FROM THE ARCHIVES: First published in TrailerBoat #179, April 2004
Visitors to the recent Sydney 4x4 & Fishing Show were greeted by a clutch of the slickest-looking bass-fishing boats this side of the black stump as they walked through the main entrance.
This style of high-performance lake-fishing boat makes up an enormous part of the US market, but strangely only a trickle have made it into Australia — until now. With a robust Aussie dollar and an explosion of interest in competitive bass, barra and bream fishing, there is a growing market for these dedicated fishing machines.
Anglers who want to look the part and need a boat that’s both very quick and very stable will be pleasantly surprised at the pricetag: the 185 (18ft 6in) model profiled here was selling, with options (including sounder and electric motor), custom tandem trailer and 175hp Johnson for about $45,000 at the show.
Gold Coast-based company Suntracker Australia has been selling the fully imported Triton bass boats for some time, and principal Ron Woodleigh told Trailer Boat he’s struggling to keep up with demand.
A bit of poking around on the internet confirmed that Triton is one of the big players in the multi-million-dollar bass-fishing industry, while a flick through the company’s brochure revealed that these are more than your average fibreglass boat. No timber is used in the hull construction — multiple layers of tri-directional wovings go into the build, and polyurethane resin chemically bonds the ’glass mat layers together.
It’s strong, light, rigid and won’t rot. The complex stringer system is also filled with foam to exceed the US Coast Guard’s requirements.
Triton’s Vortex hull design has a concave planing plank to reduce drag and increase speed; double “dry” chines to deflect spray; and concave, warped strakes for extra grip and to smooth the steep wind waves you get on large impoundments. Triton claims that despite its broad beam and shallow deadrise for stability and straight-ahead performance, the 185 is remarkably dry and soft-riding. We can’t wait to see for ourselves.
But it’s the level of design sophistication, layout and quality of the internal fittings that really takes your breath away. From its beautifully engineered helm console (which builds other accessories around the colour depthsounder, not the other way around), deeply padded seats, sunken cockpit and raised forward and rear casting decks to the ingenious (optional) bow-mounted sounder and electric motor pod, this is one well-thought out fishing rig.
The company says its 136lt livewell is simply the best, with a 2839lt/h high-flow pump, re-circulation system and twin pump-outs giving your catch the best chance of survival before weigh-in.
There are two oversized rod lockers, two enormous storage bins under the front deck, an insulated and drained icebox, stacks of dry storage under the rear platform, hydraulic steering, retractable grab handles, dedicated tackle-tray storage systems, battery charger, full instrument suite and courtesy lights.
And the options list is also impressively longwinded.
The boat is best fished by a team of two but is rated to carry four adults and up to 175hp on the transom for 125kmh-plus top-end speeds. Buy goggles and a crash helmet if you want that much power — most buyers will be content to the 85kmh performance delivered by a 135hp outboard. It’s also worth noting that buyers can select any engine brand they like to power the boat.
The Triton TR185 would make an awesome boat from which to fish any of Australia’s major inland waterways, but it would also be at home chasing bream, flathead, bass and barra on the coast so long as you are careful to avoid high-speed encounters with rockbars or logs.
The TR series ranges from a 16ft 5in (5.0m) version — selling for about $36,000 ready-to-roll with options — to a devastatingly cool 22ft (6.7m) model that packs 300hp.
Priced from (BMT): $38,000
Dry weight (hull only): 649kg
Fuel capacity: 136lt
Rec/max hp: 150/175
For more information, contact Suntracker Australia, tel (07) 5564 9677, email email@example.com or visit www.suntrackeraustralia.com
First published in TrailerBoat #179
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