Captain's Report by Capt. Dan Armitage --
Carrying a beam of 92 inches, the 172 is broad enough for its 16’ 8” length to offer good stability and deck space. The standard package comes with three pedestal seats and six mounting positions in which to place them. A fourth seat is offered as an option – as is snap-in carpeting for the cockpit sole and a good selection of canvas options for protection from the elements.
Both the forward and passenger cockpits are surrounded by an extra-wide gunwale that is reinforced with back-plating to provide sturdy mounting positions for angling accessories such as downriggers and multi-stick rod holders.
Anglers will appreciate the 25-gallon Flow Rite livewell system that draws water in and circulates it in the bottom of the tank while a hole in the top allows air to mix with the water. A separate recirculating pump works in a continuous loop to keep aerated water moving at all times, and a transom drain system provides for easy tank cleaning. Since many of the northern anglers this boat targets use live bait, I’d like to see a baitwell option – at least a combo livewell that includes a bucket for minnows or leeches.
The standard Pro Angler is a no-frills fishing boat, with an easy-to-clean vinyl sole and simple vinyl snap-in curtains to cover the storage areas under the aft casting deck. The boat offers amenities that only anglers are likely to appreciate, including toe rails on each side of the cockpit for a firm foothold when fighting and landing fish to flush-mounted cleats that pop-up only when needed to secure dock lines rather than fishing lines.
The hull of the 172 is backed by what Smokercraft refers to as AIRS (Advanced Integrated Rib System) that features hand-formed, hat-shaped ribs on 10-inch centers to provide strength and rigidity. All the hull seams are double-riveted. The deck is built of marine-grade XL plywood that is specially treated to resist rot and warping and carries a lifetime warranty.
Smokercraft’s reverse-chine “Hydra-Lift” hull design. Not only does this design give lift to the hull to possibly make it faster, but it also definitely adds greatly to stability.In previous tests I’ve done on Smokercraft fishing models, the boats’ hulls are among the best among aluminum small craft for turning aside water and offering as dry a ride as possible in rough conditions. The boats also track extremely well, both at planing speeds and while trolling, thanks to multiple keels that are riveted onto Smokercraft’s hulls. IIn the case of the Pro Angler 172, that hull is the popular Hydra-Lift design and features five keels – which also help protect the hull against underwater obstacles, while trailering and when beaching the boat on rocky shorelines.
For recreational freshwater fishermen who want a rig built to withstand the rigors of chasing bass, pike, muskie and walleye across much of North America, since its introduction in 2004, the 172 has proven to be a good choice. The boat is built to withstand rough roads, rocky launch ramps, and bumpy water without offering the frills that send the price of comparable fishing boats beyond many weekend warriors’ means. Like all Smokercraft fishing models, the boat is “DIY friendly,” designed with features like back-plating to accept optional accessories as you can afford -- or find you need – them. Of course, you can consider the options such as trolling motors and fish finders offered by Smokercraft to add them to the base package when you buy it. With a base price of $21,399 matched with a Mercury 90 ELPT Optimax and custom trailer, the Pro Angler package represents a fair deal for fishermen who want a time-proven hull from a time-proven boat manufacturer of practical fishing boats.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!