WE DRIFTED slowly past the rocky foreshore, peppering the drop-off with soft plastics. It was a glorious Spring day, temperature around 26° with a stiff north-wester pushing up a few whitecaps.
We were in the lee of the wind, close to the western foreshores of Pittwater, north of Sydney. Three of us were standing side by side in the 6.1-metre Full Boar boat having a bit of R&R after doing the boat test.
It’s only in the past five years or so that open-cockpit boats sporting large casting platforms forward and aft, to cater for the lure and fly brigade, have become prominent in the market. These specialised craft have attracted tournament anglers as well as the person who just wants to mosey up an estuary or river and fling lures. Room, and plenty of it, is the No 1 requirement for such an angler, with no protrusions or structure to impede casting.
Tyson Dethridge and John Hickey have just released a couple of craft that are a new generation of Australian-designed and built boats to cater for that huge explosion in popularity of inshore sports and tournament fishing platforms. John and Tyson are full-on sports fishos and know exactly what boat is needed to make the sport enjoyable.
Based in Matraville, in southern Sydney, these experienced boat builders spent more than two years working on hull designs that would give a whisper-quiet ride and incredible stability at rest. The results are two boats that will whisk you safely to a chosen fishing spot in a flash and, once there, allow you to fish with lateral stability that has to be experienced to be appreciated.
We took both boats out for a test – the larger, fully-equipped 6.1 centre console and the basic 5.0-metre tiller-steered version. Both boats had great side decals depicting a huge boar’s head, prompting a few second takes from those at the boat ramp.
I will concentrate on the larger 6.1m version but I spent time on the smaller craft and found it had the same positive characteristics as its larger brother.
Full Boar boats are strong. Very strong. In fact, Tyson invited me to hit the boat as hard as I could with a hammer. I winced as I did as instructed but the hammer just bounced off with no damage whatsoever to the fibreglass. “Try doing that with any other aluminium or GRP boat – or any boat for that matter,” Tyson proudly said. The secret to the boats’ integral strength is their construction material – 100% E-glass, a very strong cloth that will withstand most things that are thrown at it. Couple this with a moulded internal grid frame interlocking with a revolutionary hollow-core transom and you have a boat with plenty of buoyancy for safety and a craft that is rated in excess of 50 knots. No timber is used, eliminating the potential of rotting over time.
We launched both boats at Bayview and headed out past the four-knot zone to open water. The 6.1 was powered by a Honda 90hp long-shaft four stroke that had done quite a few hours. The 5.1 had a tiller-steer 50hp Mercury with electric trim and tilt.
I took control of the 6.1 and opened her up. We zipped across the water at a 65km/h with the tacho showing 5800rpm. Being so low to the water, you get a great sensation of speed and I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck tingle.
From a standing start with two up, the boat showed no inclination to rear. It stepped up on the plane almost immediately, thanks to the combination of three-quarter planing strakes, variable deadrise and inverse chines. The jewel in the crown with this boat was its inherent stability at rest. Three of us on one side hardly dipped the gunwale at all. A beam of 2.1 metres (same for the 5.0) helps in this regard. When moving around the boat, there was no wobble, even if you strayed from the centre line. These are the characteristics sports anglers demand in a fishing platform and the Full Boars deliver just that.
With the aid of hydraulic steering, manoeuvring was a breeze. Tight turns under power showed no sign of the prop sucking in air instead of water. Nor was the boat was trim-sensitive, with little or no improvement whether the engine was tucked in or out. Another impressive factor was dryness. Even running abeam the northerly, there was minimal spray intrusion – something I would have expected for a low-sided open boat.
Let’s have a closer look. Bear in mind that each boat is customised and no two boats have been made the same. Options include side, centre or twin consoles, extended rear or forward casting platforms, full-length rod lockers, drop-in seating, plumbed or static bait tanks, bow mounts, lean seats, poling platforms, canopies, sunshades, custom electronics and cockpit carpet, just to name a few.
There is a small transom well to accept the motor cowl when tilted. Under the well is a free-standing 75-litre fuel tank and three batteries. Two batteries are deep cycle to power the large 74lb thrust bow-mounted Minn Kota electric motor while the third is for starting and to drive the on-board electrics. A small in-deck ‘basket’ houses the 1500gph bilge pump, secreted under the fuel tank.
For passenger and skipper comfort, quality Raeline bucket seats both sit on adjustable slides. The small centre console with grab rail houses the standard Humminbird sounder, a six-gang switch panel, 12V power outlet, navigation lights, engine instrumentation, fire extinguisher and radio. There was a lure tray on the front of the console and rubber rod clips on the side. I found the side-mounted throttle quadrant a bit too far away and I had to lean forward to throw it into gear.
The test boat has a large, fully reticulated live bait tank that would keep half a dozen slimy mackerel happily swimming around without bumping in to each other. Four stainless steel gunwale-mounted rod holders and two stainless cleats completed the hardware. Up on the forward casting platform, there are two fully recessed pop-up cleats which will not catch loose fly line – a bane when working a school of pelagic fish and if things get a bit disorganised.
The anchor hatch will hold a small sand/rock anchor and around 300 metres of warp. The forward casting deck, which measures a huge 1920mm by 1640mm, has a large lift-up lid revealing plenty of dry storage for PFDs, and other items. The Minn Kota Maxum 74lb cable-steer electric stores parallel to the deck on the port side and is well out of the way. All platforms plus the deck have a moulded, non-skid stipple finish that gives a feeling of security, even in bare feet. I can see quite a few charter operators having a close look at these boats as they can easily comply with NSW’s 1C survey requirements.
The strength, speed and room on the boat are unique. The 6.1 test boat has been up and down the coast fishing and taking out prospective clients, yet there’s not a sign of gelcoat crazing, even around the transom – an area where this usually originates. This all goes to prove how extremely rigid the boat is, with no longitudinal or lateral flexing.
Full Boar boats are not for everyone. Their design suits the specialist angler who wants a stable platform when casting lures or flies in fresh or salt water. If you fall into this category, I strongly recommend you go for a test run in a Full Boar. This is a boat that can’t be appreciated off a brochure. The boys tell me there’s a 5.5-metre version on the drawing board which should be released by October. Can’t wait to give that a spin!
FULL BOAR BOATS
Length on trailer6.9m5.7m
Height on trailer1.3m1.3m
Hull weight (approx)550kg400kg
Standard Inclusions (on 6.1m test boat)
Stainless steel cleats; stainless rod holders; rod racks; large drainage bungs; towing eye; anchor well; under-deck storage; rubber rubbing strips; Matrix sounder; bilge pump; fire extinguisher; centre console; helm and passenger seats; 75L fuel tank; Minn Kota bow-mount motor; batteries and charger; lean seat; plumbed live bait tank; cockpit carpet; nav lights; rod holders; safety equipment.
Retail price as tested, including a twin axle braked Dunbier Galpack trailer, all registrations and on-water instruction if required – $34,500.
Retail price of 5m tiller-steered boat on single-axle Dunbier Galpack braked trailer, all registrations and on-water instruction if required –22,990.
Boat supplied by Full Boar Sportfishing Boats and JD Marine Pty Ltd, 27 Raymond Avenue, Matraville, NSW 2036. Phone 02 9666 3322, fax 02 9666 3221; email --e-mail address hidden-- or visit www.fullboarboats.com.Reads: 5489