Once upon a time, a wide gap separated fiberglass and aluminum bass boats. Performance, stability, durability and interior storage made fiberglass the front-runner on mainstream bass lakes. Lower prices, better fuel economy and getting to unpressured skinny water were short list advantages of lighter weight aluminum models.
Today, aluminum bass boats have narrowed the gap. Performance hulls designed for precision handling, wider beams for more stability and all-welded construction for greater durability are benefits among the best of the best.
Also not long ago, smaller fiberglass bass boats came up short on the storage space and performance of their big rig equivalents. That’s changed, too, and again the best of the best fiberglass boats share equal but scaled down interior floor plans and hull designs as bigger boats in their class.
You can even trick out both rigs with high-tech, big screen electronics and powerful V6 outboards. Interiors are methodically designed to maximize every inch of available space for storage.
For boat buyers on the fence trying to decide between aluminum and fiberglass, those refinements provide even more reason to consider both rigs. Ultimately, the decision comes down to budget, and which boat helps put more fish on the hook based on where and how the owner plans to go fishing.
Two great options on the market today are the TRACKER® Pro Team™ 195 TXW and NITRO® Z18.
The NITRO Z18 is America’s best-selling fiberglass bass boat, and the official boat of Major League Fishing. The TRACKER Pro Team 195 TXW is the biggest, most powerful all-welded Mod V boat in the TRACKER lineup.
Both boats are affordably priced, fully rigged and ready for tournament fishing or leisure days on a lake or river.
Are you on the fence trying to decide between a fiberglass or aluminum bass boat?
Are you looking for a beefed up, full-featured aluminum rig for accessing skinny water and mainstream lakes?
Do you want to be competitive in bass tournaments, but need to consider price and garage space in your decision?
If the answer is yes, or if you are shopping for a bass boat, the NITRO Z18 and TRACKER Pro Team 195 TXW are worth a look. You can do that at the nearest Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Boating Center.
Before you head to the store, read on. We’ll show you how these two top-of-the-line rigs narrow the gap between deciding which is best—fiberglass or aluminum—in a bass boat.
The NITRO Z18 has a length overall of 18’ 8” with an ultra-wide beam of 7’ 10”. That means you get plenty of deck room for sharing space with a fishing buddy. The front deck alone spans 34 square feet, and the wider platform also means more storage below.
The NITRO Z18 is in the same family as the NITRO Z21 used by top pros like Kevin VanDam. You get many of those same performance and fishing features in a scaled-down package.
NITRO® Vortex Technology™ (NVT™) and Rapid Planing System™ are also used in the hull design and build of the NITRO Z18. NVT is a revolutionary hull design that uses a series of parabolic curves instead of traditional strakes. The result is exceptional top-end speed, lift and acceleration—all while maintaining superior control and handling.
The Rapid Planing System is a transom design that gets the boat on plane quicker. That means safer takeoffs in boat traffic—think tournament launches—and you gain better control over the boat sooner.
The system is a performance feature with a fishing and safety benefit. When you quickly back off the throttle, the anti-splash and reverse-flow transom keeps water from coming over the back of the boat. It also produces fewer waves, allowing you to slip up on spooky bass in shallow water.
Inside, the Z-Core seating system with Force Flex suspension is another feature shared with the flagship NITRO Z21. In fact, NITRO engineers designed it in collaboration with Kevin VanDam. The seats—driver and passenger—feature a plush, comfortable and contoured rotomolded frame. That’s definitely great news for long runs across choppy water!
Staying competitive at the club and pro level means packing a lot of gear. The NITRO Z18 delivers with oversized, lockable 8’ port and starboard rod lockers at the bow. Sandwiched between those is a center bow storage locker that’s perfect for keeping your tackle boxes ready to go.
Another priority for serious tournament anglers is fish care. The NITRO Z18 keeps bass healthy until they land on the scales with a 30-gallon aerated and timer-controlled livewell. The Guardian design prevents water from sloshing around the tank to keep fish calmer. You can keep catches between partners separated with the divider, or remove it when competing solo.
The NITRO Z18 is factory rigged with a Mercury® outboard, Minn Kota® trolling motor and Lowrance® fishfinder. What is more, the rig rides on a custom-fit trailer with GALVASHIELD® Impact corrosion and chip protection.
The TRACKER Pro Team 195 TXW will change the way you think about aluminum bass boats.
The reasons are improved construction technologies and advanced designs, like what you find with the Revolution™ hull with a variable deadrise for a smooth, dry ride. The hull features a 10-degree angle at the transom for stability, and a sharper 16-degree angle at the bow for slicing through chop. There is even a POWER-TRAC™ set-back transom that sends undisturbed water to the prop so it gets a better bite for even better performance and handling.
Solid, quality construction is another reason to be confident in this aluminum boat. TRACKER is the only aluminum fishing boat manufacturer using robotic welding for the stringers and transoms that form the foundation and backbone of the boat. This produces consistent, high-quality welds and better fitting systems, which make hulls stronger, last longer and perform better.
Precision welds are only as good as the materials used to create the bond. Like a house with a well-built foundation, the hull of the Pro Team 195 TXW is made from marine-grade aluminum. Then, a full-length longitudinal stringer system, box beam transom, keel and hull supports and the bulkheads are welded together. This means all the parts critical to the hull’s structural integrity are welded together as one unifying structure.
What else helps the noticeably smooth ride is the amount of expanding foam injected into the hull cavities to deaden the sound, increase the structural stability of the entire unitized body and absorb the shock of choppy water.
Another reason the TRACKER Pro Team 195 TXW is a challenger for fiberglass rigs is its looks. You wouldn’t expect such a well-built boat to be wrapped in a dull aluminum finish, like some rigs might be. This boat shines and sparkles, much like a fiberglass boat, from the TRACKER Diamond Coat™ finish. It’s a multilayer, powder-coat finish that is three times harder, up to four times thicker and keeps its color up to 20 times longer than traditional liquid paint.
Aluminum bass boats have made a comeback in even high-level leagues, like the Bassmaster Elite Series. Performance is a big reason, thanks to maximum recommended ratings of up to 150 horsepower. That provides plenty of speed for tournaments, or for anglers just wanting to spend more time fishing and less time moving between spots. When you don’t feel the need for speed, you save more money at the gas pump, because the boat can reach greater speeds with less horsepower.
The TRACKER Pro Team 195 TXW is designed with a layout meant to be tournament ready, or just with plenty of storage for the everyday angler. For one, the bow deck offers 39 square foot of casting space. Plus, there are six storage compartments—two below the aft deck for tackle boxes, two at the bow deck for rods (9’ baitcasting/8’ spinning!), another at the bow deck with a tackle organizer and a center seat compartment. There’s also a cooler under the step to the bow deck.
A lighted 27-gallon aerated, timer-controlled livewell comes with a removable divider and has recirculation and overflow drain.
The TRACKER Pro Team 195 TXW is factory rigged with a Mercury® outboard, Minn Kota® trolling motor and Lowrance® fishfinder. What is more, the rig rides on a custom-fit trailer with GALVASHIELD® Impact corrosion and protection from road chipping.
THE BIG DECISION
You can see the TRACKER Pro Team 195 TXW and NITRO Z18 at your nearest Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's Boating Center. You’ll also find friendly sales consultants who, like you, are probably avid boaters and even bass anglers. Find the boats, swap ideas and needs and find everything else you need to go boating under one roof.