Haines and Suzuki have had a long-standing and very successful relationship for many years in Australia and the combination of the 560 Offshore with the brand new 140hp 4-stroke put together by Boats and More enhances that reputation.
The 560 Offshore caters for those advanced fishing requirements with a few of the little luxuries you have come to expect from Haines Hunter. But the heart of this package is some clever thinking by the team at Boats and More. They wanted to present a fishing package at a great price that had the ability to be added to. The base rig will retail under $70,000, however the level of customisation available is staggering. There are more than enough options already on the rig to simply head out and catch a fish, but the options available can make this one hell of a fishing weapon!
Let’s look at the base model as tested and talk about the customisation later.
On the trailer this rig is an eye catcher. The sleek lines of the boat are enhanced by the new look 140hp Suzuki with its swept back cowl and striking black appearance. Every part of this boat, in particular the cockpit, has been carefully designed to maximise space while Haines Hunter’s patented Performance Deadrise Vee (PDV) hull guarantees a smooth ride, precision handling and great performance in bluewater conditions. The boat felt perfect for offshore fishing or for use on a family day on the water.
But it’s not all about the looks. The standard package includes a fully rollered, self-centering Dunbier trailer that even a novice boater will find easy to use. The team has packaged this rig with twin batteries, deck wash, bait station, rear boarding ladder and some basic electronics, giving you enough to get you on the water without the need for additions, but also leaving you enough space to really kit this out as a fishing machine.
We tested the Haines on an oily calm Lake Eildon, certainly not the best test bed for a boat like this, but the rig made this massive waterway seem a little bit smaller. Sporting the brand new 140hp Suzuki 4-stroke, the Haines leapt onto the plane in dramatic fashion leaving me with the feeling that bar crossings would be a breeze as power was plentiful as required. A boat that is headed offshore certainly needs to have enough grunt to get the boat and the crew out of danger quickly and this rig has it in spades.
Hard over turns, either to the port or starboard side, presented no problem for the rig and with a bit of sensible trim work there was no cavitation at all. I had a blast swinging this boat around the main basin of Eildon, creating wakes and crashing through them. It was really good fun. But more seriously we ran the boat parallel to wakes, across wakes and angles to the wakes and every one of these tests were taken well in their stride by the Haines 560 Offshore. And you’d expect that given that this boat has some serious offshore pedigree.
Internally this boat had plenty of room for a three angler crew. Yes it is rated to six persons, however a three person crew means you have a skipper, an angler and a deckie – the perfect combination for things like tuna fishing when you need to work as a team on every fish. If I was to take this boat out snapper fishing, you could take four people easily so long as you had a couple of sets of spreader rod holders to fish the required number of rods. For the bottom bashers, three anglers again would be an ideal number as it would leave plenty of work room for all crew members and enough wiggle room to cross over each other and walk around the boat when necessary.
Other features that make this such an angler friendly rig include the large kill tank, the deck wash, simple bait board and live well. These features add a functionality to your rig that allows you to drift with live baits for kingies, cobia, tuna and more and have the facilities on deck to process your catch and keep it in a fit state for later consumption. After the battle and processing, the deck wash allows you to quickly clean down the working area to ensure it’s not such a massive job when you get back home. And let’s face it, there are few things worse than trying to clean off old and dried blood from your boat when you’ve had a big day on the water!
The helm was set up simply with a multi-function Garmin GMI unit. This allows all of the vital information a skipper needs to access, made available in short order. You can customise the display or cycle through the pre-programmed dispalys to get the information you want. Below the GMI was a Garmin GPSmap 750s, a large sounder unit that revels in finding structure and fish for you. It’s a stand alone, touchscreen chartplotter that comes standard with a 600w transducer for effective work in most situations. For serious anglers who dig deep for their fish, an optional 1kW transducer can be added to give you the capability to see down to over 2,000ft! Lake Eildon didn’t present this problem and it showed up trees, drop-offs, mistings of redfin (bait) and always had a very clear bottom signal. The almost 18cm (diagonal) display was a bonus too, being easy to read at all times while we were on the water.
The helm had loads more space for customisation with marine radios, larger sounders, more gauges, whatever you think you need in fact. The skipper’s area could literally be an electronics hub that would enable you to be on the right spot wherever you are.
The half windscreen can be made fully enclosed by the additions of clears but I loved the feel of the wind in the hair when you stood up to drive this rig. Clears would be great in foul weather though and would be something I’d seriously consider as an option. The bimini was strong, strong enough for me to hang onto it while we ran through some tight corner testing. It also didn’t intrude too far into the working or fishing area. I find there is nothing worse than a bimini cover that impedes on your fishing ability. This was not the case on this boat. Overall I thought there was some clever thinking applied to the design of the 560 Offshore.
What a great boat. I really enjoyed playing around in this boat and actually wished I had the chance to get some salt underneath it and see how it went in some swell. Even a reasonably novice skipper will be able to hone their skills with this rig and, as packaged up by Boats and More, is a really affordable, well thought out and easy to use package.
If you want some comfortable saltwater fishing from snapper in the bays, to drifting some deep reefs and sandy patches or trolling for your first or next tuna, this is one package you’ll need to put on your ‘must-test’ list.
Contact Boats and More on (03) ________ and organise a test run. They have ready rigged demo rigs ready to go out of Melbourne so give them a call and be prepared to be delighted. With packages starting around the $70,000 mark, there is certainly a lot of boat and a lot of fishy options being presented.
|Weight (boat only)||870kg|
|Transom Height Single||25"|