THE HOOKER tiller steer uses a centre console set-up uniquely, as it has a full console without the wheel steering. Shawn Perera from Cairns, who owns the tiller steer version of the Hooker, just loves it and after 12 months of regular use he’s as happy with his rig today as he was the day he picked it up.The concept behind the set-up is to reduce the cost of getting on the water but still have the option down the track of upgrading to wheel steering if desired.
Shaun has made a PVC extension arm for the 50hp Tohatsu, to make the long trips to the reef a little more comfortable. The positioning of the twin padded pivoting bucket seats, right near the stern, certainly gives a very comfortable ride, while maximizing the usable floor space. Grab rails near the seats are perfectly positioned for hanging on. Rear quarter hatches are used for storage in the test boat but would be ideal for fitting a live bait tank.
The centre console is set well back so the Garmin GPS 12 and Garmin Fishfinder 10 Blue are within easy reach of the helm position. The console has a perspex lid on the top storage compartment, making it easy to see the contents. A divider on the floor under the console stops gear sliding out when underway. There are grab rails to burn on the console, as well as a top storage tray, a compass and a four-switch panel to control electrics.
The flow coat floor makes it a breeze to clean and Shawn has done such a great job of keeping the boat in top nick, that I thought it was brand new. Small side pockets are positioned within easy reach of the seats. The test boat is only fitted with two through gunwale rod holders, as Shawn does more diving than fishing.
The large fully insulated esky in front of the console doubles as a seat, while there is a weather-proof compartment in front of the esky to keep gear dry. Safety gear is stowed away in the hatch under the front.
The anchoring system in simple and effective, with a self draining anchor well, lock down hatch, and a cross bollard between the well and the bow roller, on the end of a small bow sprit.
The ride of the Hooker is even better than the full centre console version, which I tested some time ago and this has a lot to do with the positioning of the seats. With the weight so far back the Hooker gets up on its tail and flies, skipping over really rough water with ease. We took the tiller steer out to False Cape in a strong wind warning and while we did get a bit of spray when broadside on in the atrocious conditions, it certainly handled the dangerous seas with ease.
Shawn uses the Hooker mainly for heading to the reef and is really impressed with its handling in open water. He cruises at about 22 knots but can wind it up to around 28 knots when conditions are ideal. Having a hull under you that is capable of passing 2C Survey, gives peace of mind when heading out wide. Should you manage to fill it with water, or turn turtle, the Hooker will keep you afloat until rescued. The fully hand laid hull has woven rovings and Klegecell foam in the floors and transom, which provides built in floatation, and anglers don't have to worry about rot, as no timber is used in construction. The finish throughout is top class.
The Hooker tiller steer is the ideal outfit for the fisher who wants to get on the water at minimal cost and then upgrade when the money is available.
For further information contact Hooker Boats on (07) 4035 1157.
Length - 5.2m
Beam - 2.3m
Height on trailer - approx. 1.5m
Weight - 475kg (hull only)
Max hp - 90
Max people - 5
1) Sitting right on the tail of the Hooker produces a very comfortable ride.
2) The console is used for storage and electronics and could also be used to mount a steering wheel if desired.
3) The compartment under the front seat is big enough to hold all the offshore safety gear.
4) Rear quarter hatches are used for storage or could hold a live bait tank.
5) The layout leaves a massive amount of usable floor space. Note the weather proof hatch in front of the esky seat.Reads: 1659