THE EVER increasing popularity of impoundment fishing in Queensland is clearly evident in the number of new releases that specifically target this growing market. The new Stessco 465 Chaser LT is another great example of the ideal impoundment, inshore and estuary specialist fishing platform.
The test boat, supplied by Quay Marine in Cairns, was fitted with a 50hp Mercury EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) four-stroke, which proved to be the perfect power unit for the Chaser.
The layout of the Stessco 465 Chaser is pure fishing, with a large forward casting platform with excellent underfloor storage, a side console, and a small rear casting platform which triples as a seat and storage area.
The LT in the name stands for Long Tail and signifies the now popular full-width duckboard, with the planing hull carrying right through to the back of the tail. This maximizes the planing area and offers greater floatation to support the slightly heavier four-stroke motors, which are continuing to grow in popularity. The Long Tail has the added advantages of allowing easy access over the stern, with excellent grip thanks to the checkerplate finish and the ability to get at the motor while on the water. A grab rail runs from the transom to the back of the Long Tail, making it even easier to climb out of the water.
The extra wide transom top holds a live bait tank to port, with plenty of room for a second tank to starboard. Those that like extra elevation when flicking lures will find the transom top plenty wide enough to cast off.
The 465 Chaser has a unique rear casting platform, which is at low seat height and contains three hinged lids giving access to the storage area below and the bilge. Two weather proof hatches are set into the backrest and give access to storage areas inside the transom.
The main seating arrangement has two pivoting, padded, bucket seats, with one located at the helm, forward and rear locating holes on the port side of the console and a fourth position in the middle of the forward casting platform.
The raked back side console leaves maximum uncluttered floor space, with plenty of leg room underneath. The base of the console is alloy, with a moulded fibreglass dash containing the speedo, fuel gauge, oil meter, hour meter, tacho, Ritchie compass and four-switch panel, four nav lights, bilge pump and the Humminbird Legend 1005 sounder.
The Humminbird Legend 1005 high resolution sounder is worth further mention, as the detail on the screen is excellent and resembles the old style paper-feed sounders in readout. My test partner, World All Tackle Barra Record holder and QFM writer, Dave Powell, used the test boat to win last year's Celebrity Section of the Tinaroo Barra Bash and just raved about the Chaser, and the Legend in particular. He ran it out over one of the deep holes in the Cairns Inlet, showing me just how well it showed up bait schools and the clarity of the fish arches, which left no doubt you were looking at a fish, not just a bit of suspended rubbish.
All rails are very low profile, making them functional yet non-obtrusive. The free standing, centre-folding canopy was removed for the boat test, but when in use it cuts out the midday sun, while still allowing rod fishing from the front and back of the Chaser.
The test boat was fitted with six through-gunwale rod holders, four in the rear quarters and two towards the nose, for anglers fishing from the front casting platform.
The self-draining anchor well is plenty big enough, and has another storage shelf beneath to hold a second anchor if desired. The short bowsprit holds a bow roller, and the cross bollard, for tying off, is positioned between the base of the sprit and the anchor well. The electric thruster bracket welded to the port bow is an excellent addition for impoundment and estuary fishing. The nose deck has a checkerplate finish for those who like to stand tall to toss a cast net or flick a lure.
The forward casting platform is set down about 20cm from the gunwale, for added security, and has a rear opening hatch to access the massive storage area underneath. The storage options in the Chaser are finished off with two side pockets, with a small one to starboard and a more conventional sized one to port.
The 50hp Mercury EFI four-stroke just purred along as we put the Chaser through its paces out the front of Trinity Inlet. We ran down local fishing identity Ritchie Townsend and his wife Pat as they headed out to False Cape looking for bait, and the Chaser ate the sloppy conditions. I would have no hesitation heading offshore and around the islands on a good day, as the Stessco provided a comfortable and surprisingly dry ride in the conditions.
A four-stroke is the perfect power unit for impoundment fishing, as it minimizes oil release into the enclosed environment and is much quieter than two-strokes, especially at trolling speed. The 50hp Mercury EFI four-stroke had power to burn, producing 28km/h (17mph, 15knots) at 3500rpm, 35km/h (22mph, 19knots) at 4000rpm, 40km/h (25mph, 22knots) at 4500rpm, 48km/h (30mph, 26knots) at 5000rpm, 53km/h (33mph, 29knots) at 5500rpm and topped out doing 55km/h (34mph, 30knots) at 6000rpm.
The test boat came on a extra heavy-duty off-road trailer, complete with off-road hitch for some serious exploring of inland waterways and those hard-to-get-at estuary systems so prevalent in the Cape and Gulf.
The Stessco 465 Chaser LT is perfectly suited to the serious impoundment, estuary and inshore angler, who wants a pure fishing rig to cover all the angling options available to the sheltered water fisho.
BMT package price for Stessco 465 Chaser LT: $22,000. For further information contact Quay Marine in Cairns on (07) 4041 3166.
Length Overall – 4.85m
Beam – 1.98m
Height – 1m
Weight (boat only) – 350kg
Rec. hp – 40
Max. hp – 50
Max. transom weight – 112kg
Bottom – 3.0mm
Sides – 1.6mm
1) The 50hp Mercury EFI four-stroke proved to be the ideal power unit for the Stessco 465 Chaser LT.
2) The Long Tail (LT) provides extra planing length, easy access over the stern and added buoyancy to support a four-stroke outboard.
3) The side console maximizes usable floor space, while the rear opening hatch allows access to a huge storage area under the forward casting platform.
4) The raked back console makes it easy to get the helmsman's legs in and out, while the moulded fibreglass dash keeps instrumentation compact and functional.
5) There is plenty more storage area under the rear seat and inside the transom.
6) The welded electric thruster mount is a great addition to the Chaser. Note the checkerplate finish for added grip when standing on the nose.Reads: 1020