Captain's ReportLake Boating Fun for the Active FamilyBy Capt. Rob SmithProbably one of the most comfortable ways to fish a lake is from the spacious deck of a pontoon boat. Sun Tracker’s Bass Buggy 18 is destined to be popular with the fishing family and anglers who like to chase the elusive big boys hiding in the shallow ledges around the lake.Foredeck Casting SpaceSide panels are corrugated for durability and support and I like how they curved the railings rather than the simple square tubes you see on most. Sun Tracker has pre-rigged this model for a trolling motor that folds up and passes below the gate on the front when stowed. The rod holder and drink holder is the heavy duty durable plastic style that they designed and are mounted into the top rail. This is so popular that they have added it as options on their other models. Two casting chairs are up front and have thick enough cushioning to be comfortable all day long.Helm Features The console is now in the center, like a typical center console fish boat, so you can work fish around either side and have your buddy right behind you with the fish net for your prize fish. On the front of the center console is a handy livewell and bench seat. On the port side is a wide entry gate so you can get a wheelchair on board or other wide gear. Although I doubt you would ever need them, there are stainless grab handles on either side of the center console. Three rods store vertically along the sides so you can have your favorite rigs already set up with the perfect lures. The helm seat base is a cooler and the seat back is a flip-up backrest so you can use it when driving and flip it forward to use for fishing off the back when trolling. At the helm, you have basic gauges, a three spoke wheel and aircraft style lighted switches. The stereo is Sirius Satellite coverage ready and has an iPod/MP3 input. Under the helm is room for a soft side cooler.Aft Seating and BiminiThe standard bimini offers good coverage from sun and summer showers. A bench seat wraps around from the port side entry gate to the stern walkthrough so when the family just wants to cruise for the day, you have room for everyone to join you. Aft of this seat is the real difference on the Bass Buggy 18. Here you have another large casting space for someone to enjoy. One of the casting chairs can set up here. Three rods store vertically along the port wall and you have your own drink and tackle organizer like the pair up front. The only recommendation I had was to move the cranking battery so that it isn’t setting exposed on the aft deck. Moving through the aft gate you have a small swim platform and flip-over swim ladder. Rather than have the engine cut into the aft deck eating up casting space, the engine juts out saving room.HandlingI found the Bass Buggy handled well and should be easy for even the grandchildren to enjoy helping with the driving. When I tried to trim the engine up to find the sweet spot, I found it almost immediately began to pull air into the prop, so the engine must be mounted about as high as it can be.MeasurementsThe Bass Buggy 18 measures 19’8” length overall with a beam width of 8’1”. She weighs about 1390 lbs. and is rated for engines up to 75-hp. Pontoons are multi-chambered 24” tubes of .080 aluminum. The deck is seven ply marine grade pressure treated wood with 30 oz. carpet covering.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 (2008-) is 20.7 mph (33.3 kph), burning 5.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 18.92 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 (2008-) is 12.3 mph (19.8 kph), and the boat gets 5.64 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.4 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 152 miles (244.62 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 50-hp Mercury Outboard.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|