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Clark 395 Predator
  |  First Published: December 2014



Simple tinnies are a dime a dozen right? Well, yes they are, but finding one that can do what you need it to do is still an important decision. Enter the Clark 395 Predator tinnie, a simple and clean tinnie that will get you and a couple of mates out on the water with ease and at a price that’s hard to beat.

And I suppose that’s part of the beauty of simple tinnies, their price is low and there are no whistles and fireworks. They are easy to use, easy to maintain and cheap to buy. They can be bashed around snags, dragged over logs and rock bars and generally be treated reasonably poorly and still they will do the job they were bought for, and that is to give you access to the water.

I think we all started in a simple tinnie. Metal thwart seats, a small tiller steer outboard and a portable fuel tank. Toss in the mandatory safety gear, a cool box with a few drinks and some food, in my day a hessian sack for the catch of reddies and some rods, reels, tackle and bait and off you go. Simplicity in essence. I sometimes miss those days as fishing just seemed so much more simple and to be truthful, I am not sure I catch that many more fish in a fully kitted out boat. I do know that I rely more on technology these days than fishing nous and that is probably to the long-term detriment of my fishing.

But I digress; let’s get back to the Clark 395 Predator, a no thrills tinny package put together by the team at Boats and More.

The test rig was kitted out with a 20hp 4-stroke Suzuki with the specific aim of testing the rig out to see how much load it would bare. The aim was for the team at Boats and More to assess how best to sell this rig. They knew that a 20hp tiller would be fantastic two up, but what they really wanted to know was how the rig performed three up. That’s a great philosophy for a boat dealer to have. To actually get on the water and try out the rig before recommending anything about it means the boat dealer really gets to know and understand the limitations of the boat.

Our first run around was two up with Peter Jung and I blasting around Mulwala. It was a pleasure to crank up the 4-stroke and let it fly and I can tell you the little 395 got up and boogied. Light to steer and responsive to both extra power and directional changes, the 395 Predator was good old-fashioned fun.

The real test though was when we loaded in Simon from Boats and More and took the rig for a spin. Three up the Suzuki pushed us up onto the plane in less than 5 seconds, which was surprising as none of us are lightweights. We shifted bodies around to check out weight distribution and found the best performance in terms of ride and hole shot came when we had two people on the front seat and only the skipper down back. Once on the plane, the Predator performed equally well with three on board as it did with two on board and that was a very satisfying result.

I asked Simon what all this meant and he simply said that they test boats that are essentially two person rigs with three people to ensure the boat will still perform with all the gear in the boat. And that’s an important consideration when you consider all the safety gear needed, tackle and other bits and pieces we take on any boat trip.

If you wanted to fish three up most of the time, then an upgrade to a 30hp would be well advised, but as a 2 up rig, the 20hp Suzuki was more than adequate.

The boat

The 395 Predator is a no thrills tinnie and that means it has what’s needed and not much else. These days, with all the extras we jam into a boat, that simplicity may seem somewhat of a limitation but the reality is it’s certainly not.

With two thwart seats, a carpeted deck floor, side pockets and an anchor well, everything you need is right there. I love that you’re not reaching over the top of electric motors, making sure rod holders don't snag your line or that the lack of a dash and electronics means you are relying on your skills. It’s a pleasant simplicity.

Of course I see this sort of rig being ideal in smaller waters. Waters where you may have to lift or drag it over snags, sand and mud bars and even rocks bars. A case in point is the inland rivers around Shepparton, Boats and More’s home base. The Goulburn River is loaded with snags, shallow sandy stretches and some really nice water to fish. This rig would be sensational in this water as you could get out and manhandle the craft over all these obstacles and continue on your way. To aid in this there are two grab handles on the bow and a further two grab handles on the transom. They are solid and make it easy to drag around this little beauty.

Being a small boat, Clark has also placed some grab rails in the right spots for the skipper and passengers. Tiller steer rigs can, intentionally or otherwise, be forced into a very tight turn and the ability to have a grab rail handy is mandatory. It’s a security thing for those who do not have a suction cup bottom and allows you to stay seated when the skipper gets a little adventurous.

All in all, for a simple tinnie, there are enough simple features to keep you safe and get you fishing.

Overall

There’s only a limited amount you can say about a no thrills tinnie. They are what they are and I love them just for that. The Clark 395 Predator, powered by the 20hp Suzuki would be a great first boat for two anglers looking to get into fishing and boating. It’d be a great rig for those ready to slow it all down, troll some lures, fish some bait or explore small waters. I wouldn't even chuck an electric on it, instead opting for a lead drop anchor to hold me in place. I would pop a sounder on though, but that is just habit more than anything and I’d have to have some technology just because…

It was great for me to see firsthand the testing Boats and More did with this rig to make sure it could do what they claim. It was thorough, it was hard and the 395 Predator and 20hp Suzuki did exactly what Simon thought it might. That’s reassuring for anyone looking at stepping into one of these boats as the team at Boats and More have some real on water experience with how they perform. I reckon a 30hp one up would be a bit interesting with speed and performance being maxed out! Hmmm, maybe it’s time to see if Simon has done this and if I can get one of these little rippers on the water with a 30!

For more info on the Clark 395 Predator, have a chat to the team at Boats and More in Shepparton (03 5822 2108) or Echuca (03 5482 1992) or log onto their website at www.boatsandmore.com.au. Priced at only $_______ with all safety gear and riding on a Dunbier single-axle trailer, this rig is great value and easy to use.

Facts

Specifications

Overall length3.95m
Beam1.95m
Depth0.75m
Weight (boat only)157kg
Rec hp20hp
Max hp30hp
Bottom sheet2mm
Side Sheet1.6mm
Shaft SizeLong shaft
Max People4

Facts

Standard Features

2 x Rowlocks

2 x Transom Handles

2 x Welded Thwart Seats with Flotation

Anchor Gusset with Rope Tie Lug

Back Board

Carpeted Low Floor

Carpeted Fuel Tank Rack

Side Pockets

Side Rails

Bow Rails

Boat Name Decal

Double Bow Eye

Screw in Bung x 1 (35mm)

Solid Transom Corners

Transom Strut

Welded Seat Support Gussets

The grab handles on the bow and transom make manoeuvring this rig over and around obstacles very easy. Great additions.

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