Fish-and-ski boats are ambidextrous solutions to a boater’s biggest dilemma: “Do I wanna fish or do I wanna boat?” Tracker Marine has both hands firmly around the solution in its Q7 SSF fish-and-ski boat. Who could bring more fish-catching and crowd-pleasing skill to bear on a fish-and-ski than the company founded in tournament bass angling and the unequivocal master of packaging boat, motor, trailer and fishing gear in a ready-for-the-water rig?
Tracker Marine believes a fish-and-ski deserves the name only if it’s ready to fish, so a livewell and trolling motor are standard. While most manufacturers make you choose a battery of your own, Tahoe includes one in the price.
Some boatbuilders leave the decision of buying a trailer up to you. But Tahoe’s team knows anglers are a mobile bunch, moving from waterway to river to impoundment, always following the bite. So they designed a trailer that is color-matched and custom-fit to the boat, and they put surge brakes on it too, all as standard equipment.
When the fishing is finished, having a trolling motor on the bow to break up the view isn’t all that much fun, so Tahoe’s engineers found a way to mount it so it can be easily removed and stowed. When it’s stowed, the Q7 SSF’s sleek lines are enhanced by a standard, integrated (not bolted on) extended swim platform that stretches far enough over the prop and drive to give better swimming clearance when at anchor. Before you swim, tuck your keys in the rope locker in the walk-through transom step — they’ll be safe, and you’ll know for certain that the prop is clear when you man the helm.
We’d keep our skis in the floor locker and other gear or tackle boxes in the locker under the rear bench seat. The passenger console holds the Sirius-powered stereo under a splash-proof hatch, and a cooler tucked in the dash will hold plenty of soft drinks.
You can see all that, but what you can’t see is the nimble way our test boat hopped up on plane in less than 3 seconds, giving us a clear view of Missouri’s Table Rock Lake and a smooth, stable ride. For water sports, we pegged the throttle to get to 30 mph in 7 seconds — and noted that we just might consider a smaller 4.3-liter V-6 MPI engine to save cash. It wouldn’t surprise us to see acceleration and speed drop just a speck while still giving a satisfying ride.
Our test showed the Q7 SSF has the agility and comfort for water sports and the fish-catching features needed to satisfy anglers in any popular fishing waters.
Key Note: The integrated swim platform makes it easy to get the crew ready for a giggle-busting tube ride or to boot up for a wakeboard ride.
• Motor Guide 12-volt 55-pound thrust electric trolling motor is standard.
• Passenger console cooler drains to the bilge and holds a dozen drinks and ice.
• Instrumentation includes lighted, water-resistant toggles for electrical operations.
• Fiberglass floor makes for easy clean up.
• Integrated swim platform — not bolted on — extends over propeller for safer swimming at anchor.
* Length Overall: 20’6″
* Beam: 8′
* Weight(w/engine): 2,800 lb.
* People/Weight Capacity: 9/1,700 lb.
* Fuel Capacity: 45 gal.
* Maximum HP: 300
* MSRP(w/MerCruiser 5.0 MPI Alpha): $30,045(not including freight and dealer prep)
* NMMA Certified: Yes
* Test Engine: MerCruiser 5.0 MPI Alpha
* Test Prop: 19, aluminum
* Test Load: People (230 lb.); Fuel (40 gal.)
* Top Speed: 54 mph @ 5,000 rpm
* Time to Plane: 3.0 sec.
* Time to 30 MPH: 7.9 sec.
* Minimum Plane: 17 mph @ 2,200 rpm