As we gear up for spring, editors and writers at Game & Fish checked out the newest multi-species vessels designed with the serious angler in mind.
Here are four versatile boats new for 2019:
STARCRAFT RENEGADE 178 DC
While most anglers love the idea of having a top-of-the-line tournament boat, the reality is that most of us can do without the top-of-the-line price tag that usually goes along with it. Starcraft certainly got that message when the company unveiled its Renegade 178 DC, a well-designed multi-species fishing boat that puts the best features of its high-end tournament boats into a package that’s both attractive and affordable.
They really didn’t scrimp, either. With its .100 gauge bottom and hefty .080 gauge sides, the Renegade is built for serious fishing, and it can run from ice-out to freeze-up thanks to the protection of its dual consoles and a full walk-through windshield. Even with the consoles, the raised bow deck is still more than large enough for two to fish in comfort, while accommodating an 18-gallon aerated livewell with a bait bucket, storage space for gear, and an in-floor rod locker with six individual tubes.
The main cockpit is kept open for uncluttered trolling, giving the Renegade added versatility. The new-for-2019 helm console has space for a large flush-mount fish finder, while the gunnels offer further rod storage in a pair of top-loading lockers.
Starcraft’s integrated gunnel track system makes it a cinch to mount rod holders, downriggers or other accessories anywhere, and without having to drill holes in the boat. The big stern deck has more storage, plus a second 25-gallon livewell. And there’s more storage space in the cockpit floor. You won’t struggle to find places to stow gear in this rig.
Its spacious raised casting decks, big dual livewells and intelligent storage spaces confirm this boat was designed by anglers for anglers. But that big windshield makes all the difference, especially when fishing early or late in the season.
The new console design with the flush-mount display, and the available split-bench seat option, takes this boat to a whole other level. Starcraft’s legendary Power-Trac hull design delivers a smooth ride in rough water and lets you make the most of the Renegade’s 150 horsepower rating.
- Length 18 FT. 5 IN.
- Beam 92 IN.
- Dry Weight 1,176 LBS.
- Fuel Capacity 26 GAL.
- Max Horsepower 150
- MSRP $20,521
The all-new Skeeter WX2200 is built for venturing out on windswept big waters. With its overall length of 22 feet and a mega-wide beam of over 8 feet, the WX2200 multi-species boat is the biggest deep-V boat made by Skeeter. Its built to give fishermen the confidence to cross most bodies of water.
The fiberglass rig was engineered with big water tournament anglers in mind by creating industry-exclusive front and rear aluminum grid inserts. The aluminum deck structure adds support and strength to tame the waves, provide a better ride and absorb the shock of big water.
Also this vessel comes rigged with a Humminbird Helix 12 Chirp Mega SI GPS G2N. The lower Yamaha F300XA unit’s higher gear ratio produces substantially more thrust than conventional outboards using standard propellers. A Yamaha T9.9 kicker with remote control is included for precision maneuvers.
Included in the package is a Minn Kota 112 Ulterra US2 trolling motor with iPilot that features auto stow/deploy and power trim and also the owner’s choice of iPilot, iPilot Link or a multi-function foot pedal. It also features an Infinity Bluetooth stereo with speakers and a Minn Kota 10x4 bank charger. Also on board is a 25-gallon insulated stern livewell and a 9-gallon insulated bow baitwell that keeps catches easily accessible and healthy.
The WX2200 is designed to tame the choppy water and cut down time between fishing spots to give anglers more time throwing baits and lures in the water. The front and rear deck space has been substantially increased, offering space for anglers to fight and net the catch of a lifetime. The larger and open cockpit area allows anglers maneuverability between bow and stern to throw in a line.
The Hamby’s Keel Protector helps prevent costly damage to the keel by protecting it from rocks when breaching the boat on the shoreline. Center rod storage box with mega tubes keeps rigs organized.
- Length 25 ft. 3 in.
- Beam 99 in.
- Dry Weight 2,945 lbs.
- Fuel Capacity 51 gal.
- Max Horsepower 300
- MSRP $73,895 (trailer, boat and motor)
CRESTLINER 1650 FISH HAWK
The Crestliner multi-species 1650 Fish Hawk received a facelift and new design features this year. Not just new paint colors and a new gunnel, the new model has an updated console, jump seats and upgrades that can be found in the 1750, 1850 and 1950 Fish Hawks. This 16-foot aluminum rig’s updated console includes lit toggle switches, two multi-functional gauges and space for a 12-inch locator.
It also features a 12V power outlet and multiple drink holders. If the standard configuration doesn’t suit your needs, Crestliner also offers different configurations — for example, a side console, dual console or a walk-through option. The 1650 Fish Hawk has a 15-gallon aerated livewell with timer and divider on the stern and also a 12-gallon aerated livewell with timer in the bow to keep your catch fresh.
For those not familiar with Crestliner engineering, it’s designed with a unique interlocking construction method that ensures the hulls fit together seamlessly before the weld is made. It’s also backed by Crestliner’s lifetime limited warranty. Continuous welds run along the tongue and groove of the connection points from bow to stern, creating a strong and smooth one-piece hull.
Portside, quick-access rod holders maximize space in the cockpit. The 1650 has a conversion stern bench option that gives anglers a larger casting/fishing platform when folded down and extra seating when needed. The bow casting platform allows easy maneuverability, and deep storage compartments allow for a lot of gear.
A removable aluminum accessory bracket lets anglers slide accessories along the gunnel for customized placement without drilling holes in the boat. A MOB+ Wireless man-over-board system is an innovative, life-saving feature that can be added.
- Length 16 ft. 9 in.
- Beam 86.5 in.
- Dry Weight 1,095 lbs.
- Fuel Capacity 20 gal.
- Max Horsepower 115
- MSRP $17,625
SMOKER CRAFT PRO ANGLER 171 XL
For many years, Smoker Craft’s Pro Angler 171 XL has ranked among the company’s top-selling fishing boats. That’s no surprise given this model’s versatile design, its capacity to be towed easily with a moderately sized vehicle, and its capability to be launched easily from even unimproved ramps on remote lakes. For 2019, the 171 XL gets some appealing upgrades.
The Pro Angler is designed as a serious fishing rig that can pull double-duty as an all-round family boat. The key to this versatility lies in its split rear bench seat. In the upright position, the split bench provides full-width seating for four people.
Folded down, it forms an extension of the raised stern casting deck. If you need a bit of each, simply fold down either side to get just the balance of seating and deck space that you like. Regardless of how you configure it, the seat cushion on the port side of the bench lifts to reveal a 25-gallon aerated livewell, with a removable bait bucket.
The main cockpit uses a tough, easy-clean vinyl floor that dries more quickly than carpet. The gunnels include Smoker Craft’s integrated gunnel track system for easily mounting downriggers, rod holders and other accessories. Wide gunnels conceal top-loading rod lockers, with additional storage space below and in an in-floor gear locker. The bow and stern decks are perfectly designed: they are high enough to provide great visibility, yet they’re low enough you don’t have to reach when lipping a bass.
Up on the bow, an elevated casting deck conceals deep storage lockers for bulky gear, including an in-floor rod locker that accepts sticks to 8 feet in length and a second, 15-gallon aerated livewell.
Smoker Craft’s Hydra-Lift reverse-chine hull gives the Pro Angler 171 XL fast hole shots, spirited acceleration and nimble handling, without sacrificing stability when actually fishing. Improved fishing seats, new electronics packages and standard no-feedback steering make the 2019 model a good value.
- Length 17 ft. 3 in.
- Beam 96 in.
- Dry Weight 1,350 lbs.
- Fuel Capacity 24 gal.
- Max Horsepower 150
- MSRP $17,694