A versatile, do-it-all family fishing machine
Smoker Craft’s 171 Pro Angler XL might just be the perfect all-round family fishing boat. It’s big enough to seat seven yet small enough to fit in the garage and be towed behind a mid-sized vehicle. It’s equipped to run with the best at the weekend tournament, yet equally at home pulling the kids behind a tube. Talk about a boat that can do it all.
Its dual-console design with full windshield makes the most of the boat’s 17-foot, three-inch length and full eight-foot beam. From the dock you can see that the 171 Pro Angler XL retains its width all the way forward of the windshield. Not only does this provide a substantial amount of interior space, it’s a major factor in its stellar driving performance.
Beam: 96” / 2.40 m
Dry weight: 1,350 lbs. / 613 kgs
Fuel capacity: 23 gals / 90L
Passenger capacity: 7
Max HP: 150 hp
Power as reviewed: Yamaha F150
Step aboard and you can’t help but notice its huge elevated bow casting deck. Even with the 171 Pro Angler’s substantial windshield, there’s plenty of room up front for a couple of anglers to cast in comfort, without fear of getting tangled or hooking each other in the hat. An elevated bow pad provides a secure platform for mounting an electric motor, keeping it out of the way, while below the deck level you’ll find concealed dry storage and a 56L live well. There’s also a large in-floor rod locker that accommodates eight rods in individual tubes.
Where the bow deck is finished in a heavy-duty marine carpet, the main cockpit floor is surfaced in hard-wearing vinyl, a practical choice for a boat that will be repeatedly load-ed with coolers, tackle boxes and other heavy gear. Snap-in carpet is available as an option, for those who prefer it.
The helm console is no-nonsense, with a large tachometer to left, a speedometer with integral volt meter and fuel gauge to right, and pop-outs mounted to center for two additional gauges. To the right of the padded, black-on-chrome wheel is a large flat area that’s ideal for mounting additional electronics, like the Humminbird 718 GPS-capable sonar included on our review boat. The stereo control head sits below and to the left of the steering wheel, while metal toggle switches to the lower right control the nav lights, horn, bilge pump and live well pumps. A 12-volt accessory plug – and MP3 input for the stereo – are also included.
The stern end of the 171 Pro Angler XL is left open for maximum versatility. A large carpeted raised casting deck spans the transom, concealing the crank battery and a second, 95L live well.
Our review boat was rigged with a Yamaha F150 four-stroke, which is maximum power for this hull. It’s a good match for the big Pro Angler, snapping the boat onto plane promptly and pushing it to about 30 mph in just over seven seconds. With a full tank of gas and two of us aboard, we easily hit an indicated speed just shy of 50 mph in multiple runs both into and with a light breeze.
The 171 Pro Angler XL rides on Smoker Craft’s Hydra-Lift reverse chine hull, a prov-en design that delivers a smooth, dry ride and sports car-like handling. It’s a stable plat-form, agile in turns and fast to accelerate – the kind of ride that quickly inspires confidence, even among less experienced drivers. With its sophisticated interior hull structure, the 171 Pro Angler XL eats boat wakes and choppy waves for one of the driest rides on the water, greatly contributing to its ability to be enjoyed earlier or later in the boating season.
Smoker Craft’s new 171 Pro Angler XL lives up to the company’s heritage of building high quality boats that do many different things equally well. With its ability to carry up to eight people in comfort, it’s a versatile family runabout that’s equally at home competing in a weekend fishing tournament.
By Craig Ritchie