By Steven Bull
I first laid eyes on Smoker Craft’s Ultima 182 at the 2015 Toronto International Boat Show. I’ve wanted to get one in the water since and I lucky enough to get the chance this summer down in Indiana. It lived up to its billing as a heavy duty fishing boat with all the comforts for the family.
The fish-and-ski boat category is growing in popularity with consumers. Manufacturers are answering the call, offering more of the “all-in-one” models in more sizes than ever before.
The Ultima 182 is 14 inches longer than its cousin, the 172, and is two inches deeper inside. Reinforced for downriggers, this has all the makings of a serious fishing boat with the capability to take on big water while remaining easy to trailer.
Like all Smoker Craft boats, the one-piece Hydra-Lift Rolled V-Hull is guaranteed for life and can handle up to 175-horsepower. The model I had ripping around Lake Wawasee had the more standard 115 hp Mercury, which I found to be plenty of punch.
Reaching a top speed of 43.3 miles per hour. It cruised very comfortably with two people and a whack of camera gear at 27 mph at 3,000 rpm, though you can comfortably run on plane from 19 mph up to the high 30s.
On top of downrigger-ready construction, the fishing features are impressive. There are two livewells with 46 combined gallons of aerated fish-keeping compartments: 18 gallons at the bow and 28 gallons at the stern. There is rod storage and in-floor compartment storage for all of your gear, too, but my favourite feature may be the smallest. On the dash, there’s a tackle tray in easy reach. It’s one of those “why isn’t this standard on all fishing boats?” kind of things.
The family comfort is just as well thought out. The bow casting platform covers with plush cushions to make a huge sun pad and the transom casting platform converts into a two-for-one bonus.
Jump seats, concealed below, fold up to reveal more plush cushions while also shedding a lot of the bulk of the casting platform so you have more room for more passengers in a traditional layout.
If only it came with fishing lessons.
Test Boat Engine
Mercury 115-horsepower FourStroke outboard
0-20 / 5.3; 0-30 / 7.8
TOP SPEED (rpm/mph)
5000 / 43.3
CRUISING SPEED (rpm/mph)
3,500 / 30.8
Length: 18 ft 5 in / 5.61 m
Beam: 8 ft / 2.44 m
Weight: 1,425 lbs / 646 kg
Fuel Capacity: 24 gals / 90 L
Price: $39,234 USD