The SeaJay 440 Discovery Sports is a fantastic boat that will suit estuary, river and lake fishers as they search out all sorts of native and introduced fish. Matched with the Suzuki 50hp four-stroke, the combination was brilliant and I thought extremely well balanced. Let’s take a look at this package in more detail.
The venue was the home of cod fishing, Lake Mulwala, and with me on the test day was Peter Jung. We’re both keen freshwater anglers and we are very familiar with small tinnies and love to use them. When given the chance by the team at Boats and More in Shepparton to ‘borrow’ this boat for a morning on Lake Mulwala, well, we really had no other choice than to say yes. I reckon it took all of about half a second to say yes, but…
SeaJay is a Queensland boat building company well known for producing strong boats that take all the punishment anglers can dish out. These boats are built with anglers in mind and because SeaJay is a smaller company, there are no problems with quality control and customer service, both of which are first rate.
A few mates have SeaJay boats that are 5-10 years old and they are in no way inclined to part with them just yet!
The 440 Discovery Sports is one of the latest models offered by SeaJay and it ticks a lot of boxes for anglers. For starters, matching it to a 50hp outboard gives you heaps of power when you need it, but it’s not such a big outboard that you’ll need a very large wallet to pay for the fuel. And the 50hp outboard is the maximum horsepower for the 440 Discovery Sports, something I like seeing on boats that are rated to carry four persons.
The Suzuki 50hp on the test boat was extremely frugal on fuel, whisper-quiet and had power to burn both out of the hole and when hitting top speeds. We actually wound it out to 28 knots on a dead-flat Lake Mulwala, so she should get a few more knots in saltwater and when the motor wears in a little bit more.
The 440 Discovery Sports is built with a 2mm bottom and 1.6mm sides to help keep the weight down, but this does not affect the strength of the rig. There are 10 floor ribs and some first-class welding that provide the structural strength that will enable the Discovery Sports to take on plenty of work in freshwater, estuaries and bays.
The deck layout is very angler-friendly. Starting from the stern there is a short rear casting platform that also houses a livewell on the port side. This area can accommodate an angler if the need arises. The rear deck also has a hatch that gives access to things like the bilge pump (if installed) and it is carpeted to provide that little extra grip when you’re fishing from it.
The cockpit area is set up very well. The small, free-standing console is large enough to take a switch panel and a couple of instruments, while the top can accommodate virtually any sounder. Be aware, though, that really large sounders will have the bottom of the screen blocked out by the steering wheel.
Also fitted to the console was the impressive trolling rpm regulator that is an option on many of Suzuki’s outboards (more on that later). The console also had a small wind-deflecting screen for the skipper, a grab rail right over the top (very sensible) and also some internal storage space by way of an opening at the skipper’s feet with a shelf that will easily take things like phones and wallets.
The seating was pretty impressive. SeaJay has understood we like our creature comforts and their latest seats are fabulous. Comfy, strong and foldable for transport, there are four seat sockets to enable users to customise the seating to suit what type of fishing they are doing.
For example when you’re under way, having both seats towards the stern is the best option, but when you’re trolling, moving the first mate’s seat up towards the bow so he/she can see the rod tips and face backwards is the best idea.
I like the options available with seating positions and most boaties simply don’t use this to their full advantage.
The front deck is beautifully simple. For starters, it is large enough so two anglers can easily cast and retrieve lures there without getting in each other’s way too often.
There is a large central hatch that gives access to volumes of storage and things like PFDs, safety kits and some spare clothing or tackle can all be placed in here. The anchor well is also hidden under a hatch to keep the front deck neat and tidy and free of all the rope and chain that can easily trip an unwary angler.
The test rig was fitted out with a Minn Kota RipTide, a mandatory item in my opinion on any boat that is intended to be used for lure fishing at any time.
There are few things like blasting off in a new boat and seeing what it’s got. You’re not sure how fast it’ll go, you’re not sure how it will handle, you’re not sure just how to get the most speed out of the rig. With all this in mind, I had no hesitation in flat-sticking the throttle and going for a blast on a mirror-smooth Lake Mulwala.
To say the rig leapt onto the plane is probably about right. And the rig took a little out-trim before those annoying porpoising leaps started up at full speed. Trimming the outboard back down sorted that out and then it was a matter of simply jiggling the trim to see what maximum speed we could get. We managed to eke out just over 28 knots (52km/h) two-up in this rig, and in a waterway festooned with timber, that’s plenty fast enough!
But speed isn’t everything and people who own this package will likely troll and this is a good test of boat, motor and dealer set-up.
At idle, you could troll most cod-style lures easily. Some may say the rig trolled a little too fast, but I reckon sometimes troll speeds can be bumped up a bit to incite an attack.
But, and this is the best part of this rig, the Suzuki allows the skipper to adjust the rpm of the outboard up or down in 50 rpm increments with their Troll Mode.
This ingenious little device bleeds the speed off so well you can physically feel it happening as you decrease the rpms or increase them. With this rig, the slowest trolling speed is achievable, so winged lure trollers, lead-liners, downriggers and cod trollers can all breathe easy about the trolling speeds capable with the set-up Boats and More has compiled.
As you would expect in a v-nosed punt, stability at rest was impressive. Pete and I jumped up the front and did some calisthenics around the front deck to really test the stability and neither of us fell in.
The fact we are getting old and a little less stable is a good testament to this boat’s stability. I have a chuckle to myself as I imagine what the passing traffic was thinking as two grown men with PFDs on were essentially dancing on the front deck. Oh well, some call it work!
After this we spent a good half an hour doing all sorts of turns and figure-of-eights to see how well this boat cornered. We’ve all heard the term ‘it corned like it was on rails’. Well, this is one of the few boats I have been in where I can say this without reservation.
Cornering was superb, whether at wide-open throttle or at mid-speeds. We pushed and pushed this rig to get it to cavitate and could only find air around the prop when the motor was trimmed well out and we did a full left or right turn at maximum speed.
Just so everyone is aware, this is not how to drive a boat; you should trim the outboard in a little and drop some speed before sharp cornering, for a number of very good reasons. But it’s always good to find the limits and this boat was exceptional when it came to cornering.
I have always liked SeaJay boats. They’re tough, reliable, built well and the team at Dave Hill Marine, Nowra, can supply a 440 Discovery Sports, powered by a sporty, reliable and economical 50hp Evinrude E-Tec outboard and on a _____ trailer for a drivr-away price of $______. It ticks a whole lot of boxes and at that price, it makes great value-for-money sense, too.
Check out the 440 Discovery Sports on the SeaJay website (www.seajayboats.com.au) or contact the team at Dave Hill Marine, 1 Berry Street, Nowra, on 02 4423 6137. There are plenty of options available to this basic package, but you could also fish for years straight up in the standard model.
|Depth – incl. console rail||1.29m|
|Max motor weight||120kg|
Anchor cavity; battery rack – under front hatch; bungs – 38mm x 2; cast platform – front/carpeted/hatches x 2; cast platform – rear/hatch; console (side) – screen/shelf; electric motor mount; carpeted plywood floor; underfloor flotation; fuel line from front storage rack to transom; gunwale rubber inserts; rear handles; plumbed live bait tank; paint – chine up and inside (coloured sides optional); pinstriping; rod holders; spray chines; cable steering (hydraulic optional); tank rack under front cast platform; tank rack (1/2) under rear cast platform; towing eye; transducer bracket; wide side decks.
Price as tested: $