Coomera-based Jackaroo Boats aren’t as well known as some other SEQ manufacturers, but once word gets around I’m certain we’ll see more of these well-performing fibreglass craft on the water. These boats have an all fibreglass construction, even to the point of having a fibreglass stringer system under the floor plus a composite/fibreglass transom for maximum long-term durability. The hull warranty is 20 years!
There’s also some flexibility in the interior layout of these Jackaroos, although the basic design of the Jackaroo’s soft riding and quite stable hull naturally remains the same.
The reviewed Tournament 445 featured fore and aft casting decks, ample rod storage, a massive 110L live well (with divider) plus a neat door-equipped centre console. If you prefer though you can go for a tiller steer rig and order seating to suit your needs – it’s all up to you.
The test boat is used by Scott Corby of Jackaroo Boats as his current tournament rig, but the 445 Jackaroo appeals to more than just tournament anglers. It’s in the popular 4-5m range that can be towed by the family sedan, yet would suit up to four anglers with ease.
Up front there’s an electric motor pad to port of a lid-equipped anchor well. An (optional) sounder was set up to function via a transducer on the Minn Kota electric. The raised casting deck was coated with SeaDek for safety and convenience, featured two large under-floor waterproof and carpet-lined and lockable compartments for storage of valuable tackle. The large steps either side of the console which lead down from the raised deck up front (these were part of the deck moulding) were both set up as ice boxes.
The centre console had plenty of room for instruments and gauges on its upper section, yet was not so large as to take up excessive room within the craft. On the upper face of the console, tucked behind a tinted windscreen, were Yamaha multi function gauges, a Humminbird 958C sounder/GPS combo, ignition switch, steering wheel linked to hydraulic steering and forward controls for the Yamaha F70A four-stroke on the transom. No seating was provided on the test boat because Scott prefers to stand and drive, but several seating options are on Jackaroo Boat’s books.
Rod storage is always important on a fishing boat, and even more so with tournament boats where several ready-to-use outfits are usually on hand. The Jackaroo 445 has three in-hull storage facilities along each side which sees rod tips protected up under the outer edges of the front deck, while the butt sections are set onto horizontal rod holders at the stern. Rods are easily removed yet entirely protected from mishap while underway. I gave Jackaroo full marks for this easy to use set-up.
Aft of the console the main work area’s floor also featured non-skid rubber coating. The main features here were 600mm high cockpit sides, rod holders and grab rails on the top decks. Pride of place went to the 110L divider-equipped live well which doubled as a two person seat or casting platform. It was naturally plumbed and tournament ready. Further aft, a storage compartment in the port quarter could easily be converted to a bait well when required. Aft of the transom, paired boarding platforms sat astride the Yamaha 70 four-stroke.
Engine ratings for the 445 Jackaroo Tournament are 60-90hp, which saw the Yamaha 70 four-stroke as mid range – but entirely adequate – power. I really enjoyed test runs on the Coomera River as Scott and I put the Jacka through its paces. The easy handling of the rig impressed me, and the pick up from the 1L capacity 70hp Yamaha (which featured a lot of grunt off the mark – something these F70A’s are renowned for) saw the craft up out of the hole and planing in only a couple of its own lengths. The 18 vee hull with its reversed outer chines eased onto the plane at a modest 16.3km/h at 2700 rpm. At 3000rpm the GPS recorded 22.4km/h, 4000rpm saw 38.5km/h while 4800rpm saw the craft skipping along at 47.7km/h. The ride was excellent, with wake crossings in the Coomera causing only the slightest bump as we ironed them out.
The Jackaroo’s hull, with its very pronounced forward flare just below the gunwales, was remarkably dry. Also, the craft rode slightly bow-high at speed. I reckon only a nasty crosswind over chop would bring the spray jackets out of a storage compartment.
Stability is always a factor to consider in a smaller boat, and I’m pleased to report that the Jackaroo’s vee hull wasn’t inclined to tip or lean even with Scott and myself on one side. Weight distribution within the hull was obviously ideal, and along with the prominent under-hull strakes and outer reversed chines the hull’s grip on the water saw easy balance all round. As a tournament rig that inherent stability would certainly be appreciated, and as a craft for a small family it would be just as valuable for maximum comfort.
Looking at the Jackaroo 445 there’s around 650mm of interior side height. Stability is very good, and with that great ride this craft is punching well above its weight. Fishing features are certainly there, and it would be easy to fit a couple more rod holders to side rails and perhaps tick the option box for a live bait well. Modifications are available to suit individual requirements but I believe a lot of small boat orientated anglers would find the Jackaroo 445, as presented, ideal for their needs.
In all I saw the craft well suited to both tournament and sportfishing. Estuary or bay trips would certainly be on the cards in suitable conditions, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Jackaroo 445 out off the Seaway with a couple of punters holding onto trolling rods when the pelagic fish are on the job. The ride is the thing: these craft ride very well, and with some ice in the live well a morning on the water would be a no-brainer.
Overall the standard of finish was quite good, with a very lustrous gel coat complementing the interior with its rubber floor matting and flow coat on the sides.
The price of the boat as tested was $36,184, without electronics or trolling motor but with quite a few extras. Jackaroo Boats can be contacted on (07) 5519 4674 or 0418 602 019, email at --e-mail address hidden-- or at www.jackarooboats.com.au.
|Engine fitted||70 Yamaha four-stroke|
|Towing||Family six sedan or wagon|