The Blue Fin Wild Cat Sport Fish is ideally set up for impoundment fishing, but would be equally at home on any estuary or bay. The layout, consisting of large forward and rear casting decks, is perfect for the sports fisher (as the name suggests) who wants a large, stable, uncluttered casting platform.
The test boat, supplied by Mitchell’s Marine in Cairns, was fitted with the new EFI 60hp Honda four stroke, and what a machine it is! The new Honda has the expected whisper quiet sound, but what really got my attention was its acceleration. A result of BLAST (Boosted Low Speed Torque) technology, the new Honda 60 certainly blasted the Wild Cat out of the water and was equally as impressive when hitting the throttle when on the plane.
During on-water trials, after fitting a new 60hp Honda to a local Fisheries research boat, the acceleration was so great that it broke the support mounts off a pedestal seat. Steve Booth penned a comprehensive review of the new 60hp Honda in the August issue of QFM, so please refer back to that article for more details on this suburb piece of machinery.
The 4.35m Wild Cat comes with a side console, which has always been my preference for boats under 5m. It leaves more floor space and gives a roomier fell than a centre console in a small boat. There are two in-floor mounts for the second chair, with one beside the skipper for balanced running and one forward for fishing. A third pivoting chair can readily be included if desired.
The rear-casting platform has two slide-out hatches to access the rear corners. The starboard hatch contains the battery and fuel filter and the port side is ideal for storage. The full width section in front is currently unused for storage, which seems a waste, but how much gear can you stow with the massive front platform all storage? If this section was also turned into storage you would need to be careful not to put too much weight in there, for fear of making the rig too heavy. This is probably the reason the boat comes standard with this section filled only with foam. It also helps the Blue Fin meet the new buoyancy regulations.
The low profile side console is as compact as possible, while still being functional. The cut away supports make it easy to rotate while seated, and the low profile Perspex screen offers protection for the electronics without obstructing forward vision. The dash has all the electronics necessary for instant fishing already fitted, with a Garmin Fishfinder 90 mounted to port, a centrally mounted liquid dampened compass, a six switch panel to control on board electronics and standard Honda instrumentation of tacho, trim and tilt gauge, and fuel gauge. A small under dash tray finishes off an excellent small boat helm.
The nose has all the features imaginable, with a bow thruster mount built into the hull, huge live bait tank, anchor well and heaps of under floor storage. One feature I really like is the lack of a bow rail. Why manufacturers persist with bow rails on small rigs is beyond me. Most boarding and alighting in small boats occurs over the nose and a bow rail is just one more thing to scramble over, as well as being a pain when cast netting and fishing, especially with fly gear.
The full width live bait tank on the rear edge of the platform is an excellent design, with a slide out panel in the middle, so bait can be carried in one side and live fish captures in the other, or it can be removed to carry larger fish. Between the front anchor hatch and the live well is a large storage compartment serviced by hatches on either side.
We took the test boat for a spin out the front of Trinity Inlet, with the performance of the Honda exhilarating and the Blue Fin good, without being outstanding. The Blue Fin handled the chop well for an alloy boat, especially when running into the swell. In very blustery conditions, it did throw a bit of spray on the quarter, which is to be expected in an open boat of any kind. The positive was that in pretty wild conditions it was only spray and not walls of water as can be the case with some boats in similar conditions.
The Wild Cat hung on like chewing gum to your pants when turning hard and like all good four strokes the Honda held its revs beautifully in a double 720 degree turn. Another excellent feature of the new 60hp Honda was its instant response to the throttle, which has been a weakness in four strokes to date.
The Wild Cat’s minimum speed was 5.4km/h (2.9knots), which is ideal for barra trolling and it got to 30km/h (16.2knots) at 3500rpm, 34km/h (18.4knots) at 4000rpm, 42km/h (22.7knots) at 4500 rpm, 47km/h (25.4knots) at 5000rpm, 52km/h (28.1knots) at 5500rpm and 54km/h (29.2knots) at WOT of 5800 rpm.
All up the Blue Fin, Wild Cat is a gem of an impoundment and smooth water sport fishing rig, which will get you offshore in good conditions. With a BMT package price of $27,890 from Mitchell’s Marine in Cairns (Ph 07 40 513 512) you are getting a quality rig at a very competitive price.
|Hull Weight:||335 kg|