You think you have to be rich to afford a sweet new fishing boat? These three rigs will make you think twice.
Okay, no more excuses – if you can afford to buy a new car, you can afford to buy a new fishing boat. It might not be the biggest nor the fanciest boat in the world and it certainly won’t be a bluewater powerhouse like a Contender 30 ST or a Scout 430 LXF, but for the average price of a Chevy Cruze you could be cruising atop the waves instead of cruising down the highway. And in truth, there’s no comparison (sorry, Chevrolet). So, remind your wife that biking to work is healthy, teach the kids the bus route, and then take ‘em all boat shopping. Years from now they’ll thank you.
If you’ve already been through the aluminum vs. fiberglass debate and reached the conclusion that an aluminum rig will fit your needs, you can start your shopping by checking out these three top picks:
Starweld Victory 16 DC
Sitting right at the 20K mark, the Starweld Victory DC gets you a boat with a protective full-sized wrap-around windshield, deep gunwales, and the stability of a 10-degree transom deadrise. In other words, though diminutive in size it’s a family-friendly fishing machine for those with small children they need to keep them comfortable and safe.
The 16 Victory has a flip-down aft bench seat with room for two, which converts into an aft casting deck. It also has a bow cockpit housing a 30-gallon livewell, comes pre-wired for a bow-mount trolling motor, and has switches with lighted breakers. Maximum power is 90 horses, but opting up will break the price barrier and to make the $20,000 mark, running with a 60 horse powerplant is more realistic. Still, that’ll get you a cruise in the 20’s and a top-end in the 30-mph neighborhood.
Cost-Cutting Alert: The deck is ply and if you want rodholders you’ll have to add ‘em.
Bonus Perk: Many boats of this size have 0.080” thick aluminum hulls, but the Starweld’s hull is 0.10” aluminum.
Visit Starweld for more info.
Tracker Grizzly 1860 CC
Coming in well under budget with a $16,495 price tag, the Tracker Grizzly 1860 CC offers a lot of bang for the buck. Fishing features include a nine-gallon livewell, vertical rodracks for four rods built into the console, side racks for six more rods, and trolling motor pre-wiring. The big shocker, however, is that this price-point includes a standard trailer with a swivel jack, LED lights, and tie-downs.
The standard-issue powerplant is a 40-horse Mercury FourStroke, which will get the job done, but if you want a bit more zip you can upgrade to a 60-horse outboard for a grand or a 90-horsepower powerplant for about three, which still keeps you on budget.
Cost Cutting Alert: The center console is rotomolded, rather than being constructed of aluminum.
Bonus Perk: The “Sure Tread” nonskid interior (think: pickup truck bedliner) will help prevent fish-spooking noises as people move around or move gear around, inside the boat.
Visit Tracker Boat for more info.
Lowe Fishing Machine 165 Pro SC
With a 15-degree deadrise and a proud 38-inch bow, the Lowe Fishing Machine 165 Pro SC has the beef to get you through seas that many 16-foot aluminum boats would be hard pressed to handle – and a $18,750 price tag that other rigs which come with a 60-horse Mercury FourStroke will have a hard time matching. We love that the package includes some unexpected angling accouterments, such as a fishfinder (a Lowrance Hook2), and a 45-pound thrust electric trolling motor (a Motorguide X3). This is also the only option in the running to include not one but two livewells, with 19-gallons aft and 14 more in the bow.
Other features of note include six pedestal seat bases, a seven-foot locking rodbox plus another rodbox under the deck, cockpit courtesy lighting, and a 12-V outlet at the helm. More importantly, we can appreciate that the keel and gunwales are all extruded and the hull is 0.10” aluminum.
Cost Cutting Alert: Once again, we have a plywood deck.
Bonus Perk: The fuel tank holds a whopping 26-gallons, which is more than double the capacity of many boats this size.
Visit Lowe Boats for more info.