I’ve been keeping my eye open for a new used boat. I have a small 12ft bass boat with a 6hp evinrude now that’s fine for small inland lakes but I would like to get something a bit bigger and better so I can fish bigger lakes without spending a ton of money. If I had my way I’d go buy a $30,000 Lund but...... that’s not in the cards now, maybe later down the road. I came across a 2001 Smoker craft 161 pro mag with 60hp merc, side counsel, Helix locator and bow mount trolling motor w/Ipilot. Looks to be in pretty good shape from pics, I may go look at it in person tomorrow. I don’t have a ton of experience with different boat brands. Anyone have experience or advise on this make/model? Thanks.
Smoker craft 161 Pro Mag??
In 1998 I bought a new '97 161 Pro Mag with a 4 stroke 50 on it. The 50 was the biggest 4 stroke made at the time. I looked at boats for a year and a half before making a decision on the Smoker. We have had many wonderful years of service out of it, and it's still in great shape. Smoker Craft and Sylvan are built in the same factory, it sounds like the Sylvans just come out of the other end of the building. Everything has held up well over the 22 years it has been in service. The only things I have ever replaced are the livewell pumps. One quit working, and the other one apparently froze, and cracked (filling the bottom of the boat up with water, instead of the livewell) but the bilge pump worked very well, thankfully! Now I suck a little pink antifreeze into the livewells, as I winterize. Over all, it would be nice to have a little more room, length and width, but then we might not be able to access some of the spots we like to fish. Ultimately, the 161Pro Mag is perfect for us. I'd like a couple more horses (it's rated for a 90) but love the non-stinky quiet of the 4 stroke engine.
Couple weeks ago I called the guy with the smoker craft and told him I’d come look at it after work. As my luck goes I was leaving work and he calls and tells me it’s sold. After a lot of searching I was pretty sold on that boat and figured I’d buy it if it all checked out, oh well. Later that evening my wife comes in by me with her phone and says how bout this one I found? She shows me a picture of a 2013 Crestliner 1600 Fish Hawk for sale. I say it looks great but it’s almost twice the price as the one I was looking at. Her reply, “so what you deserve it and we’ll call it your birthday present”. Wow I must’ve done something right! Lol. Went and looked at it the next day and it’s now parked in my garage! Can’t wait to get it out!
I have owned my fair share of boats and I am on my second Smoker Craft, wish I didn't get rid of the first one. First one was a 19 ft. walk thru with a 135 merc, don't remember the year, sold it to get a bigger boat for Lake Michigan, ended up not using that as much as I thought I would and went back to a Smoker Craft, this time i have a 1984 18ft walk thru with an 90 merc. I did not due my homework on this boat and ended having to replace the transom, not the end of the world but was a lot of work. After spending 3 years undoing what the last guy did and adding my own tweeks it is my favorite boat yet. I will only own Smoker Craft from now on.
Welderguy I have a 15' sylvan 50 hp mercury roller trailer in excellent condition that I will be selling for $4900.00 you can pm me or call 262-271-2747 . I haven't listed it yet because we just got back from down south. If I have your number I can send you pictures.
I just bought a 1996 Smoker Craft 151 Resorter last year, for the same type of fishing you do and I absolutely love it. Mine did not have some of the bells and whistles that you mentioned (specifically, Ipilot and a newer humminbird) So I bought that stuff myself, changed the carpet, and had the boat rewired to fix the bilge pump. Other than that, the boat was stored properly and well-kept. Which, as previous posts mentioned, will be the ultimate deciding factor on whether you should buy. You could run into issues with any brand of boat, so don't let that encourage or deter you. Do your due diligence, and if it all checks out, pull the trigger. One note though, you may be able to find a bit cheaper boat, that's somewhat of a project and come out for less than $7500. But I guess that is a matter of preference.
Shellfish, great thorough reply, thanks! I’m not looking for a boat to fish Lake Michigan or Green Bay but I would like to fish Winnebago more as well as the rivers in spring for walleye. I have buddies I tag along with now on bigger lakes but the last few years my wife is really getting into fishing and wants us to have a nicer boat of our own. Yes you read that right, my wife wants me to buy a boat! LOL. The majority of my fishing is Panfish, bass & northerns So that size and style boat would be perfect for us I just don’t have much experience with Smokercraft. Doing a little research I see some people call them “joker craft” and some say they leak. But a guy I know has a really nice newer Lund and he has leaking issues as well so.... I usually take people’s reviews with a grain of salt. The guy is asking $7,500. I appreciate the feedback fellas!
I purchased a 161 new and i wish i still had it,it was a great boat and i sold it and that was a big mistake,wish i still had it,that boat will keep you smiling!
I think a lot of experienced guys including myself would have no issue with the old 2-strokes. They are built like tanks and very simple to diagnose problems and easy to find new parts to repair.
The newer 4-strokes you have to pay someone else to repair. But they offer better gas mileage, are a little quieter, weigh significantly more, and are more reliable.
Back the original poster, a 1995-2004 2-stroke motor is a good motor. Although I would much prefer an Evinrude/Johnson over a Mercury.
In my opinion, the boat will be fine. The motor is a different story. Given your screen name I'm going to assume you are rather handy. I fished out of a 16' Smoker Craft Pro Angler 16' that was a 1983 model for years. We bought it used in early 90's and sold it in 2002. That boat was solid as far as never leaking, and we replaced seats, flooring, carpet, etc... That's really pretty easy work. The engine, a Merc Classic 50, was a great engine at the time, but was still problematic given its age and being an old 2-stroke.
My dad has the boat we replaced this with...2002 Mercury 40hp 4-stroke...he's never had it in the shop. We do oil and lube one time a year...starts on the first turn of the key every time. I've never done the research, so I'm speaking in analogies, but the repair rate on the 4-strokes/Etech's has to be much better than the older 2-strokes.
Great post Shellfish!!