Big plate alloy craft always tend to impress me. It’s not just the overall interior size leading to plenty of comfort, the ample work room for those aboard, the sea keeping ability, the plethora of features mated to performance and stability. But when you take the time to sit down and think of all the work involved in putting together a fabulous boat like Sea Jay’s 6.8 Pursuit from mere sheets of aluminium…well, that’s what I call impressive!
As the largest of the Haines Signature F series craft, the 650F Hard Top is regarded by many fishing and boating enthusiasts as arguably the ultimate trailerable fishing boat.
A few issues back I reviewed Mojo’s 4m twin console runabout. It’s an interesting craft, not merely because it was a smaller than usual plate alloy rig but also because the hull’s design features were different to what we usually see in a craft of this size.
Euro styling, long a big selling point in automobiles, now comes to boats. The well appointed and well finished Cyprian built Karnic Bluewater 2250 is a fine example of what European stying is all about in water craft.
Back in the November 2014 issue, I put together a review on Morningstar Boats’ 4.6m Offshore Cuddy Cabin. On the same day I had the pleasure of testing the Morningstar 4.6m Bay Rover G with a 90hp Honda on the back. If you are after a boat that has plenty of grunt to pull you out of the water on skis, plenty of speed to get you to where you want to go, while at the same time giving you and the family a extremely comfortable and dry ride, this is the boat for you.
The Wrangler 620 is the largest boat currently manufactured by Blue Fin Boats. A massive all-plate alloy centre console featuring a raised foredeck and a powerfully built T-Top complete with rod holders, this is undoubtedly an offshore warrior with some serious attitude.
The US-made line of Nitro boats are well known in Australian sportfishing circles. Sleek, very streamlined and fast, Nitro are one of several bass boats renowned for their low profile, impressive rooster tail wakes when under way, and their almost pontoon-like stability at rest.
Bluefin Boats are synonymous with quality and attention to detail. The Tournament Drifter Pro 455 is a testament to their company motto of ‘Built with Pride’ and, as 4-5m sized aluminium lure fishing vessels go, it has few peers.
A brand new addition to their Cat series, the Bluefin 585 Storm Cat is a dedicated plate alloy tournament and sports boat set up to cater for the keen angler that prefers to invest hard earned cash in an Australian made product rather than an imported rig.
Bar Crusher is well known for their sturdy and tough fishing craft that deliver in the worst of conditions and the addition of the pilot house range, especially the 780 reviewed, adds a level of comfort and fit out that will see this model being used for far more than just your average fishing trip.
Black Rhino is a new name in boating circles, but they’re built with input from some very prominent New Zealand and Queensland based alloy manufacturers, and the quality is evident. From the eye-catching styling, angler-orientated features through to a ride and degree of sea-keeping that needs to be experienced to be believed, the Black Rhino is an outstanding craft well suited to the sort of long distance travel that many Queensland anglers enjoy.
The Streaker Navigator 4850 has been designed with a user friendly set of goals and I am more than happy to say it meets and then exceeds a lot of these goals.
Aluminium boats are as much part of Australian heritage and culture, as fishing and a cold beer with mates. The basic open tinnie is both a right of passage and a go-anywhere fishing machine. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that there isn’t many fish species in Australian waters that hasn’t been caught from one.
Offshore Marine Master’s range of plate alloy craft are arguably up there with the best that Australian boat manufacturing has on offer.
Bundaberg based Sea Jay boats have long had the reputation of being bulletproof, but when Jason and Simon from All 4 Adventure decided to do the entire top end of Australia by both vehicle and boat, even these boys were impressed with the durability of the Sea Jay 6.8 Pursuit.
The 535 Bluefin Stormcat is another of the ‘Cat’ series of tournament-orientated punts from the Bluefin stable. These are powerful, well appointed boats combining a neat blend of luxury and fishing features with raft-like stability in a well finished alloy hull. And with a 150 Mercury four-stroke on the back, let me tell you that this cat can really storm!
ProCraft are fast gaining recognition within boating circles in South East Queensland. The well turned out fibreglass hulls are produced by a renowned southern Queensland manufacturer of many years standing, then transported to Coastal Powerboats of Burleigh on the Gold Coast where they are fully fitted out and equipped with motors.
Grady-White fibreglass boats have a long standing reputation as being well made and great performing fishing boats. These US-made craft have been renowned for seaworthiness, a quality finish and top-shelf ride since 1968. Built from the keel upwards as high-end fishing boats, they can also double as great family craft. Comfort and features sit side by side in the Grady-White, with the 180 Fisherman Centre Console being an ideal sized boat for bay, estuary and offshore fishing.
As the Extreme 610 Game King slipped off the tandem trailer and into the drink at the main Inverloch boat ramp, it occurred to me that this 6.1m of red and metallic awesomeness looked near damn near indestructible. In fact, if it wasn’t for the bright red colour, this ruggedly impressive vessel wouldn’t have looked out of place with an anti-aircraft gun either side and a machine gun turret on top!
Telwater’s Yellowfin plate boats have a very interesting history. They gained a popular following in the 1980s, were discontinued for a spell, then resurrected in late 2009 as value for money, well finished and strongly constructed plate craft with a ‘modern as tomorrow’ design.
Previously I reviewed the Kapten Waverider 490 powered by a 40hp Titan outboard. In the seas off Mooloolaba the Waverider’s radical hull – with its remarkable similarity to the successful features of the very well received Kapten Boat Collar – proved itself as a soft riding straight tracking craft with enormous potential.
The Whittley heritage goes back 6 decades. Timber construction in the early 1950s gave way to fibreglass, and with the company’s emphasis on best possible finish and presentation it didn’t take long for the Whittley name to become synonymous with quality boating.
Clark Boats have been around for about several decades and have earned a reputation for toughness and reliability that has gained this alloy manufacturer a strong following. And the recent release of the 2014 Clark 545 Challenger Cuddy Cab is sure to gain interest from the public and industry.
Brand spanking new from McLay is their mighty Fisherman Hardtop, 6.7m of fishing excellence. Hailing from New Zealand and designed to handle that country’s very tough fishing conditions, McLay boats are now sold through selected Australian retailers.
Trailcraft Boats have earned a name as very seaworthy and tough craft. Who could forget the exploits of the late, great Malcolm Douglas and his trusty Trailcraft? He’d park the boat on a reef overnight on a remote beach and wait for the tide to lift it next morning so he could continue his adventures. Stirring stuff!
Stejcraft power boats have enjoyed a long connection with the Australian boating fraternity, having originated in Victoria in 1972 and being manufactured there for many years.
I always enjoy time spent in a New Zealand-made Surtees plate alloy craft. The heritage behind these rigs is pure fishing, pure boating excellence; any boat that does well in the Shaky Isles is certain to gain wide acceptance in our boating conditions. With 20-odd years involvement in the boating industry, Surtees certainly know what makes a good boat and are happy to back it with a 6-year world wide hull warranty.
On a recent trip to Townsville I was offered the opportunity to test one of the renowned Hammerhead plate alloy craft. I came away with some very favourable impressions of the 5300 Dragonfly/150 Mercury 4-stroke combination. The 5300 Dragonfly was a very large ‘small’ boat and was in many respects a big step up from what I expected of a 5.3m long craft.
The new Yamaha F200 is an outstanding development in high capacity outboard engines.
Bluefin appear to be covering quite a few bases with their range of Scoundrel open alloy boats which, incidentally, share their basic hull design with the Rogue series. The main differences are the interiors and options lists.
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