Boat differences

Discussion in 'Lake Powell Fishing' started by mtnpull, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. mtnpull

    mtnpull Well-Known Member

    Hey guys, help me out in understanding some of the differences in the different fishing boats out there. I currently have a Tracker Targa V-18 with a 150 HP merc motor. It has been flawless for me. I may be upgrading to a larger size as my family has gotten bigger this last year and we can't all legally fit in the v-18.

    In looking at some other options out there I am finding that both crestliner and lund are both quite a bit more expensive for a similar boat. What are you actually paying for and getting with the lund and crestliner for the extra $$$?

    I know that in the past that Tracker had some pretty poor customer service reviews and issues, but in researching most of those I found that it seemed most of those problems were more dealer related than the actually boats themselves. I've got an exceptional dealer, so I am not worried on that end.

    So help me out. Why is a crestliner or lund worth any more than a similar tracker?

  2. Dorado

    Dorado Well-Known Member

    Glad to hear you have had good luck with your tracker. The new ones sure look nice!
    Trackers have had a pretty long record and reputation for a lower quality of build and lower quality components (electrical and mechanical). maybe these issues have been addressed, and they are bargain now. But I would think that if the price point for a similar boat is different, the costs have to come from somewhere.....
  3. JeffinFlag

    JeffinFlag Active Member

    I wouldn't rule out any of the other quality brands of aluminum boats...for me, it has been a Crestliner for the last decade. I am a believer in the Welded aluminum hull. They have been bombproof. The Sportfish 1850 has been my loyal lake Powell companion. One thing for sure is if I were shopping for another boat, an on-the-water test drive would be a priority. I believe nothing will reveal more. I had a 32' Sun tracker pontoon that looked cool and was affordable, but was downright dangerous on Powell due to its design. I should have done some on the water time before the purchase. To me, a big water boat, built to handle Great Lakes style fishing is a good choice for Powell. i've run on Powell with some boats that I felt were outclassed by size, and seriosness of what the lake can dish out.

    A dealer close to you might be another consideration especially if you buy new and need warranty work. I've spent time in my buddie's Lund and anothers Alumacraft and was impressed with both...but honestly I'm thinking back over the last several decades...much has changed...keep us posted.
  4. jekern1015

    jekern1015 Member

    When I purchased my Lund last year, I also looked at Tracker and Crestliner. The fit and finish on the Tracker seemed sub par to me. The only other reason was the Tracker had a beam of 102", to wide for my spot on the side of the house. The reason I chose the Lund over the Crestliner was the Lund had the Mercury Verado and the Crestliner didn't. The choice was also easier to make due to my wife fell in love with it at first sight. All that being said on the larger bodies of water with a lot of traffic the Lund seems like it is to light, no full throttle when moving.
  5. Dungee Fishing

    Dungee Fishing Well-Known Member

    Crestliner and Lund both have amazing re-sale, so for namesake purposes its a factor. As mentioned the finishes and workmanship is a step above in both over Tracker. One of the owners of the local dealers said when he sold Tracker the warranty claims he'd get were far greater than with Crestliner now, and again as mentioned the back and forth with that customer service was lacking. But that was a while ago, I'm sure both have improved like you mentioned. It's also unfortunate that the Targa 20 can only hold the same capacity as the 18's or you could've just gone that route. Sounds like you might want to go with the used route? Lots of great options out there with both Lund and Crestliner. We love our Crestliner 1750 Fish Hawk, no complaints, maybe the only thing I'd prefer is a 150 on the back ha. But we really have nothing to compare it to as far as experience, I think the only boat I'd trade it for would be my dream Ranger Reata. Best of luck, boat shopping is the greatest and worst thing ever ha.

  6. Edward Gerdemann

    Edward Gerdemann Well-Known Member

    I think Tracker aluminum boats have been greatly improved over the past 10 years. I always look at them when I go by my local BPS. The fit and finish is certainly a lot better than the old days. My greatest criticism of Tracker right now are the trailers. I just don't think they are as good as what some other manufacturers use. I'm currently using a Ranger Trail trailer which I believe is the best in the business so I'm a bit spoiled.

    Crestliner and Lund all make nice aluminum boats. I also think Lowe makes one of the best boats for the money. I think a boat from any of these manufacturers would suffice. Ranger is back to making aluminum boats again after a 10-year absence and is making some really nice looking, but expensive rigs. Since you have a growing family a possible option for you might be a deck boat. A deck boat has the layout of a pontoon but performs more like a V-hull rig. There are some really nice ones available, and I'd certainly look into one as a possibility for fishing with a growing family.

    Whatever you buy I would urge you to maximize the horsepower on your engine. Lake Powell's altitude zaps from power from any engine, so it is important to put as many horses on the back of your rig as possible. Remember, you don't have to run the rig wide open. In fact, you will get better gas mileage throttling back on a larger engine than running a smaller engine at full throttle to achieve the same speed. I'd also recommend you get a 4-stroke engine. There's nothing wrong with the new DFI 2-strokes, but the future is definitely trending towards 4-strokes. The problem for 2-strokes is, while they are as clean as most 4-strokes right now, they are about as clean as they can possibly get while 4-strokes have a ways to go if necessary. With new EPA regs likely, I can see a day - and in the not too distant future - where no 2-stroke will be able to meet the stricter standards. One thing I thought was telling was how many 4-strokes were mounted on high performance fiberglass rigs, the last real 2-stroke bastion, at the Phoenix area boat show last spring. The boat and motor manufacturers obviously know something. Another thing I noticed was there was no boat at that show that had an Evinrude mounted on it. There were I believe four Evinrudes on display, but none was on a boat. I think that says something as well. :)

    Ed Gerdemann
  7. PBH

    PBH Well-Known Member

    I was looking at Crestliner boats a few years ago. I went to the boat show and was able to look at the exact model I wanted (Sportfish 1850). Sitting next to the Crestliner was a Ranger Reata. Wow. That was a nice boat! But it was a bit higher price than I had been looking for.

    When I went to the dealership and started talking Crestliner, the salesmen was very helpful. We discussed what I wanted, needed, and intended to do with the boat. His response was: "I can get you the Crestliner you want, and outfit it the way you want......and you'll end up spending the same amount as this Ranger right over here....".

    I ended up buying the Ranger. Sure, it cost me a little more than the Crestliner, and a little more than I initially intended. But I've never looked back at that decision with any regret.

    what am I getting in the Ranger vs. the Crestliner?
    A fiberglass hull, which handles waves better than an aluminum hull. I followed a 26' Chaparral back from Last Chance to Wahweap this summer in bad wind. We had some big rollers pointed right at us coming out of the cut back to the ramp! It was crazy! Once the boats were safely on the trailers and the cleaning agents were being applied, the Chaparral owner walked over to me and said "I can't believe you were able to keep up with me in that rough water! My old 19' boat could never have handled that water today, but your Ranger took it in stride!" Yes. Yes it did.
    A wider beam boat - more room.
    an all around nicer finish.

    Con's to the Ranger vs. Crestliner?
    I'm scared to death of scratching my Ranger!
    Beaching my boat is a cause for serious anxiety.
    Storing my boat for the winter costs me $$ because I rent a storage unit to keep it out of the weather.
    My Ranger has become my baby. I may have treated a Crestliner similar, but I sure love my Ranger!

    (I still like those Crestliners. I think they're a really nice boat!)
    I think boats are something that you very often get exactly what you pay for.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  8. John Leu

    John Leu Active Member

    I purchased a used 1999 Crestliner Sportfish 1850 with Honda BF130 Four Stroke about 1 1/2 months ago - Rides like a Cadillac. Heading to the Powell this weekend for the first time with this boat. Very excited. I have spent the last year plus looking at all kinds of mid to large size fishing boats and agree with what everyone is suggesting. I was in the same situation with family size also a limited budget and so far this boat absolutely suits my needs. From what I have seen the quality of Tracker may be lower but it is hard to beat the price when looking at new boats. While shopping the used market ( looking at every brand previously mentioned) It seemed that Trackers prices where still lower however the margin to me was much smaller - this lead me to look to the higher end brand boats. Just my .02$
  9. Edward Gerdemann

    Edward Gerdemann Well-Known Member

    Fiberglass boats with well designed hulls certainly offer some advantages, mainly a softer and drier ride than any aluminum boat - no matter the cost - can deliver. They will also provide better performance IF you hang enough horsepower to the transom. The advantages aluminum boats offer is a somewhat lower cost for a comparable size rig and lighter weight which makes them perform well with smaller engines and makes them easier to tow, too. The biggest advantages, in my opinion, however, are durability and low maintenance. Aluminum boats can take a blow and still keep going that would put a fiberglass boat in the repair shop - as long as you don't mind a dent. They can be beached on any sort of bank with no fear of damage except for perhaps some scratches on the bottom of the hull.

    The maintenance factor is what I believe is the biggest plus. Fiberglass boats need to be washed and waxed regularly to protect their jell coats. They also need to be completely covered. If fiberglass is exposed to intense sun for any length of time, something quite common in the Southwest, their jell coats will be shot in short order. The only real maintenance an aluminum needs to stay looking nice is a wipedown after each use with a cleaning product such as Ducky or Sea Spots Gone.

    If performance and ride are your main concerns, then fiberglass is the way to go. If cost, weight, durability and low maintenance mean more to you, then you should probably consider aluminum. Finally, boater experience must be factored into the equation. An inexperienced boater has no business getting behind the wheel of a high performance fiberglass rig. A smaller, less powerful aluminum rig is a better choice there. An experienced boater should be able to handle either type of rig. :)

    Ed Gerdemann
  10. Dorado

    Dorado Well-Known Member

    Excellent points Ed.

    For sure there are compromises with all hulls. You can get a smoother riding aluminum boat, if you have more deadrise (deeper v hull), but you will have less beam relative to the length of the boat. This can create a less stable, "tippy" feeling boat, which is why most aluminum boats designed for fresh water are not really "deep V" hulls.

    If I lived near LP, had more $$ for a boat and a big tow rig, and more free time, I would have a boat similar to the Ranger Reata. But that's a lot of Ifs!!!
  11. davew

    davew Member

    for me ---- Ranger owner --- I think a lot of it comes down to use time --- if you only use one or two times per year -- any boat will do --- the more you use, the more interested you might be in quality. this also goes for trailers.

    I have owned a allumacraft, tracker, a lund and now a Ranger ---- the tracker was the worst for finish -- it also "bowed" in rough water -- the lund was great had lots of bells and whistles. today, I love the ranger mostly because it is fiberglass --- rides mush better.

    If I was only going to use a fishing boat a few times per year, I would go with a gently used tracker --- If money was not a issue and I was going to use many times, lund or ranger --- but beware, you pay for the name --- I am sure there are many other quality boats out there --- I just have not owned them.

    if I was looking for a powell fishing boat this would be my list of requirements:
    1. can never have to much power
    2. great electronics
    3. great trolling motor
    4. double trailer
    5. comfy seats ( I seem to spend a lot of time in them)
  12. mtnpull

    mtnpull Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone for the reply's! Very, very helpful. In talking to my dealer a couple days ago he told me that Tracker bought Ranger boats (which are both actually owned by Bass Pro shops).

    I am only considering Aluminum. For much of the same reasons Ed mentioned. I often double tow with the boat behind the camper so lightweight is important. I want as little maintenance as possible and it seems to be the best bang for the buck.

    This week I have visited a crestliner dealer and my tracker dealer (who are excellent) and looked at both boats. Honestly the tracker didn't seem to be lacking. Maybe they have developed a bad wrap from years past, but my experience from the last three years of ownership has been great and comparing the two I am not seeing the advantage of spending dramatically more.

    Dungee - the V20 you mentioned does have larger capacities than the v18. It can seat up to 8 people and my v18 only 6.

    I won't be purchasing a new boat until spring (probably boat show time for an extra deal) so I have some time to consider. However I am leaning towards the Tracker V20 with the 250 HP verado. I can get it for about $15k less than a similar size and equipped Lund.

    I already have an ulterra and a couple great fish finders to put on it so it will be well set up right off the bat. I can still be persuaded into other purchases if I feel they are worth the extra $$.

    Keep the responses coming. I'd love to hear more!

    I'll be on Powell most of next week for probably my last trip on this boat, then hopefully come spring time I'll be on the new rig.

    Thanks All!
  13. Dungee Fishing

    Dungee Fishing Well-Known Member

    Oh nice, I must've seen some older specs or something, thought it was strange if true.
  14. bobco

    bobco Well-Known Member

    I used to be a die hard tin boat guys. Owned a starcraft which I considered a good boat , next a alumacraft for 15 years, great boat without a doubt on lund and Crestliners level of quality without the price tag. Now a ranger reata 1850, fiberglass needs more babying but the ride is far superior to any tin boat. more weight for sure, argument of damaged tin to fiberglass is advantage to fiberglass. tin boat with significant damage usually not repairable, fiberglass can be made to like new with gouges etcs, ripped open tin boat not good. as far as tracker boats the fit and finish is one thing, cheaper carpet etc, the real key is what is under the skin. A friend has a tracker that has seen some harder use, his ribs broke on him, not an easy repair. the welded trackers have a history of cracking and bad results. Myself I would not even consider a tracker , allot better tin boats out there. Check out Walleye central classifieds, allot of great boats on there! good luck shopping.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  15. Guido

    Guido Member

    I opted for a Crestliner after looking at Lund and Alumacraft because of the quality and resale value.

    The model I have (TS 192 WT) is no longer made but the sportfish would be a good alternative.

    It has been a fantastic boat and I have been using it on Powell for the last 8+ years, prior to that I had a go fast bass rig but the weather (wind and wave situation) at Powell used to beat us to death so I needed to change.

    Just my .02 cents

    Also I did find it on one of the walleye boards. A pro ordered it but he got it too late so it was brand new and had never been used, so i got a great deal on it.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  16. davew

    davew Member

    if you are "only" looking at 15k difference in price between a tracker and a prov lund with the same horse power--- BUY THE LUND -- much better boat, and resale value will be 15k better -- take a look at similar size boats that are 4 years old ----I took a very quick glance at craigslist Minneapolis ---- has lots of tin boats --- 09 targa 18 with 150hp --- 16k ---- 07 lund prov 18-- with 150hp --24k --- so this one example had a 8k difference in resale ( lots of things can change this -- ) the larger the boat / and more HP the greater the resale difference will be-- I have a friend that just sold his lund 1900 pro v with a 225 merc -- it was a 2003 model -- he purchased in 2010 --- sold in 2016 -- sold for same price he paid -- bottom line --- lunds hold value very well. -- same can not be said about tracker.
    good luck and happy shopping
  17. mtnpull

    mtnpull Well-Known Member

    So, after a bit more time shopping and looking at boats first hand, I am leaning towards a Crestliner Sportfish 2150 SST. I just hope I can get it into the price range I am willing to pay!
  18. mtnpull

    mtnpull Well-Known Member

    Another question for y'all. I have done all my trolling with my Merc 150. I will be going to a 225-300 hp on my next purchase. I know I can troll at the speeds I need to for striper and I don't really fish anywhere else other than powell (at least not enough to say I do). So is it worth the extra money for the kicker motor? Pros and cons please. TIA
  19. Dungee Fishing

    Dungee Fishing Well-Known Member

    You're going to want a kicker for safety and back up purposes at Powell. So if it's plausible for you it's a must for Powell. For trolling purposes I'd say it's worth it if you troll a lot, we don't really troll unless we need to so a kicker for trolling purposes isn't high on our list. If you troll a lot it would be worth it just to take some ware off the main motor. Bottom line, get one if you can.
    Xpress likes this.
  20. Xpress

    Xpress Member

    Dungee is right on about the kicker's a must have a Powell. I don't troll much unless I have too, but I have it for security reasons.

    Another factor to consider before a new boat purchase is a factory plant tour. Contact the boat manufacturer (not the dealer/distributor) of your interest and ask them if you can take a tour and learn more about the construction of the boats that they build. Do they welcome you and make you feel comfortable or just say they don't allow customers in the facility? I was able to meet the staff and tour the manufacturing facility of my boat builder before I made my decision. That trip was time and money well spent.