Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
In late August we were invited to Indiana to put this new model for 2020 from Smoker Craft through our testing and analysis process. Greeted by a warm 24 C degree day and calm waters we were looking forward to getting started.
As I moved towards the docks, I immediately appreciated the lines of the hull and how beautifully the silver metallic and black stripe played into the interior vinyl’s and black trim on the generously tall windshield. Certainly this was a great start to my day and with Mercury’s 115 four stroke waiting for me to turn the key I couldn’t wait to get started.
The 178 includes all the right ingredients to not only satisfy the angler in our veins but there are multiple benefits on board to keep the kids engaged and active on the water – clearly multi purpose boating was in the minds of the engineers on this design.
The interior of the boat is tastefully laid out from bow to stern, here’s my short list of cockpit favourites;
Helm – sitting at a comfortable wood free fishing seat in front of what I can only describe as a car like dashboard treated with beautifully trimmed gauges, nicely laid out and visible breaker switch toggles, access to an awesome sound system, cleverly integrated tackle storage and plenty of legroom – all of which sits safely and securely behind that ‘Canadian feel’ tall windshield.
Cockpit – in floor rod locker, vinyl floor AND a very cool new cockpit drainage system which runs around the entire cockpit area – brilliant idea.
Rear casting platform housed a pair of generously wide jump seats. 24-gallon livewell and a ‘dual pedestal’ base for either a seat pedestal or a ski tow – think time with the kids right there!
IGTS – Smoker Crafts’ innovative Integrated Gunnel Track System allows you to quickly move your fishing gear to the right location for your moment – rod holders, accessory mounts and more. IGTS runs the full interior length of the 17’ 11” hull on both port and starboard sides of the boat.
VPS – this one really rocks – Smoker Crafts new Vertex Performance Strake. This hull design creates less prop disturbance, dryer ride conditions and awesome hole shots. For you this all means a great running surface that gets you to your favourite fishing (or playing) waters quicker and more efficiently.
I ran solo for testing purposes and she certainly didn’t disappoint. With ½ tank of fuel (capacity is 121 liters) and calm waters my initial expectation was that she would run admirably with Mercury’s 115 on the transom. VPS benefits kicked in quickly as multiple hole shot attempts delivered an average 4.46 seconds, cruising speeds were comfortable at both 20 & 27 MPH and the 178 had no trouble taking me to a top end of 43 MPH.
Always keep in mind that your own test results will vary based on load, water and air conditions. Take the time to test and understand how your boat will perform with your crew – the 178 absolutely will not disappoint you as you put her through your paces.
Smoker Craft backs what they build with their Lifetime +6 Warranty. You get lifetime on hull and structure, 6 years on components, carpet, upholstery and electronics AND all of this is transferable to a second owner should you choose to trade up. This all means great piece of mind as you make your purchase decision.
For me this new model from Smoker Craft hits so many of the right notes – versatility, user friendly features that deliver great benefits, solid performance and cleverly designed on board amenities.
If your goal is to have a fishing machine, capable of extending your angling season while satisfying the kids desires then the 178 FS is not to be missed.
|Dry weight:||1,787 lbs||810 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||32 US gals||121 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury|