Freshwater Fishing Boats: New or Cool Stuff from the 2017 Houston Boat Show

2017 Houston Boat Show

The Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Super Show is the largest indoor show in America.  I visited the show to see some new models and check out other boats that caught my attention.

Tracker Pro Team 195 TXW Tournament Edition – Upgraded Electronics for Serious Anglers

2017 Tracker Pro Team 195 TXW Tournament Edition

Two fish finders and a more powerful 24V trolling motor

A couple years ago, Tracker introduced the Pro Team 195 TRX – the largest, widest all-welded Mod V boat they’ve ever built. Now they added the “Tournament Edition” model which includes a few key upgrades…
• A beefier, 24 volt, Minn Kota Maxxum trolling motor with 70 lbs of thrust (instead of the 12 volt, 55lb Minn Kota Edge).
• Two Lowrance Hook-5x fish finders instead of a single Hook-4x.
• Extra battery (for the 24 volt trolling motor) and enhanced charger.
• Hydraulic steering.
• An enhanced trailer with custom wheels, bow step and grab handle.

The Tournament Edition is available in White or Black Cherry.

The other things I really like about this boat (and the standard Pro Team 195 TXW) is its very wide beam (8’2”), powder coated finish for looks and durability, huge front casting deck (39 square feet) and abundant storage throughout.

2017 Bass Cat Cougar Advantage SP

Numerous Features at One Great Price

Bass Cat Cougar Advantage SP – Fully Loaded at a Great Price

The Bass Cat Cougar Advantage is not a new boat. But what is different is that they are offering the fully loaded SP (Special Package) at an attractive nationally advertised price of $59,995 (as of 2018). Rigged with a Mercury 250 Pro XS, the Cougar Advantage SP is equipped with the following goodies:
• Two 8’ Power Poles.
• Two Humminbird Onix Series fish finders – one with down imaging and one with side imaging.
• MotorGuide X5 trolling motor with 105 lbs of thrust.
• ProMariner 3+1 battery charging system.
• Slidemaster Jackplate for greater performance.
• Faria/Beede NexSysLink digital gauge package.
• Color matched tandem trailer with custom wheels.

2017 Bass Cat Cougar Advantage SP

2017 Bass Cat Cougar Advantage SP

Just add gas and your gear and you are ready to compete.

On a personal note, I have met the Pierce family (founders of Bass Cat boats) years ago and visited their factory. Besides the quality and pride they have in their products, I was impressed by the sincere bond and personal relationships they have with their customers. And though the company was acquired by Correct Craft in 2015, Rick Pierce remains on as President and so I am fairly certain the same family orientation is still a key part of the company culture today.

See the Bass Cat website for details (

2017 Nitro Z19 – New mid-sized entry

2017 Nitro Z19

The new Nitro Z19 is an affordable, tournament-ready package

Nitro introduced their flagship product, the Z21, during the 2016 model year. This is the very boat that Edwin Evers fished from to win the 2016 BassMaster Classic on Grand Lake. This year, Nitro filled in the gap in their Z-Series product line with a 19’, 200 HP model. This new size fits the needs of those who want a tournament capable boat that is nimble, maneuverable and budget friendly.

Packaged with a 200 HP Mercury Pro XS, this is a legitimate 70 mph boat. Key features include:
• Nitro’s NVT hull for a smoother, drier ride.
• Flush mounted Lowrance Hook 5x fish finder.
• Minn Kota Maxxum 24V, 70 lb thrust, trolling motor.
• Two-bank onboard battery charger.
• Premium “NASCAR ® inspired” seats that look cool and feel comfortable.
• Hydraulic steering and an adjustable jackplate.

At a standard retail price of $34,995 with trailer, the Z19 gives you a lot of boat and excellent performance for your money. A nice video walk-through of the boat can be found here:

2017 Evinrude E-TEC G2 150, 175 and 200 – Improved 2-stroke performance

Evinrude E-TEC G2

Evinrude E-TEC G2 Expanded to 150 – 200 HP segment

For 2017, Evinrude expanded its G2 line to include the smaller V6s. According to the company, these new engines, all using a 2.7L block design, deliver up to 30 percent more torque, up to 15% better fuel efficiency and up to 75% fewer total regulated emissions compared to “leading four-stroke outboard engines”. As an added bonus, they are also available in a variety of “flavors” (that is, colors).
The torque/acceleration benefit is particularly relevant to bass boats and flats/bay boaters who often need to get up on plane quickly in very shallow conditions.

While much of the market has shifted in favor of 4-strokes, Evinrude continues to invest and innovate in the 2-stroke outboard segment. ( ).

To see other highlights from the 2017 Show, click on the links below:

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