Captain's ReportTruly, A Multi-Purpose BoatBy Captain John B. WenzBack in 1961, the Smoker family began a tradition of building quality boats when they established Smoker Craft, Inc. Their philosophy centers around the principal that boating and fishing tradition “begins and stays with the family.” Aiming to satisfy the utmost in their customers’ satisfaction, three generations of the Smoker family are committed to producing solidly built boats that the entire family can enjoy. They’d like their family’s boats to become a part of your family’s tradition. I recently took the Ultima 172 DC from Smoker Craft for a test ride on Lake Lanier, Georgia. Easy TransformationIf you’ve ever tried to use a bass boat for anything other than fishing, you’ve probably found that it doesn’t work very well. While the 172 is a great boat for a family, she truly is a multi-purpose boat. The 172 easily transforms from a family bowrider to a no-compromise fishing machine with casting platforms at the bow and stern. She’s all set up with a variety of seating to carry her maximum of five persons. Even with the whole gang aboard, there’s still plenty of room for accessories and equipment. The transformation from family cruiser to bass boat happens in a jiffy. Up forward, you just remove the seat cushions and the center panel, move a seat from the main cockpit to the casting platform and you’re all set. The operation is just as simple back aft; fold down the seats port and starboard, put your fishing chair on the centerline and you’re ready to go. Storage & MoreUp forward, you’ll notice that there are a couple of storage compartments on the platform in the deck. Under the starboard locker door, there’s a pair of clips to stow your forward navigation light when it’s not in use. When the sun goes down, it’s close at hand-- just place it in the socket on the bow. There’s a plug-in for a trolling motor, and a switch for the forward livewell pump on the bulkhead. That’s right, the fisherman on the forward casting platform has a 12 gallon livewell right at his feet, so he won’t miss any of the action. And the Ultima 172 has a walk-thru windshield which makes for easy passage from the main cockpit to the foredeck.At the ControlsThe helm console, to starboard, is equipped with a horn, a tachometer, a speedometer, a volt meter, a fuel gauge, and a lighted compass all of which is standard equipment. There’s an adjustable helm pedestal seat and the wheel tilts, so everyone who takes the helm can be comfortable. An AM/FM/CD stereo with a pair of speakers is standard and it’s mounted right alongside the helm seat, so you don’t need to get up to tune in your favorite station. And the speakers are placed out of the weather- under the port and starboard sides of the console. The battery locker for the trolling motor is inside the helm console and a charger input is on the inboard side, which keeps things neat. On the port side, there’s a large glove box and a storage compartment underneath. There’s additional storage under the deck, between the helm seat and the companion seat. Under the gunnels, on both port and starboard sides, you’ll find a pair of rod storage lockers. They’re lighted, so you can see what you’re doing when you’re out for some pre-dawn fishing. Just forward of the aft casting platform are a pair of flip-down beverage holders. And on the centerline of the aft casting platform, at the foot of the aft fishing chair, is a 23 gallon livewell. Finally, on either side of the motor well are a pair of folding transom seats. The port side houses a storage locker and the starboard side contains the engine starting battery. SpecificationsThe Smoker Craft Ultima 172 measures 17’2” long and has a beam of 91”. She’s got a dry weight of 1260 pounds and a fuel capacity of 24 gallons. Maximum passenger capacity is five, or 1400 pounds, and she can be rigged with an outboard rated up to 130 horsepower. All the deck surfaces are finished with an aggressive non-slip finish and four large pop-up cleats recess into the deck when you don’t need them. Performance & HandlingOur Smoker Craft Ultima 172 DC test boat was powered by Honda’s four-stroke BF90 outboard which has 4-4 Induction for fuel efficiency. The 172 feels solid but nimble, and the test rig was a nice combination of boat and motor. Smoker Craft really has the dual purpose boat figured out. There’s not much compromising, whether you’re headed out for some serious fishing, tubing, waterskiing, or just cruising to your favorite beach for a picnic.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Smoker Craft 172 Ultima DC (2007-) is 44.0 mph (70.8 kph), burning 8.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 32.17 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Smoker Craft 172 Ultima DC (2007-) is 21.5 mph (34.6 kph), and the boat gets 7.53 miles per gallon (mpg) or 3.2 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 163 miles (262.32 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 90-hp Honda 4-stroke (outboard).
Standard and Optional Features