Buying a boat is like buying a car, only it has probably more considerations. Finding the right one for the type of water you fish takes planning. Your budget and required options dictate most purchase decisions.
Another key element to the purchase is what I call the “momma factor”. That is the point where we get the “buy-in” of our significant other that finally thinks buying a boat is good for “us.” All kidding aside, choosing the right boat takes research, shopping and most importantly a test drive. Never buy a boat you have not taken for a test drive.
Every die-hard angler wants the most features they can afford in a boat. Those that live on large lakes want a larger boat with maximum horsepower and those that fish smaller waters with horsepower restrictions have identical needs from the boat and components perspective but the type of lake sometimes dictates what boat will work best. A middle ground is sometimes the best option.
Fishing this spring and summer out of the Polar Kraft TX165 has proven to be a good option for both situations. Being able to fish horsepower restricted lakes, as well as, unlimited powered ones fits well for this model. It’s small enough for small lakes and has the comfort and ride necessary for larger ones.
Polar Kraft TX165 Specifications
One priority for smaller boats, under 18 feet, in my opinion is width. The wider the boat the more stable the fishing platform and the TX165’s 84-inch beam works well for the 16-foot, 6-inch boat. Both front and back decks are spacious, offer plenty of storage, and a large livewell. With a 4-inch freeboard lip on the front deck rods ride well and flipping and pitching is not hindered. Deeper front decks are available on other models, but for bass fishing, this deck arrangement is perfect.
Although rated to handle horsepower ranges up to 60 horsepower, we equipped our boat with a 25-hp Yamaha four-stroke electric long shaft outboard. This outboard also has trim built in for added performance. We chose the 25 horsepower motor based on available horsepower restricted water in our area. Most state lakes in Illinois allow for at a maximum of 25 horses.
Our tests with a full tournament load boat found GPS speeds with two anglers reaching 23 mph. We equipped the motor with a stainless steel Precision Propeller Turbo prop for more rpm’s to allow us to plane quickly and get to top speed.
The ride of the semi-V TX165 is soft and smooth, and even in windy conditions, it performs well. It cuts waves well and steering is easy and precise. Some small aluminum boats catch wind and are hard to position due to a flatter hull, but the TX165 doesn’t drift even in side chop. It is flat, stable and firm for both anglers.
We upgraded the trolling motor to a 24-volt Minn Kota 70 Maxxum, too. We wanted more reliability than the standard 12-volt motor for long days of tournament fishing, and this was a great choice as it pulls the boat well, has plenty of thrust and is super quiet and dependable even fished all day at 40-60 percent. We have not noticed much battery drain.
The three battery system, two trolling and one starting, allowed us to upgrade front electronics to the Lowrance Elite 5 graph without worry on battery drain. We kept the console graph as it was for running etc and also added a Talon 6′ shallow water anchor. Mounting it on the port side of the rear of the boat allowed for easy mounting in the splash well of the boat through the transom. One of the cool features of the Polar Kraft is vented battery compartments in the rear of the boat. Balancing weight is no issue as there is ample space for four batteries and an on-board battery charger under the rear deck.
As mentioned earlier, the front deck is spacious but it also has more than enough storage for rods and gear. We use the center storage area for rods and navigation lights and the port side storage for anchor, throwable cushion, tackle and life jackets. Directly in front of the molded fiberglass console is a large storage area for partner’s tackle or a small cooler.
The console is set up well with all switches directly in front of the throttle. Gauges for battery, speed, trim, fuel, and rpm (tachometer) are standard. There is plenty of leg room under the console too.
Storage is also available under the seat section and we like the step to the back deck between the seats on this model.
The Polar Kraft TX165 fishes like a much larger and more expensive boat. Twin butt seats and large decks allow for ease of movement to hook and net fish and it is super stable. Because it is nearly 17 feet long, casting a Carolina rig or fishing with a long rod is no issue.
This boat is super tight and there are no squeaks or creaks on the decks or floors even while running. The large aerated livewell holds a limit of fish easily with plenty of water and no performance issues due to rear weight as the livewell is directly behind the fold down seats.
The 12 gallon fuel tank is built in and the boat dry weight is under 1,000 pounds.
It’s a small boat with big features. A boat you’re not afraid to take on big water and at the same time beach on the bank when loading the truck. Aluminum boats are in great demand and this is going to be a popular option for a lot of anglers looking for a lot of big boat features in a smaller aluminum boat.
For more information and pricing, contact your Polar Kraft dealer or go to PolarKraftBoats.com.