Review: Tracker Pro-Guide V-175 SC
The Tracker Pro Guide V-175SC side console is in a class of its own and will tackle all four fishing seasons with ease.
Falling under the Bass Pro banner, Tracker Boats produces a wide range of quality aluminium craft in the US, from car-toppers to dedicated tournament boats, with a wide range of multi-purpose family/fishing boats suiting fresh and saltwater in between.
Dealer Fishing & Leisure Boats has added the Tracker boats brand – in particular, the Tracker V-175SC – to its import range and after a full weekend on the water off Hervey Bay I can see why.
Before getting into the comprehensive and full-blown weekend test off Fraser Island, I must commend Fishing & Leisure Boats for selecting the ideal side-console for Australian waters.
In consideration of the short Australian chop, they went with Tracker’s deep-V optioned hull. This runs a 35-degree bow entry to a 20-degree transom deadrise – definitely a call that works for us. Secondly, mixing up a multi-purpose fishing and family layout is a move that pleased us. Finally, we all like quality and a bit of performance is never unwelcome, and the V-175SC certainly delivers a decent bang for your buck.
Tracker Pro-Guide V-175 SC
In bright red, the Tracker Pro-Guide V-175 SC is quite a stand-out and that, combined with its sharp but simple lines, creates a cosmetic style that grows on you.
However, it’s on board where the Tracker Pro-Guide V-175 SC really shines, in my opinion. Tracker has managed to cram so much into the layout without compromising the internal space. Standard features on the bow include a spacious bow cast-deck with Minn Kota electric motor, a separate nifty main-motor trim switch, heaps of dedicated tackle storage, a sizeable plumbed live-well and a centred rod-locker to suit seven-foot rods – if anything, this could do with larger diameter tubes to suit spin-rods with wider guides.
Within the cockpit you have the option of loading it up with extra seats – there are five seat positions available, or you can just leave them all out for big fishing days. The gunwales feature full lockers either side of the cockpit rather than the usual side pockets, and I think that’s another good idea to maximise storage on board.
At the helm, the small side-console with large screen is well protected when driving, looks flash with the moulded gauge inserts and can take a medium-sized GPS/sounder as a dash mount, though I’d prefer a flat flush-mount panel to fit a larger sounder.
In the stern you have another usable cast deck and another large split live-well and bait bucket, plus battery storage. As far as layouts go this sounds relatively simple but there’s a lot to it and it is well-thought-out, primarily suiting lure fishing but not bad for bait fishing either.
Handling and ride
The Tracker Pro-Guide V-175 SC was fitted up with the latest Mercury 115hp FourStroke and was put through its paces over three days in Hervey Bay, fishing the inside of Fraser Island. The Tracker was definitely considered the underdog to the Mako, and with some serious distances planned for the weekend most of the team naturally tended towards the big Mako centre-console for the long hauls.
Pro-fishing guide Mark Bargenquast and his fishing crazy son Jako took the helm of the Tracker on the first day’s 50km-plus run up the inside of Fraser to chase long-tail tuna and whatever was on offer for the day. Assuming they’d be blown away due to the size and style of boat, Mark and Jako led the way but the surprised Mako crew had to crank the throttles to keep up. Basically, the boys gave it a decent thrashing and were super-impressed – not a bad indication of what was to come for us on the Tracker.
Slipping into the captain’s chair for the 50km run back to Urangan I hooked into the lee of Fraser and set the cruise speed at 30kt – that was the last time I touched the throttle until we caught the swell and chop hooking around Moon Point.
Crossing the channel in smaller boats over to Urangan harbour in a SE 15kt breeze with wind over tide is generally a bumpy and wet trip at the best of times, but with a bit of work on the throttle we managed to maintain a 20-25kt average, with only a few minor splats of spray coming across the bow. As if that wasn’t impressive enough we also arrived back in the harbour feeling relaxed and far from abused by the ride – the Tracker Pro-Guide V-175 SC produces one of the smoothest and softest tinnie rides I’ve felt in long time.
What makes the ride that impressive? Well, the Tracker boats are as solid as they come, with no rivets used in the construction. Using fully welded seams, bulkheads, stringers, transom and gunwales that are all joined to form one unitary system makes the hull far stronger than its individual parts. Tracker hulls are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
On top of that, the hull cavities are foam filled, adding to the structural stability, strength and safety. The foam also dramatically reduces noise transfer through the hull and this is evident when slicing through chop as the ride is exceptionally quiet.
Combine that with the deep-V 20 to 35-degree deadrise and you have one of the best rides in rough water that I have found in a boat of this class. It’s dead quiet, slices softly through rough chop with ease, is relatively dry in the rough and was an absolute pleasure to drive on the long hauls up the inside of Fraser island.
Aside from exceptional comfort, the Tracker Pro-Guide V-175 SC also boasts some exciting and sporty performance attributes on the water and can be thrashed around at high speed while maintaining the stability and comfort.
The Mercury 115hp FourStroke is the recommended rating for the Tracker Pro-Guide V-175 SC; for tournament fishing or those who simply enjoy an extra bit of gumption, the maximum 135hp rating would suit and I’m positive the hull will handle it no problem.
Regardless, at wide-open throttle the 115hp outboard motor achieved 33kt at 5500rpm, which is good but I reckon changing the pitch could drag a bit more out of it. Hole-shot is responsive, it’s quick to get on the plane, and in the mid-range I found the optimum cruise speed was around 25kt at 4500rpm in varied conditions.
Along with delivering top performance characteristics the Mercury 115hp FourStroke was exceptionally good on fuel – over the weekend the Tracker sipped down a measly 65 litres of fuel. Considering the mileage we covered, nobody complained about the fuel bill.
For serious fishos there’s an abundance of dedicated storage space for tackle and really good live-well systems in place. The wide-open fishing decks comfortably fish two to three people on board and are particularly well-suited to lure anglers.
For the bait brigade, while it’s not a deep-sided tiller or centre console I would certainly be happy pinning a few live-baits off the back or drifting baits for flathead and whiting.
Again, it comes back to ride, performance and handling, and by offering a good blend of all three the V-175SC is the kind of boat you could use throughout the year without having to run away from fish at the slightest hint of a breeze.
The Trade-a-Boat verdict
Clean and innovative layouts combined with excellently riding aluminium boats are definitely Tracker’s forte. Did it impress? Well, the Tracker V-175SC had everyone pleasantly surprised in all aspects and priced in the low 40-grand range it’s not a bad deal – the standard inclusions are good, the build is of decent quality, it looks the part, is easy to tow, and it stands out on the water in a number of areas.
- Exceptionally soft, quiet and economical ride
- Good lure-fishing layout
- Ample standard inclusions
- Could do with a forearm rest at throttle
- Hatch locks can be a bit finicky
- Rod locker tubes need to be larger diameter
Tracker V-175SC sea trials
Tracker Pro-Guide V-175SC specs
Tracker Pro-Guide V-175SC price: $41,400 (subject to exchange rate)
115hp Mercury outboard motor upgrade
PRICE AS TESTED
$43,000 (subject to exchange rate)
MATERIAL 3mm plate aluminium
TOW WEIGHT 2000kg (approx)
REC. HP 115
MAX. HP 135
MAKE/MODEL Mercury 115EXLPT outboard motor
TYPE Four-stroke EFI outboard motor
GEAR RATIO 2.07:1
PROPELLER Four-blade alloy Spitfire 17p
Fishing And Leisure Boats
167 Currumburra Road
Ashmore, Qld 4214
Phone 0429 680 504
See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #483, on sale October 6, 2016. Why not subscribe today?
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