With the extremely cold winter most of us saw across Canada this year, I was more than happy to attend various boat shows to check out the latest offerings from manufacturers—and dream of warmer days on the water. And boat makers certainly haven’t disappointed when it comes to offering features at a fair price. Here’s a look at some of the best new fishing boats for 2014.

For pricing and more information on the boats featured here, please contact the respective manufacturers.

PLOTTING THE COURSE

To make our roundup easier to navigate, we’ve split it into two sections based on hull composition: aluminum and fibreglass. As well, each model is labelled with one or more of the following special icons to help you pick the best boat for your needs.

B Bass

F Family

M Multi-species

T Tournament

W Walleye

ALUMINUM

ALUMACRAFT

Voyageur 175 (M)

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It’s refreshing to see some new tillers hitting the scene in 2014, and Alumacraft really hit the mark with the new Voyageur 175. It’s also available in single- and dual-console models.

  • Length: 17’10”          Beam: 87”
  • Layout: Tiller
  • Max horsepower: 75
  • Fuel capacity: 17 gallons
  • Seating: 4 seat bases; 2 seats included
  • Livewell: Aft, 19 gallons
  • Rod storage: 8’ port and starboard side lockers

 LEARN MORE: 1-877-314-7756; www.alumacraft.com

ALUMACRAFT

Escape 165 CS (M)

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In a market flooded with value-priced 16-footers, the new Escape 165 definitely holds its own. And don’t let the low price tag fool you—this boat is well appointed with features, such as the lengthy rod locker, to satisfy even the most ardent weekend angler.

  • Length: 16’5” Beam: 76”
  • Layout: Single-console
  • Max horsepower: 50
  • Fuel capacity: Portable tank
  • Seating: 4 seat bases; 2 seats included
  • Livewell: Bow, 13 gallons
  • Rod storage: 8’ port side locker

 LEARN MORE: 1-877-314-7756; www.alumacraft.com

CRESTLINER

1600 Vision (F, M)

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With the new Vision, Crestliner gives consumers even more choice when it comes to customizing the interior layout of their boat. Unlike other boats, where custom layouts must be made at the factory, the Vision can be modified right at the dealership. You can trick it out as a weekend fishing rig or make it into a more refined family toy-hauler.

  • Length: 16’4” Beam: 81”
  • Layout: Single-console
  • Max horsepower: 60
  • Fuel capacity: Portable tank
  • Seating: 4 seat bases; 2 seats included, plus two flip aft seats
  • Livewell: Bow, 12 gallons
  • Rod storage: 9’ in-floor locker; port side exposed rod rack

LEARN MORE: (320) 616-5600; www.crestliner.com

G3

Bay 18DLX (M)

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With two livewells, lots of storage and large platforms in the bow and stern, the Bay 18DLX has plenty of fishing-friendly amenities. Also available in a 20-foot version, it’s a welcome, more economical alternative to the fibreglass bay boats that typically dominate the market.

  • Length: 17’11” Beam: 96”
  • Layout: Centre console
  • Max horsepower: 115
  • Fuel capacity: 30 gallons
  • Seating: 2 seat bases; 3 seats included (bench seat at helm)
  • Livewells: Console, 14 gallons; aft, 31 gallons
  • Rod storage: Vertical racks on console

 LEARN MORE: (417) 588-9787; www.g3boats.com

KINGFISHER

2025 Flex XP SC (F, M, T)

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Although still a relative newcomer to the inland fishing boat market, KingFisher has been making huge waves, especially last season with its new 20-foot Flex tiller. This year sees the introduction of a single-console version of the 20-footer—offering a massive cockpit, it’s ideal for multi-species and tournament angling.

  • LENGTH: 20’1”  BEAM: 96”
  • LAYOUT: Single-console
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 250
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 35 gallons
  • SEATING: 5 seat bases; 3 seats included
  • LIVEWELL: Bow, 24 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 9’ centre bow locker; 7’3/4” port and starboard side rod lockers

LEARN MORE: 1-888-545-9171; www.kingfishermultispecies.com

LEGEND

16 CX (M)

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New from Legend this year is the 16 CX dual-console, which should be well suited to budget-conscious anglers. Still, despite the very affordable price, it comes with a surprising number of great fishing features.

  • LENGTH: 16’6” BEAM: 82”
  • LAYOUT: Dual-console with walk-through windshield
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 90
  • FUEL CAPACITY: Portable tank
  • SEATING: 6 seat bases; 2 seats included
  • Livewell: Bow, 30 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 7' port and starboard side lockers

 LEARN MORE: 1-800-461-4050; www.legendboats.com

LOWE

FM160S (M)

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Like most boats in this class, the FM160S lacks a built-in fuel tank. It does, however, offer up a fairly impressive list of fish-catching features, such as a large, aerated livewell and a spacious bow deck with storage.

  • LENGTH: 16’1” BEAM: 75”
  • LAYOUT: Single-console
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 50
  • FUEL CAPACITY: Portable tank
  • SEATING: 4 seat bases; 2 seats included
  • LIVEWELL: Aft, 19 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 7’ port side locker

 LEARN MORE: (417) 532-9101; www.loweboats.com

 LUND

1800 Rebel XL (M)

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The flagship of Lund’s value-priced Rebel lineup, the 1800 XL has received a complete makeover for 2014. Not only does it look better, the interior is much more fishable and comfortable with the addition of swivel seating.

  • LENGTH: 18’1” BEAM: 84”
  • LAYOUT: Dual-console with walk-through windshield, or single-console
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 125
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 19 gallons
  • SEATING: 6 seat bases; 3 seats included
  • LIVEWELL: Bow, 20 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 8’ port side locker; 7’ starboard side locker

LEARN MORE: (204) 326-4431; www.lundboats.ca

POLAR KRAFT

Outlander 186 CC (M)

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Polar Kraft has added this nifty centre-console boat to its lineup for 2014. While loaded with fishing features, the camo model should appeal to waterfowl hunters as well.

  • LENGTH: 18’6” BEAM: 92”
  • LAYOUT: Centre console
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 115
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 23 gallons
  • SEATING: 4 seat bases; 3 seats included
  • LIVEWELLS: Port side, 18.8 gallons; bow, 9.3 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 7’ starboard side locker

 LEARN MORE: (574) 522-8381; www.polarkraft.com

POLAR KRAFT

PK Classic 156 T (M)

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The 156 T is a very fishable 15½-footer with all the features of bigger, higher-priced tillers. It comes in eight colours and, according to the manufacturer, can be ordered with options that “no fish head can pass up.”

  • LENGTH: 15’6”  BEAM: 81”
  • LAYOUT: Tiller
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 50
  • FUEL CAPACITY: Portable tank
  • SEATING: 4 seat bases; 2 seats included
  • LIVEWELL: Bow, 25 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 6’ port side locker

 LEARN MORE: (574) 522-8381; www.polarkraft.com

PRINCECRAFT

Sport 177 (F, M)

Sport 177

With raised casting platforms in the bow and stern, lockable rod storage and room for five people, the new Sport 177 offers plenty of value for the family in search of a comfortable fishing machine.

  • LENGTH: 17’5”  BEAM: 92”
  • LAYOUT: Dual-console with walk-through windshield
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 150
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 26 gallons
  • SEATING: 6 seat bases; 2 seats included; 2 jump seats in aft
  • LIVEWELLS: Aft, 20 gallons; bow, 17 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 7’ port side locker; 7’ centre locker

 LEARN MORE: 1-800-395-8858; www.princecraft.com

STARCRAFT

Starfish 176 (F, M)

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While touted for its low price, the all-new Starfish definitely isn’t short on quality or features that are sure to satisfy the most hard-core angler. For those in the market for a serious family fishing machine, this boat won’t disappoint.

  • LENGTH: 17’8” BEAM: 92”
  • LAYOUT: Dual-console with walk-through windshield
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 150
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 32 gallons
  • SEATING: 6 seat bases; 3 seats included
  • LIVEWELL: Aft, 30 gallons; bow, 18 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 7’ centre locker

 LEARN MORE: (547) 831-2103; www.starcraftmarine.com

TRACKER

1860 Sportsman (M)

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New from Tracker this year is an ingenious 19½-foot jon boat that’s not only a very functional fishing boat, but an ideal bow-fishing boat, too, thanks to its removable raised platform. Talk about dual-purpose.

  • LENGTH: 19’6” BEAM: 84”
  • LAYOUT: Centre console
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 90
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 19 gallons
  • SEATING: 2 seat bases; 2 seats included; bench seat at helm
  • LIVEWELL: Bow, 15 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 7’ starboard side exposed rod rack

 LEARN MORE: 1-888-487-2253; www.trackerboats.com

FIBREGLASS

RANGER

1880 Angler (F, M, T)

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Building on the success of its 175T, Ranger has brought out an upsized dual-console version that will meet the needs of serious tournament anglers—while still appealing to families in search of a fishing boat that can pull water toys.

  • LENGTH: 18’8”  BEAM: 100”
  • LAYOUT: Walk-through windshield
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 175
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 34 gallons
  • SEATING: 6 seat bases; 4 seats included
  • LIVEWELLS: Aft, 21 gallons; bow, 5 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 7’6” centre locker

 LEARN MORE: (870) 453-2222; www.rangerboats.com

RANGER

Z118C (B, T)

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With a ton of fishing features not found in other boats in its class, the all-new Ranger Z118C is built with the hard-core tournament bass angler in mind. It’s also small enough—and economical enough—that it should be attractive to weekend warriors, too.

  • LENGTH: 18’8”  BEAM: 94”
  • LAYOUT: Dual-console
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 150
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 37 gallons
  • SEATING: 2 seat bases; 2 fixed bucket seats and 2 pedestal seats included
  • LIVEWELL: Aft, 24 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 8’ centre locker; 8’ port side locker

LEARN MORE: (870) 453-2222; www.rangerboats.com

TRITON

21 TRX (B, T)

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Without question, the new 21 TrX is the most impressive bass boat Triton has brought to the marketplace yet. It’s absolutely loaded with features to help anglers win tournaments, and it all comes in a super-sleek, super-fast package—especially when paired with a 300-horsepower outboard.

  • LENGTH: 21’      BEAM: 95”
  • LAYOUT: Dual-console
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 300
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 46 gallons
  • SEATING: 2 seat bases; 2 fixed bucket seats and 2 pedestal seats included
  • LIVEWELL: Aft, 44½ gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 8’2” centre locker; 8’ port side locker       

LEARN MORE: 1-888-887-4866; www.tritonboats.com

SKEETER

TZX 195 (B, T)

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Value-priced bass boats are typically a bit short on features and horsepower rating, but Skeeter has really stepped up to the plate with the new TZX 195. While designed with the regional tournament angler in mind, this boat is loaded with features only found in much higher-end boats.

  • LENGTH: 19’5”  BEAM: 92”
  • LAYOUT: Single-console
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 175
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 28 gallons
  • SEATING: 2 pedestal seat bases; 2 fixed bucket seats and 2 pedestal seats included
  • LIVEWELL: Aft, 37 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 7’ port side locker

 LEARN MORE: (903) 984-0541; www.skeeterboats.com

LUND

208 Pro-V GL Tiller (T, W)

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We’ve seen some big, new aluminum tillers in the past couple years, but it’s been a long time since a new tournament-designed fibreglass tiller has come along—until now. Lund’s new 208 Pro-V GL has hard-core walleye anglers talking, and for good reason. Watch for several of these showing up on the tournament circuit in 2014.

  • LENGTH: 20’8”  BEAM: 96”
  • LAYOUT: Tiller
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 250
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 60 gallons
  • SEATING: 6 seat bases; 3 seats included
  • LIVEWELLS: Bow, 13 gallons; aft, 26 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 8’ centre locker; 8’ starboard side locker

LEARN MORE: (204) 326-4431; www.lundboats.ca

LUND

208 Tyee GL (F, M)

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Capitalizing on the popularity of the 186 Tyee GL, Lund brought out its bigger brother for 2014—the 208 Tyee GL. This boat should be a hit with families looking for a serious fishing boat that can serve double duty as a ski boat.

  • LENGTH: 20’8”  BEAM: 96”
  • LAYOUT: Dual-console with walk-through windshield
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 300
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 50 gallons
  • SEATING: 5 seat bases; 4 seats included
  • LIVEWELLS: Bow, 16 gallons; aft, 8½ gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 8’ centre locker; 8’ port and starboard side lockers

LEARN MORE: (204) 326-4431; www.lundboats.ca

NITRO

ZV 21 (M, T, W)

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We haven’t seen much new out of Nitro the past few years, but the boat maker has more than made up for that with the new ZV 21. This deep-V fibreglass boat is definitely designed with the tournament walleye angler in mind, and it can certainly double as a big-water, multi-species rig.

  • LENGTH: 21’7”  BEAM: 100”
  • LAYOUT: Dual-console with walk-through windshield
  • MAX HORSEPOWER: 350
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 64 Gallons
  • SEATING: 6 seat bases; 4 seats included
  • LIVEWELLS: Bow, 51/2 gallon baitwell; aft, 26 gallons
  • ROD STORAGE: 8’ centre locker

LEARN MORE: (417) 873-4555; www.nitroboats.com

FIELD EDITOR T.J. SCHWANKY FISHES FROM HIS BOAT IN ALBERTA.