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Tracker Grizzly 1648 Jon Boat Review

Ian Fortey by Ian Fortey Updated on November 14, 2022. In Jon Boats

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Tracker’s line of Grizzly jon boats offer a great option for those looking for reasonably priced aluminum jon boats that are still well made, even if they don’t have a ton of features. The Tracker Grizzly 1648 is a solid model that is one of Tracker’s more popular models. Let’s check it out.

What Is it 

The Tracker Grizzly 1648 is a simple jon boat meant for fishing or hunting and actually comes in two versions. The most bare bones which we’re covering here is just the 1648 jon but be aware that there is the Tracker Grizzly 1648 SC (side console). That version has the console sport steering wheel if you’re into something with more control and features but it does cost more as well. Both still feature the rock solid construction of a complete aluminum jon boat. 

At 16 feet it’s a respectable length for heading out on the water alone or with a couple of friends and family to go fishing or hunting. There are options for a camo paint job if you are more of a duck hunter and want some coverage that the basic model doesn’t provide for you.

The Grizzly is a boat best suited for those who aren’t looking for a lot of bells and whistles but instead have an interest in something solid and utilitarian that won’t necessarily break the bank.

Key Features of the Tracker Grizzly 1648 Jon Boat

There are limited features available for the Tracker Grizzly 1648 and the only options are color options plus a trailer. That said, here are some highlights that make the Grizzly a stand out.

  • 0.100 5052 marine alloy hull
  • Large front deck space
  • Lockable storage compartment
  • 7° deadrise Mod V hull
  • The Tracker Promise. A 5  year bow-to-stern warranty that covers parts and labor for defects in materials and workmanship on electrical components, livewells and plumbing, stereo, gauges, switches, console(s), windshield, steering wheel, fishing seats, carpet, vinyl, fuel system and gelcoat and more. Some of these features, as you can see, apply to boats beyond the range of the Grizzly 1648.
  • Limited lifetime warranty on hull, interior ribs, transom, exterior welds and decking
  • 3 year warranty on powder coat adhesion to the aluminum, plus the factory-installed trolling motor and the factory-installed fishfinder for three years.
  • Bow & aft pedestal seat base locations
  • Non-skid interior
  • 4 tie off cleats
  • Accessory-mounting channel in gunnels
  • Trolling motor mounting surface along bow edge
  • Welded-in, foam-filled interior side walls that cut down on noise and vibration
  • Welded-in longitudinal stringer system for full-length support along the running surface

Specs

  • 16 feet long
  • 6’ beam
  • 16” interior depth
  • 21” transom height
  • Aluminum hull
  • 4 person weight capacity of 555 lbs
  • Max total capacity including gear weight of 1,055 lbs
  • Dry weight 640 lbs
  • Average package weight of 1,305 lbs

Pros

  • Arguably one of the best if not the literal best factory warranty in the business. Tracker just blows the competition out of the water when it comes to the factory warranty on their aluminum jon boats. The features we listed above don’t even cover everything, those were just some of the highlights. This thing has wall to wall coverage for almost anything you can imagine going wrong with it which, for the price, should put your mind at ease about the quality of the boat.
  • The welded hull is solid and a lightweight frame make this a tough but lightweight boat overall and it should have some longevity if you take care of it.
  • The hulls on these boats are pretty solid and definitely add weight. It’s a sturdy boat when made right and their construction does offer a smoother ride in my experience compared to some lighter weight jon boats that are also 16 feet long. That, in turn, means this has a longer life expectancy than some other low cost aluminum boats that are going to get dinged up and start falling apart on you after a few years.

Cons

  • Really bare bones boat means this is maybe a good starter craft for someone new to jon boats or boat fishing, or someone looking for a truly simple boat for taking the kids out to do some fishing. If you’re more serious about your fishing and boating, you may find that this model lacks a lot of what you’re going to be looking for. 
  • For all the praise I lumped on Tracker in the pros section when it comes to construction and warranty, we need to address people’s real world experience with the Tracker Grizzly and while it looks awesome on paper, in practice sometimes there are problems getting customer service to follow through. I can’t say that you’ll for sure have a problem, but more than a couple of Tracker owners have expressed issues online with getting customer service to respond or make good on warranty issues. 
  • The welded seams on Tracker boats have a reputation for failing sometimes. This seems to be a manufacturer and workmanship issue and it’s easy enough to fix a welded seam that’s leaking but it shouldn’t be an issue in the first place. Again, this is not every boat or even the majority of boats, but it’s a complaint that more than one owner has mentioned. 
  • Building off the previous point, early 2000s models of Tracker Grizzlies had manufacturing defects that were known and later repaired. That said, if you find a used Grizzly between from between 2000 and 2005 it may suffer from cracks in the hull.

Price

Straight from Tracker’s website the Grizzly 1648 costs $5,395. That’s for the forest green version. You can upgrade our hull color to either Grassland Camo or Woodland Camo. Either option will add $500 to the final price.  You can also add a 16’  single-axle, custom-matched trailer that will increase the price again by $1,995.

Compared to similar jon boats that are also 16 feet, this is actually very reasonably priced but you are definitely getting a pretty basic boat for the money. Remember that you’re going to want to add a trolling motor and that will add to the final cost for you

What You Need to Know

2019 Tracker Utility 1648 Jon Studio

The Tracker Grizzly is a fully welded boat so you may be able to find similar boats that are cheaper but they’re riveted and not welded. Keep that in mind if you’re comparing the Tracker to something like the Alumacraft MV1648. The Alumacraft is similar in regards to features and performance but costs about $2000 less because of the construction. 

What People Are Saying About This Versatile Aluminum Jon Boat

Tracker has been making jon boats for a long time now so there’s a lot of opinions and personal insight to look through when you want to find people’s thoughts and man do people have thoughts. There are some polarized opinions on Tracker so let’s go over what I found to be the things people brought up most often both for and against them.

Warranty

I touched on this earlier and it’s very interesting to see how the warranty, which sounds great as presented by Tracker, works in real life for real boat owners. A lot of Tracker owners have said that the warranty absolutely is as good as it sounds and they had no issues. Repairs are often quick and relatively hassle free, which is great.

On the downside, a few owners have said that Tracker is very slow to communicate when you try to initiate repairs under warranty. Another issue was that some repairs are denied even if the boat is under a year old still. It’s hard to say why some were rejected but at least one owner told me that they had an issue with the inside strakes cracking around the welds and the warranty coverage being denied because the welds are guaranteed and not the internal bracing. 

Pricing

There are a couple of ways to look at the pricing of the Tracker Grizzly 1648. For the materials used, which are tough and sturdy, I think and so do a lot of others that you’re getting a solid deal. But I have seen others point out that you can get a 0.070 material hull for less than half the price and, arguably, if that fell apart you could literally buy a whole new hull and just swap over the engine and whatever accessories you have and still not pay as much for basically two boats as you’d pay for the Grizzly.  That may be true but, as was also pointed out, do you want to spend a couple thousand dollars on a basically disposable boat? The Grizzly is tough and can last a long time so it’s a better investment in the long run, at least as far as most people are concerned.

Workmanship

Some owners of the Tracker Grizzly have brought up issues with the welds and the electrical systems not working well. In addition there’s been some problems with the overall power and speed. Remember, this is a heavier boat made from heavier materials and if the engine isn’t powerful enough you’re going to feel a little draggy in the water. This will seem more pronounced against a lighter weight boat that may have a weaker engine but still get better speed on the water than the Grizzly.

Do We Recommend It?

All things being equal, I do recommend the Tracker Grizzly 1648 if you want a lower cost but solidly built jon boat that doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles. Or any at all, really. The Tracker Grizzly 1648 seems to be Tracker’s best selling model of jon boat and there are a lot of them on the water. That’s arguably the reason we were able to find so many complaints about certain issues when looking into this model. But in my own experience, none of that was relevant. My friend has had a Grizzly 1648 for a couple of years and we went out for an afternoon, had a couple of drinks and caught one fish between us. Not the best outcome, but it was a solid boat, it handled really well and he’s had no complaints about it at all.

The more popular something is, the more people who have a problem with it there will be. But for every person who has had an issue there seem to be dozens more who have been enjoying their boat trouble free. For that reason, I recommend it as a well built, good value boat but do keep in mind the issues others have had. 

About Ian

My grandfather first took me fishing when I was too young to actually hold up a rod on my own. As an avid camper, hiker, and nature enthusiast I'm always looking for a new adventure.

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