When you think about it, it’s not hard to understand why plastic boats work and work well. I mean, they build everything else from plastic so why would a boat be any different? For many anglers, plastic boats are a hard concept to get their head around, but there are several features that make Polycraft boats an appealing option.
For a start there is no issue of expensive gelcoat repairs when you manage to hit something, so Polycraft boats give anglers the scope to be a bit rough on their boats in the fishing environment. In addition there are none of the electrolysis problems that are often a never-ending issue with aluminium boats. The other bonus is that they are very quiet in the water because to the plastic absorbs noise. It’s no surprise, therefore, that over the past few years there has been a lot of hardcore fishers swinging towards Polycraft boats.
Having done a bit of fishing in smaller Polycraft boats and being suitably impressed with what they offer, it was with enthusiasm that I headed out on Port Phillip Bay to take out a bigger Polycraft, this time the 5.99 Cuddy Cab. The boat I was to test was in fact built to survey standards as it was going to be used by the Melbourne Water Board
From a distance you wouldn’t know it was plastic because it there is a very ‘aluminium’ look about the shape. It’s not till you get closer that you realise it is not ally but something different.
On the trailer the high sides and steep sharp bow clearly indicate the 5.99 is designed for bay and open water work. It’s not until you take a look at the transom that you realise there are some very different features to the hull. With two massive reverse chines combined with the full length running strakes and a 2.44m beam, it doesn’t take Einstein to see this hull is going to have plenty of bite and stability on the water.
The internal layout of the boat is kept fairly basic which serves well for people who want a simple yet functional layout.
There is good access to the forward cabin area because it is level the whole way through. This area could make a good space to lie down in with the addition of a cushion. There is also good storage room beneath three hatches that will easily accommodate safety gear and other required items, plus extra storage space up front in the side pockets.
Access to the bow of the boat is through a front hatch and it is easy to get a good footing to launch and retrieve the anchor.
The dash layout has all the required gauges and a small matrix sounder. The only down side I could see was that it may take a bit juggling to fit a bigger sounder or GPS, as dash space was at a premium.
The passenger’s side has a lock up glove box and a handy grab rail for extra support, while the padded bucket seats sit on top of two moulded plastic boxes that provide extra storage space.
The fully carpeted floor throughout the boat helped to make it comfortable and very quiet. Being a nice basic layout it allows for plenty of workspace in the back of the boat.
The transom design is a good one, being flat across the back it allows full access and use of the back of the boat. This includes a full-length fold up seat with flip out legs. It’s a neat and simple feature that allows you to have a rear seat in a matter of seconds. Added to this, when it’s down as it would be for fishing, it covers the twin battery systems that are recessed into a section on the starboard side. The port side has the same recess, which can be used for storage, or for the oil bottle on oil injected engines.
In the centre of the floor at the transom is also another compartment, which would make a great kill tank or icebox to store fish in. It also has a big drain plug so it becomes much easier to clean.
Across the actual transom there are two small hatches that would be good for holding bait for a snapper session or small live baits such as poddy mullet. There are also several rod holders and it would be very easy to put a snapper rack across the back of the boat to allow you to fish multiple rods.
Whether it’s on the trailer or in the water, the rear steps make getting in and out of the boat a simple task with stainless steel grab rails and a fold down ladder on the port side of the boat.
In the water this craft is very quiet when moving, due to the exceptionally quiet 150hp 4 stroke Honda, and the poly material absorbing the noise of the water.
Out on the Bay it wasn’t what you would call ideal boat testing weather, so we had to make our own waves. It was, however, one of those idyllic days that you see in the boating ads with hot babes in bikinis sitting in the back of the boat. Unfortunately the best we could muster was on Fabulous Phill Jones, lounging back on the rear seat soaking up the warmth on the sunny day.
The 21 degree deadrise saw the Honda push the Polycraft onto the plane at 1500rpm and 15mph, while it cruised very nicely at 2000rpm and 28mph. Full noise had the Honda revving at 5300rpm and the hull scooting along at 47mph.
As for its stability at rest it was impressive! Not to mention that when thrown into tight turns, there is no lean on the hull. Instead it digs in and turns like a go-cart. You really need to be hanging on when a sharp turn is thrown as it can easily send an unprepared person sprawling.
I have been in a Polycraft offshore too, and can vouch for the fact that the poly material absorbs the crunch and bang of those bone crunching waves to give a surprisingly soft ride.
Hull Length: 5.99m
Hull tow weight: 1950kg
Fuel capacity: 200L, underfloor
Engine: 150hp V-tec Honda
Price: $55,000 as tested