Boat Test: 2014 Smoker Craft American Angler Phantom 202

Boat Tested2014 Smoker Craft American Angler Phantom 202
Price As TestedNot Available
Category Multi Species Fish
Manufacturer Smoker Craft
Length20ft 1in / 6.12 m
Beam7ft 9in / 2.36 m
Drive TypeOutboard
Engine MakeHonda
Fuel Capacity38
By Matt SpencerWhile the name Smoker Craft may be quite familiar to you, their American Angler series may not be. Built by the first family in boats, the American Angler series is a utilitarian-style, bare bones kind of boat predominately found on the West Coast. After one of their photo shoots, I had the chance to take the Phantom 202 for a spin and see it in action. I must say, I think they have a place further inland as well.

The first hurdle to get over would be the look. The Phantom 202 is all welded, with a straight windshield, hard lines and a forward helm position with a small bow area. It’s vinyl finished with twin captain's chairs and facing bench seats behind. The rear cockpit features plenty of space for fishing, firewood or supplies.

This boat isn't without its charm, however. When you add in the optional canvas package and tower with rocket launchers, the Phantom gets a little more style. It has toe kicks and rod holders in the gunwales and the bench seats fold up to reveal spacious storage compartments. It would make an excellent cottage boat for weaving around rocks and islands in the bay.

When you get it on the water, you'll be sold. The Phantom 202 -- thanks, in part, to the awesome Honda BF115 -- screams along at a top speed of 41 mph. It corners like a champion, taking full-lock turns at 30 mph without hesitating. It's sharp and responsive, and is on plane at just over 2000 rpm. Actually, the boat doesn't really "get" on plane, it more or less "lifts" onto plane, perfect for shallow water in any lake or river system.

Phantoms usually like to stay in hiding, going unnoticed as they lurk in the shadows, but I think it's time the American Angler Phantom 202 steps into the forefront. This West Coast boat will have no problem finding a home a little more inland.
TEST BOAT ENGINEHonda BF115, 2,354 cc (144 ci), 115-hp, 4-cylinder, four-stroke outboard
TOP SPEED (rpm/mph)6000 / 41
2500 / 15 ; 3000 / 19.5 ; 3500 / 24.5 ; 4500 / 31.3
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