The majority of us like to fish. But that doesn’t mean we all want a fullfledged fishing boat with low freeboard and minimal seating. For a lot of boaters (or wouldbe boaters), a small, manageable bowrider would be just fine if it were dressed out to make fishing easier. Nothing fancy — just some of the essentials. But perhaps most important of all — and this is where Four Winns will strike a chord with the new H183 — is a model that keeps the investment in the low $20,000 range. That would make the payments about as easy as operating the boat.
Strictly speaking, this is a fish and ski model. It has a thoughtful infloor compartment to keep skis or rods out of traffic areas and a tow eye on the transom. When driving the H183, we had the type of authoritarian control we feel over 19foot ski boats. It makes retrieving a fallen skier or rider much easier than in a big, heavy boat.
Realistically, though, we think buyers will use the H183 mostly for fishing. The conveniences bear that out: The seats in each corner of the stern convert to pedestal seats that can be mounted on the bow and on the engine hatch. There are two livewells, one for bait and one to keep fish fresh; dedicated tackle storage is found under a transom pad; rods stow in vertical holders on the gunwales; and there’s a standard fish finder mounted forward of the windshield. We’d strongly consider the optional extended platform, as much for standup fishing as for swimming.
The boat we tested, with a threeliter motor, would drop the price to $20,000. That might be fine on small lakes where you tend to dally around and use the trolling motor. But we’d recommend spending a little more for a bigger engine, not just to boost the top speed past 39 mph, but to better match the boat’s longterm potential.
At A Glance…
The H183 has the familiar operations of a small bowrider, with fishing features that do not impact an attractive price.
Vital Stats * Length Overall: 17’5″ * Beam: 9’7″ * Dry Weight: 2,800 lb. * Weight Capacity: 1,150 lb. * Fuel Capacity: 24 gal. * Maximum HP: 190 hp * MSRP (w/ Volvo Penta 3.0 GL/SX, 135 hp): $20,427 * NMMA Certified: Yes
Notable Features * Infloor storage compartment could be used to hold fishing gear, vests or both. * Powdercoated steps and a grab handle make it easy to reboard after swimming, skiing or wakeboarding. * Bow can be converted to a fishing platform by rearranging the seats. * Coaming areas are hollow to make it easy to stow rods in accessible spots. * Tackle storage is under a hatch under a portside pad along the transom.
Test Drive * Test Engine: Volvo Penta 3.0 GL/SX * Test Prop: 14.25 X 21 * Test Load: People (340 lb.); Fuel (24 gal.) * Top Speed: 39 mph @ 4,950 rpm * Time to 20 mph: 3.7 sec. * Time to 30 mph: 8.9 sec.
RPM MPH Sound Level (db)
Idle 4.1 69
1,000 4.4 70
1,500 5.8 76
2,000 7.1 76
2,500 9.1 79
3,000 17.1 83
3,500 23.5 84
4,000 29.3 88
4,500 35.2 91
4,950 39.0 95