When we first breezed through the FS 185, there was no mistaking its fishing potential. The mistake some might make, though, is to think of this new model as just another aluminum angling platform when it's also a crowd pleaser that can handle virtually any recreational-boating mission.
Our test boat sported a pair of bow lounges and a pair of pop-up rumble seats on the transom — you don't find those on a fishing-specific boat. We were also fortunate during a cool and drizzly test day to sit in the surroundings of a tall, full-width windshield and deep gunwales. Put it this way: We would have been sitting inside if the boat had only a Plexiglas windscreen. So there's no reason to cancel a planned day on the water when the morning is unseasonably cool or if there's a chance of light rain later.
We rearranged the pedestal seats, removed the bow cushions and secured a filler panel to create an unobstructed casting deck in the bow. The boat has built-in rod storage and livewells fore and aft, and we'd consider additions like a MotorGuide wireless trolling motor and Lowrance X50DS fish finder.
Our test boat was fitted with the largest available outboard, a Mercury 150 OptiMax. This allowed us to reach speeds of nearly 50 mph and made for hole shots quick enough for the best skier in the neighborhood. We'd probably opt for the midrange 115 hp outboard, which would still provide plenty of towing muscle and a very respectable top end, but would shave a few dollars off the package price.
Key Note: By adding large reverse chines to a chop-taming V-bottom hull, Lowe has enhanced the boat's resting stability without sacrificing its running performance.
• The deck and all-welded hull seams are backed by a lifetime warranty.
• Optional hydraulic steering is the best choice for larger engine packages.
• Secure the three-point ski pylon, and you're ready to tow all water-sports activities.
• Skis, wakeboards and/or fishing gear can be stowed below deck.
- Vital Stats
- Length Overall: 18'3"
- Beam: 7'11"
- Dry Weight: 2,200 lb.
- Seating/Weight Capacity: 7/ 1,115 lb.
- Fuel Capacity: 38 gal.
- Maximum HP: 150
- MSRP (test boat w/Mercury 150 Optimax): $27,995
- NMMA Certified: Yes
- Test Drive
- Test Engine: Mercury 150 Optimax
- Test Prop: 14.5 x 19
- Test Load: People (350 lb.); Fuel (20 gal.)
- Top Speed: 48.2 mph @ 5,800 rpm
- Time to Plane: 2.8 sec
- Time to 30 MPH: 5.7 sec.