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September 21, 2007

Trophy 1703

This new center console from Trophy offers a lot of fishing room fore and aft, combined with generous storage areas and solid construction. Like all Trophies, the 1703 is built to hold up under years of hard fishing, and is backed by a ten-year limited structural hull warranty. That's company confidence.

Fishermen will appreciate the forward casting deck. This is a large, recessed area that contains both an anchor locker with vertical hanger and a storage box that can serve either as a dry locker or a fishbox. Like all walking surfaces on the 1703, the bow area features a molded-in, diamond non-skid pattern.

Trophy 1703A 54-quart Igloo cooler in front of the console does double duty as a seat, and the backrest on the front of the console flips down to afford access to wiring and extra storage space. The console has the wheel to port with a Faria three-in-one gauge mounted on the centerline, just above the throttle. This leaves lots of room for electronics in two flat panels to port and starboard of the gauge. Trophy has even added an innovative touch to the drink holders by installing tubes that drain out the side of the console.

Versatile Seating

A clever leaning-post setup features a three-position backrest with locking stainless-steel supports. You can arrange the backrest as a traditional helm seat, as a vertical leaning post, or as an aft-facing seat. The leaning post also contains a 52-quart live well and two built-in tackle trays.

The stern arrangement in the 1703 is quite fishing-friendly, with two jumpseats in the aft transom corners and a round motor well to keep water out. The batteries are located beneath the starboard jumpseat, while the compartment below the port seat can be used for extra storage. The cockpit is drained via large scuppers that empty water out the side of the boat through a hose. A telescoping swim ladder comes standard, and there's a stainless hand rail to help haul yourself into the boat. The integrated engine platform is also finished in a non-skid pattern.

Standard fishing features include two rod holders in the covering boards and under-gunwale racks for two rods per side. The 1703 exhibits a very high standard of fit and finish, and has level foam flotation and a fiberglass foam-filled stringer system for years of safe, reliable service.

It also handles very well. We spent an afternoon fishing the boat out of Placida, on Florida's west coast, and although there wasn't much chop to be found we can say that this 17-footer is up to most any task you might reasonably expect of a boat of its size. It gets on plane very quickly and runs with a level attitude, responding quickly and positively to any changes in engine trim.

The 1703 comes with a 90-hp Mercury two-stroke outboard as standard power, but a four-stroke 90 is optional, as is a 125-hp two-stroke. Our test boat was powered by the 125-hp Mercury, which posted a cruise speed of 31.3 mph, and a wide-open speed of 41.2 mph.

Clearly, the 1703 will be an excellent choice for those who demand versatility from a boat, as it will do well at both inshore and limited offshore fishing. Plus it comes with lots of standard features, including a galvanized Escort trailer. It's a lot of value packed into 17 feet.

Trophy Boats, Everett, WA; (800) 544-6220; www.trophyfishing.com.