Spoiler alert: the Sea Pro 172 Bay isn’t an all-new model. Nor is it big and fancy, nor is it a status symbol of a boat. It is, however, a solidly built fishing machine that will get you out on the Chesapeake tributaries any day of the week and onto the open Bay when the wind isn’t pumping. And, unlike most fishing boats built in this day and age, it will do so in an eminently affordable manner. Heck, if you can buy a stripped Ford F-150, you can buy this boat — but it’s one heck of a lot more fun to drive.
The 172 Bay has a surprising number of features to its credit, too. The aft casting deck houses a pair of 12-gallon LED-lighted livewells and a flip-up seat, an Audison Audio stereo system comes stock, there’s a 34-gallon fishbox in the foredeck, and unlike many boats of this size you get four flush-mount rodholders in the gunwales and two more can be installed at the transom. A dual battery switch, compass, and a stainless-steel steering wheel with knob also appear on the standards list.
Optional items which will be must-haves for most anglers include the raw water washdown, vertical rodracks, and bow-mount trolling motor. And if you want this little angling machine loaded to the teeth you can have it, with goodies like an eight-inch hydraulic jack plate, Power Pole anchor, trim tabs, a Bimini top, and even underwater lights.
With 15-degrees of transom deadrise and 17’2” of LOA underfoot, naturally, you’ll be fishing this boat in the tribs just about anytime while choosing your days to enter the open Bay. And when the weather allows you can get where you’re going with plenty of zip. The 172 Bay can be rigged with up to 115 horses, but with a 90-hp outboard on the transom offers enough pep for most of us. Plan on cruising in the upper 20s in the 4500-rpm range and topping out at right around 40 mph. What’s even better is the fuel economy at cruising speeds. Running in the 20- to 30-mph range this boat gets around six mpg. That means filling the fuel tank will be a lot less painful as compared to most bay-capable boats after fishing all day.
Some other important details to note: Unlike many lower cost boats this one is rigged with a slick toggle switch breaker panel at the helm, the switches, cup holders, and grab rails are all stainless-steel, and cleats are pull-ups. The bottom line? The Sea Pro 172 may be small, but it’s built with far more accessories and far more quality than most of the small boats out there. And thanks to its size and weight you’ll have no problem hauling it from Cape Charles to Conowingo, whether your boring old land vehicle is a modest SUV or that Ford F-150.
SEA PRO 172 SPECIFICATIONS
- LOA – 17’2”
- Beam – 7’3”
- Displacement – 1000 lbs.
- Draft (hull) – 1’0”
- Transom Deadrise – 15 degrees
- Fuel Capacity – 28 gal.
- Max. Power – 115 hp
- Area Dealer – Browns Marine