Boat Review by: Jon Blaicher
There are several reasons why you might find a StarCraft Storm model appealing. Maybe you have a mid-size tow vehicle and are looking for something easy to trailer, or you want to keep your boat in a smaller garage, or you want to save some of your budget for more tackle. These are exactly the reasons why StarCraft builds the Storm model series.
All-new for 2022, the Storm 176 DC Pro is 17’8” long with a moderate 7’4” beam. With a dry weight of only 1183 pounds, it is almost 550 lbs lighter than a Delta 178 DC Pro. It can be towed by a small SUV, or even a minivan, without mirror extensions.
StarCraft did an excellent job maximizing pro-level fishing features in a compact package. At 23” deep, the cockpit is actually 1” deeper than a Delta for a dry and secure ride. The raised bow platform is plenty wide with ample storage. In fact, there are four storage compartments for your gear -- two with rain gutters and two without. All casting platforms are covered in non-skid carpet for added comfort.
A lockable 7-foot rod locker is located in the center with gas struts on the hatch for hands-free access. There is room for up to seven rods and some tackle, with the trolling motor batteries hidden underneath, low in the hull and out of the way.
If that is not enough rod storage for your needs, not to worry. There are two more top-loading rod lockers on either side of the cockpit -- both capable of stashing rods up to 8-feet in length and both lockable. While there is no forward livewell, there is a 20 gallon (76 L) aerated livewell in the aft casting platform along with two more storage compartments and a third engine battery compartment.
The cockpit is not as roomy as the wider Delta hulls, but it is not cramped feeling either. All Storm models come with easy to clean non-skid vinyl floors. The 166 models come with two wood-free fishing seats, while the 176 models come with three. With a 5-person seating capacity and 4 pedestal mounts in the cockpit, you might consider adding a fourth seat if you plan to regularly fish with more than two buddies. Large toe holds wrap around 180-degrees aft from side to side.
The helm is quite comfortable and credit to StarCraft for such pleasant seats. Not only are they comfortable, with cutouts for sitting sideways, but they swivel with eight locking positions and fold forward to elevate your view. The raised windshield is quite tall, offering plenty of shoulder season protection and allowing anyone 6-feet or under to easily see under the frame.
Our test boat came equipped with the optional Fisherman’s top, which provides even more protection from the elements. Something we were quite grateful for on this chilly 45-degree October day!
The helm console is small but well laid out, with the tach and speedo in an easy-to-read position above the wheel. To the left of the wheel there is a handy smart phone holder with a USB charging port. You won’t be able to use your phone for navigating here since it blocks most of the screen, but it is nice to have a safe spot for your devices. To the right of the wheel, we find the optional Jensen radio controls with an auxiliary input and the standard C-ZONE digital wiring system controls. C-ZONE’s dash-mounted waterproof switch system is designed to help clean up the dash by eliminating rocker switches and allowing control of all electrical systems from one spot. It can be integrated into many multi-function displays from Lowrance, Garmin and Humminbird, allowing you control over the boat’s electrical systems from any remote MFD. Knowing most of us would add our own fish finder, StarCraft left plenty of room on the right side of the console to mount a display of your choice. The passenger console has a small locking glovebox to help keep loose ends dry and out of the way.
Max power on the Storm 176 DC Pro is 115 hp, and we had a matching Suzuki DF115A to round out the package. This 2.0 L 4-cylinder DOHC engine is smooth and quiet. Suzuki’s two-stage gear reduction allows the use of larger propellers without the need for larger higher-drag gearbox. A final drive ratio of 2.59 produces plenty of torque, which helps the lightweight VPS hull get on plane in less than 3.2 seconds! That’s more like the time to plane we would expect from a 150 on a 17.5 foot boat!
The VPS hull has a surprisingly comfortable ride, considering deadrise on the Storm series is only 12-degrees. This is due in part to the one-piece bottom with heavy .100” aluminum, but that shallower angle really helps maintain stability with the narrower 88” beam. The triangular vertex performance pad does a great job a keeping the prop wet and avoiding ventilation while the big lifting strakes keep the hull planted when turning. The Storm rides like a bigger boat, that is for sure.
If there was one thing I would add besides a trolling motor it would be Suzuki’s excellent Troll Mode System, which allows finite control over engine speed from idle to 1200 RPM, in 50 RPM increments. The Troll Mode control switch can be added separately and mounted on the console or just forward the controls.
Of course, with StarCraft there are plenty of OEM options to customize the boat to suit your specific needs. You can add a full enclosure, power pedestal, sonar, a swim platform and even a 3-bank battery charger.
All Storm models have fully painted hulls, which are primed before painting and baked twice for long lasting durability. Choose between Gunmetal Grey or this Burgundy paint job, and let the fishing adventures begin!
|Dry weight:||1,183 lbs||537 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||24 US gal||91 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Suzuki|
|Engine HP:||Max 115|