Smoker Craft 162 Pro Angler XL: Video Boat Review

The boat review team at took a look at this sixteen foot fishing boat. Reviewer Lenny Rudow says it stands out from the crowd.

Read Lenny’s Smoker Craft 162 Pro Angler XL Boat Test Notes

Video Boat Review Transcript

Review a bunch of sixteen to eighteen foot boats, and after awhile they all start to bleed together. One that doesn’t? Smoker Craft’s Pro Angler XL. Why? Well it has a lot of features and construction techniques that are really interesting. Come on back to the dock, and let’s check ’em out.


This is a nice roomy foredeck. And it’s interesting how they laid it out. Course you have your anchor locker up here, you have your trolling motor plug right here, and this stowage compartment under here goes all the way across. It’s one big open area, with a mount for a trolling motor battery and your electrical wires already in place.

Read the complete transcript of the Smoker Craft 162 Pro Angler XL: Video Boat Review

Lowe Platinum 25 RFL and Platinum Series: Video Boat Review

Our sister site reviewed the Platinum Series of pontoon boats, complete with video. We’ve republished it here for your enjoyment. You can also read the complete transcript (and detailed boat test notes) of this series and many other boats on the Video Boat Review page.

Read Lenny’s Lowe Platinum 25 RFL Boat Test Notes


You know there is no time to plane, it’s instantaneous!

Are you a Chevy guy, or a Cadillac guy? If you’re a Cadillac guy, you might have a tough time finding the right pontoon boat for you and your family. You want something that’s high end, that has all the trimmings, that’s really comfortable.

We came to Lake of the Ozarks to test out Lowe’s Platinum pontoon boats.

Interview with Tony Johns from Lowe Boats

Now we’re on the Platinum 25 RFL, right?

Tony: That’s correct.

And this is just the flagship of a series of new pontoon boats for Lowe, right?

Tony: Yeah, that’s right. What we’ve got available right now actually is the 25RFL which we’re currently in, we’ve got the 23RFL, which happens to be the boat running beside us right here.

Read the entire transcript of the Platinum 25 RFL and Platinum Series: Video Boat Review

Lowe 2012 Stinger 175: Video Boat Review

The Review Team took a look at this simple bass fishing boat from Lowe, and their review says it will “get you into the game.” Enjoy!

Read Lenny’s Lowe 2012 Stinger 175 Boat Test Notes


Take a lesson from Trevor Bayne’s win at the Daytona 500 last year. You don’t have to have the fanciest most expensive equipment to win. When it comes to bass fishing, it’s the same story. And this boat will get you into the game.

Plenty of punch in the mid-range. Now we’ve got the Optimax two stroke on this boat of course, which gives you a lot of that mid-range punch.

Interview with Clint Starnes, Lowe Boats

Clint: These units are primarily sold with 50, 60, and 70 HP engines.

So 75 is the maximum for this boat, is that correct?

Clint: That’s correct.

Yeah I wonder how good is this all gonna take the waves?

Clint: Let’s try it out.

Yeah, we got some waves right here. Let’s hit ‘em.

Now when I was running this boat yesterday, I came this close to hitting 40 mph. That is plenty of speed!

Clint: Absolutely. It won’t win a drag race to your fishing hole, but it’ll take care of the needs of most fishermen.

Very nice.

Read the complete transcript of the Lowe 2012 Stinger 175: Video Boat Review on

Bayliner Discovery 266: Video Boat Review

The Video Boat Review Team recently reviewed a pocket cruiser from Bayliner. See what Lenny Rudow has to say in this four minute video.

Video Boat Review Transcript
You don’t like getting salt spray in your face? You don’t want all your fancy electronics and cameras to get all wet? I know that guy doesn’t want his camera getting wet. Well guess what? It’s a good thing we’re reviewing the Discovery 266 today, because this boat has a full enclosure. Forget about canvas curtains, they let water through. If you really want to stay dry, want to extend your boating season into the winter, this is the kind of boat you need.

Design and Features
When you look at the Bayliner 266 Discovery in profile, it’s obvious what they’re going for in this boat. They’re maximizing cabin space, and minimizing the cockpit. But you still get a very fishable cockpit. It has a nice convertible bench seat in the back, a raw water washdown, stowage underneath the aft-facing seats, and behind them as well.

The helm is very comfortable, and it has a nice electronics flat with space right here for your fishfinder, GPS. Only problem is access is sort of tough; you have to take off these panels to get in behind there.

Now that cockpit is shrunk down; let’s say it’s equal to that of a 22 or a 24 footer. But check it out, but in exchange you get all this cabin space. This cabin is more like what you find on a 28 or 30 footer. There’s a fully enclosed head, and a large midcabin berth. The galley is again extensive; this is more than you normally get on a boat of this size. You’ve got a microwave oven, a one burner stove, a sink, and a refrigerator.

There’s a nice big vee berth and of course this dinette folds down into another berth. Really there’s everything you need here for a genuine pocket cruiser.

Read more of Bayliner Discovery 266: Video Boat Review

Read Lenny’s Bayliner Discovery 266 Boat Test Notes

Lowe Stryker: Video Boat Review continues to produce top notch video boat reviews. This week we bring you a fresh look at the Lowe Stryker, a stable back-to-basics aluminum fish boat.

You can also read reviewer Lenny Rudow’s in depth text review: Lowe Stryker: More Boat, Less Money


Now let’s say you’re looking for a new fish boat. Maybe it’s a starter boat, relatively inexpensive package, boat motor and trailer all together…something in the sixteen foot range. Let’s say you want to multi-species fish. You want to go for walleye in big lakes, you want to go for bass in the reservoirs, you want to catch crappie in the river, whatever. One boat you’re probably going to be checking out is the Lowe Stryker.


LENNY: You have a lower foredeck. We’ve got a little more protection from the water; you’re not quite as high as on a bass boat. I believe I noticed earlier, no matter where you sit on this boat, you can reach a live well, right?

TONY: Absolutely. You have a live well located right here in the rear deck, and then in front of the driver console, right there, is another live well—aerated live wells.

Read the full video boat review transcript on

Boston Whaler 285 Conquest: Video Boat Review

The staff at has been busy filming video boat reviews and this week we share with you an exclusive first look at the Boston Whaler 285 Conquest.

VIDEO BOAT REVIEW TRANSCRIPT got a call last spring that we couldn’t refuse. The exclusive opportunity to review the new 285 Conquest before its official launch. Needless to say, we didn’t shy away from the chance to put this good looking, dual purpose design through its paces.

Something as simple as cockpit seating can tell you a lot about the thought that goes into a boat. Most cabin fish boats in the 28 foot range would put a bench right here. On the Conquest 285, Boston Whaler has put two facing seats. One of the nice things is the passenger can sit and actually face forward. Add an optional table, people could eat, play cards. There’s even a filler cushion to make it a bench if you want.

But one of the coolest parts? Step back and flip this latch, and that backrest pivots forward, and a footrest slides out from below. This gives the fisherman a great spot to watch some baits…

Read the complete transcript: Boston Whaler 285 Conquest: Video Boat Review

Bayliner 192 Discovery: Video Boat Review

Our sister site has been busy filming boat reviews. Here’s their take on the Bayliner 192, a pocket cabin cruiser. Enjoy!

Video Boat Review Transcript
For many families, a cabin is an absolute necessity on a boat. But cabins usually come on large more expensive boats. How do you find an inexpensive cabin boat? Well we tested one, the Discovery 192 by Bayliner. And we’re gonna tell you what we think of this little cabin boat.

Design and Features
All you’re giving up to get that cabin is the bow cockpit. Otherwise this boat is ready for all kinds of fun. Look: you have fishboxes in the deck. They’re linered. And the hatches are on these gas assist struts. That’s really very nice, something you expect from a more expensive boat.

There’s also a reclining seat right here. And let’s say you’re ready to go fishing. You walk back to these aft seats, you can just pull them out and get all the way back here. So you can cast, you can troll, whatever you want to do. On top of that, there’s a nice big swim platform right here with a ski tow eye so you can pull waterskiers, wakeboarders, all kinds of fun.

Interview with Matt Guilford, Bayliner Boats
Now as part of the Discovery series, the 192 is made to go new places, check out new waters. And one of the things I noticed about it was these real tall gunnels.

Matt: Yeah, it’s definitely designed to be a coastal cruiser, or for big lakes.

That gives you a nice safe feel, and you know what else? I really like the self-bailing cockpit.

Matt: We’ve got the fiberglass liner, the self-bailing cockpit, and grabrails for all the seats.

Now like others in the Discovery series, this boat is not loaded with a bunch of poufy extras that drive the price up. Yet I notice you include a stereo.

Matt: All the Discoveries feature simple, functional solutions, and the radio’s a great example. That radio is 800 times less likely to fail than the CD players you find on most boats. It’s custom designed to work with an MP3 player, and you can hose it down—it’s completely waterproof.

The cabin has plenty of room to stretch out, and of course that ever important head.

Now here’s something I really like. Bayliner gave you access to the back of the dash here, so you can work on all your wiring, install electronics. Real nice and easy to get to.

On many small cuddy cabin boats, bow access can be problematic. But it’s easy here, you’ve got a swing-open windshield, a set of stairs going up to the bow, and you won’t slip on your way cause there’s good molded-in nonskid. And when you get up here you’ve got an anchor locker that has a little rack for a Danforth and a tie off—thank you Bayliner, cause no one wants to lose the end of their anchor line like the SS Minnow. Although if this were my boat I’d have a strap or strut here to support this hatch, so if anybody leans on it, it doesn’t break the hinges.

While you’re up here, also take notice of the sturdy bow rail with three screws on the bottom of each stanchion. That’s good, that gives it lots of support.

If you’re interested in a cabin boat, chances are you want to go new places, explore new scenery. Well you need long legs to be able to do that. And with 22 gallons of fuel, this Discovery does give you that ability. Even when you run the boat hard, it gets about 5 mpg, so you have over 100 miles of range. Top end is 37.6 mph. And since time to plane is only 4 seconds, you’ll have no problem pulling a skier or a wakeboarder up out of the hole.

Wrap Up
Clearly the 192 Discovery meets the requirements for boaters who need a cabin. But what about limiting expense? Well shop it around and you’ll discover this boat costs about as much as an average new car. You might find it interesting.

—Lenny Rudow