IF YOU can’t put your finger on exactly what you want in a boat, the versatility of a custom plate alloy boat can be a good choice, allowing you to cover most options.
A good custom plate boat will allow you to work the dams and rivers and, on a reasonable day, head out to the bay and inshore reefs. There’s also plenty of room to fish and to load some camping gear in if you want to slip away for a few days.
The 4.5m Rebel extreme is one such boat. It’s available in a number of configurations – side console, centre console and tiller steer – as well as a number of different floor plans.
One of the contributing factors in the versatility of this rig is the heavier construction and higher sides to take the travel and the load. The bottom and sides are made from 4mm plate sheets, with the sides a little higher than your standard rig. This gives good piece of mind when you’re on the water and offers more protection from the slop of the chop and whitewater. At the same time there’s more freeboard when you want to load up with camping gear for a few days away.
Below deck you’ll find a full aluminium frame and stringer lay-up to provide additional strength and take the heavier loads.
The heavy-duty hull will take engines up to 60hp four-stroke and 70hp two-stroke. You’ll find the boat will perform better and tend to be more economical with the likes of a 60hp engine, and you’ll appreciate it even more if you load the boat full of gear. It puts a damper on camping trips if the ride there is a slow, hard slog with a 40hp engine struggling to get the boat up onto the plane.
With just three adults on board the 60hp two-stroke engine on the demo boat was very zippy, with hardly any effort needed to get us underway. The boat slips up onto the plane nice and level with no hint of any bow-high ride.
Like most boats with steering towards the stern, if you have no load up front and only one person driving up the back of the boat you may encounter a little bow-high riding. Once you load some gear and fuel into the boat you won’t have a problem.
The side console layout is quite a good set up. The weight is moved forward and you can sit down and drive, and there are plenty of options for additional seating while retaining open room to move around in and fish from.
The higher sides do catch a little more wind side-on, but this is outweighed by the drier and safer ride that you achieve. In any case, it doesn’t take much to adjust the weight distribution on the boat to correct this.
Stability at rest is very good, with the 12-degree bottom offering a secure platform to move around and throw a line, fight a fish or cast a net. The more weight you have in the boat (without going to the extreme) the better the stability. The empty boat sees the outer chine a little above the waterline. It’s preferable to see this just on or just under the waterline and the added weight will do this.
The layout of this side console offers a generous amount of open room and storage. At the transom you’ll find storage either side of the shallow engine well. The top side forms a small platform to stand on while the hatches access the room below, designed for housing batteries and gear or for additional fuel storage.
The fuel tank below deck holds 60 litres. There’s also the option for an additional below deck tank if you feel the need and want to take advantage of the room below, instead of using the storage hatch at the back for a remote fuel tank.
The main storage area is up under the front casting deck, where two separate lids open to reveal the area below. They have been designed so that you can slip the large Nally storage tubs in here so, because Nally tubs have their own lids, this adds up to dry storage.
Items that don’t matter if they get wet can be stacked around this. Most of your fishing gear, in the form of tackleboxes, can be slipped up under the console where they are out of the way yet still quite easy to reach – in addition to those storage areas at the transom.
The side console does come with a small windscreen to offer protection from the wind to the driver and protection to any electronics which are mounted on the dash.
Side pockets are found on both sides of the boat, and while only minimal in depth and width they do offer a substantial spot for all sorts of gear. In this case, the beauty of the pockets is that because they aren’t big they don’t intrude into the deck area where they may get in the way.
The seating comes in the form of removable pedestal seats with folding backrests. There are three positions for the seats in this layout – one behind the console, the other next to it and the third on the passenger’s side just before the raised casting platform.
This platform is a rather large one with no problems for a couple of anglers to stand up here and fish. The seat mounts can be positioned up here if you request it.
The general fit-out was quite good, with the boys at Wondall Road Marine taking the time to fit out the proper way, pre-drill before the paint job, using nylon space washers where applicable and using stainless bolts, screws and rivets where necessary.
With a nice two-pack paint to finish it all off, the boat presents well. When ordering a boat you can chose whatever colour you like with contrasting stipes, so it does tend to become more of a one-off item.
As each boat is made one at a time, it’s no trouble to change a few things to better suit your requirements. What you end up with is a very versatile 4.5m boat that will handle many different situations, is easy to manage and isn’t going to break the bank every time you want to fill up with fuel and head out for a day or two.
Test boat courtesy of Wondall Road Marine, ph. (07) 3396 5633.
Make/model -Rebel Extreme side console
Length - 4.5m (4.8m overall)
Beam - 2.1m
Depth - 1.1m
Weight - 360kg (hull only)
Construction - plate alloy (4.0mm bottom and sides)
Fuel - 60L underfloor
Max hp - 60hp four-stroke or 70hp two-stroke
Deadrise - 12 degrees
Flotation - No
Height on trailer - 1.6m (windscreen folds)
Price as tested - $18,500
1. Rebel’s new 4.5m Extreme side console offers anglers the beauty of a good, solid boat with the opportunity to fish the estuaries and the open water of the bay.
2. The 60hp two-stroke Mercury outboard has plenty of get up and go and helps keep the price down. Being an open boat, the fumes aren’t as bad.
3. The additional storage at the transom always comes in handy.
4. From this view you appreciate the size and layout of the boat.
5. It’s nice to see a good sized raised for’ard deck with a considerable amount of room below.
6. The side console offers protection, storage and somewhere comfortable to sit.