The mission of the Smoker Craft Ultima 172 is to provide a boat primarily for fishing, but one that can also successfully combine some of the characteristics of a family bowrider. She has the relatively high freeboard and open space that parents with young kids love, and as for fishing, she has dual livewells, 17 gallons stern/15 gallons bow (64 L / 57 L), plus a walkthrough casting platform and wood-free seats with the versatility of 6 bases.
Hydra-Lift Rolled V-Hull.
The builder says that the boat's reverse chine with integrated spray rails keeps the bow down for better hole-shots. The flared bow and spray rail provides a dryer ride. •
Smoker Craft uses a single piece .125 gauge bottom and AIRS (Advanced Integrated Rib System) hat-shaped ribs on 10” (25 cm) centers that combine for strength. Five keels added to that enhance the strength further and also provide better tracking for straighter trolling and protect the bottom from rocky shorelines we all love to cast into. It also adds to the protection when launching and trailering the boat.•
Twice-Baked Urethane Paint.
This paint and process provides a tough, long- lasting finish.
Extra-wide, Full Cockpit-length Gunwales.
These gunwales make boarding and disembarking easier as they create a wide step. Plus they are also reinforced to accept downriggers and accessories. •
Flow Rite Livewell System.
This state-of-the-art design draws water from 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. •
Limited Lifetime Warranty + 6.
The warranty includes a limited lifetime warranty on the hull and structure, and a six-year warranty on all components, carpet, upholstery and electronics. It is fully transferable to a second owner, and includes parts and labor.•
Convertible Bow Casting Deck.
It starts like a walkthrough bow, much as a typical bowrider, but lift up a deck hatch, fold out the extension, and drop it back down to serve as a filler creating a full casting deck in seconds with no need to find storage space for the filler.
Smoker Craft uses riveted construction instead of welding when building its boats. •
XL Plywood Decks and Floors.
Smoker Craft says its decks have a lifetime warranty against warp or rot. •
Injected Urethane Foam.
The builder says this process "eliminates water pockets and gives the boat more buoyancy and a quieter ride." All boats 20' (6.09 m) are required by the USCG to float level if swamped. •
Flip-Up Jump Seats.
The forward corners of the casting deck flip up to expose seats that rest on top of the deck.
The Ultima 172 is rated for a maximum of 150-hp. Since the builder is not affiliated with any particular engine maker, theoretically a buyer can choose the outboard. However, we would check with the local dealer on this score as the boats he has in stock may be pre-rigged for a particularly brand. The boat has a relatively deep cockpit for this length of boat at 25" (.64 cm). The transom height is also 25" (.64 cm). Deadrise at the transom is 17-degrees, an angle that is in the mid-range for this size and type of boat. We would say it is a good compromise between ride vs. speed and fuel-efficiency.
The rear deck includes a pedestal base in the forward center of the large casting deck. One of two livewells is also located here, this one is 17 gallons (64 L). The other is in the bow so there’s no need to keep transitioning back and forth to keep bait up. Both of these are making use of the Flow Rite system to draw water in from the bottom of the tank while mixing with air from a hole at the top. Two storage compartments are in the corners for additional fishing gear. Additional seats flip-up from the sides of the deck eliminating the need to move pedestal seats in and out. Very clever design.
Rod storage on the 172 is not lacking. Under the port gunwales is a lockable compartment that holds up to four 8’ (2.4 m) rods. The cap rails to both port and starboard have a top-loading compartment that holds 6’6” (2 m) rods. Convertible in-deck storage holds six 6’6” (2 m) rods.
is simple and uncluttered, laid out under a clean curve Taylor Made windshield that shows no distortion at the point where the windshield wraps around. The layout is rather minimalist but all the ingredients are present. Smoker Craft also offers a standard AM/FM stereo with MP3 port right at the helm. This option is something we’ve come to appreciate as we’re often boating alone and having to keep going to the observers console to skip a tune that is getting old.
Heading to the bow, we have another casting deck with a second livewell, this time 15 gallons (57 L). Having two is a huge perk and one that many others in class are sorely lacking. This casting deck can also be converted to a walkthrough bow in seconds so it can be used as a conventional bowrider might, with some limitiations. Just lift a deck hatch, flip-out the hinged extension, and lay it back down. Voila… a casting deck.
Smoker Craft offers some pre-packaged options that are pretty popular. First is an “All Weather” package that is as the name implies. It includes a mooring cover, snap-in carpet, and a fisherman’s top. The Anniversary package is all about looks so choose wisely. Here we have Anniversary paint, graphics, seats, and a Sea Weave snap-in carpet.
More along the must-have line is the Power Pack-1 package (no idea why it’s called Power Pack-1 when there’s no -2 offered). It includes a Hummingbird 718 fishfinder, a 70PD trolling motor, quick disconnect, shrink wrap and the dealer will hang the engine and rig all controls. Other options include hydraulic steering, 5 or 10 amp chargers, a swim platform, a ski tow pylon, the optional stereo and separate snap-in carpet.
How Much Power?
When we compare the Ultima 172 with other boats in class about the same length and weight we find that they are typically powered by engines from 75-hp to 125-hp. Before deciding on how much power is needed, consumers should decide on the primary and secondary missions of the boat. They should also decide on how fast they want to go.Since the primary mission of the boat is fishing, if watersports is a prospective owner's primary mission we would look elsewhere no matter what the power. Boaters who want a WOT speed in the low 40s with a couple of people aboard should opt for a 115-hp or 125-hp engine in our opinion. Those happy with a WOT speed in the high 30s and cruising in the low 30s, or high 20s should be happy with the 90-hp engine that comes standard.
The MSRP of the Ultima 172 is $29,050 with a 90-hp engine and trailer.
Smoker Craft takes the family business seriously. It’s been a family-run business for over 5 decades and three generations, and getting others families on the water is the main goal. We suspect that few if any anglers enter professional tournaments in the Ultima 172, but by the same token, those pro level boats are usually ill-equipped to bring the family out on. Most also cost much more than the Ultima 172, so which is more important? Be sure to answer that question with the wife and kids in the room.
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Optional Snap-in|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!