Of course we don’t do it enough – take fishing rods on a boat test – but when we had the opportunity to test the new Sea Jay 4.58 Stealth and the Moreton Bay forecast was atrocious, it didn’t take long to get the bass gear out and hit the road for a dawn start at Lake Somerset.
October is a kick-ass time of year at Somerset and we’d just has the BASS Megabucks event there, where you typically need up to 10kg (between four bass) to top the field. Naturally, the bass didn’t play the game, even with the man who was responsible for most of them being in there – Garry, a long-serving volunteer member of the Somerset Wivenhoe Fish Stocking Association. We got to spend half a day in the Stealth, drive it to its limits and fish in it.
Here’s what we found: the Stealth is definitely an upsized vee-nosed punt rather than a downsized ocean going craft. It’s beamy, high sided and its decks are as high above the waterline as any boat of this class I’ve ever been in. This is a huge advantage when you’re casting lures and trying to sight-fish in shallower waters. You get the angles you need to see down and into the water.
It also means is that there’s a pretty big step up onto both the front and rear decks – so much than you nearly need a step somewhere to help bridge the gap. It also means that the storage space under the decks borders on the obscene. The test boat was fitted with a livewell under both the front and the rear decks and there was still ample space to hold all you’d need for a big day out on the water, and half of what you’d need to camp on an extended trip.
The rear deck is interesting. It’s called the ‘Fish Deck’ and is missing the standard aluminium transom that extends above the deck level. It’s possible because the rear casting deck is so high. Once you get used to the look you realise there’s many advantages to this layout. Getting in and out of the boat is easier and you can easily sit on the back deck and fish comfortably with your legs over the back onto the duckboards.
There is nearly no deadrise in the hull, which is awesome for stability and storage – 100% suitable for rivers and impoundments and calm days on the bay. If you want an offshore capable layout, though, pick a Sea Jay with a deeper vee. It’ll land softer and be more comfortable to drive when things get nasty.
Overall, this is a good looking boat with a specific still set. Very fishable and capable of carrying a load, it’s cheap to run and ideal for either local or extended trips. Visit www.seajayboats.com.au for more information.
*15” Yamaha alloy Prop