Bundaberg-based boat builder SeaJay boats is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary of constructing aluminium boats for Australian conditions. Over the years, we’ve seen their craft grow from some pretty basic tinnies through to the refined and comfortable offerings that are available today.
We recently took the opportunity to take a couple of their latest models – some SeaJay Avenger Sports - out for a drive and a fish. A painted 485 and unpainted 455 Avenger – both with Yamaha 4-stroke outboards – gave us a great insight about what’s available in the line-up.
All but the smallest Avengers boast a 3mm plate aluminium bottom and sides (the 4.25m model has 2.5mm thick gunwales). And, throughout the range (there’s a 4.25m, 4.4m, 4.55m, 4.85m, 5m and 5.35m version) Sea Jay are proud of their inbuilt reverse chines, which typically enhance stability at rest, optimise hole shot and allow you to use minimum horsepower ranges with little performance penalty.
Glen Baker and James Cullen from Stones Corner Marine were good enough to come with Fishing Monthly for the ride. These guys run a Brisbane SeaJay dealership (Stones Corner Marine) and are constantly setting up SeaJays for the rigors of Moreton Bay. On its day, Moreton Bay is every bit as nasty as Sydney Harbour or Pittwater on a busy Sunday. There are not too many pieces of open water in Australia that don’t get nasty when there’s wind versus tide.
That said, the test day conditions were ridiculously good - millpond calm and small tides, which mean that even the ever-reliable pressure waves at the bar of the Brisbane River didn’t even show up to play. Tough, we know, and even after an hour of fishing to try and let the sea-breeze get a run-up, there was no joy.
So, I can happily report that the Avengers ride is calm and smooth!
Seriously, though, even in the calm conditions, we could get a feel for the boats and the 4-stroke Yamahas powering them. Propelled by a 60 and 70 (Yamaha’s highest selling outboards in Australia), the ride was undeniably smooth and quiet.
The bimini top on the 485 was very pleasant on that windless day, but I was really casting an angler’s eye over the hulls to get a feel about what they’d be like to seriously fish from.
From both a fishing and ride point of view, it’s hard to get a really accurate reflection, because without an electric motor on the bow (where the plate to mount it is standard), the boat sits differently in the water on the move and at rest, and the weight of the dedicated electric motor battery (or batteries) is absent.
That said, the beam of these boats give them excellent stability at rest, and if you’re a lurecasting angler, then stability is paramount in remaining unfatigued and comfortable.
With both of the hulls, having a side-mounted console makes moving around the boat easy. All of the models in the range have the option of a side console, centre console or no console (tiller drive). They also have the choice between a painted and unpainted hull.
Apart from that choice when setting up your boat, there are not too many optional extras to choose from – an Avenger Sports is supplied standard with anchor wells, casting platform, live bait tank, external keel, spray chines, underfloor storage racks/tank racks and rear step/rail.
The 445 Avenger has a 65L underfloor tank while the 485 has an 85L capacity, which paired with the 4S Yamahas, give incredible range.
By the end of the test-ride, the unpainted 455 felt like more of a fishing boat and the 485 more like f family ride, but that was entirely due to set-up. Paint the smaller boat and whack a bimini on it, and the roles would be reversed.
James summed up the niche that these boats fill in the market quite precisely during our sit-down interview at the ramp (scan the QR code hereby to watch).
“These are a great boat for anglers who have done their apprenticeship in a 12 or 14 foot open tinny with a 15 to 30hp motor and want to take it to the next level,” James said.
Taking it to the next level will cost you around $25,000 for the 455 and around $30,000 for the 485. Look for them at your local SeaJay dealer or visit www.seajayboats.com.au.
SEAJAY 455 AVENGER
|Max HP:||60 (L)|
|Rec HP:||50 (L)|
|Max OB weight:||120kg|
SEAJAY 485 AVENGER
|Max HP:||70 (L)|
|Rec HP:||60 (L)|
|Max OB weight:||120kg|