BOAT TEST: TRITON TR175 BASS BOAT


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This bass boat looks like it's in motion while standing still, so there's no surprises on the performance front. But when it comes to interior design, build quality and value for money, the TR175 is among the best we’ve seen...

BOAT TEST: TRITON TR175 BASS BOAT
Triton TR175 Bass Boat

FROM THE ARCHIVES: First published in TrailerBoat #181, July 2004

 

 

The evolution of the impoundment sportfishing boat has progressed in leaps and bounds over the last few years. Most of us would accept that when it comes to getting into a high-quality, well-appointed bass boat, you get what you pay for.

The fully-imported Triton TR175 bass boat looks set to turn this on its ear. And it comes with most bells and whistles factory-installed and included in the standard price.

Where this boat closes the gap is in the price versus performance department. Landed, rolling on a tandem braked trailer and ready to rumble, the Triton TR175 boasts a price tag that will leave many of you bass, bream and barra anglers scratching your head and thinking "what the…?"

It was with great anticipation that I climbed aboard a brace of Triton TR175s for a day-long fishing session on Somerset Dam, which is bass country at its best in South East Queensland.

One rig was fitted with a 115hp Mercury four-stroke outboard and the other with Mercury's 115hp two-stroke Optimax. Between them there was not a lot of difference power-wise both in holeshot and top-end speeds, but the four-stroke had a slight edge over the Optimax in the decibel department, which was unsurprising.

Despite a malfunctioning speedometer on the boat rigged with the Optimax, we found it could keep up with the four-stroke at around 5700rpm while pulling 48 old-fashioned miles an hour, which is just over 80kmh. A 19in three-blade propeller was fitted to the four-stroke while the Optimax sported a 22in-pitch Lazer wheel.

One of the boats was fitted with a manual steering system and was very similar in torque at the helm when trimmed out to its sister, which had a hydraulic unit installed. Trim that bow down for high-speed manoeuvring and the hydraulic system led the way in skipper comfort. For the sake of a few hundred dollars, hydraulic is the better option if you plan to use this boat for towing a skier or the kids on a tube.

 

 

STABLE, YET SOFT



The stability at rest for a hull with such a slender forward section was surprising. Mathew Mott is a gun guide and stalwart of the bass and bream tournament circuit and was along for the test. His frame of (sorry Matt!) 120kg failed to upset the boat's perfect attitude at rest, even when standing well forward on the front casting deck operating the electric motor.

Look at this hull out of the water and you'll see a planing chine that keeps the boat tracking perfectly when underway, and another higher on the hull designed to grip the water at rest. This effective combination worked well during high-speed tight turns, locking the boat to the water with no sideslip.

In keeping with this style of boat, the casting decks are enormous with no protruding obstacles to interfere with fly-fishing lines (other than the foot control for the electric motor).

The electric is plugged into a socket on a mounting pod which also houses a remote trim and tilt switch for the main engine and a panel into which a second sounder may be installed.

The brochure for these boats (which range from 16-21ft) shows the electric motor foot-control fitted flush to the casting deck, and for fly anglers it's a worthwhile option to consider.

A lip around the gunwale coaming keeps flylines on the deck rather than tangling over the side. There is heaps of lined storage space below carpeted hatches in the deck. Two massive rod lockers sit on the outside of this space. They are carpeted, but no rod anchorages are fitted which in my opinion is a good thing, as different rods require different retainers. This modification can be left up to the new owner.

When shifting from place to place, your rods can be strapped flat to the deck for high-speed travel or secured to a rubber-lined support in the cockpit next to the passenger without having to stow them  below decks and out of sight.

There are no rodholders on this boat, but most keen anglers will prefer to install their own flexible holders where they like.
Centrally located between the two rod lockers is another large storage compartment, and aft of that a dedicated tackle locker that accepts standard Plano tackle trays.

The step down off the foredeck is hatched - lift it to get to an insulated and drained icebox. It is quite small for Australian conditions considering the volume of ice required during summer, but okay for keeping your cans cold on a thirsty day of bass fishing.

 

 

DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL



The helm and passenger consoles feature separate tinted windscreens that both have slight imperfections at eye level, which was a little annoying. The manufacturer is looking at rectifying the glitch in subsequent models.

Dash layout is neat as a pin and Lowrance's X51 unit was flush-mounted right where you need it - dead centre with other gauges positioned around it. Anglers are more likely to be looking at a sounder screen than a speedo or engine temp gauge, so this practical layout works very well indeed.

The standard Lowrance unit was on the small side - some owners might want a large-screen unit installed, causing problems with the dashboard layout.

Again, the manufacturers are looking at designing a dash that can accept flush-mounted large-screen sounders.

Either way, the standard X51 showed bottom clear as a bell and worked perfectly out to 40mph.

Optional on this boat was a foot accelerator, which is proving popular with owners that take their family skiing when the fish are shut down. Great fun to drive, too!

 

 

FIT FOR A KING



The passenger module featured a lockable glove compartment for personal items and three seats across the beam for comfortable high-speed travel. The middle seat is removable to allow a large tackle box to be stored off the casting deck.

While on the subject of seats, these are really among the best I've seen in a boat. They are very comfortable, deeply sprung, well constructed and bulging with lumbar support. A leaning post for the fore and aft decks is also a supplied item.

Two hatches between the outer tackle draw lockers open up to allow access to twin live fish wells that are fully and individually plumbed and can hold more than 130lt of water. They're properly set up from the factory and work beautifully - the water intake for the tanks even has a sieve over it that is designed for easy cleaning.

I recently got back from the Daly River in the NT, and we were trying to keep a few big barra alive in a fish well but the plumbing kept choking with twigs and leaves. Important details like this sieve make the difference between a good bass boat and great one.

A hatch in the aft casting deck opens up to give easy access to the twin battery systems, tank plumbing and bilge pumps.

 

 

LICENCE TO THRILL



This hull utilises a wood-free stringer system made from hollow fibreglass sections with foam filling plus extra foam flotation installed throughout. The manufacturers call it "Zero Flex", and while the test day offered up water flat enough for barefoot skiing, the wash we put the rigs over gave nothing to suggest they were prone to wallowing or flexing. It feels like a stiff, one-piece hull.

The biggest hurdle most of us regular bass and bream blokes will have to get over is the fact we're dealing with a fibreglass rig rather than an alloy one. But if you're not habitually towing over gravel roads, 'glass is not a problem. Hull shrouds on the trailer alleviate stone chips on gelcoat anyway. Fishing on waterways with underwater obstacles shouldn't be an issue, either. As long as you use common sense and are careful, a 'glass bass boat should last you every bit as long as a tinnie - and Triton boats don't have plywood to eventually go rotten either, further adding to longevity.

What this boat does have over its opposition is excellent ride characteristics and impeccable handling at all speeds, both of which are important priorities on windswept lakes, dams and rivers.

The fact that it looks and drives like a Ferrari, has the most intelligent interior design and layout I've seen in a bass boat, excellent build quality, high comfort levels and impressive appointments, all for very competitive dollars, will have local builders sitting up to take notes.

This is a simply awesome boat for anyone that fishes inland impoundments, coastal lakes or rivers and has a yen
for performance. Nearly full marks for this one!

 

 

TRITON TR175

 

Price as tested (BMT): $39,900 with tandem braked trailer
Options fitted: Hotfoot throttle and cable, CD/radio and speakers, skipole, metalflake paint
Priced from: $37,950

 

 

GENERAL


Material: Hand-laid fibreglass, foam-filled stringers and composite transom
Length (overall): 5.19m
Beam: 2.2m
Deadrise: 12 degrees
Rec/max hp: 115/130
Towing weight: About 1050kg BMT

 

 

CAPACITIES


Fuel: 125lt
Live fish well: 130lt
Passengers: Three adults

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: Mercury Optimax Saltwater
Type: V6 EFI two-stroke
Rated hp: 115 @ 5500rpm
Displacement: 1.5lt
Weight: 166kg
Gearbox ratio: 2.07:1
Propeller: 22in Lazer stainless steel

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


Suntracker Marine, 14 Green Glen Road, Ashmore, Qld, tel (07) 5564 9677, email: sales@tritonboatsaustralia.com or visit www.tritonboats.com

 

 

HIGHS


Excellent ride and stability
Beautifully finished
Designed and appointed for serious angling
Heaps of stowage under deck
Very good value for money

 

 

LOWS


Electric motor foot control needs rebating into the floor
Upgrading fishfinder/GPS may cramp dashboard
Blemishes at eye level in windscreen
Icebox volume is on the small side

Find Triton boats for sale.

 


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