Tracker Pro Team 185 Jet Tracker Pro Team 185 Jet
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    Tracker Pro Team 185 Jet
from Dave (  
2/24/2003 1:36:00 PM


 Can anyone tell me their experience with the Tracker Pro Team 185 jet? I'm curious to know whether a jet engine is any good to have for fishing vs the other typical outboards. Is it OK for jet engines to suck up dirt and small rocks? I know that a trolling motor would be the preferred method of moving the boat in shallow water, but was just curious on how clean the water needs to be for jet engines.

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   Jet Boats and Tracker's 185 Jet from Mark H. (  2/24/2003 2:46:00 PM

The reason a person would consider a jet is related to the type of water they fish. Jet boats are very good choices if you tend to fish very shallow lakes or rivers. The Pro-Team 185 will run in water as shallow as six inches, and there are boats that will run in water as shallow as three inches.

It is NOT good for a jet to suck up dirt, rocks and gravel. The leading edge of the impeller will be chipped and degrade to the point where it loses effectiveness, but on most jets you can adjust the height of the impeller by using a set of shims. As the impeller wears down, the leading edge will back away from the intake. You remove the impeller, place another shim or two on the shaft, and lower the impeller a bit. Eventually, you'll have to replace the impeller with a new one. This is a bit more difficult to do on an inboard jet, like the 185, than it is to do on an outboard rigged with a jet lower unit.

The Tracker will run at about 60 to 65% of its rated horsepower, with a top speed in the 40's. Jets are terribly inefficient at converting horsepower to forward speed. Some boat companies, like Gator for example, will run a modified Chevy 350 in order to get the h.p. needed to run at normal bass-boat speeds. The price you pay is that the Chevy is a very loud motor compared to the Mercury jet. That's also why a Gator will run three inches shallower than the Tracker. More speed, so the boat planes out higher in the water.

The other downside to jets is that, at low speed, they lose maneuverability. It becomes difficult to turn the boat as the water pressure through the nozzle decreases.

Most jets will have a grate that keeps out larger rocks and debris, but sucking up gravel, sand and mud into the jet eventually does damage. The question you have to answer is, how shallow do you want to run at WOT? If it's less than 30 inches, then a jet becomes an option. But, if you can come off plane in water three feet deep, and then use your TM to get into the shallow stuff, you're better off with the regular outboard.

Hope this helps.

   Correction on my last post from Mark H. (  2/24/2003 2:57:00 PM
 I meant to say that a jet will only convert 60 to 65% of its rated horsepower into forward speed.

For example, the Pro-Team 185 Jet has an inboard Mercury rated at 175 h.p. But it will only push the boat at 40 to 41 mph. In comparison, the regular Pro-Team 185 with a 90 h.p. Mercury outboard will push the boat (virtually the same hull design) at 40 to 42 mph. The regular outboard is more efficient at converting its horsepower into forward motion. All jets are like this.

As far as fishability, the Pro-Team Trackers are getting better each year. The hull is now all-welded, using .100 5052 aluminum alloy. The beam to bottom width ratio is still too narrow, in my opinion, to help make the boat a really stable fishing platform, but most mod-V's are like that.

The critical thing in considering the purchase of any Tracker boat is the reputation of the dealer for customer service and warranty work. If you buy a great boat from a bad dealer, it's going to be a bad experience. Conversely, if you buy a good boat from a great dealer, you'll enjoy your experience.

Be sure to consider rigging other mod-V style boats (Xpress, G3, Triton, etc.) with an outboard jet. We saw one at our local boat show rigged with a 225 jet (compares to a regularly propped 150).

   90 HP Merc on a 175 from Dan Barham (  2/24/2003 6:04:00 PM
 My pardner has a 17' Tracker with the above motor. It runs around 32 - 33 MPH.

If you're fishing rivers that are relatively grass and weed free you'll love it. If you get into any weeds, grass or floating "goop" you'll hate it. It'll just clog up the intake and you'll be without power until you clean it out (sometimes a real difficult job without getting out of the boat).


   For more info, go to.. from Ryan (  2/24/2003 6:55:00 PM and go to the message boards. I can tell you after researching myself that the trackers are generally hated. They don't run as shallow as other boats, and the jet is a pain in the arse to clean out. For the money, you're better off setting up a boat as a river boat with a jet, or go to this site for custom jet outboard applications:

   I have owned both tracker and gator from rock damage (  2/24/2003 7:50:00 PM
 give me and e-mail and I'll send you my Phone number. we can discuss the advantges and the diss... I have never owned nothing but jets. many things you should know before you buy !

   Pics of my Gator from Rivernut (  2/24/2003 10:40:00 PM
  The Gtaor is a real jet boat with a clean-out hand-hole. Mine has run 2" of water. It is a much larger boat and much better made, no wood, thicker hull, all welded and a CHEVY V-8. More deck than any bass boat I've ever seen and gobs of storage. The merc Sport jet is unreliable as it is an aluminum 2 cycle engine. They have a history of overheating from clogging and self-destructing. The Gator is only a few thousand $ more. Check out bassboat central (rare brands) for my boat pics or the Gator website and these pics.

   Thanks Guys! from Dave (  2/25/2003 11:52:00 AM
 Thanks for all the input! I'm just trying to find a good aluminum boat for recreational bass fishing. Trackers are easy to research on the net, so I'm been looking at those. I'd appreciate any input on what alum boat to get and what motor hp to get as well. I feel quite unknowledgeable about how a boat would handle and what motor size would be adequate.

Thanks again.

   Aluminum Fishing Rigs from Mark H. (  2/25/2003 12:28:00 PM
  For owner-based help with Tracker boats, visit

There a LOT of good choices out there for recreational aluminum boats, Dave. Stay away from rivets, unless its a reputable boat like Lunds, Alumnacrafts or Crestliners. Most companies are moving in the direction of all-welded hulls, which makes a huge difference in durability.

What you end up with depends a lot on where you will be fishing, how you fish, and what features you will want in your boat. There are a LOT of choices out there.

Some issues to help make that decision could include:

Riveted vs. welded hull? Mod-V or a True-v hull? Tiller or console steering? If a console, single or dual? One, two or no rod lockers? Length of any rod locker to accomodate your equipment? Other storage needs (safety equipment, tackle, accessories)? Fish finders - standard equipment or add-ons Desired top-end speed and holeshot requirements? Type of water you fish (deep, shallow, sandy, muddy, rocky, windy, calm,....).

If you start by answering these kinds of questions, you can very quickly begin to eliminate many of the aluminum boats out there.

I did the same thing before considering brands, and here's what met my 'requirements': A 2001 Tracker Tournament V-18 and a Crestliner CVX-182 (now the CPX-182). Choosing between the two was really easy. The Tracker fit inside our garage with my wife's car alongside, and the Crestliner didn't. The wife wouldn't go for the purchase unless she could still park her car inside!

By the way, you can see pictures of my boat at the Tracker Owners site under my User Profile Library (MOFish)

E-mail me if you want to discuss this some more.



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