The Gold Rush 5.5 Aggressor, with its 60hp Mercury four-stroke, is certainly a fair way removed from the run-of-the-mill rigs we come across on the water today.
The unconventional, super-slick, infused fibreglass hull of the Gold Rush 5.5 Aggressor is different. It has no separately moulded gunwale caps yet retains sufficient rigidity to be functional. It also sports a massive, no-frills internal work area mated to a very slick exterior – a great combination!
The design of the hull is outstanding. It has an extremely sharp, bold entry leading back to a deep 24º transom vee and a 2.07m beam. This vessel is slick, yet extremely stable.
Designer and manufacturer Max Buhnear says the concept behind the Aggressor design is very much an open plan: the buyer specifies what's required.
As reviewed, the tiller-steer rig came with a bench seat aft and a carpeted forward casting deck which occupied more than half the length of the craft. Enclosed storage was not featured in the test boat but there are cross bulkheads and ful-height stringers under the casting deck, so storage lockers, live wells and such can easily be set up on request.
The Gold Rush Aggressor is a functional fishing craft with a huge work area; it has a ride that many other boat manufacturers aspire to and outstanding stability at rest.
This craft is big, bold and roomy and has plenty of attitude.
Despite appearances, the Aggressor is very light: the hull weight is around 180kg, thanks to its infused glass-over foam core construction. Max arrived at the ramp with the craft in tow behind a Suzuki Swift.
At first glance the Gold Rush 5.5 Aggressor is a very stylish looking boat with ample beam and freeboard, especially with its cutaway bow and stern, yet it is focussed on functionality.
The hull exterior features a very lustrous, glossy gelcoat surface, but the inner work area is flowcoated for ease of maintenance. This means that a quick hose-out at end of day would complete the maintenance chores in that area.
Max Buhnear designed the 5.5 Gold Rush Aggressor for sheltered waters; offshore work is not within its design parameters. Intended for lakes, rivers and estuaries, the boat is along the lines of the sports boats we see on many of our sheltered and semi-sheltered waterways. Quick, stable, and with loads of fishing room, the Aggressor is ideal for these conditions.
I reviewed the test rig in the Jumpinpin area on the Gold Coast and concluded it would be simply brilliant for the myriad channels and passages that offer combinations of gassy, sheltered water plus choppy areas when the wind is piping.
The Gold Rush provides some very impressive cost savings, thanks to the hull's reduced weight and ultra-slick design. Many impoundment rigs are set up with massive outboards but Max has designed the Aggressor to run with a modest 60hp maximum and 40hp minimum.
The hull has some of the best features we see in a modern craft: A 24º vee at the transom with a high and very fine bow entry designed to minimise wave impact. There's a large amount of bow flare commencing at the waterline; a pair of full-length strakes provide plenty of lift and, the prominent upper strake forms a 28cm wide reversed chine at the aft sections.
The hull also features a central 30cm wide ‘plank’ for ease of planing and enhanced stability at rest.
Alone, these reversed outer chines and plank would assure the stability of the Gold Rush at rest. But wait there's more: a strongly reinforced central tunnel that fills with water ballast when at rest for additional stability.
I've always been intrigued with water ballast systems. Properly set up, they work a treat.
The Gold Rush system incorporates a vent to allow air to escape rapidly. This means the hull settles instantly off the plane yet can get back up almost as quickly.
The Aggressor's main interior design features an anchor locker up forward, a low bow/grab rail extending from just aft of the bow roller to well past the casting deck's aft section, and a set of rod holders built into the side of the hull to port.
There were no side pockets or rod holders on the test rig; these are optional extras.
Equipped with a 60hp Mercury four-stroke on its wide transom, the Gold Rush was a very lively performer.
From a standing START, even a small application of power had the craft starting to lift onto the plane. The well-formed strakes push the hull upright soon as power is applied.
Planing took place at a remarkably low speed, a mere 8.5 knots (15.8kmh), with a very smooth cruise speed of 27 knots (50kmh) with the Mercury not even starting to strain. A burst of wide open throttle produced 42.5 knots (78.8kmh) on the handheld GPS – impressive.
Although very rapid in a straight line, the Gold Rush Aggressor also did very well in tight turns, figure-eights and whatever we asked of it. Side slip or prop ventilation were non-events.
Purposely going hard into wind chop or clipping back over wash from passing larger craft didn’t cause the slightest upset to the hull. The ride was quite dry while heading into chop but, like all open boats, expect some spray if going hard in strong cross winds.
Stability at rest was everything you could ask for, a factor that makes it an excellent impoundment/river sports fishing rig. Fitting an electric motor would not be an issue as a pad could easily be set up.
As a sheltered-water, budget-priced craft there's no doubt the performance, work area and stability of the Gold Rush Aggressor will command seriously consideration by anglers.
It is unusual in many aspects but with some additional fit-out to ‘sports boat’ specifications it would certainly allow three or four keen anglers to work with ease.
Pricing is sharp: a boat-motor trailer combination, as reviewed, is $25,990. Gold Rush Boats can be contacted on 0408 444 548 or on 1800Goldrush.
|Motor Fitted:||60hp Mercury four-stroke|
|Towing:||Family sedan, four or six cylinder|