Boating can get a little pricey for a family with both anglers and watersports aficionados, if it takes two boats to keep everyone happy. But Princecraft’s new Sport 164 is a sub-17-footer that’s up to the challenge and is really budget friendly. It doesn’t even require a special tow vehicle (sorry about that), since its aluminum hull weighs in at a svelte 1,090 pounds. The 2017 version of the Sport 164 replaces the 167 model and has some key improvements, such as a revamped rear deck that has extra space on both sides of the motor — more casting room or more space to boot up for a ski run. Also new are twin flip-up single jumpseats at the stern that replace the portside doublewide seat and single seat configuration. At the stern are dedicated pedestal receivers for a fishing seat and an optional ski tow pylon ($508).
Hardcore anglers won’t feel they are sacrificing with this boat, which looks like a smaller version of a tournament walleye boat. The base price of our test boat with a Mercury 90 hp FourStroke was $23,125, but even loaded with options, the price remains very affordable. It had the aforementioned ski pylon, 160-watt Jensen Bluetooth sound system ($477) and Lowrance Hook 3 fishfinder. To make this an all-weather boat, it also had a standup high top with a tonneau cover, curtains connected to the windshield and a back extension ($2,077). And to turn the forward casting deck into a bowriding section, it was equipped with a set of bow cushions ($500). When it’s time to fish, stow the cushions, install the forward fishing seat, grab a golden shiner from the 10-gallon SportFlo livewell set into the deck, and fire away.
Princecraft is a Brunswick company, so buyers have a choice of four Mercury outboards to power the Sport 164, starting with a FourStroke 60 or 70 hp. Our test boat had the 90 hp FourStroke, which proved to be its sweet spot. With the throttle jammed, the Sport 164 had a fair amount of bowrise, but before I worried about not being able to see forward, the bow came down in just 1.6 seconds. Time to 30 mph was a snappy 7.8 seconds, and its speed peaked at 44.2 mph. For even hotter performance, the 115 hp FourStroke should just about do it.