THE FIRST thing I do when I look at a boat is to determine the type of person that I can see using that particular model. With Rebel’s new 4.9m tiller steer, I pictured the owner as a keen fisho who doesn’t mind a variety of fishing applications and likes to have his own personal touches on the boat. More than likely he’s had a boat before and is just looking for that bit extra this time around.
The Rebel, as with most plate aluminium boats, starts off with a basic hull and the upper layout can be of standard format or customised to suit the angler’s needs.
I often use the term ‘big little boat’, and this one fits such a category. Being under 5m it’s not what you would call a big boat, but the room in it and the places that you could take the boat are greater than that of a few 5m-plus boats. The solid design and construction of a plate boat allows you to do such things, and also allows you to take the boat on rough roads or for harder commercial use.
The sides on the 4.9m Rebel are nice and high at 580mm. Sides that are slightly higher do make a difference to your safety in the boat (and for the security of children). It’s all right in calm conditions, but imagine trying to keep your balance while fishing in rough conditions trying to pull in a good fish and leaning against the side to brace yourself! If the side only comes half way up your shins you’re not going to feel too safe.
For a boat to be a good fishing platform it needs to give you room to move around and fish as well as room to put your gear. The basic tiller steer version has the two corner seats against the transom, one of which you sit on to drive. Underneath here is storage for batteries and oil bottles, depending on what size engine you have on the back. If the oil is mixed with the fuel there’s no need for an oil bottle and you gain a little more storage area.
Apart from side pockets, the rest of the deck area in the basic boat is all open space which is great for so many applications. The only thing you don’t have though is storage space, and this is where the advantage of customising the boat’s layout comes into play.
The demo boat is Warren’s own boat, so he’s decked it out to suit him – and I like the way he’s done it. To start with, a big EvaKool esky has been placed in the centre of the deck. With corner mounting blocks secured to the deck, the esky doesn’t slide all over the place and it can be easily lifted out. Aside from its obvious use of keeping the catch cool, the bigger size of the esky is the perfect height to be used as a seat while fishing or travelling.
A little further forward of this is the storage unit. The back section of the unit is left open, allowing for the placement of larger items such as buckets and life jackets. Here they are easily accessible at all times. The front section of this unit has storage under a lid in its top section which can be used as a live bait tank. The under section is a decent size and has many applications for dry stowage of gear.
The fitting and location of both esky and storage unit has been done in a manner that it still gives you plenty of room to move around the whole boat. In fact, it makes the boat more fishable because it gives everything a place, keeping a clear and tidy deck area to fish and move around in.
One other thing that you don’t really appreciate until you’re in the position is that this front console unit is built so that you can brace yourself against it while fishing. There are plenty of times when there’s someone with a decent fish standing up the front and half the problems are bracing themselves in a choppy sea. Here, you just lean back and hang on.
With side decks down along the sides there’s no shortage of space for rod holders. On this boat a folding bimini top has been secured to the side decks as well. It’s quite a big top and offers a load of shade. When not required it just folds down out of the way.
The self-draining deck has scuppers out the back and 100L of fuel under the floor. Almost a must for the keen angler is the under floor wet tank which can be flooded and drained of seawater. This version sees the room in the wet tank extend further up under the floor, giving it the length to slip in longer fish such as mackerel. It’s not a bad place to keep your crabs either as you can keep them cool, alive and in top condition with the constant flow of seawater in and out of the tank.
With a 40hp two-stroke Yamaha on the back the boat gets underway surprisingly easy, with little power required to get on the plane and keep it there. Fitted with this engine, the top speed was 45kmph – not bad at all for the calibre of the boat.
A modest 15-degree deadrise delivers a smooth ride in the chop and it was quite noticeable how quite the hull was in the chop. A definite lack of thumping and banging. You can’t really tell by the pictures because we took these in calm water, but just around the corner we had a good 25 knots of wind blowing and, while you do get wet from wind-blown spray in these conditions, the boat still handles well and you feel quite safe.
The hull is rated to 75hp, and with an engine this size the boat would well and truly motor along. There is plenty of fuel in the tank below the floor to accommodate a good day out on the water, even with the larger engine fitted.
The same hull is also available in a centre console and a cuddy cab. The cuddy version I had a quick glance over in the factory, and it’s hard to believe that it’s the same hull. It just goes to show how versatile a 16ft boat can be.
BMT packages start from $16,000. For further information phone Rebel Boats on (07) 3283 3373.
Make/model Rebel – 4.9m Tiller
Length – 4.9m
Beam - 2.12m
Weight – 350kg (hull only)
Deadrise – 15 degrees
Construction – plate alloy
Bottom – 4mm
Sides – 4mm
Fuel – 100L underfloor
Max hp – 75hp
Flotation – watertight underfloor bulkhead.
1) Rebel’s 4.9m tiller steer offers a good ride with minimal horsepower required to get the boat along.
2. A big fold-down canopy is just a must during the hot Queensland summer.
3. Side pockets for those longer items with additional storage under the transom seat. Note the scupper in the corner.
4. More than enough storage is provided by the big esky and forward unit.
5. The front profile reveals the bait tank in the top with storage below.Reads: 3632