Open top tinnies are the staple boat of the Australian angler – can anyone who regularly visits the waterways of south east Australia recall a day out when at least a couple of open top tinnies zip by.
I certainly can’t, and boats like the Stacer 469 Northern Fisher are a classic example of a well built, well designed boat suited to the angler and their family that love to hit a wide variety of boating venues.
Open tinnies are the logical boat for those either buying their first boat, or who love a big open work space in a boat that doesn’t need $40k of 4WD to tow it. The 469 Northern Fisher is a classic example of how versatile and effective an open top boat can be.
I’m reluctant to call this a dinghy, because the name dinghy seems to conjure up mental images of a small ‘glass or timber boat that needs oars to move. This boat is a beamy, stable and safe fishing platform with a zippy 50hp engine that can go from dead-slow troll to 60kmh in a blink. Maybe it is just me, but dinghies don’t do that!
The boat is very beamy at 2.2m, which creates that instant feel of stability and safety. High gunnels means that this boat is family friendly – no fear of the rug rats climbing out without you noticing and the more ‘mature’ anglers amongst us will appreciate the confidence that this brings.
The floor is very solid and fully carpeted, with basic but functional storage pockets on either side. A few rod holders as well to hold the flatty rod while drifting along and four different seat locations to place the seats.
In the bow there is a self-draining anchor well which is plumbed to the starboard side and to the port of that is a fully welded bracket for the now-ubiquitous bow mount electric engine.
The hull is about 4.8m long, which is plenty to subdue the choppiest conditions found in most estuaries and freshwater lakes that this side of boat is best suited to.
When first boarding the boat I was amazed at the amount of room that the open deck layout provides. With the power being provided by the new generation tiller steer Evinrude E-tec, the whole dance floor was clear of side consoles and the rest of the gear often found in boats this size.
Anglers wanting the flexibility to chase bream and trout with lure and fly on one day and then take the kids out flatty fishing on the next will love this boat. It is shallow enough in the draft to allow flats-style fishing yet has more than enough V to carve a cleft in any decent chop.
It should also be noted that this boat is a blank canvas – all the usual additions of sounders and so on can be fitted at the point of sale.
Dealer principal at Maynes Marine in Hobart, Reg Turner says that brackets can be organised at the time of purchase and all fitted in short time to suit the new owner. Reg rightly points out that where one angler will want electronics on the port side, others prefer the starboard side. The same goes with batteries for the electric, pumps and so on. Talk to Reg and then work out what you need – he will sort it out.
True to form, the Derwent on the day of test was bleak. In fact, bleak is too nice. Cold and darn wet is a better description. Still, Reg and I are made of sterner stuff and we slipped the boat into the Derwent at the refurbished Prince of Wales Bay ramp on the city side of the river.
Prince of Wales Bay is a lovely sheltered bay in the heart of the industrial hub of Hobart – scenic is isn’t.
The trailer set up is perfect for this type of vessel, and Reg quietly powered the boat off the trailer and eased it into the floating pontoon. The extended tiller steer arm of the Evinrude E-tec 50hp added to the manoeuvrability of the boat, but more on the engine later.
Reg and I are classic examples of the typical Aussie angler – handsome but slightly heavier than your average jockey! With the two of us in the boat it remained very stable and caused no issues at all while we moved around the boat and pretended to be fishing! Once out past a ‘suspected’ 5knot limit I trimmed in the engine and gave the throttle a decent twist. The bow popped up for a second and then on to the plane it went and took off like smelly stuff of a shiny shovel. Pinged onto the plane would be an apt description.
The trim and tilt control is right on the end of the tiller arm right under your thumb, so it is incredibly easy to adjust the trim to really get this boat skimming along. This boat is like any well-set up craft, it doesn’t really require any really fiddling with the trim to get good performance. A keen ear to the engine ‘tone’ will soon let you know if it is trimmed up too much.
Tight turns need the engine to be trimmed in to keep the prop gripping the water and preventing any cavitation of the propeller.
The Derwent didn’t really throw up any of that chunky chop that it is renowned for, but figure-eights over our wash and the small wind-blown chop was chewed up by this boat, remained a dry ride and in reality you could wish for anything better in an open boat.
This boat is about 16’ in the old measurements, so it has considerable scope to handle some decent slop. A friend of mine has a smaller model in the same range and is astounded at its rough weather capabilities – this model would be no different.
The engine fitted to this boat is about perfect in size and weight. 50hp is a good number for an estuary and lake boat – it is rated to 60hp and if you were predominantly fishing at altitude ad with three passengers you might consider that, but I was more than impressed with the Evinrude E-tec fitted to this boat. Considering it was the first time on the water for the engine it was awesome.
The tiller arm is adjustable left or right to suit the helm position, and while for me it needed a bit of adjustment, this is only a minor thing that is easily sorted out at time of purchase.
The gear change is smooth and silky, the start button is great and the trim and tilt toggle is perfectly positioned. These are well-known now for their reliable direct injection technology that is quiet, clean and powerful.
Trailers these days are in a new world, with many now being constructed from aluminium. Boats spend more time on the trailer than in the water (unless you are very luck) and as such need a well-fitted and reliable trailer.
The hull with this package is well supported with full-length skids with rollers in the right place to get you on and off the trailer without any hassles.
It is just as easy to drive it on rather than winching it – either way it is effortless.
Add to that disc brakes and allow wheels and apart from normal maintenance you won’t spend much time worrying about the trailer.
This boat is at the budget end of the market and is suited for a wide range of boating and fishing uses. It’s wide open spaces allow for three anglers to fish comfortably, and two anglers can cast lures or fly fish easily. Put your electronics where you want with the help from Reg at Maynes and you will have a great boat that handles rough water, is stable when fishing and performs well under power.
What more could you ask for under twenty grand?Reads: 1533