It’s that season; the time of year when anglers dream of hitting the water in a brand-new rig. Boat shows and showroom floors are brimming with rigs of all sizes and configurations, the overhead lights glinting off shiny gel coat and hand-polished aluminum.
Shopping for a new fishing is always fun and exciting, but it can also be a bit daunting. So, here’s a good place to start your search. Check out all the fishing machines below; some are new, others offer a new look and updated features, and a few are just plain great boats we think you ought to know about.
Triton 17 Explorer
Triton’s 2011 17 Explorer was designed for anglers who are looking for their first fiberglass bass boat. At 17½ feet and 1,086 pounds, the compact rig requires just 50 to 115 horsepower on the transom, making it economical to run and easy to store.
Though it might be small in stature, compared to the giant bass platforms, the tournament-ready rig doesn’t skimp on features. It comes equipped with a Lowrance X-52 and a 12-volt MotorGuide bow-mount trolling motor, though options are available for both pieces of equipment.
Large port and starboard rodlockers, a dry storage compartment and an built-in ice chest all fit under the front deck, while a 36-gallon divided livewell and two storage compartments that each hold up to six large tackle trays sit under the rear casting deck. Plus, a passenger rod ramp, grab handles, courtesy light and other convenience features typical of larger bass boats make the 17 Explorer a serious entry-level bass boat. As added incentive, Triton is offering a $1,250 rebate on this rig.
Lowe Stryker Multi-Species
There’s a lot to like abut Lowe’s new Stryker Multi-Species mod-v, not the least of which is its $9,100 price tag when rigged with a Mercury 25 four-stroke. The water-ready package includes a 12-volt MotorGuide bow-mount, Lowrance X-50DS sonar, two-across seating, plus two pedestal seats, and a livewell/baitwell fore and aft.
The 16-foot, 1-inch hull has a generous 74-inch beam, making it a highly stable casting platform for bass anglers. Likewise, the wide, 66-inch front deck features three pedestal bases for two seats and a T-bar rod holder for front-trolling crappie anglers. Instant cash rebates are available to anglers through March 31.
SeaArk 2072 V-Pro
This 20 footer features a clean, open, center-console floorplan for anglers who require lots of uncluttered deck space. Rated for 175 horsepower, the hull has a 72-inch beam and 26 inches of side height. Plus, the beefy 15-degree welded hull features double-welded chines, heavy .125-gauge ribs and a 3/16-inch keel. Overall, the 2072 V-Pro is a great option for bass, striper or catfish anglers who fish big rivers, lakes or reservoirs.
Ranger 518 Intracoastal
Ranger’s all-new 518 Intracoastal is aimed at inshore anglers who demand high performance and ultimate fishability. The Z-hull measures 18 feet, 8 inches and is rated for up to 200 horsepower. It gets on plane quickly, and makes long runs easy on the anglers.
It’s 92 ½ -inch beam makes it extremely stable on the water, and provides an abundance of deck space. Long port- and starboard-side rod lockers flank a large storage compartment and built-in ice chest under the bow deck, while the rear deck covers even more storage as well as a 50-inch livewell.
War Eagle 754VS
The advantage a stick-steer boat offer is the ability to operate the outboard and the bow-mount trolling motor without shifting position. And fans of this style will appreciate Eagle’s 754VS, a 17 footer that fishes a lot bigger. It’s rated for 60 horsepower and features a divided livewell, tackle tray storage, and a 7½-foot rod compartment.
Bass Cat Puma Advantage
Bass Cat calls its Puma Advantage 20-foot tournament-ready bass boat with “fewer bells and whistles” than its top-of-the-line models. Yet, the list of standard features on this boat is plenty long.
The Advantage’s all-fiberglass compression construction produces a hull that’s extremely solid and stable in rough water, yet is nimble and maneuverable when running across the surface. For a limited time, Bass Cat is offering a Boat Show Special online right now.
Phoenix 618 Pro
At 18½ feet, the 618 Pro from Phoenix offers the type of performance bass anglers want—speed, maneuverability and a strong hole shot. The 618 hull is rated for outboards from 115 to 150 horsepower, and features an 8-inch jackplate is standard equipment.
There’s no shortage of fishing features either—two Humminbird 728s, MinnKota Max 70 trolling motor, copious rod and tackle storage and dual livewells. This is a true competition-class fishing rig in an easily managed package.
Xpress DVX 175
Xpress has been building aluminum boats in Friendship, Arkansas, for 44 years, and their extensive line includes bass, crappie, utility, bay and deep-V fishing rigs. The company’s DVX 175 , is a 17½ footer that’s ideal for anglers who like to chase a variety of gamefish species.
Built to attack big water, the bow is designed to slice through waves and push water out and away from the cockpit. A walk-through, wrap-around windshield offers further protection. Cockpit space is generous and uncluttered, allowing free movement when you need to get to a rod holder or downrigger in a hurry.
Wilderness Commander 140 Angler
Kayak angling is the newest frontier in sportfishing, with thousands joining the ranks each year. Many models, including Wilderness System’s Commander 140 Angler, are designed exclusively for fisherman.
This 14 footer weighs just 72 pounds, making launch-and-load an easy one-man job. In the water, the hull tracks well and paddles smoothly, allowing the angler to negotiate shallow backwaters quietly. Its 475-pound load capacity means you readily carry lots of tackle—even overnight gear for extended fishing trips.
It comes with a Scotty rod holder, and Wilderness’ exclusive Slide Trax System that allows infinite mounting options for additional rod holders, sonar, beverage holders and more.