Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
Smoker Craft markets their brand as the ‘First family of fishing boats’ and they pulled out all the stops in the development of the 182 Pro Angler XL.
This fishing machine lies beautifully and she gleams from the twice baked paint finish that is painstakingly applied by Smoker Craft’s team of experienced craftsmen (& women). The process includes 3 coats of base urethane and 3 coats of accent colour urethane with each step being baked under infra-red heating coils. The diamond hard finish is resistant to chipping and fading meaning your new Smoker Craft will look awesome at the dock for many years to come.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on a few of the exterior hull technologies that many of us don’t talk about because these are elements that make this such a strong and versatile machine while we are running.
The Hydra Lift reverse chine hull provides superior lift to get you out of the hole and on plane in a hurry. My test results proved this one as we repeatedly saw 3.10 second hole shots with two guys on the boat, limited gear and 1/8th tank of fuel. The incorporation of rolled in spray rails in the side panels combined with the Hydra Lift reverse chine design delivers an incredibly dry ride.
Underneath the hull Smoker Craft continues to use a 5-keel construction giving the hull superior longitudinal strength, protection when beaching or trailering and adds another benefit to how quickly she gets on plane. The sports car tracking feeling was evident every time I cranked the wheel at every speed range including our top speed trials where we consistently saw 48 MPH @ 5,700 RPM.
Moving inside the 182 Pro Angler XL there was no doubt that this package was built to fish. The spacious bow casting platform was dressed in easy to clean and soft to the touch eVA traction mats, one of the boats 6 seat bases is well positioned here and with a 15-gallon Freshcatch recirculating live-well. This platform has all we need.
The cockpit of the boat features durable quick clean vinyl flooring, an additional 4 seat bases, a tough looking tall windshield for early and late season fishing and ergonomic wood free fishing seats (3 come standard). The automotive style console is well dressed with gauges and lighted rocker switches as well as access to the stereo, a cup holder and plenty of leg room. I really appreciated the standard hydraulic steering when we were testing. On both port and starboard sides of the cockpit there are top loading lockable rod storage lockers. There’s a center walk through lockable rod locker with room for 9 rods as well as another rod locker in the floor of the cockpit. Our test boat was outfitted with Smoker Craft’s optional Yarblow ventilation system. After a day on the water simply plug the system in, flip the convenient switch on the console and pressurized air flows through the bilge and storage areas giving you mold, mildew, rust and corrosion protection for your gear.
The interior also features Smoker Craft’s standard IGTS system – the Integrated Gunnel Track System which quickly allows any angler to move downriggers, rod holders or any other top side gear into perfect position. Our test boat was outfitted with the optional Bert’s Custom Tackle package which is easy to order to your specific needs with an array of accessories from tool holders to various sizes of riser/cradles, to rod trees and cup holders.
The extended rear fishing deck completed the built to fish package with an enormous 25-gallon Freshcatch recirculating live well, quick and easy access to batteries, seat base number six and additional storage.
Smoker Craft stands behind their product with a Lifetime +6 Warranty. In essence, you get a transferrable to 2nd owner, limited lifetime warranty on rivets, seams and more – ‘If they make it, it’s lifetime’. Add to that a solid 6 years on components, flooring, upholstery and electronics and you’ve got a great brand behind you ready to support your purchase.
We tested the boat on a 28C degree day with 2 adults and 1/8th tank of fuel. Lake conditions were mild with minimal chop. Powered by Mercury’s all new 175 HP outboard the results were impressive to say the least. As noted earlier we repeatedly screamed out of the hole at a shade over 3 seconds and found a pair of comfortable cruising speeds of 21 MPH & 28 MPH at 2,900 & 3,500 RPM respectively. The sports car tracking thanks to the Hydra Lift reverse chine hull was consistently evident and I couldn’t help but glance over the side of the hull when we were running and appreciate how dry the ride was – the rolled in spray rails really do work.
She’s an all-round great performer and as the flagship of their most popular fishing series the 182 Pro Angler XL didn’t disappoint in any way.
|Dry weight:||1,425 lbs||646 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||27 US gals||102 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury outboard|