The design, performance and handling of the US Crestliner boats should be no secret to regular readers.
The Super Hawk 1600 is a stealthy calm-water fishing boat with the ability to convert from serious fishing platform to family fun boat in under 60 seconds, and that is no mean feat.
One thing died-in-the-wool fishing fanatics dislike is family cruising boats that try to masquerade as fishing boats. Nine times out of 10, they just don’t work.
Take a look at many of the bow riders, local and imported, to see where the let-downs are. I’m not saying they are bad boats; they are great fun, deliver a lot for the dollars and some of them handle so well it is disappointing to step back into many dedicated fishing boats.
But fishing in my mind is what boats were built for – everything else comes in second place.
So when I first laid eyes on the Super Hawk 1600 with all its seats folded up, I was sceptical to say the least at how this platform would really shape up when it came to serious fishing.
The beautiful thing is that once the seats are folded down, loads of stable, carpeted standing or pedestal seated fishing space is available for two to three anglers. With the seats up, there are enough cushioned resting spots for at least six people.
Storage is ample. Under the port gunwale is an open rod rack, with enough space to store up to six rods out of the way. This rack can store one or two 7’ rods in the top two spaces with shorter poles below because of the intrusion of the passenger foot well.
Two gunwale rod holders were to be fitted later to the test boat, which had only just been unpacked and sea-trialled prior to my arrival.
Additional rod holders are an option I would definitely select. Having six mounted in the gunwales is a great way to ensure there is always somewhere close by to safely rest a rod.
It would also be worth considering mounting one or two upright rod racks so you can have a number of rigged outfits at the ready.
Lure and fly anglers or live-baiters would have few problems with this boat although if you use cut bait or pillies the marine carpet fitted could get messy. There was no bait board fitted but an aftermarket selection would overcome this issue.
Other noticeable additions which would improve the fishability of this rig are a bow-mount electric motor and a sonar GPS combo on the skipper’s console.
With these additions the Super Hawk 1600 is the perfect harbour, estuary, lake and inshore serious fishing vessel.
The layout and design of this feature-packed boat are impressive.
From the well-appointed anchor well, sturdy bow roller, and casting/storage platform to the fold-away seating at the rear, it is obviously user-friendly.
The plate aluminium hull features a unique tongue-and-groove locking system that increases the rigidity and welds run the full length of every join. Coupled with injected foam, the construction delivers a solid ride and level buoyancy.
Aggressive reverse chines deliver stability at rest and deflect spray down and out while under way.
The high walk-through windscreen is practical, provides easy bow access and plenty of protection.
The swivelling pedestal seats for driver and passenger can be rearranged at rest for seated fishing on the forward and aft casting decks, where the pedestal bases are offset to equalise weight distribution and maximise balance.
The dash layout is simple with good visibility of instruments and through the windscreen.
The fold-away seats extend the bow and rear casting decks are an ingenious solution to the ongoing seating problem for family-friendly fishing boats, and I expect we will see more convertible styles. It will be interesting to see how the folding steel frames cope with continuous saltwater use.
The battery, isolation switch and cables are easily accessible via a hatch in the rear casting deck There is also enough space to house a deep-cycle battery for a bow-mounted electric, although it would be worth considering how this will affect the balance under way and the distance the cables need to be run.
The Super Hawk 1600 was powered by a Mercury 75hp EFI four-stroke fed by a 75L underfloor fuel tank. The fill cap is just in front of the driver’s windscreen.
With a 17” prop top speed at wide-open throttle was a touch over 34 knots (64kmh), enough to get you quickly to your next destination in calm conditions.
Steering is hydraulic and at trolling speed the hull responds well and has a relatively tight turning circle. In reverse gear some water does push up onto the casting deck if you ‘give it some’ and while this may trouble those anglers operating in choppy conditions, these boats are foam-filled to achieve level buoyancy.
Powering into and out of corners felt confident and the boat really clung to its lines. Crossing and riding chop and boat wakes was also comfortable, with the hull tracking true with no rolling or broaching.
At rest with just myself on board, I did notice my weight shifting the resting line of the boat just a little but standing at any location felt safe. Stability was good.
All the Crestliners I have tested share a unique behaviour: they all run flat from take-off to top speed. From the first touch of the throttle the hull just wants to hang onto the surface. Even trimming the engine out does little to modify this.
North American boaters and anglers use their boats in subtly different ways to Australians. To address these alternative approaches and in recognition of the growing market Down Under, Crestliner has taken the time to send their management and design to team to learn just what is needed to make their boats even better for Aussies.
The Super Hawk 1600 enjoys the addition of an anchor well and sturdy bow roller and a deeper transom requiring a long leg outboard for peace of mind in choppy, open water.
Comfortable, safe towing and ease of launch and retrieve are important factors to consider when purchasing a new boat. The Dunbier 5m Loader is a proven design of single-axle, braked trailer, built with quality fittings and easily available spares.
With a total weight of 915kg on the road, this inshore rig can be towed comfortably behind most family sedans and wagons.
There is loads to like about the way this compact boat is fitted out. It’s a well-thought-through compromise for a dedicated inshore fishing platform one minute, and a family-friendly fun boat the next.
So if you’re in the market for a vessel that fits this bill, make a visit to your local dealer to check out this and the other models in the Crestliner range.
|Total weight BMT||915kg|
|Total length BMT||7m|
|Total height BMT||1.96m|
|Capacity||6 adults, 587kg|
Standard: Plumbed live bait tank, bilge pump, navigation lights, switch panel, battery switch, inshore saltwater safety kit for 6 persons, 12 months registration.
Priced from $35,998 with 75hp Mercury 4 Stroke on Dunbier 5m Loader single-axle, braked trailer.
Test boat from Avante Marine, 210-212 Silverwater Rd, Silverwater NSW 2128, ph 02 9737 0727 email --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 5583