Boat Reviews

SmokerCraft Adventurer 188 DC – Alloy Cowboy

The SmokerCraft Adventurer 188 DC proves that metallic fishing machines can make the grade in a number of different environments.

Whether you’re a die-hard canyon commando or a middle-America bassin’ Bubba, you have to pay a healthy dose of respect to those guys who chase winter walleye.

They crunch ice at the boat ramp, troll through blowing snow and dip their frigid fingers into ice-cold minnow buckets. Their experience may be worlds away from sweating through a battle with a blue marlin or dragging a 50-inch striper through the surf, but anyway you cut it, those guys show some serious grit – and so do the types of boats they use. Case in point: the new-for-2020 SmokerCraft Adventurer 188 DC.

SmokerCraft boats
The SmokerCraft Adventure 188 DC may be designed for inland waterways, but its appeal is actually far broader.

The funny thing is, while boats like this are generally thought of as walleye or “multi-species” freshwater builds, they’re actually right at home in waters of all types. And we could all learn a lot from the style of boats they build. Start with the windshield. On the Adventure 188 DC, it’s tall enough to provide full coverage to the captain and passenger without having to crouch down. Maybe they do that because it’s wearying to duck behind a low-slung windscreen (designed more for sleek looks than for actual protection) when you’re dodging snowflakes in sub-freezing weather, but it also happens to be quite a nice feature when a breeze and a chop cause saltwater spray to fly in your face every 10 seconds. And that windshield wraps around at the sides, adding another dose of protection. If you want to take it even farther you can opt for a full canvass enclosure, and you’re protected from below by a single-piece 0.125”-thick 5032 h34 cold-rolled aluminum hull (which carries a lifetime warranty, BTW), supported by 0.125” gauge ribs and a 15-degree deadrise.

Adventurer 188 DC
The helm station of the Adventurer 188 DC is neat but compact.

There are, of course, some downsides to this genre of boat. In this particular case, the helm isn’t really designed for flush-mounting electronics, there’s a bit more plastic than you might see on the average fiberglass 18-foot center console fishing boat, and the livewell is shaped like a brick. On the flip side of the equation, the boat has a huge locking rodbox that holds up to a dozen rigs integrated into the bow, it comes pre-wired and rigged for the trolling motor, has rinse-and-leave vinyl decking, integrated slide-out trays for four tackle boxes, and a gunwale track system lets you customize the boat with mounts for rod holders, downriggers, cupholders, and the like.

tackle storage
You don’t always see integrated tackle boxes on aluminum rigs, but this one has ‘em.

There’s a never-ending debate over aluminum boats versus fiberglass boats, but one of aluminum’s hands-down advantages comes from its lighter weight and the correspondingly smaller powerplants needed to attain reasonable performance. In the case of the Adventurer 188 DC, the dry weight is 1,603-pounds. That’s substantially lighter than an 18-foot fiberglass rig like the Robalo R180 (2,600-pounds), or the Grady-White Fisherman 180 (2,150-pounds). Both of these boats and most like them require outboards in the 150-horse range to get cruising speeds over the 30-mph mark and a top-end beating 40 mph. Not so, with the 188 DC. With a mere 90-horse outboard, it can cruise at right around 30 and tops out just a hair over 40 mph, all the while getting better than three mpg. And at peak efficiency (25 mph and 4000 rpm) it gets an eye-opening 6.5 miles to the gallon. You say you want more speed and more power? Not a problem – though it runs just fine with 90 horses the 188 DC can take up to 175 on the transom.

SmokerCraft Adventurer 188 DC Specifications

  • LOA – 18’11”
  • Beam – 8’0”
  • Draft – NA
  • Displacement – 1,603 lbs.
  • Transom deadrise –15 degrees
  • Fuel capacity – 38 gal.

It’s funny how fishermen can get myopic when it comes to fishing boats. Those who regularly fish relatively protected bays or the backcountry are likely to think a bay boat is “best,” those who spend their time on larger bodies of water probably tilt towards center consoles or walkarounds, and dedicated reservoir anglers often feel there’s no substitute for a bass boat. But truth be told, a rig like the SmokerCraft Adventure 188 DC can handle all of these environments. And oh yeah, you can take it winter walleye fishing in the blowing snow, too.

aluminum fishing boats
The bottom line? Boats like the SmokerCraft Adventure 188 DC are highly adaptable – you could fish this aluminum rig virtually anywhere.

For more information visit SmokerCraft Boats.

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Lenny Rudow
Lenny Rudow …has been a writer and editor in the marine field for over two decades, and has authored seven books. He is currently the Angler in Chie...