For more information, visit Crestliner's Web site at www.crestliner.com.

3. DURACRAFT 1650 CRAPPIE

How about a good backwater panfishing boat? The 1650 Crappie by Duracraft is a 6-degree modified V- hull boat made for crappie and all-around panfishing. Stability is the name of the game, with a 70-inch beam and 50-inch bottom weight and a gunnel height of 22 inches. Rated for 60 horsepower, with a built in 13-gallon fuel tank, this four-person maximum boat weighs only 623 pounds. Not only does it make an ideal panfishing boat, but add some camouflage netting and it makes an excellent duck-hunting boat as well. Add a jet drive and it becomes a great shallow-draft riverboat.

One of the unique features of the boat is the forward seat stick steering that does away with a bulky steering wheel. The boat is also an all-welded boat with Dura rib construction. Standard features include: five-year hull warranty, horn, 12-volt trolling motor plug, splash guard, livewell, port and starboard rod boxes, lockable deck storage compartments and switch panel with fuel gauge.

Visit Duracraft's Web site at www.duracraftmarine.com for more information.

4. LOWE ROUGHNECK R1655N

The Roughneck is another no-frills, heavy-duty boat that makes a perfect vessel for the river fisherman. The boat is an all-welded heavy-gauge hard metal, ribbed, reinforced (10 ribs) boat with no carpeting. The 15-foot, 10-inch length, 75-inch beam with a 55-inch bottom width and 22.5-inch depth makes it an ideal shallow-water river and marsh craft. The Roughneck can be ordered in flat green metallic platinum or Mossy Oak shadow grass or Mossy Oak Break up, which the sportsman can use to set the boat up for fishing or waterfowl hunting.

The boat is rated for 80 horsepower maximum with a six-person, 1,352-pound weight limit. Its modified V hull gives it good speed and stability, while its 3-inch tunnel hull is set up for jet-drive propulsion.

The standard package comes with two pedestal seat bases and full aluminum floor liner. Optional equipment includes: saddle tanks to enhance weight distribution, side console and gear storage lockers.

For more information, visit Lowe's Web site at www.loweboats.com.

5. LUND 2150 BARON

The Lund 2150 Baron is another big-water boat that offers sportsmen plenty of options. At 21 feet, 10 inches in length with a 100-inch beam and 25-inch transom, this boat is at home in fresh water and salt water. A split walk-through windshield gives the angler full walk-around capa

bilities with a forward deck and pedestal seat.

The boat is rated for up to 275 horsepower, with a built-in 78-gallon tank with a ProPlus reserve. The 2150 weighs 2,285 pounds; its large aft space with reinforced gunnels is excellent for the use of downriggers for deep-water fishing. The boat comes with 8-foot, 10-inch lockable rod storage compartments, two livewells, console storage, double-riveted seams and five seat bases. Standard electronic package includes a console mount depthfinder and bow mount trolling motor.

For more information, visit Lund's Web site at www.lundboats.com.

6. SUN TRACKER BASS BUGGY

Looking for a pontoon boat to tie up to your dock on the lake? Sun Tracker makes a complete line of pontoon boats to cover a wide spectrum of on-the-water needs. One of the best for the family fisherman is the Bass Buggy. This 19-foot, 8-inch fishing platform gives you plenty of casting room, storage space and durability with a comfortable walk-around deck. The boat's pontoons are made from high-grade marine aluminum, which will give you years of maintenance-free life. Rated for 75 horsepower with a 30-gallon capacity built-in fuel tank, the Sun Tracker Bass Buggy has good range for the big lakes and reservoirs and will comfortably fish up to seven people with a maximum weight of 1,475 pounds.

Standard features include dual latching gates that open inward, stainless steel fasteners, fiberglass reinforced console, tack and fuel gauge, 12-volt battery outlet, four bass seat bases, under-seat storage, wheelchair access gate, livewell and aerator.

Visit the Sun Tracker Web site at www.suntrackerboats.com for more information.

7. POLAR KRAFT V 1460

If you are looking for a good all- around fishing boat, the Polar Kraft V 1460 makes for an excellent choice. Reasonably priced, this four-seat 14-foot (14 feet, 4 inches) V-bottom boat sports a 47-inch beam and 25-inch depth that makes it stable and at home on a small body of water or a large river, lake, reservoir or bay. Weighing only 500 pounds and rated for 15 horsepower (four persons or 500 pounds), it is ideal for use with electric motors for electric-only bodies of water.

Made of high-grade marine aluminum, it is durable for the toughest of conditions. It comes with hard chine hull, oarlocks, reinforced bow bench seat, three-piece, double-riveted hull, upright level flotation with closed cell foam and a limited lifetime hull warranty.

Visit Polar Kraft's Web site at www.polarkraftboats.com for more information.

8. TRITON VT 19

While Triton is well known for its fiberglass boats, the firm also manufactures some fine aluminum boats as well. One of the best is the VT 19 bass boat. The boat is 19 feet in length with a 90-inch beam and a bottom width of 64 inches, which makes it a stable casting platform for bass fishermen. The boat is made from high-grade marine aluminum for good durability. The hull weighs 1,110 pounds for easy towing.

The boat is rated for up to 135 horsepower with a built-in fuel tank with a capacity of 22 gallons. The boat comes with a standard package that includes a 12-volt trolling harness, a Lowrance depthfinder, lockable carpeted rod locker that holds up to seven rods, a Motorguide trolling motor and rear aerated livewell. Console dash includes voltmeter, tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge, 12-volt power outlet and horn. The boat is constructed with all aluminum decks and floors.

For more information, visit Triton's Web site at www.tritonboats.com.

9. STARCRAFT MARINER 2100

If you are looking for a center console that is at home on a big lake or saltwater bay or the ocean, then Starcraft's 21-footer makes an excellent choice. At 21 feet, 10 inches in length with a 101-inch beam with a 31-inch depth and 99-inch transom, the boat makes an excellent walk-around fishing boat. The boat weighs in at 1,715 pounds with a fuel capacity of 52 gallons. The boat is rated for 10 persons or 1,410 pounds.

The Mariner 2100 is made from high-grade marine aluminum and has a lifetime limited warranty on the double-riveted seams and a 10-year hull warranty. Standard features include removable stem jump seats, open rod storage port and starboard, bow casting deck, lockable storage port and starboard, in-floor storage, hydraulic tilt steering and horn. Instrumentation includes fuel gauge, tachometer and voltmeter.

Visit Starcraft's Web site at www.starcraftmarine.com for more information.

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