The 600 Challenger is just one of several top-shelf fishing craft manufactured by Pursuit Boats of the Queensland Sunshine Coast. The company has been active for over six years and the current range of Pursuit craft reflects the research and development undertaken during this time.
The Pursuit 600 Challenger, with its 150hp Suzuki on the transom, might not be as well known as some of the more established marques of today but it is still a mighty potent offshore fishing machine.
All the necessary attributes are there. A short run offshore will reveal a ride that concedes nothing to competitors; there's a big cockpit that can fish four or five anglers with ease; a bunk-equipped cuddy cab that offers weather protection and storage and a quality windscreen and side clears that come as part of the standard package.
The 600 Challenger is a cuddy-style craft but the cabin is large enough to be useful without impinging on fishing room. Head and legroom in the cabin are generous and there's padded lining up as far as the side shelving.
The padding also serves as a handy backrest when seated on the 2m-long bunk with its handy infill. The interior light can be switched from white to red to preserve night vision.
The bunk looks capable of sleeping up to three adults. Large side windows are standard and there's a forward hatch to access the ground tackle in its locker just aft of the large bowsprit and roller.
A full bow rail was featured although an optional split rail is available.
A full-width dash with ample flat areas is bordered by a strong four-piece windscreen. Moulded lips keep items on the dash from sliding around.
A grab handle for the first mate is standard, as is a footrest and side storage shelf. A raised dash area towards the skipper is designed for mounting the GME marine radio and engine instruments for excellent visibility.
A Humminbird 777C sounder was fitted to the test rig as a customer request but Brett Kruger of Pursuit says a Humminbird 787 combination sounder GPS would be standard for future orders.
With side-mounted engine controls within easy reach, I had no difficulty making myself very comfortable on the skipper's strong, slide-adjustable seat for a test drive. The shady bimini was welcome on a hot day and we removed the clears to enjoy some breeze in the face.
The skipper's and mate's sliding swivel seats were mounted on moulded boxes, the skipper's featuring open storage and passenger's incorporating an aft-facing seat with drained ice box, tackle drawers and fire extinguisher recess – great use of available space.
The ample cockpit features carpet, recessed gunwale rails, nearly metre-high sides, two rod holders per side, pop-out side cleats, a decent under-floor kill tank and LED side lighting.
Drainage is via a sump and bilge pump at the transom. Side pockets incorporated rod holders, with the starboard unit large enough to hold full-sized boat rods.
The Pursuit 600 Challenger also offers seating aft in the form of two separate lounges for up to four adults. Both lounges are designed to drop down out of the way or be removed for full-on fishing.
The lounge to starboard features a drop- in backrest that doubles as the boarding gate. With a neat section of non-skid decking and a boarding ladder directly aft of the wide gate, a diver or swimmer would find no difficulty leaving or entering.
A 75L live-bait well with aerator and light, plus grab rails, are all incorporated into a transom with eye appeal and practicality.
The 2.8-litre four-cylinder Suzuki 150 made light work of moving the 760kg hull and a 140hp would also fill the bill. The maximum 175hp would best suit boaters wanting to do a bit of skiing or toy-towing in between fishing trips.
The Pursuit's foam-filled hull eased onto the plane virtually without bow lift, thanks to large reversed outer chines (which also provide stability at rest) and strakes starting right at the fine bow entry.
The 21° transom deadrise and central planing plank add up to a smooth, soft ride and direct tracking. With Brett and I on one gunwale the hull barely leaned, something offshore anglers will certainly appreciate.
The hull eased through Bribie Island chop smoothly, even when it was abeam, and the hydraulic steering made driving a fingertip exercise.
The hull planed at 11 knots (20.5km/h) at 2800rpm, moved along at 17 knots (31.4km/h) at 3000rpm, 25 knots (46.5km/h) at 4000rpm – a great cruising speed – 33.8 knots (62.7km/h) at 5000rpm and 36.6 knots (67.8km/h) at 5700rpm.
When it comes to appearance, performance and value, Pursuit's 600 Challenger is the sort of craft a dedicated angler is going to find very hard to go past. Yet thanks to the combination of ride, features and seven-person rating, it will also have broad appeal as a family craft or for the off shore or bay angler wanting a seriously good fishing boat.
At $59,950 for boat motor and tandem Sealink trailer, value is certainly there. Buyers can contact the factory direct on 07 5440 5560, fax 07 5449 8244. Visit www.pursuitboats.com.au or email --e-mail address hidden--
|Engine tested:||150hp Suzuki|
|Towing:||Large sedan or 4WD|