This amazing boat has plenty of fishing room and storage space, but there is a lot more to the Mako Craft 420 Estuary Tracker than just that description.
A division of the Stessl family, Mako Craft offers quality craft at less than premium prices and when you look at the features packed into this one, the value is certainly there.
There are three craft within the Estuary Tracker range a 380, 420 and 440. All offer the same standard features and the major differences are size, horse power rating and carrying capacity. The 420 is rated for engines to 50hp and four anglers.
Flush mounted lockers are a big feature of the raised forward deck of the Estuary Tracker. The anchor well can be accessed by lifting the hinged hatch tucked right behind the bow. A bow eye and cleat are handy and a slot in the hatch allows for the anchor rope to be set up without the need to leave the hatch open.
Directly behind are two more hatches, one each side of the strong forward seat base with another couple of hatches set further back. A lot of safety gear and fishing tackle could be tucked in here out of the weather, while a sub floor keeps things from falling down into hard to reach places. All hatches have been neatly fitted and can be accessed via quick lift style tabs, which are just the ticket for a cold winter’s morning.
While the tournament style casting deck hatches in the test rig were devoted to storage there would be no problem setting one up as a 100L plumbed livewell for competition work. Or you could request a 60L fuel tank instead. Another option would be an electric bow mount bracket. That’s the thing about this rig, anglers can opt for more features to suit their style of fishing.
A pair of solid side rails up front make for easy manoeuvring of the rig around the trailer or for a quick tie-off onto a snag or the like when working lures.
The main floor area is carpeted, has a central seat mounting base and a quite sizeable off floor side storage pocket to port. The standard side pocket can be converted to a rod locker.
Seat bases aft consist of one each side of the engine’s tiller plus another to starboard just aft of the forward casting. While a pair of seats is standard fare an extra couple would always be handy. They could be easily added or removed depending on each trip’s requirements. The two pedestal seats fitted were strong units and I noticed that there was plenty of back support and enough padding to make even an extended trip comfortable.
This new Mako Craft has wide full length side decks which, being fully welded, are very strong and consequently vibration free. There’s a pair of rod holders aft, just behind the corner rails, which will be a handy brace point for the skipper while manning tiller.
I’d like to see a couple more rod holders fitted standard but more could be added easily.
Tucked in behind the rear seats is a full width off floor rack that has been set up specifically for a tote tank plus engine battery. As the 40hp Mariner on the test rig was a manual start job as no battery was fitted.
The long shaft Mariner started first pull on the starter cord and fired up without any noticeable smoke. The carburetted 2-stroke easily powered the Mako Craft’s 220kg hull for test runs on the Broadwater despite the poor weather and two passengers. A stiff southerly was brewing and scuds of rain were zipping across the water from time to time.
Anglers don’t seem to object to open boats, being more than willing to sacrifice some comfort for the added fishing room these crafts offer. I certainly subscribe to that theory.
The Estuary Tracker Tournament planed at a phenomenally low 13km/h with little engine noise. A bit of throttle saw really easy and smooth cruising at 26.1km/h with the rig really zipping along at 48km/h in a full throttle burst.
I was really impressed with the craft’s ride. One might expect that a pointy punt style hull of such modest dimensions would jar the fillings from the teeth in chop at faster speeds but it didn’t. The actual water line entry point was fine enough to cut easily into the chop we encountered and the ride was not only quite soft but was remarkably dry as well. Of course, if quartering chop and wind, there is going to be some water coming aboard but when punching into the rough stuff I noticed that the carpet stayed dry.
And matching the quite excellent ride was a standard of handling which puts this little punt into a class of its own. Finding sheltered water behind Wave Break Island we threw the hull into snappy turns that really generated some g-force. It would whip around and immediately straighten and level out as soon as the tiller handle on the engine was centred.
A look at the 420 Estuary Trackers hull on the trailer revealed the reason for the sparkling performance: a series of pressings, along with a track style rail towards the outer chine were designed to grip the water both at speed and at rest. This gave the rig outstanding stability.
In all, at a very modest $13,400 for boat motor and Dunbier trailer I believe that the well handling, well performing, and extremely stable Mako Craft 420 Estuary Tracker Tournament is very good value for money. Contact Mako Craft by phone on (07) 5564 7712, fax (07) 5564 7742 or visit www.makocraft.com.au.
Weight hull: 220kg
Engines: 40-50hp Long Shaft
Engine fitted: 40 hp Mariner 2 stroke
Persons rated: 4
Price: $13,400Reads: 7382