GOLD Coast shipwright Drew Griffith’s DKG Marine is one of Australia’s leading surf boat makers. We’ve all seen surf boats in action and the bronzed Aussies that propel them smashing them through the waves. Surf boats need to be light, strong and able to cope with atrocious conditions, so what better heritage could a boat builder have to enter the sportfishing boat market?
Recently we met Drew on the Gold Coast to take his new Attack 470, which is all fitted out for sportfishing, for a spin. And, of course, for a fish!
Drew has designed the entire boat himself – from the hull up – and the process to date has taken two years.
“As most of my business is involved with making surf boats, I could afford to take my time building a boat for the pastime I love – fishing,” Griffiths explained. “Because of that, what I’ve come up with is a modular design that can be broadly customised for fishing, family, day or commercial use.”
Essentially, there are four main components to the boat, and all of them are fully fibreglass – there’s no timber to rot in this craft at all. The hull, the sub-floor, the floor and the top deck are assembled to make the basic ‘bowrider’ configuration.
The boat we tested, though, had two additional components added. Completing the casting deck up the front was the unit that fills in the for’ard legroom with a deck that also houses an insulated chilly-bin or tackle locker. Aft, there’s a drop-in rear casting that’s got a 150 insulated livewell inbuilt. The livewell is designed in a way that allows it to be easily converted into a divided container and use single or double lids to access the fish.
Consequently, Drew’s achieved a level of flexibility that’s uncommon for fibreglass hulls. There’s quite a number of combinations that will keep Attack owners happy, from family boaters right through to serious tournament anglers.
In the absence of rod lockers, the boat tested was fitted with a storage grid for up to 12 fishing rods on the port side. This leaves the starboard side free to house the side console, which has ample room for the helm and driver’s instruments and plenty of legroom underneath. The test boat had the Humminbird Matrix mounted on the gunwale, but there’s room behind the windscreen to mount a single sounder or GPS.
A fibreglass mounting bracket for the bow mounted MinnKota easily accommodated this essential piece of fishing equipment, and allows those who don’t opt for one to retain the clean lines of this craft.
Transported on a fully rollered Ruhle trailer, the Attack 470 was easily launched and just as simple to drive-on when retrieving.
But the question all like-minded speed freaks will ask is this: how does this boat perform? The afternoon’s fishing answered all questions.
I thought that the 470kg hull would be underpowered with its 50hp EFI four-stroke Mercury bolted on to the stern. We’d been in a shorter aluminium craft earlier that day that took a while to get on the plane with three adults aboard, so I expected planing to be a struggle.
I was wrong. While not being catapulted out of the hole, the boat’s 2.1-metre beam and smooth glass hull took only a few seconds to get up and scoot, even with three aboard. These same attributes allowed easy planing at an economical 4000rpm. Wide open throttle registered just under 35mph on the engine’s pitotmeter-registered speedo. These devices are a rough guess at best and nowhere near as accurate as a GPS, but even allowing for a 20 percent error would have a full speed that’s quite acceptable for an angler limited to 50ph.
Drew says that the hull can structurally handle a 90hp with ease, however an inexperienced driver may not. I understood what he meant when putting the Attack hull into a turn with the motor trimmed out as far as possible for straight-line speed. The craft slides into a turn trimmed like this and the trim angle needs to be reduced and the bow pushed down a little to experience what most of us would refer to as a textbook turn.
That said, a bit of clever trim work and you can throw this boat around with ease. I’d just love the challenge of taming one that’s factory fitted with a 90!
The motor is supplied fuel via a 65-litre underfloor fuel tank that lives under the main cockpit floor and in the true American style, the transom features a large splashwell in what can be best described as a semi-pod. Pushing the motor back just this little bit means that the well doesn’t chew into valuable fishing space. The fuel filler is built into the front of this well, which means that you don’t have to get into the boat to fill it up when you’re at the service station.
As tested, the Attack 470, with Matrix and MinnKota, will set you back $26,000 on the road, but basic hulls start from $8500. After that, talk with Drew about turning this hull into your ultimate fishing machine.
Drew and DKG Marine can be contacted on (07) 5520 2366 or 0413 172 643.
1) The Attack 470 certainly looks the part. Ample deck space and glass lines make for a smooth riding craft that will turn heads.
2) You really need to ride in glass to fully appreciate the differences between the Attack and a standard tinny.
3) A fully rollered Ruhle trailer makes launch and retrieve a cinch.
4) The 470 features a variable deadrise, but if you want to keep it really simple: glass = smooth ride.
5) The front casting deck features four storage hatches plus an insulated cooler/tackle locker.
6) The helm and console is simple and functional. There’s also plenty of legroom underneath.
7) Proof of the pudding. Drew landed this lure-munching bream in the Nerang River.
8) A centreline planing board adds to performance at high speed.Reads: 2318