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Room to burn
  |  First Published: March 2005



The latest from the TABS factory, the 6m centre cab, is a massive boat for its length. With an overall length of 6.0m, beam of 2.5m and depth of 75cm, the internal volume is huge.

The centre cab layout allows the serious fisho to chase his quarry right around the boat with ease, and this was certainly put to the test when I went for a run in Dennis Daly’s charter boat Fishin’ Mission out of Mission Beach. Dennis had a drawing of his ideal charter layout and asked Dean Grieve, from The Tinnie Shack at Mission Beach, if TABS could build it. When the affirmative answer came back it was down to business, and before long, Dennis was running half-day island and full-day reef charters out of Mission Beach.

Since September last year when Dennis took possession of TABS, he has completed over 80 trips, which is five to 10 years’ worth of work for the average recreational fishing boat. The boat still looks in top condition, which is a tribute to the quality of the workmanship of TABS craftsmen.

RIDE AND HANDLING

The 6m TABS centre cab is one solid boat, with 5m plate bottom and 4mm sides. With an overall displacement around 1500kg there is plenty of weight to help create a smooth ride.

Although the conditions on the day of the review were ideal for boating, they weren’t the best for finding out how it handles a big sea. Dennis, however, has found it a great sea boat and he just slows down for passenger comfort when it gets rough. In spite of the weight, when Fishin’ Mission was flooded for its survey inspection, it floated so high that the inspectors gave it 2C Survey for nine people, even though Dennis was only after survey for six. The only added flotation was under the gunwale down both sides, with the rest of the buoyancy coming from the sealed compartments inside the hull.

Dennis cruises at 22 knots even in perfect weather, which has the 140hp Suzuki four-stroke purring along at 4500rpm. Fuel economy is sensational, even with five people on board. A typical reef charter involving an hour’s travel each way and numerous moves throughout the day averages 55L per trip. Dennis has had Fishin’ Mission up to 31 knots during sea trials. He requested a larger than standard underfloor fuel capacity of 250L, with 180L being standard.

LAYOUT

The most noticeable feature when boarding off the boat ramp at Clump Point was the ease of entry. Even the elderly would find it a breeze stepping aboard through the transom gate, which has an excellent full-height curved grabrail on the outside. Under the transom top are the twin batteries with a livebait tank to starboard. Above the motor there is a bolt-on bait board with plastic tray beneath to hold cleaning gear or tools. The rear corners of the bait board have rod holders.

The main cockpit has a fold-down seat on each side that will comfortably hold two passengers each. Just behind the helm seat is the large lift-out kill pen, which Dennis had designed with a split lid to make it easier to access when there are passengers aboard. The helm and passenger seats are really comfortable and are mounted on top of storage boxes which are accessed from the centre of the boat.

Shelter from the sun comes from the targa top, which bolts on and can readily be removed for storage in a standard garage. The top of the targa has a six-shot rocket launcher for storing rods, but especially reels, up out of the sea spray, thus reducing the frequency of having to strip them down for a service.

The huge dash will hold all the electronics you could wish for. Dennis runs a Navman VHF 700, a GME Electrophone GR100, a Garmin Fishfinder 250C, a Garmin GP72 and a six-switch panel to control on-board electronics. The dash also houses standard Suzuki instrumentation - speedo, fuel gauge, trim and tilt gauge and tacho. It also has a well-positioned grabrail for passengers standing in front of the seat and amid ships.

The only stipulation Dennis’ better half had for Fishin’ Mission was that it had to have a toilet, and the centre cab holds a proper head. There is a zip-up screen for privacy and seats for sheltering in bad weather. The seats are too small to sleep on, and it would also be too hot, as the test boat had no ventilation, but that could be fitted if required. There is a huge amount of storage space under the seats and Dennis carries an esky in the space between the seats.

There is a small seat built into the front of the centre cab that will comfortably hold one passenger, and the rest of the foredeck is clutter-free. It’s a breeze to walk all the way around the boat while fighting a fish, which Dean did when doing battle with a monster cobia. This fish eventually won the day when the 60lb leader wore through after a half hour and 1km chase.

The anchoring system of carpeted self-draining anchor well, split bowrail, bow roller and rear-mounted horn cleat is as simple and as functional as it gets. This philosophy holds true for the entire layout, with everything just where you would expect it to be in a serious fishing craft. We had a ball chasing pelagics and nannygai on a wreck out wide of Dunk Island, with one good cobia being followed up by a massive school of around 30 monsters dwarfing the hooked fish (which was no midget at around 20lb).

It is a tribute to Dennis’ planning, and Dean’s ability to negotiate with the manufacturer, that they have come up with such a functional and user-friendly fishing craft. Dennis and Dean were top company, and along with a great boat, it all made for an excellent day on the water.

For more information on the TABS 6m Centre Cab contact The Tinnie Shack at Mission Beach on (07) 4088 6125, or for a great day’s reef fishing contact Dennis Daly at Fishin’ Mission on (07) 4088 6121 or 0427 323 469.

Facts

SPECIFICATIONS

Length - 6.0m

Beam - 2.50m

Freeboard - .75m (floor to gunwale)

Bottom - 5mm

Topsides - 4mm

Approx. weight - 1500kg

Max horsepower - 175 (extra long shaft)

Base price - $_________

[CAPTIONS]

1) The 6m TABS centre cab is one solid boat, and with an overall displacement of around 1500kg there’s plenty of weight to help with a smooth ride.

2 The centre cab holds a proper head and has a zip-up screen for privacy. The seats aren’t big enough to sleep on but they offer good shelter in bad weather and there’s a stack of storage space underneath.

3 Dennis Daly from Fishin’ Mission had the underfloor kill pen hatch modified to have two split lids, making it much easier to access when there are guests on board. The kill pen also lifts out for easy cleaning.

4 The twin batteries are easy to access and there is a storage tray under the baitboard for brushes and rags. The bait board is bolted on so it can be removed, and comes with twin rod holders and a measuring tape across the front.

5 The transom door and fold-down ladder give excellent access for passengers entering and alighting from the boat ramp or the water.

6 The anchoring system is as simple and as functional as you can get. The horn cleat on the back side of the carpeted self-draining anchor well is very easy to reach.

7 The bolt-on targa top can be removed for storing and offers excellent shade for the skipper and passenger while still allowing anglers to fight fish all the way round the boat.

8 The internal volume of the TABS 6m Centre Cab is more evident when sitting on the trailer.

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