The Tiger Longboat is manufactured by Queensland’s Sea Storm Boats. Their 6.8m Tiger 23 Longboat is a very strong craft that has plenty of fishing room.
With a strictly work boat history – these craft are sold extensively to contacts in Fiji where ‘work’ involves being loaded to the gunwales with crew and cargo – the buyer can be assured that a Tiger can take anything asked of it as a fishing rig and come back for more.
The Tiger 23 reviewed was a no-nonsense model in plain alloy finish, which suits a lot of anglers anyway. Dollars are saved and the craft will perform in every way as good as a painted one, but with less care required to avoid marring the finish. Note that the reviewed craft was a standard model, with available options covering items not fitted in the test rig.
Loaded to the hilt with crab pots and clawing its way up a mangrove creek is how I’d see the shallow draft Tiger (with its 140hp Suzuki) earning it’s keep. However the craft’s length, bow height and terrific stability would see it sneaking offshore at daylight with a team of sport-minded anglers aboard just as easily, such is the rig’s versatility.
Stepping aboard the Tiger I was immediately struck by the great stability of the craft. A 12 Vee aids stability of course, as do the big chines running the hull’s length including the large reverse chines on the hull’s exterior water line. I had Shane Wishnowsky from Sea Storm and his dad Paul on board for test runs and when the three of us moved to one side of the big Tiger only the slightest amount of leaning occurred.
The hull has a 5mm bottom, 4mm sides, 6mm stringers and weighs around 950kg. Bolting a 140hp Suzuki four-stroke on the centre of the transom also adds to stability and so it’s not a surprise that the Tiger is a rock at rest. Underway the hull is just as stable, with the wide outer chines keeping her level at all times while running along.
And that same degree of weight, relative to length and beam, also guarantees a gentle ride. This lengthy hull does not bounce when confronting waves but slices neatly through them thanks to the finely raked bow. We notched up some nice speeds, at over 30 knots, during the test runs and I noticed that the hull could actually be trimmed down a little when hitting chop to get the bow working to the best advantage.
I found that remarkable as many craft I drive require a little up trim to improve ride when hitting chop at speed but the big Tiger certainly provided a great ride when crossing the big washes and wakes of other craft in the Broadwater.
The hull was silent under power, exhibiting little bang or slap thanks to its heavy-duty construction (everything being welded, no tacks to hold decks on and the like) plus underfloor foam.
The Tiger also offered a very dry ride when heading into chop as its bow flare and overall length assured that any displaced water was pushed well away from the hull. In strong quartering winds and heading across rather than into chop or larger wave action it’s almost inevitable that some water or spray might find its way aboard - same as in any open boat.
Remember that the Tiger is not alone in this, of course. It’s a fact of life that while open style fishing craft always provide the utmost in fishing room there is always the possibility of getting some spray aboard when conditions are adverse. Been there and done that plenty of times in my own 5.5m centre console boat.
Backing up the ride and stability was an lots of interior work room. The Tiger featured a self-draining floor with heavy-duty marine carpet over the checker plate floor. I noted there was enough room ahead of the centre console, which for reasons of balance as a work boat is well aft, for up to six anglers to fish as hard as they liked.
The test rig was equipped with a shelved centre console large enough for a couple of anglers to tuck behind on the esky style seat for driver and mate. The alloy console sat below a rod holder equipped with T-top and aft extension that provided good shade for the driver and mate. A wrap around style tinted windscreen also offered some weather protection.
Instruments mounted on the down sloping face of the console comprised of engine gauges plus fuel and trim indicators. A set of switches and 12 volt power outlet were mounted nearby, along with the ignition switch. A soft feel wheel linked to hydraulic steering made directing the craft a fingertip exercise. Forward controls for the outboard were mounted on the starboard side of the console.
For the angler, a Navman Fish 4600 and Tracker 5600 GPS unit were there to make being on the water an enjoyable exercise. A marine radio was also tucked into the shelf.
Two other passengers could sit on the padded storage box built into the front of the console. As the craft is rated for seven persons further seating is an option, same as fishing orientated items like side pockets, live wells and the like. The test rig did come with a decent bow sprit, roller, and large anchor well and was equipped with full underfloor flotation plus 150L underfloor tank. A full width boarding platform plus hand rails aft of the transom would make return to the craft easy if doing a spot of diving.
The Suzuki four-stroke was mounted on an extension of the craft’s swim platform where a cut away section within the transom allowed the engine to tilt. This set-up meant that interior room was not required for an engine well, while free board aft was such that the Tiger’s crew could still enjoy offshore work given the craft’s overall dimensions.
Whisper quiet at idle the Suzuki saw the rig planing at a speed of 9.7 knots at 2,800rpm. 3,000rpm saw a speed of 10.4 knots recorded while 4,000rpm gave her a smooth cruise speed of 20.5 knots. 5,000rpm saw us clipping down the Broadwater at a brisk 27.6 knots while a WOT run at 5800rpm saw the Tiger bounding along at 32.4 knots. Suzuki four-strokes are known for their mid-range power and the 140 certainly had plenty; from 3000rpm onwards the engine pulled hard with rapid acceleration accompanying a forward push on the throttle lever. Engines for the craft are rated from 90hp to 140hp.
The Tiger 23 longboat by Sea Storm is a versatile craft with terrific fishing potential. Available in both centre console and tiller steer versions as per customer specs either option will offer stability and strength in spades. The amount of interior work room is astonishing.
As a work boat the test rig came without any bells or whistles but just a few options would see it set up to suit a lot of fishing pursuits. With a price of $42,840 the value for money is certainly there. Enquiries to Sea Storm boats on (07) 3890 0043 or at www.seastormboats.com.au .