This article originally appeared in our 2017 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing more stories like this, click HERE to subscribe.
We’ve missed having Crestliner as a pontoon manufacturer ever since it stopped production in 2010, even though it’s continued to do well in the other boating segments it builds boats for. However, that has all changed starting with the 2017 lineup that includes the 220 Rally.
Pay attention anglers, this is one pontoon you’re going to want to take a closer look at. With its “Fish & Cruise” layout the stern transitions nicely into a solid fishing area that includes two folding fishing chairs. The majority of the boat uses Seagrass vinyl flooring but in the stern there is a nice vinyl deck that will make cleanup easier. Plus, we like how it helps designate that you’re now in the fishing section of the boat.
Also in the stern is a large aerated livewell with a removable bait bucket that is part of the fishing station. There are vertical rod holders on the side and one of the few options is a pop-up changing room built into the front that stands over 6 feet tall when open. There is also a high-pressure washdown with nozzle built into the side of this fishing station that is easy-to-use and just as easy to store away.
Mounted on the rails are two Fish On rod holders and we especially like the lockable rod storage on the sides; yes, lockable! There’s room for up to four rods in this section just behind the portside bench and it includes a slide-out ruler to measure your catch.
Another fishing amenity is found at the helm console and that’s the Lowrance Hook-4 GPS/FishFinder. With a setup like this boat has it would be a shame not to have a FishFinder so we consider this optional Lowrance to be a must-have upgrade. Really the only thing missing would be some type of built-in tackle storage but that’s about it.
At the helm is a basic-looking console with three gauges with a set of rocker switches on each side and the captain also has access to the MB Quart stereo that includes two speakers, the 12-volt outlet and a USB/Auxiliary port.
Other key features include a 9-foot Bimini, Rotocast seat bases and a deep-reaching four-step boarding ladder with great handholds at the top.
Crestliner is a giant in the aluminum fishing boat market and a lot of its success can be traced back to its quality. Just seeing the pristine welds below deck on the two round-shaped logs reminded us why we like having this manufacturer back building pontoons again.
Inside the gate there is over 18 feet of deck space on this 23-footer and the rail height is a consistent 29 inches tall for the majority of the boat with the rails lowered slightly to 26 inches in the stern fishing area.
Powered by a Mercury 150hp four-stroke we easily reached the 30 mph mark at full throttle and the zero-to-20-mph time of just five seconds was equally impressive. It handles well, but does lean a little in the sharp turns. Without an aluminum splash skin or lifting strakes it’s not really designed for high-end performance, but rather to be a solid cruising pontoon that’s easy to drive.
Crestliner made a big splash at our test with this great all-around fishing model. As tested with a couple of key options, this value-based ‘toon has a lot going for it including a budget-friendly price tag. It’s well-built and loaded with some very specific fishing features that would be ideal for the family looking for a cruising style pontoon who also like to do some fishing.
Number of Occupants 11
Maximum Speed 32.9 mph
Wild Ponies 150 hp
No. of Gates 3
0-20 MPH 5.1 seconds
Ladder Measurement 4’ 2” deep
Why we love this boat…A great fishing-specific pontoon that also includes comfortable seating, so it gives you the versatility to do more.
Just being picky…Added touches like the slide-out ruler, bait bucket and aerated livewell are perfect; we just wish this layout also included some type of built-in tackle storage.
Snapless mooring cover, 10-foot Bimini top (w/ 1.25-inch frame and stainless steel quick release), 12-volt DC receptacle, helm station storage, Schmitt Ongaro-Torcello steering wheel, Seagrass flooring, helm seat w/ armrests, table w/ drink holders, and an MB Quart stereo w/ 2 speakers.
OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
Changing room w/ curtain, Lowrance Hook-4 GPS, and 2 Pro Fishing seat upgrades.
LOA 23’ 5”
Beam 8’ 6”
Hull Design Two Pontoons
Dry Weight 2,495 lbs.
Fuel Capacity 28 gallons
Engine Mercury 150
Cylinder Type Inline 4
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower 183ci/150hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio 1.92:1
Propeller 15.3 X 14
RPM vs. SPEED vs. DB-A
1000 3.0 80
1500 5.7 81
2000 7.8 84
2500 9.3 88
3000 13.3 92
3500 18.4 96
4000 21.5 91
4500 25.9 96
5000 28.8 98
5500 31.4 99
5600 32.9 99