John Margetts from Hooker Boats in Cairns is always looking for ways to build a better fishing boat and his new 6.7 centre console is exactly that – a completely new layout in a very well proven hull. The 6.7m hull has been in production since 2004 and over 40 boats have been produced to date.
I tested one of the very first 6.7m Hookers and loved the ride and layout. The new layout however has taken the boat to an even higher level of finish and functionality with more room at the back for fishing, better positioning of the console and even more user friendly storage options.
The front deck has been shortened and the console moved forward to create more space at the back where most of the fishing action takes place. The large bench helm seat contains a fully insulated esky which opens to the rear, and the rollbar-style back rest flips in both directions so anglers and skipper can also sit back and watch the troll lines or the live bait under a balloon out the back.
The console has everything a techno junkie could ask for, with a TV-sized screen on the Navman sounder/plotter, Navman marine radio, full Mercury instrumentation, 12-switch control panel, and marine standard CD player, with the speakers on the outside of the console. A lockable glove box, twin drink holders and a C shaped grab bar finish off a very classy console dash. There is also another C shaped grab rail on the port corner of the dash for added passenger security. The wrap around Perspex screen offers good protection for the instrumentation, helmsman and passengers.
The solidly built stainless steel canopy support frame doubles as an excellent security grab rail for passengers in the wild stuff. There is also a foot rest for skipper and passengers, and a stack of open storage space under the console. The canopy has a four shot rocket launcher on the trailing edge with a fluoro light underneath for night fishing. The frame also supports the radio and GPS aerials, white light and nav lights.
The seat in front of the console doubles as another fully insulated ice box with grab bars on each end for passenger security. A hatch on the rear side of the foredeck mould is a great place to store safety equipment. The foredeck has twin anchor hatches so two complete sets of ground tackle can be carried, ready to use. This is the perfect set-up when anglers switch between reef and sand bottom, as there is no need to carry different anchors to match the bottom holding conditions. The split cross bollard is ideal for tying off both rope and chain.
Between the console and the rear work station there is an underfloor kill pen, which drains out through the hull. The front of the work station under the bait board has an access hatch to get at the oil storage and battery, with a live bait tank on top to port and a deck wash hose stored in the starboard compartment. Above the work station is a bait board with a hinged butcher’s board top, which doubles as a lid to the storage tray designed to hold knives, pliers and the like when not in use.
Entry over the stern, both on the water and trailer, is a breeze via the moulded steps on each corner. The drop down transom makes it easier to get over the back into the main cockpit. Any water that gets inside is removed via the fully self-draining deck with large scuppers in the corners. The recessed side pockets can hold a heap of reef fishing reels, and the stainless steel through gunwale rod holders and recessed grab rails in the rear of the boat are superbly designed and finished.
The 200hp EFI Mercury certainly got the Hooker up on her tail, reaching a maximum speed of 75km/h (46mph, 40kts) at 5300rpm. The performance right through the range was excellent with 3000rpm producing 37km/h (23 mph, 20kts), 3500rpm producing 49km/h (30mph, 26kts), 4000rpm producing 55km/h (34mph, 30kts), and 4500rpm producing 62km/h (39mph, 33kts).
We headed out into a very confused sea whipped up by strong winds, large boat wakes and swell all heading in different directions and the 6.7 just ate it up. The ride and performance of the Hooker was sensational and I commented to John that it must give him a great deal of satisfaction to drive his own product, knowing he has created the boat right from the original concept through to the sale.
The Hooker 6.7 Centre Console is the ideal boat for anglers who want a serious offshore and island rig that also has the looks and style to be just as much at home playing around the lakes, islands and resorts with the family. For further information on Hooker Boats contact John on (07) 4035 1157 or check out the full range of Hookers at www.hookerboats.com.
|Length Overall:||6.7m (22')|
|Length on Trailer:||7.3m|
|Inside gunwale height:||800mm|
|Height on Trailer (to top of console):||2.4m|
|Height on Trailer (to top of hardtop):||3m|