The beautiful thing about owning a small aluminum fishing boat is that it’s KISS boating at its best. There aren’t a bunch of complex features, gizmos, and gadgets that need to be fixed and maintained all the time. Everything from cleaning the boat to repairing the engine or trailer to buying the rig in the first place is a whole lot easier than it would be with a larger, more powerful fiberglass fishing machine. The down-side? Many small aluminum fishing boats are pitifully plane-Jane, and don’t even have the basic fishing features you need to earn boat-ramp bragging rights. Enter, the Tracker Pro-Guide V 16 SC, which gets a new shot of pizzazz for the 2015 model year.
First, the basics: this is a side-console boat, which is rated up to 90 horses but honestly doesn’t need anywhere near that much juice. Get it with a 25 horse Merc and you’ll cruise at about 20 MPH while topping out at around 25. You’ll also save $2,000 off the $15,995 (at the time of this publication) sticker price, which includes a 60 HP powerplant (as well as a galvanized trailer). Make the jump to that much larger outboard, and you can expect a cruising speed in the upper 20’s and a top-end in the low to mid mid 30’s.
The 0.10” aluminum V-hull hits 20-degrees of deadrise, which is pretty aggressive for a 16’ aluminum boat. Does that mean you’ll want to fish when it’s blowing 25 knots and there are three-foot rollers? Heck no—this is a 16 foot, thousand pound boat. But in a common lake chop, it’ll smooth out the bumps better than most semi-V’s or boats with flattish bottoms. The down-side to higher deadrise is, of course, a bit less stability along with a bit less running efficiency. Pick your poison, but that said, with a small powerplant this will be an incredibly cost-effective rig to run. You’ll have to work hard to burn more than two gallons per hour with that 25 on the transom, and even with the 60, cruising fuel burn should hover around three or four GPH—so it’s tough to make a case against the design based on efficiency.
What about fishing-efficiency? The Tracker comes pretty well rigged, with a 23-gallon aerated/divided livewell in the bow, two locking eight-foot rodboxes, rod hold-down straps, a 12-V 42-lb thrust Minn Kota electric trolling motor, two pedestal seats, and six seat pedestal bases. You can add Versatrack mount-kits with items like rodholders ($50), cutting boards ($65), downrigger brackets ($85) and more. There’s also a standard fishfinder included with the boat, but it’s a Lowrance Elite 3x, which is a beginner’s unit, at best. Any halfway serious angler will want it upgraded to at least an Elite 5 HDI. (Look at some options by reading New Inexpensive Fishfinders).
So, what’s new about the 2015 version of this boat? That added pizzazz I was talking about earlier comes courtesy of a new “Diamond Coat” multi-layer finish. This is a booth-baked powder-coat finish, which out-shines and out-lasts paints by a wide margin. The trailer also gets a new bit of bling, with standard chrome wheels. And the console is new, as well. It’s a bit larger than the ’14 version, with a wrap-around starboard section that adds a cup-holder and enlarges the space available for binnacle-mounting a bigger electronics unit; it also brings the toggle switches, ignition, and gauges onto the same dash cluster (they used to be mounted on separate panels).
|Fuel capacity||15 gal.|
All this stuff is cool, sure, but one of the very best features of the Tracker Pro Guide V 16 SC is something you can’t see or touch. Tracker has backed it up with a five-year stem-to-stern warranty, and a lifetime structural, hull, and deck warranty. (Though the finish, trolling motor, and fishfinder are cut back to a three year period). Look around, people. You will have a very difficult time finding a boat—any boat—in the same price range which carries a five year overall and lifetime structural warranty. That means the Pro Guide V 16 SC helps to keep your life simpler, and easier. And that's what makes for KISS boating at its best.
Other Choices: Shoppers might want to look at the Starweld 1600 Pro SC. The Smoker Crafty 162 Pro Angler XL adds a wrap-around windshield and a passenger’s console, as does the Sylvan Explorer 1600.
See Tracker Pro Guide V 16 SC listings.
For more information, visit Tracker.