The Targa™ V-18 WT: Raising the Bar in Walleye Fishing
Recently I was in Denver attending the Bass Pro Shops® Free Boat Show event. I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of great people about walleyes and boats. To my delight, the most talked about boat at the show was the Brand-New 2011 Targa™ V-18 WT. Walleye anglers in Colorado mainy fish reservoirs – and some can be fairly large, so an 18-foot boat really fits the bill in that market. The Targa V-18 hull is a really great ride in rough water. In fact, I used the boat this past spring to film a “Next Bite” TV show on Lake Erie. We had 15 to 20 mph winds on one of the days. I had four anglers and camera gear in the boat, and it still handled the ways with great ease. That specific 2010 model was rigged with a 150HP Mercury® OptiMax®. One significant feature was that even thought we were carrying a lot of weight, the boat planed quickly and, more importantly, was able to power up waves and get us out across Lake Erie to the hot spot (just north of Kelly’s Island). The new 2011 boat is even better as it has been increased in size to have a full 102-inch beam!
Having a comfortable ride isn’t the only thing that is essential in a good walleye boat. Just as important is how well it fishes. The Targa V-18 tracks well (important for trolling in the wind), lays level on the water (important for controlling the boat from the bow) and is a very stable platform even when several anglers move close to the edge while netting a fish. One of the upgraded features about the boat package this year is that it has a 24-volt trolling motor with a nice long 54-inch shaft – the perfect size/length combination to handle this deep V boat.
There are a couple of different floor plan options on the Targa V-18, including a walk-thru windshield version (WT), a dual console version (DC), which will have a limited production run, and a Combo (Fish/Ski) model. The one that seemed the most popular at the show was the walk-thru version. A full walk-thru windshield coupled with the Targa’s water-deflecting strakes and built-in reverse chines gives a very soft, quiet and dry ride – even in substantial waves. What little spray that ends up on the air is taken care of quite nicely with the big windshield.
The Targa V-18 WT also has a great interior layout for fishing. The front deck is very roomy with ample space to pull bottom bouncers, pitch jugs or cast Flicker Shads. The back area is very spacious, leaving plenty of room for two to three anglers to work rods when trolling. The wide gunnels are great for extra side storage, yet you can still stand close enough to the edge of the boat to comfortable work a lure. Plus, there are “drop-in” rod lockers on the top of each of the side gunnels for ultra-easy access to your rods.
One thing I learned while out in Denver was the effect of altitude on an engine’s performance. I was told that for every 1,000 feet of altitude, the horsepower of an engine is reduced by 3%. So, if you go up 3,000 feet (which isn’t hard out there), you lose almost 10%! Therefore, in higher altitudes, many of the boats had bigger engines rigged in the packages to ensure they continue to perform well. In the Midwest, this boat will perform very nicely with the standard 115HP Mercury OptiMax. But depending on the altitude, if you are going to have a boatload of people or even just want a little extra speed, I would certainly consider the upgrade to the 150HP Mercury OptiMax.
The last thing I heard was that even though the Targa V-18 had several great upgrades for 2011, its price actually came down $3,000 to $4,000 below last year’s pricing (depending on motor size and options). Now, at an unprecedented price, you can get a boat with a great ride and “fishing friendly” layout in the 18’ deep V category!
Written by Keith Kavajecz
“The Next Bite” TV show co-host
18-time PWT Qualifier
National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame Inductee
Go to trackerboats.com to find a dealer near you!
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