Reviewed by Richard Crowder
Starcraft Marine can be considered unique among North American boatbuilders in several ways. While many companies are proud to expound on their half-century or so of being in the business, Starcraft lays claim to not only building boats for over a full century, since 1903 to be exact, but also to have been run by the same family since the beginning, now in the fourth generation of the Schrock family. Quite amazing really.
Also unique is that Starcraft Marine builds both fibreglass and aluminum boats, a most unusual phenomenon in this industry yet a very customer-focused potential advantage. And build them Starcraft does. For 2011, a staggering total of sixty (60) models in all, in fibreglass and aluminum, in nineteen different series comprising six categories; Pontoon, Fishing, Deckboats, Runabouts, Utility, and Jon boats. The 186 Superfisherman subject of this review is one of two Superfisherman models within the four series of aluminum fishing boats of which nine models are built from sixteen to twenty-one feet.
The 186 Superfisherman is a big, deep boat with a moderately deep-vee 19-degree deadrise hull that features a super-wide beam of 8-feet, 4-inches thus making this an excellent big water, deep water boat in which to seek out those elusive lunkers lurking in the big lakes.
But this is much more than just a big fishing boat. It not only has standard equipment seats for five persons which is quite adequate for most family outings, but the 186 also features a somewhat unique removable centre section comprising part of the forward casting deck, which when removed, converts the 186 to a bowrider configuration thus allowing more passengers to sit up front with their feet on the floor. Being the size it is, the 186 legally accommodates up to nine persons with total weight of 1250 pounds. Total carrying capacity is almost a full ton! And to add further flexibility, the three standard portable pedestal seats can be mounted in a total of six different locations on board. More pedestal seats are optionally available.
To round out the flexibility that the 186 offers as both a big water fishing boat as well as a great family runabout for cruising or watersports, it offers a very high, full width walk-thru windshield with curved sides to protect the passengers and can be outfitted with full canvas including a bimini top. Whether you use it for dedicated fishing or for family outings or both, even simultaneously, you’ll find ample storage aboard with three compartments in the bow area, a glove box on the passenger console, side storage under the gunnels, center under-floor storage, plus more under the rear casting deck which also features flip-up seating for two. Two of these storage areas are dedicated to aerated livewells; an 18-gallon unit in the bow, and a 28-gallon in the stern. But they too can always double as dry storage when not used for fishing.
The driver’s side console is very sporty looking with molded pod-like enclosures for the two large and two smaller outboard motor gauges plus a sporty steering wheel, DC switch and circuit breaker panel, and the standard AM/FM stereo with an MP3 player auxiliary port. Even the colour choices available for the 186 make it appealing for all intended purposes with two-tone white & tan interior and your choice of black, red, or electric blue with white hull sides. From a 115 to a maximum of 200 horsepower outboard (note: your choice of brand) will provide whatever level of speed or pulling power you may want out of the 186. A 140 hp is probably ideal for most requirements.
Construction-wise, Starcraft utilizes some different techniques and materials when building its aluminum boats. All of its aluminum fishing boat series, including this 186 Superfisherman, feature Starcraft’s Power-Trac® hull which combines machine-formed semi-circular aluminum ribs with Torsion Beam Construction (TBC) stringer-type system supporting a one-piece aluminum bottom without any centre seam. A full-length reverse chine “keeps the bow down during acceleration for faster hole shots and improved cornering, providing a drier ride...” according to Starcraft. Spaces between the floor and hull are foam injected to eliminate air and water to provide greater strength, buoyancy, and sound insulation.
Don’t necessarily be mislead by the “Superfisherman” in the name. Yes this Starcraft would please the most serious fisherman, but it also would make an excellent family runabout, cruiser, watersport enthusiast’s boat. To steal a word from the automotive world, perhaps the description “ideal crossover” best suits the 186 Superfisherman.
|Length:||18' 7"||5.66 m|
|Draft:||2' 5"||74 cm|
|Dry weight:||1333 lbs||605 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||32 US gals||121 l|
|Engine / Drive:||Max 200|