I HAD noticed the advertisement for TABS (Total Aluminium Boat Services) boats in QFM for some time, so I was very interested when Carla Grieve from The Tinnie Shack in Mission Beach contacted me to test the TABS 4.35 Territory. The Tinnie Shack was recently appointed the North Queensland dealer for TABS boats and the crew was keen to show off this great little rig.
It’s one hell of a lot of boat for 4.35m. The beam of 2.15m, and 55cm of freeboard, coupled with extra wide gunwales, 4mm plate bottom and 3mm plate sides, leaves you sitting in a serious fishing craft.
The layout of the 4.35 Territory is pure fishing, with a forward and rear casting platform, livebait tank and stacks of under-floor storage. The Territory is a tiller steer configuration but this hull is also available with a side console.
Access over the stern is via a small step on the port side. The large rear casting platform has a livebait tank to port, plus battery storage and a large hatch, with side hinges, to starboard. The starboard storage hatch has a raised carpeted floor to keep gear out of the bilge. Inside the hatch is a battery isolator switch and fuel filter, keeping them out of the way but easy to access. The fully-plumbed fibreglass livebait tank is an excellent size and would hold a serious school of sardines. The small side pocket to port even has a carpeted floor. Electronics can be mounted on the gunwale bracket, which is ideally situated for access from the helm. There is room for a sounder to be mounted underneath, and it has a four switch control panel fuel gauge and trim and tilt button.
There are four spigot positions for the two standard seats – two across the stern and one mid-length and to port and the fourth in the centre of the forward casting platform. The forward storage compartment has two access hatches, one either side of the seat mount. They both open to the side and can be fully raised with the seat in position. Inside is a fully carped storage area with a raised floor, which provides a massive amount of storage. Under the floor, from stern to nose, is all foam, which provides enough flotation for the boat to pass 2C survey.
The anchoring system is spot on, with a self-draining anchor well, stainless steel bow roller with lock pin, and a horn cleat on the rear side of the well. A feature I really liked was the fully-carpeted anchor well, which reduces noise and unsightly dings in the bow.
The fully-welded gunwales start out at the stern fairly standard width but they widen considerably in the front two thirds, creating a very solid and safe feel to the TABS. To add to the structural strength of the 4.35 Territory there are six longitudinal stringers under the floor. There are also ten 3mm solid plate alloy ribs, which run from the hull to the sealed timber floor. The top edge of each rib is folded horizontally and the floor is screwed to them. There are also five full-height ribs, which continue up to, and are fully welded to, the gunwale. Foot plates around the base of each rib ensures that sinkers, swivels and the like can't get down inside the hull. The Territory also comes with an optional fully self-draining hull. Add to all this structural strength of a 75mm x 30mm fully welded box section keel and you’re riding in a battleship.
At around 400kg for the hull only, the Territory is no lightweight but the extra weight certainly adds up to a softer ride. We put the Territory through its paces in the open water out in front of the Clump Point jetty and it handled the chop superbly. I managed to get the TABS out of the water on a couple of occasions and it came down surprisingly softly for such a beamy boat. I was expecting a spine jarring re-entry but she came down tail first without my vertebrae feeling like they’d just been compressed. The TABS was very stable both on the plane and at rest. It behaved like a labrador straight out of obedience school, and no amount of horsing around could find any weaknesses in handling.
The Territory handled the small swell superbly at all angles and threw a bit of spray only on the bow quarter. The 50mm spray chines, which run about two thirds of the length of the hull, help keep the spray down. We probably could have eliminated the spray entirely by adjusting the trim but it was very difficult to get at on the run. The 40hp Tohatsu has the trim and tilt button in a awkward position up under the cowl but Dean Grieve is in the process of fitting an external trim and tilt control on the switchboard to solve this.
The Territory has a 65L under-floor fuel tank, with two breathers for easy filling. The starboard hatch, under the rear casting platform, will hold another 25L fuel tank if you want to go on a long run.
The 40hp Tohatsu two-stroke provided ample power and got the Territory up on top quickly. It cruised along beautifully at 32km/h (20mph, 17kt) and topped out at 40km/h (25mph, 22kt). Fitting a maximum rated 50hp outboard would make it fly.
The Territory has everything this angler wants and has the strength and durability to last a lifetime. The finish is top class and the extra touches, such as the carpeted anchor well and side pocket and the unpainted bow and grab rails, show a keen understanding of what does and doesn't work in a fishing boat.
The TABS 4.35 Territory is the best estuary and inshore fishing rig I’ve ever had the pleasure of testing. My personal preference would be for a side console and I can't wait for the phone call from Carla to say they have one in stock. I'll be down to Mission Beach in a flash!
BMT package prices for the TABS 4.35 Territory start from $17,000. For more information contact The Tinnie Shack on (07) 4088 6125.
Beam - 2.15m
Length - 4.35m
Freeboard - 55cm
Depth overall - 1.06m
Max hp - 50
Bottom - 4mm
Sides - 3mm
Transom - 3mm
1) The TABS 4.35 Territory looks great on the water.
2) This boat has the perfect fishing layout of forward and rear casting platforms, a stack of uncluttered floor space and heaps of under floor storage.
3) The livebait well is fully plumbed and will hold a serious number of livies.
4) The control panel has a four-switch board, fuel gauge and a remote trim and tilt control. A sounder can be mounted underneath or on top.
5) There is excellent access to the massive forward storage compartment. Note the hatches can be fully opened with the front seat in place.
6) The inside of the anchor well is fully carpeted – an excellent idea.