Along the southwest coast of Victoria there is a diversity of fishing opportunities available seasonally. Offshore there is some excellent fishing for snapper, sharks, yellowtail kingfish and blue fin tuna, a number of estuaries to chase bream, mulloway and perch and some of the best trout and salmon fishing in the regions stocked lakes. Throw in some of the world class diving along the rugged ‘Shipwreck Coast’ and the opportunities are endless.
I’ve been looking for a boat for a while that is versatile and I didn’t want to limit myself with the selection of my latest vessel. I wanted something I could do just about everything locally in, but that could also hit the road for a trip interstate.
I’ve always liked open boats and, although they lack protection that cabins provide down here in the cooler extremities of the country, the versatility and space on the deck is second to none. The key to the versatility of this style of boat is in the space that it provides. Earlier this year I worked with local boat builder Ed Richardson from Richardson Marine, Warrnambool to come up with a new custom open rear side console, and with 6 months fishing in it (across NSW, VIC and SA) I think I’ve found exactly what I was looking for – the Seacruiser 5600C!
The Seacruiser brand, while relatively new, has come about as a result of a long-time obsession with high quality aluminium marine fabrication. The Seacruiser 5600C is one model from a range of tough plate aluminium vessels and is the first of the open Seacruiser models; the 7000HT (hard top) and 7000HTD (inboard diesel model) preceded the Seacruiser 5600C. These standard models are still able to be customised in their configuration, fit-out and optional extras.
Being an open boat there is an endless amount of visibility available in a 360º arc around the boat, which is perfect for spotting schools of busting tuna or sunbaking kingfish. I’ve also polaroided some nice trout in the Western Crater Lakes, and Murray cod and yellowbelly at Lake Eildon last season from the casting deck. When you’re standing on the front deck you are up so high it really allows you to see what’s going on underneath the water. I even recently had some great stickbaiting for kingfish and Gomoku micro jigging for snapper in SA from this position.
A spigot hole is positioned near the bow and allows room for a seat or T-bar for passengers, which can be used when spotting fish or when casting lures in a rough sea, which works really well and I haven’t lost anybody yet!
Under the front deck there is a large storage area with access via the front hatch suitable for storing safety gear, fishing tackle, kill bag, anchor floats and two large batteries for the electric motor and mounted battery charger. The large single hatch assembly has a self-draining gutter around it to ensure water doesn’t penetrate into the storage area. With open boats you really need to make sure you have dry hatches available for storage.
The console is aluminium and is fully sealed with 3 PVC hatches. There is a hatch in the front for easy access to the electronics setup, and there is plenty of dry storage in the rear for tackle or other equipment. I store all of my tackle in these hatches and it’s really easy to get access to.
The deck is open with plenty of room to move around. I chose Sea Deck EVA foam instead of carpet for comfort and grip. I chose black, which is easy to clean and doesn’t mark or stain as easily as the lighter colours. This is the first time I’ve used Seadeck and I don’t think I’ll be going back, it’s just really comfortable on the feet and easier to clean than carpet, particularly if you are doing a lot of bait fishing. I like to keep my boat clean and there’s nothing worse than having bait scraps crushed into your carpet!
The vessel does not have a kill tank, but has a large live bait tank with a capacity of around 60L to store your catch or live baits. I also usually carry an insulated kill bag on board (stored in the front hatch) should I wish to store larger catches and keep them cool on a big day out at sea. There is more than ample deck space in front of the console to store a full kill bag out of the way, however the installation of a kill tank is an available option on request.
At the rear of the transom there is storage room on the starboard side for the twin battery setup and on the port side there is a large live bait tank. The twin battery set up is essential for safety and allows me to run my electrics when the motor isn’t running without the fear of flattening them and not being able to restart the motor.
On the transom floor there is a self-draining sump and bilge pump, which enables easy wash down to keep the deck clean and neat and there are 3 spigots if required for the use of T-bars or seats for passengers. I usually use aluminium T-bars because I find seats to be space consuming and you can easily pack these away up in the front hatch when not in use.
There is a dive ladder positioned on the starboard side that folds neatly up onto the back of the transom. There is plenty of room to climb onto the swim deck for a break and rails to grab on to when climbing out of the water with a bag of crayfish or abalone.
The model comes with either a custom centre or rear side console, depending on the customer’s requirements. I opted for the rear side console because of the extra space it gives on the main deck floor. This extra space is ideal when you have divers on board or wish to carry a hookah compressor setup. While a rear side console does not offer full walk around capability, there is so much space to fight a fish. One of the benefits of the side console is that it is so easy to drive, fight and land big fish by your-self in the back corner.
The vessel is well balanced and stable at rest and underway, but is also fitted with Volvo Penta trim tabs for a more comfortable and steady ride when on those long trips at sea. The 140hp Suzuki four-stroke gets the vessel up on to a plane quickly and reaches 20 knots at 4000rpm, 27 knots at 5000rpm and 33 knots at 6000rpm, with a top speed WOT of 35 knots at 6300rpm. The ability to get on a plane quickly is great when dodging swell, bommies and reefs in close.
This time around I opted for the upgrade from analogue to digital engine gauges, which are easy to use and conveniently displayed on the Garmin GPS Map 750S unit situated on top of the console. The vessel is fitted with an 80lb Minn Kota i-Pilot electric motor that gives the vessel stealth and economy.
The vessel is mounted on a Dunbier duel axle trailer (despite weighing in on the cut off for a single axle model) to ensure the trailer is not overwhelmed with additional weight associated with gear for those long fishing trips away, and I think it tows better with a duel axel.
The vessel comes as a standard package fitted with the 115hp Suzuki four-stroke, analogue engine gauges, Dunbier dual axel trailer (with spare wheel), dive ladder, removable bait board, LED navigation lights, LED anchor light, switch panel, plumbed live bait tank, self draining anchor well, transducer bracket, self draining deck, Seadeck EVA foam floor, all safety gear, 4 x welded aluminium rod holders, 4 x spigots, bow and transom rails, console grab rail, bow sprit and roller, bilge pump, twin batteries (including isolator switch) and hydraulic steering for around $64,000. However the team are happy to work to the customer’s needs to deliver to the customer’s requirements.
The extras on this vessel as tested include a motor upgrade to 140HP Suzuki 4 stroke, PVC wrap, Boatcatch, LED deck lighting, deckwash kit, Humminbird 898C unit with i-Pilot link and 80lb i-Pilot Minn Kota electric motor, Minn Kota 12V battery charger (2 output), Volvo Penta trim tabs, Garmin 750S GPS Map unit (digital gauges), Fusion stereo system, Rapala griplock rod holders, Canon downriggers and rod holder gimbal mounts, seats and aluminium passenger T-bars.
The new Seacruiser 5600C is a fishing weapon designed for serious anglers that that spend plenty of time on the water! The key feature of this vessel is its versatility and you can fish for bream in a small estuary, dive for crayfish or hit the continental shelf for a tuna. Check out more about Richardson Marine Seacruiser products at: http://richardsonmarine.com.au.
You can check out a couple of YouTube videos of fishing at Lake Eildon from the Seacruiser 5600C at:
Seacruiser 5600C Specifications
|Hull thickness:||5mm (4mm side plates)|
|Overall Boat length:||5.75m|
|Maximum Power rating:||175hp (or 275kg)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity:||150L|
|Max people:||6 (or 540kg)|
|Length on trailer:||7.5m|