All you have to do is look down into the water to see why there are few better places than Petoskey, MI, to test a multispecies boat such as the Starcraft 186 Superfisherman. Why? Because here in the crystal-clear waters of Little Traverse Bay is where you’ll see at least two of the 186 Superfisherman’s primary quarry swimming around right beneath you: pods of smallmouth bass and walleye.
In case you didn’t know it, multispecies boats are designed to fish both open waters like Little Traverse Bay and smaller, more protected lakes, ponds, and rivers. Multispecies boat owners might troll deep for walleye or lake trout one weekend, while the next they could be trolling around in skinny water, sight casting to smallmouth bass. These boats are also small enough to trailer wherever the fish are biting, just like their lower-profile bass boat brethren. Oh, and by the way, this one’s made of aluminum, something Starcraft has a good reputation for crafting as a boatbuilding material.
As you’d expect, fishing features are plentiful on the Starcraft Superfisherman 186. Aft is a casting deck with two jump seats cleverly concealed beneath it, as well as a pedestal mount for a swiveling fishing chair and a 28-gallon aerated livewell. It’s not the most spacious casting platform I’ve seen on a multispecies boat this size, but it’s not tiny, either. Up forward is another casting deck. Underneath it is a centerline rod stowage locker with gear stowage lockers on either side of it, as well as another livewell—this one’s 18 gallons. A Minn-Kota trolling motor is mounted on the bow to help anglers cover lots of water. If you’re looking for additional rod stowage, check out the port side lockable rod locker in the cockpit.
One reason the 186 Superfisherman’s aft casting deck may not be as large as other multispecies boats this size is because its cockpit is so spacious. There’s room for four swiveling, pedestal-mount chairs, which means when you factor in the aft jump seats, you’ve got room for six seated adults onboard. I’ve run 20-foot multispecies boats that max out at four. Forward to starboard in the cockpit is the helm, which has a nice array of gauges, the stereo, control switches, and a small area to mound a fishfinder. Too small an area, if you ask me. You’ll have trouble mounting some of the larger, pedestal-mount multifunction displays here. The cockpit carpeting snaps out for messy fishing forays, and there’s a battery compartment and additional stowage underneath the cockpit deck.
The Yamaha VMAX SHO 150 outboard on the back of the Starcraft 186 I ran isn’t new, but the 25-inch shaft version is, just having been introduced last fall. The longer shaft means the VMAX SHO 150 can make its way onto more boats like the 186 Superfisherman, as well as others like as pontoon boats and high-performance bass boats. The 2.8-liter four-banger was spirited and gutsy, serving up a heaping helping of hole shot performance when I laid the throttle down hard. We accelerated easily and quickly through 20 mph and 30 mph, all the way up to 47.8 mph at 6,000 rpm, where the VMAX SHO 150 burned 15.5 gph. A good cruise speed on this boat is at 23.9 mph, where fuel burn settles down to 4.7 gph. That nets a theoretical cruise range of 162 miles, with the 32-gallon fuel tank. Lastly, the 186 Superfisherman was well-behaved in the short chop that day. Turning and handling performance were also good.
There’s a lot to like about the Starcraft 186 Superfisherman: plenty of fishing features, tons of stowage, impressive performance, and the room to carry a large fishing crew. All you’ll have to do is find the fish.
- Length: 18’7”
- Beam: 8’4”
- Draft: N/A
- Deadrise: 19 degrees
- Displacement: 3,195 lbs
- Fuel Capacity: 32 gals
For more information, visit Starcraft Marine.