Phoenix boats are one of the best, if not THE best options out there when it comes to bang-for-buck. So, what about these boats make them such a good choice? Here are my thoughts after owning a 2018 Phoenix 819 Pro:
How Comfortable Can a Boat Be?
Barge or Canoe? This boat is roomy for its size. The front deck is very wide and is spacious enough to give three people proper “elbow room”. Perfect for that cousin who likes to set his hook by jerking the fish completely out of the water. When you can’t take his antics anymore, just move to the rear deck. Where there is more than enough space for two anglers.
When compared to Champions, Skeeters, Rangers, Nitros, Bass Cats, and Jon boats, you can’t beat how the Phoenix rides in rough water. Phoenix prides itself on having the best hulls in the industry. Their hulls are designed to give you more control and comfort when cruising around in “the chop”. This is great news unless you really like being beaten to death (we won’t judge).
On cold days it’s nice to have a console for your passenger. Luckily, you can have one installed while spending less than $1,300.
Do Passion and Loyalty Really Matter?
Ever heard of Gary Clouse? Gary is the owner of Phoenix. He is also a professional angler. Gary knows what people want in a boat and expects his company to give that to all his customers. His love for the sport can be seen as it is carried over into the design.
There is passion in every detail. Phoenix consoles come completely enclosed. You never have to look at ugly wires and other various parts that really aren’t meant to be seen. It’s just nice to know someone cared enough to make something look finished even though they knew most people would overlook it.
Phoenix uses only the best materials and never compromises on design. Want to know why they stick to their guns?
Well, they aren’t owned by Cabela’s or another giant company that wants their subtle little “features” on everything. Don’t get me wrong, I love Cabela’s but I don’t let them come into my house and let them pick out my furniture.
Phoenix is a privately-owned company that does what they think is right. They don’t have to make decisions that affect anglers based on what guys in stuffy suits think. Phoenix can truly say that they make boats for people that own boats.
Tell Me These Features Aren’t Awesome.
Check out the photos at the bottom of the page.
Is your garage big enough for your boat and all of your vehicles? If you are like most of us, the answer is probably no. And that means that your pride and joy is sitting under a tree and getting ravaged by the weather. That may be acceptable for a used Jon boat but not your pride and joy.
Can you believe Phoenix throws in a high-quality cover that is specifically fitted to your boat? What better way to take care of your customers than to give them a cover that even takes the trolling motor into consideration? It says a lot about a company when they give you the tools to take care of their products.
How many boat companies can you think of that don’t charge you for a cover? It might just be me, but I don’t want to pay $1,500 for something that should be standard.
Do you ever get the feeling that someone thought of everything when they built something? Not very often does this happen in life, but wow! When it does happen it just makes you feel good that someone cared more about building something functional than getting your cash. Phoenix seemed to have thought about everything. Seriously, how awesome are retractable cleats?
The livewells are huge. I’ve had an 8-pound bass in there and he was very happy with his temporary room. It definitely isn’t a fish jail cell.
Humminbird Helix 9 graphs were integrated into the console and upfront when I took delivery from the dealer. If you are a person that likes Apple, Amazon or many others, you have come to love seamless integration with all of your devices. The Helix 9 takes this approach resulting in both systems being networked together. They are also capable of connecting other systems, like some of the trolling motors Minn Kota sells.
LED lights are one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread. Every light on the boat is an LED. So now, you can almost guarantee you won’t have to change bulbs and everyone will be able to see you on the water and on the road (yes, the trailer has LEDs too). Heck, even you can see how happy your catch is with well-lit livewells.
The greatness of this boat doesn’t stop at the boat. The trailer is also top-notch. How silly is it to drop $50k on a boat and get a trailer that won’t last? This isn’t the case with the Phoenix trailer. The company allowed their attention to detail and passion for great materials to carry over.
The tandem axle gives you more support and pays your boat back for giving you a good ride by giving it a good ride. And the frame isn’t just painted with Krylon, it’s treated with a Gator Hyde finish. Which is rugged on top of being freshwater and saltwater corrosion resistant.
No more squeaky trailer drum brakes or rusty steel wheels. We live in the 21st century so it isn’t unexpected to see custom aluminum wheels complete with disk brakes.
The trailer comes standard with a swing-away tongue. So if you do have room in your garage, or just leave your truck outside, you can actually shut the door. While I am talking about the trailer, let’s talk about towing. This baby pulled like a dream. I didn’t even notice it was attached to my truck (2500 Ram Cummins).
If you’ve never had a boat with an adjustable jack plate you have been missing out. The Phoenix 819 comes standard with one so you don’t have to put your trolling motor in when cruising in shallow water. And once you are properly trimmed at-speed, adjusting the motor depth will give you more efficiency and speed.
It’s nice to have a Hot Foot pedal. Now you can have both hands on the wheel when you are in those dicey situations as well as keeping control over your speed.
Is It Too Good To Be True?
Not everything is too good to be true, but I ran into a couple of minor issues. Some of which are more of personal preference.
I did have an issue with the livewell pumps. This just seemed like a one-off issue but one day they just stopped working. After several trips to the dealer, they replaced the breaker and solved the issue. From that point forward I never had a problem.
The captive drain plug is great but it isn’t the easiest plug to get to. You have to reach under the boat to get it but it kind of has to be that way because of the hull design. I would much rather have a better ride than a super easy-to-access drain plug.
The Minn Kota Fortrex 80 isn’t a bad trolling motor but I replaced it with the Ultrex 80 with the longer shaft. Sense Ultrex has a longer shaft (more than a foot longer) that allowed more control in rough water than the Fortrex as The head pretty much stayed in the water in fairly rough water.
Not talking bad about the Fortrex, I just got better use out of the Ultrex. So I definitely recommend you upgrade to the Ultrex. We will have to talk about The ultimate feature of the Ultrex… the Spotlock! But that a story for a different time.
After about 2 months I decided to upgrade to the Minn Kota battery charger. The boat came stock with a 2 bank charger but having a 3 bank charger makes more sense when you have 3 batteries.
What Are My Final Thoughts?
I was most impressed by the overall fit and finish of the boat. The layout, storage compartments, and rod lockers are exactly where they need to be. It’s almost like someone knew what they were doing when they designed this boat.
This boat gave me a great experience and I highly recommend it. Not only because the boat is so well-rounded but the Phoenix brand is something I can truly get behind. Having a fellow angler head up the design process and company direction really lets me know that my needs will be met.