This is one rig that delivers good old-fashioned speed – that addictive quality we humans have loved since the invention of the wheel.
With a potent 175 Mercury Verado on the transom jacking plate, the 5.45 Blue Fin Hellcat is a seriously fast boat that bolts up to around 100kmh. It is designed to keep travel times to your chosen fishing spots to an absolute minimum.
As the first real bass/bream sportfishing craft from a major alloy manufacturer, the Blue Fin Hellcat certainly has created some waves – and none of them from that ultra smooth wash, either.
I believe that Blue Fin have endowed their Hellcat with the sort of ride – hard for alloy manufacturers – we expect from a comparable fibreglass hull. In the same manner that other very fast, low-profile glass hulls simply power over chop and wash, the Hellcat produced no bang, no bump, just a bit of a judder as it skipped cleanly across everything we encountered.
The test 5.45 Hellcat is owned by keen fisho Daniel Hall, who was generous enough to make his craft available for a run to the Gold Coast’s Jumpinpin. Dan is a keen bream angler and makes no bones about the fact that the Hellcat has been everything he’s ever wanted in a boat.
Storage space in tournament-style craft is always a big selling point and the Hellcat offers plenty. Up front, around half of the big alloy rig is devoted to a casting deck featuring side storage lockers. There is also a larger central locker for rods rigged and ready to use.
Batteries, built-in charger and other mandatory items are accessible to port, with extra tackle boxes to starboard. Thanks to the size of the hatches, any item needing to come out can be accessed within seconds.
A 71lb thrust Motor Guide electric (a 75lb Saltwater series comes standard with batteries and charging system) is equipped with its own transducer, linked to a front-mounted Lowrance HDS5 (this sounder is an extra).
The foot control for the electric is located centrally so that when driving the electric, Daniel can easily keep an eye on the sounder screen.
Down in the helm/cockpit area there are windscreens to protect driver and passenger from the slipstream at high speed. The passenger can easily access the Fusion stereo in a lockable glovebox and drink holders are set up in the centre step leading to the forward casting deck.
The driver enjoys a comprehensive control layout which includes banks of switches set up on both sides of the wheel, and Mercury Smart Craft gauges are set above the wheel in a classy insert with another Lowrance HDS5 (standard) to starboard on a side mount.
Everything from cruise control, current fuel consumption to range available is on hand in the Smart Craft console –invaluable.
I’ve left arguably the best of the cockpit goodies to last. As a high-performance craft the Hellcat has been equipped with some very special equipment. I was impressed with the steering wheel-mounted Teleflex paddle switches which activate trim and jacking plate height, offering the driver fingertip control of these important functions.
The hydraulic jacking plate can adjust the 175 Verado around 14cm on the transom to produce the optimum engine height for peak performance and minimal drag.
Trim is also available on the standard trim button on the side-mounted control lever. An optional Hotfoot wireless pedal throttle is in keeping with the sports feel of the Hellcat.
Seating was superb. The driver and passenger seats are beautifully finished buckets with ample support and plenty of padding. The Blue Fin motif is also very eye-catching.
A food storage locker was set up between both seats.
Aft of the seats is the aft casting platform with two hatches accessing the divided, competition-size livewell.
I could not help but be impressed by the absolute quality and strength of fittings and hinges and the fit of all hatches generally. Blue Fin can take a bow for a class act here, I’ve seldom seen a better finish in this regard.
Rated for 150hp to 175hp engines, the 5.45 Hellcat certainly proved that it could handle that big Verado on the jacking plate. We were two-up for test runs at the ’Pin and the rig simply ate up conditions varying from smooth to choppy – plus there were ample opportunities to power over wash from passing craft.
Try as I might, I could not get the big alloy hull to bang or thump, such was the ride quality from this very well-designed hull with its ultra-fine bow, strong and well formed hull strakes, keel, plus and an outer spray chine that extended from the bow some distance aft.
The Hellcat’s hull – 4mm sides and bottom – is of very heavy-duty construction with massive internal cross ribs, bulkheads and stringers. The 640kg hull does an excellent job of dampening impact through rougher water and greatly contributes to the ride quality.
Even purposely whacking into a big boat wash without much pace made no difference. The hull was gentle in its approach to the large set of waves and remarkably easy on the backside as it crossed them. Displaced water was a non-event, so slick was the hull’s entry.
The 175 Verado was simply outstanding. Acclaimed king of the four-stroke empire, the big Merc was quiet, had blistering acceleration and an overall willingness at virtually any revs.
Yet the Hellcat could be driven as easily as any other 5.45m rig, albeit with an almighty temptation to unleash all of those 175 horses just for the sheer fun of it.
The ride and handling were everything one could wish for. We threw the rig into hard turns, slow turns and near full-power figure-eights and it came through with flying colours. the hydraulic steering always precise.
Planing was at 2800rpm and 21.7 knots (40.2kmh). The Hellcat recorded 24.8 knots (46kmh) at 3000rpm, 31.5 knots (58.5kmh) at 4000rpm, 44.8 knots (83kmh) at 5000rpm and 51.8 knots (96.1kmh) at 6000rpm. There were more ponies in the stable, but why bother?
What I did enjoy was the easy, smooth and near-silent cruising at a modest 4300rpm at 34.7 knots (64.4kmh) with the Smart Craft gauges showing mere sips of fuel at that speed.
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Blue Fin 5.45 Hellcat with its 175 Verado is a true high-performance craft in every sense. It won’t suit everyone but the experienced sportfishing enthusiast will recognise its potential once at the wheel.
The craft could be driven very sweetly at virtually any speed, thanks to the excellent hull design and general balance. If I owned a Hellcat I’d be content to run a 150hp EFI engine on it and still enjoy the ride, a good turn of speed, and every on-board feature that makes the craft such a stable and competent fishing rig.
Blue Fin have certainly stolen a march on competitors with this high-performing bass/bream boat, and more power to them for it.
The test craft, with extras including the additional Lowrance HDS5, hydraulic jacking plate, trim paddles, Hotfoot paddle and that potent Verado, will cost around $65,000. To put together your Hellcat, contact your nearest Blue Fin dealer and let the dream begin!
Deadrise Variable,18° at transom
|Hull construction||4mm sides and bottom|
|Engine Fitted||175 Mercury Verado|
|Towing||Family wagon or 4WD|
outstanding alloy craft.