Captain's ReportA Pontoon Rigged for FishingTested By Capt. Bob SmithAlthough you may think of pontoons as primarily vehicles for getting around the beaches with the family while having a great time or party aboard, Sun Tracker originally built its models specifically for fishing. Pontoon boats certainly make a stable platform that can get into skinny water with you and a bunch of friends casting teaser baits out to lure in the big ones. The Bass Buggy 18 is the latest version of Sun Tracker’s idea of perfection of the popular favorite. The builder has added features like a set-back motor pod for improving useful space aboard. A 23-gallon fuel tank resides in the pod saving more room. The new Bass Buggy is more stable now with 24” diameter multi-chambered logs constructed of .080 marine grade aluminum.LayoutThe Bass Buggy 18 offers three entry points. One up front, one on the side that is extra wide for wheel chair access and finally one at the back. All have double latched gates that open inward and the safety of having to lift them up to swing them open. That makes them harder for the little ones to get them open fast. There are two removable casting seats are up front. In the port bow you have an 8-gallon livewell with 500-gallon per hour aerated pump. Over on the starboard side is a storage compartment. My test boat had two tackle organizers held in the starboard box with a bungee cord so the gear would be easily found when needed. Both corners have cup holders for hot coffee in the morning and cool beverages during the day.Deck FeaturesResilient roto-molded bench seats occupy the center cockpit seating on the port side. Both the side and back bench cushions are held on the bench with piano hinges on the front lip and have abundant storage below. The center pie-shaped piece between them does not come off. The helm pod has a covered trash bin in the front with two cup holders for the cockpit riders. Underneath the helm is a cooler that slides into place. I would prefer to see this held in place somehow, although I doubt you will do any racing turns that may dislodge it from its storage area. Behind the WheelThe helm has a smoked windshield deflector screwed into place that adds a bass boat look to the rig. A stereo with CD player and flip-up cover is at the left of the wheel. A long, shallow tray is in front of the wheel for coins, glasses and your wallet. You’ll find a 12-volt DC adapter for portable gear and rocker switches to the left of the wheel for controlling navigation lights, aeration system and accessories. Rigged for FishingThe stern area is also ready for fishing. You have another removable fishing chair on a pedestal here on the port side behind the L-shaped bench seat. In the corner of the bench on the back are another two cup holders for the stern fishing crew. Three rods can be stored upright along the port side here in the back. Through the rear entry you have a very nice extra wide flip boarding ladder.SpecsThe Bass Buggy 18 has a deck length of 17’6.5” and a deck width of 8’1”. The pontoon length is 18’2” and this pontoon is approved for carrying up to 7 people or 985 lbs. This model comes standard with a 25-hp Mercury outboard but can use multiple models up to a 75-hp Mercury outboard. Approximate package weight is 1,362 lbs. PerformanceWhen we tested this model we had a 75-hp Mercury outboard for power. We found she was capable of a top speed of 25.1 mph and was a quiet runner with a level of 62 dBa at idle and only 85 dBa at top speed.If you like the versatility, maneuverability and stability of a pontoon and want to have as much fun with the family as you do fishing, the Bass Buggy 18 from Sun Tracker certainly has the personality and features to fill the bill.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 is 25.1 mph (40.4 kph), burning 9.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 34.06 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 is 14.8 mph (23.8 kph), and the boat gets 3.52 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.5 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 73 miles (117.48 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 75-hp Mercury outboard.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
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