The US Crestliner boats are priced competitively, incredibly well designed and laid out and deliver a ride which finds other aluminium boats left wanting.
So if you are in the market for a new fishing vessel and love the thought of stalking the calm waters of your local estuary or impoundment, check out the Fish Hawk 1600 SC.
The Fish Hawk 1600 SC is suited to all manner of inshore sport fishing pursuits. Its compact size makes it super-easy to tow and launch single-handedly and the side console layout maximises fishing space.
Having tested a number of the other Crestliner models with full-width windscreens over the last year, it was a pleasant return to the wide-open fishing platform that the side-console layout provides.
This great use of space delivers multiple-use compartments providing storage for everything except a large Enviro-style landing net. Even this could be accommodated with the addition of a strap system on the bow.
A noticeable option not fitted to the test boat was a bow roller and stainless cleat just forward of the anchor well located under the forward casting platform.
A small cuddy under the bow deck is a great spot for ropes and other boat accessories that don’t mind a bit of exposure to the elements.
Under the gunwales at the bow are twin storage pockets, great space for soft-plastic lure pouches or a roll-up brag mat. Further storage compartments and a 75L plumbed livewell are also under the bow casting platform, which has a pedestal seat base.
The cockpit floor is lined with hard-wearing vinyl for ease of cleaning. Four pedestal bases provide different seating options and another is mounted on the raised rear casting deck. The swivelling pedestal seats are well-upholstered and fold down.
Along both sides of the cockpit are raised carpeted compartments, the port side suitable for rods up to 7’ long. The starboard compartment is perfect for the all-round white light pole, lifejackets, first aid kit and personal effects you want to keep dry.
Along the inside port gunwale are two grab handles for the passengers.
The console has a low-profile sports windscreen and looks good as well. There are gauges, switches, a horn button, drink holder, a small glovebox, open shelf and a fire extinguisher.
The package comes standard with a monochrome Lowrance X-4 fish finder, suitable for basic fishing but I would upgrade this to a GPS combo colour unit.
The composite steering wheel is angled well for seated steering, although when standing it requires a bit of nimble handwork to manoeuvre the boat quickly. The outboard controls are flush mounted in the gunwale in easy reach.
Under the stern casting platform are two further storage compartments, the port housing the battery and battery isolation switch. A small hatch on starboard side provides access to a small compartment to store items that don’t mind a bit of water. I’d suggest a tub for an assorted sinker selection, a small chopping board, and sponges, scrub brushes and the like.
Positioned out of the way in the starboard rear corner gunwale are the fuel tank filler cap and the flush mount/plug for the all-round white light.
The Mercury 60hp EFI four-stroke pushed the rig quickly enough up and out of the hole; if you like a faster take-off there is always scope to upsize to 75hp.
The lines of the Fish Hawk are super sleek and the extruded spray rails do a great job in deflecting spray outwards and downwards to deliver a dry ride.
The seating positions are in the sweet spot for great handling. If anything, the boat rides better two up than single-handedly.
The 1600 SC gets on the plane with ease and when turned hard into corners at reasonable pace, the hull banks safely and feels under control. The test day presented idyllic conditions unable to test the variable deadrise, which should have no problems making its way across harbour and estuary chop.
Given the level, almost flat riding nature of these hulls, a little lift of the trim encourages the hull to ride a little higher and zip along with less of the bow in contact with the water.
At rest, stability is such that both anglers can fish from all areas of the boat (provided they have decent sea legs).
This package will be right at home among entry-level tournament anglers and those who ply the mangrove lined creeks of the far north. The side-console set-up speaks sport fishing language in anyone’s vocabulary.
The addition of a bow roller and stainless cleat will improve its adaptability to many Australian angling styles, as will at least one upright rod rack and a few extra gunwale-mounted rod holders (two are included in the standard package but were not fitted to the test boat).
I also see the rear pedestal seat position housing a cutting board/workstation/ tackle tray set-up, which can double as a lean post instead of a seat.
I’d be pretty stoked to have a rig like this for my estuary and inland fishing. It’s relatively compact to store and tow and easy to launch and retrieve.
Priced to be seriously competitive in a tough market, the Fish Hawk 1600 SC is worth a look and a sea trial.
The test Crestliner Fish Hawk 1600 SC came from Avante Marine, 210- 212 Silverwater Road, Silverwater NSW 2128, phone 02 9737 0727 or visit avantemarine.com..au. Price from $31,897 with 60hp Mercury four-stroke on Dunbier CL single-axle, braked trailer.
Material – Aluminium, foam filled With Level Buoyancy
|Hull deadrise||Variable, max 17°|
|Total weight BMT||840 kg|
Standard inclusions: plumbed live-bait tank, bilge pump, navigation lights, switch panel, battery switch, livewell, 2 rod holders, inshore saltwater safety kit for 6 persons, 12 months registration.