Walleye tournament pros rank among the most versatile freshwater anglers in the world. Where bass fishing is essentially a casting game, walleye anglers need to be skilled at casting, trolling and drifting, covering a diverse range of habitats from shallow rivers and weedy bays to huge, open lakes. Fish may be found on the surface, or as deep as 60 feet or more. To be truly effective, walleye anglers need to be able to deal with a seemingly endless range of eventualities, which reflects in their choice of boat.

Fast Facts

Length: 18'8"

Beam: 95"

Max. Power: 90 hp

Max. Capacity: 6

MSRP: Approx. $28,000

For Winnipeg, Manitoba-based pro angler Carolyn Kosheluk, the ideal walleye boat is her Alumacraft Competitor 185 LE. She notes that its open layout and tiller steering give her the versatility and boat control she needs when there’s money on the line. And when she’s not competing on the tournament trail, it’s a  comfortable and easy-handling boat for family fun rides.

Stretching 18 feet, eight inches in length and with a wide 95-inch beam, the Competitor 185 LE is clearly built for serious fishing. Its enormous, elevated front casting deck provides plenty of room for two angers to fish comfortably without knocking elbows, while concealing an absolutely monumental amount of gear in its multiple in-floor storage compartments – including a center line rod locker with space for up to eight rods. There’s an aluminum receptacle for mounting a removable, pedestal-mount seat midway along the bow deck as well.

The Competitor 185 features an in-floor rod locker in the front deck capable of accommodating eight rods.

The Competitor 185 features an in-floor rod locker in the front deck capable of accommodating eight rods.

The elevated bow deck also houses an 18-gallon aerated and lighted live well with timer control. A raised pad up front provides a secure spot to install a bow-mount electric motor, with an adjacent panel providing the electrical plug-in, a courtesy light, a cup holder and a small cubby storage bin. Bow cargo nets are available as a popular option.

Where the raised front deck is carpeted, the main cockpit floor in Carolyn’s Alumacraft Competitor 185 is finished in a hard-wearing, fast-drying vinyl. Along a each gunnel there’s a wide carpeted deck which houses several large storage compartments, with rod storage to starboard (capable of accommodating rods of up to eight feet in length) plus a second lighted, aerated, and timer-controlled 18-gallon live well to port. A further storage compartment under the wide, full-width rear casting deck provides further storage for gear, along with the batteries.

The Competitor offers two aerated, and timer-controlled 18-gallon live wells.

The Competitor offers two aerated, and timer-controlled 18-gallon live wells.

Being a tiller-controlled boat, the stern helm seat is mounted slightly off-center for added comfort when running. Facing the driver is an attractive fiberglass console that runs along the port gunnel, with a tachometer, speedometer, volt meter, fuel gauge, horn, controls for electric accessories such as the live well, and plenty of space up top for mounting electronics, including large multi-function displays. An integrated coffee holder is a nice touch.

The attractive fiberglass console provides plenty of space for aftermarket electronics.

The attractive fiberglass console provides plenty of space for aftermarket electronics.

“One of the things I love about this boat is that the tiller layout gives me so much usable space,” says Kosheluk. “It also makes it easy to control the boat with incredible precision, so you can position yourself exactly where you need to be without ever having to take your hand off the rod.”

Throughout the boat, attention to detail reveals Alumacraft’s focus on serious fishing. Cleats fold flat when not in use, preventing untimely tangles with lines or a fishing net. The careful use of non-glare finishes throughout the interior reduces eye strain over a long season on the water. And a focus on eliminating the potential for vibrations, rattles or other noises preserves stealth when targeting heavily-pressured fish.

Storage abounds on the Competitor 185, with plenty of room for a full load of tournament gear.

Storage abounds on the Competitor 185, with plenty of room for a full load of tournament gear.

As one would expect for a serious tournament boat, the Alumacraft Competitor 185 is built tough, with a beefy 0.160” aluminum bottom and hefty 0.80” aluminum used in the side plates. Yet spite of its heavy-duty build, the Competitor 185 LE weights just 1,300 pounds, making it a relatively easy boat to tow with even a mid-sized vehicle. Moreover, it makes it easy to launch and recover on lakes with poor ramps – or no ramps at all.

Anglers looking for a versatile and comfortable boat that can do it all will find Alumacraft’s Competitor 185 LE highly appealing. With its intelligent design and tournament-ready features, this is one serous fishing rig that’s sure to please.

Alumacraft Competitor 185 LE Specs

  • Length: 18’ 8”
  • Beam: 95”
  • Dry weight: 1,300 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 34 gal
  • Passenger capacity: 6
  • Maximum power: 90 hp

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