For just over a decade Warrior Boats have been quietly beavering away churning out small fishing craft with appeal to those who like to ‘do it offshore’, and recently Irving Stewart put the 165 Pro Angler through its paces.
The basic range kicks off with the little Warrior 150 and continues through with a 165, Pro Angler and 175. These popular, easily towed and launched craft have been so well accepted that the formidable total of 1,500 have been built and sold in twelve years – no mean achievement. The fact that Warrior have invested in a brand new factory to produce these craft is testament to their determination to produce high quality craft at affordable prices.
There’s no doubt that the popular Warrior 165 certainly fulfils the needs of those seeking an effective no-nonsense, no frills, easily beach launched, budget boat. It’s more upmarket sibling, the 175 Pro Angler which we featured last year, was conceived to offer similar handling and performance but with more creature comforts on board and very distinctive enhanced styling.
Employing the proven medium Vee planing hull of the 165 (which bears a strong resemblance to a Teal) the Pro Angler is enhanced by an interior moulding similar to the 175. This has enabled the designers to build-in a very stylish set of seats in the cuddy together with dry lockers and a coolbox. It also means the Pro Angler has a fully moulded lining to the cockpit and a transom that incorporates a pair of live bait wells. The use of non-slip Treadmaster flooring throughout the boat is both sensible and extremely practical.
But it’s not just decorative features that make this little boat stand out:
Out of sight is a lightweight, fully formed ‘chassis’ bonded into the hull (and to the foam reinforced deck) that adds rigidity and the bonus of a sealed buoyancy chamber. In addition the weight saved allows the boat to accept heavier four-stroke engines.
The control console has been re-styled, widened to accept larger screen electronics and now incorporates six fully waterproof switches and a lockable compartment for those little valuables you inevitably take fishing – and lose.
The most significant improvement is almost invisible. The normal Perspex windows have been replaced by laminated glass and the cuddy slightly extended to give more seating space.
Perhaps the most innovative addition is the rather clever built-in canopy extension that simply slides out from the cuddy roof.
Finally, the very neat hull side rod racks that make valuable use of otherwise wasted cavities without affecting the ever important hull side foot space.
TESTED IN AN ‘INTERESTING’ SEA
I tested the 165 in a brisk inshore wind, which generated a sea state varying from an ‘interesting’ short chop close to the shore to rolling breakers further round the coast under the cliffs – absolutely ideal conditions in which to try a small fisher.
The test Pro Angler, with an absolutely brand new Suzuki DF60 on the stern, was actually the first pre-production boat built nearly three years previously and had been kept as a demonstrator simply because Warrior felt some of the mouldings were not up to scratch. They must have better eyesight than me as I couldn’t find any significant blemishes.
With both ‘Mr. Warriors’, Paul Haynes and Phil Byron, aboard and in company with a brand new 175 camera boat we ambled out to sea conscious of the still tight engine. With great apologies to Suzuki these concerns vaporised after a couple of minutes, when the Warrior’s motor was given its head to face the oncoming sea.
There followed a couple of hours exploring the coastline, taking countless pictures, watched by thousands of sea birds during which the Pro Angler tried gamely to catch the far higher powered 175. During these manoeuvres she ploughed through some pretty appalling seas, threw water everywhere, often disappeared from sight in the troughs and got airborne many times. At no time did she bury her bows, cause any concern to those aboard, or allow any serious water into the cockpit. Truly a brave little boat.
As you will see from the performance table this little craft does not hang about and would certainly get her crew to offshore fishing spots quite quickly. The Suzuki, of course, never missed a beat and was still running on the first 25L tank when we eventually pulled the boat ashore, no mean achievement. However, it did tell us off by sounding a warning buzzer at one stage – nothing amiss – just the on board CPU ‘politely’ reminding us the engine had just come out of a box. Fair comment, but a bit late I’m afraid.
The foremost concern to budget minded anglers must simply be ‘is the 165 Warrior Pro Angler worth the premium over the standard 165?’
Personally I would say ‘yes’ as it’s certainly a more sophisticated craft. Whilst this might not be important to budget conscious match fishermen it might well impress ‘her indoors’ and extend the use of the boat to include boating for pleasure. In fact this little craft is ideal as a small family trailer day boat and should make many friends amongst those seeking a light, safe, easily handled craft to pull behind a family car.
A major point in its favour is that it’s visually quite attractive compared to other more bland and basic competitors.
Whilst I could find no serious faults on this boat there was a concern that I suggested should be addressed.
Whilst revolving seats are obviously much appreciated by anglers, those on the test boat could not be locked into position. In a rough sea, or with novice people on board, this might raise concern or even result in minor injury. Warrior immediately took this comment to heart and subsequent boats now feature seats with locks.
A fisher that does precisely what it says on the tin.
SPECIAL SPRING DEALS
To kick off the 2009 season Warrior have put together special show packages that will be on offer at the London Boat Show at ExCel in January, the NEC’s National Boat Caravan & Outdoor Show in February and also the fishing shows in Belfast and Dublin.
These packages include:
Warrior 165 complete with roller trailer, 60hp Suzuki or Mariner outboard, boat cover, box seats, DFC-VHF radio and fishfinder: £12,500
Warrior 165 Pro Angler (as tested) with similar specification but rigged with Suzuki’s new DF70 engine: £15,950
Bare boat: £8,450
Warrior 165 Pro Angler package as tested: £15,450 (boat, Suzuki DF60, roller trailer, bucket seats, cover, VHF & fishfinder)
WHO TO TALK TO
Paul or Phil