These days, boat manufacturers strive to deliver a range of boats that will keep everyone happy, from weekend fishers to diehard tournament anglers.
The Stessl Edge Tracker 4.75 Pro Tournament leans towards the more serious angler who needs plenty of open casting area around the deck, along with a heap of underfloor storage and wet wells for the hordes of tackle and rods they carry.
It’s important for a hull to meet a number of requirements, especially for tournament anglers, who place large horsepower engines on the boats and demand a stable platform to fish from. I’ve seen a few boats over the years with engines that are just too big. Such boats are just an accident waiting to happen. They become very bow high, the engines sit low in the water and they’re hard to drive.
The 4.75 Pro Tournament isn’t one of those boats. With a maximum horsepower rating of 80hp, the hull is quite capable of handling this size engine. It’s no slouch in the water and gets up onto the plane quickly. Even with most of the weight towards the back half of the boat, the 2.05m beam provides the planing surface and lift to keep the hull up out of the water. The wide beam allows larger engines to be fitted, but the back of the boat will sit low in the water and occasionally cop a drinking when large waves come past.
We had some nasty chop during the test so were able to give the boat a decent run to see how it handled at various angles. It was nice to find that the Pro Tournament provided quite a smooth ride, running both with and against the chop. However, if you push the hammer down and drive the boat like some of my mates, you will feel each and every wave.
We were hit by some spray while quartering into the chop – something that is hard to avoid in an open boat.
The test boat came with a 75hp Mariner two-stroke, which has plenty of speed and power to keep you near the front when the start gun goes off. Remember that while the boat can handle some wind and tide chop, it is primarily designed for protected waters. Many anglers think that because they have around 70hp on the back, they can run long distances out over open water and even offshore, but this kind of boat is simply not made for that sort of work.
Stability is a key factor for tournament anglers as they cast from an open deck. A good boat needs to offer a platform that isn’t going to throw you off your perch every time someone else in the boat moves, and the Pro Tournament certainly delivers in this department. There is also an electric motor mounted on the bow of the boat near the front casting platform to allow anglers to work quietly along productive areas.
The front deck is one of the better ones that I’ve seen in this style of boat. It’s a good flat area with plenty of room for a few anglers to move around in with nothing to trip over. All the compartments are hinged below the platform; the anchor well is right up the front and behind this there’s a mount for a pedestal seat and two lockers.
The rear section of the platform has two lockers running across the beam – one is for longer items like paddles and the other is a large livewell. The well has a good capacity and a centre spacer with holes drilled through it that can be slid in and out. There are two benefits in this. Firstly, it acts as a baffle to slow the sideways movement of the water in the tank. Secondly, it allows the fish to be placed in two separate areas – one side for each competitor when fishing a tournament.
There is another casting deck at the aft end of the boat, which again has plenty of room for two anglers. Below this there are a few more shallow storage areas and access to the bilge and batteries.
The rod locker on the 4.75 Pro Tournament runs down the passenger’s side. It has a good length and depth with the scope to take quite a few rods – an important feature considering how many rods some anglers take out on the water these days.
Side consoles have become pretty popular in boats around this size as they deliver a functional, compact unit to house electronics, gauges and dry storage, while taking little room away from the rest of the boat. The little sports console on this unit is smartly finished and offers all that you need.
The test boat had the added feature of a bimini top, which folds together and sits up behind the driving position. While shade is always a nice option, biminis do get in the way sometimes and that’s what I found in this case. Even when folded together, it sits up so that you need to duck under it to get from the front to the back of the boat. It’s a great idea and looks good but is perhaps not the best choice of cover.
All in all, the Stessl Edge Tracker 4.75 Pro Tournament is a great boat for both tournament and weekend anglers to fish out of. There are a number of different versions and sizes in the range, and all are worth having a look at.
Test boat supplied by Karee Marine (07) 3875 1622.
Make/model - Stessl Edge Tracker 4.75 Pro Tournament
Construction -Pressed alloy
Length - 4.93m
Beam - 2.05m
Weight -350kg (hull only)
Bottom - 3mm
Sides - 2mm
Max hp -80
Fuel -90L underfloor
Price as tested -$28,000
1. The 4.75 Pro Tournament provides anglers with a good stable platform to fish from and a hull that can handle choppy conditions.
2. Having 75hp on a boat like this means you’ll be the one of the leaders in the pack when it’s start time for the fishing tournament.
3/4. Some customizing in the test boat has led to a functional foredeck with split livewell and storage lockers.
5. The rear casting platform also holds storage below.
6. Side consoles are a smart way to deliver a good control centre at the helm and retain deck space around the boat.
7. Side lockers are an ideal place to keep those precious rods out of the way of clumsy feet.
8. From this view, it’s easy to appreciate the room around the boat.