I am looking at buying a new alum. fishing boat in the 17' - 18' range. I have owned a Fiberglass boat the last few years (Ranger) and have been fairly happy with it, but I'm starting to fish the rocky Northern Minn. lakes more often, and want a boat that can take a little more abuse when 'beached' along the rocky shore. I also need a boat with a wrap-a-round windshield and canvas top, as my wife and kids insist that the next boat we get will provide some protection for them in adverse weather....(Hey, no problem, if it gets me a new boat....)

I've looked at several brands (Alumacraft, Lund, etc..) mostly for preferred fishing options (Live wells front and back, seat mount locations, storage capacity, etc...), and from that point of view, have set my sight on the "Smoker Craft" brand.

Now what I'd like to ask you more knowledgeable people are:

1) Is anyone familiar with this brand? 2) Does anyone have an idea how they compare $$ wise with comparable brands? 3) Does this Manufacturer have a good / ave / bad reputation for the quality of their boats? (Do they hold up well?) 4) Would those who are familiar with Alum. fishing boat in this category for this area of the country) strongly recommend another manufacturer? Why?

-I have owned a smokercraft, 14 1/2'. It was a very good boat that I used in my area, however for the area you are talking about you should consider a Lund Tiee. As the Smokercraft is a good boat the lund is much better and will hold up much longer. The rivits in a lund are placed much differant than the Smoker. For the long hall the Lund is the way to go.

-Checkout BajaNet, http://www.geocities.com/the tropics/4888/

Post your question to their general discussion area. Many folks in that discussion group routinely trailer aluminum boats over a thousand miles to launch in uncertain condition. Also, see if your library has a copy of Gene Kira's, The Baja Catch. Third edition was recently released. Excellent advise on the 'best' aluminum boats can be found there.

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