At a recent BRP Evinrude E-Tec media launch a couple of purpose-built bass/bream sportsfishing boats were on display, one of them being from Haines Hunter in the form of the Pro Strike. This model boat was born out of the booming sportsfishery, with anglers finding renewed interest in the species inhabiting some of our busiest ports, estuaries and canals that have been overlooked for years.
While far shorter than many of its American counterparts, a maximum length of 5.22m overall makes it a viable fishing tool without the need for the likes of a LandCruiser to tow it, or a big shed or driveway to store it in when not on the water.
For want of a better description, the top side of this hull is banana-shaped, with the bow and the stern areas down-turned slightly, while midships the coamings are slightly higher, making for comfortable lounging when in the travel seats.
Expansive fore and aft decks provide a good fishing platform and these are richly covered with high quality carpet.
The test boat was fitted with a Minn Kota Rip Tide electric motor and its foot control lived in a hatch at the forward end of the boat. The lid of the compartment was recessed so that when the foot control was removed for use topside it sat in this rebate, preventing it from sliding around on the deck. It also made for a more balanced operator, who need not raise his foot so high to access the controls. There was also a flush-mounted depthsounder here for use by those on the foredeck.
Elongated hatches on each side of the front casting deck provided access to carpeted holds in which fully assembled rods might be stowed for travel. On short runs between bites, rods could lie on the deck here or be secured in their leaning area inside the cockpit against the liner next to the outer passenger. Vertical rodholders were also a feature on the inside edge of the modular console making up the helm station. These fully carpeted decks are helpful in keeping things secure, simply by using a strip of velcro-type material in two places to hold rods firmly down.
Overly large drink container receptacles allowed the use of insulator coolers for cans and bottles. This is a must on all boats that cater for holding drinks, yet many manufacturers insist on using receptacles that hold only cans.
Between the rod lockers on the foredeck, large hatches with raised lips, which prevent water intrusion, provided ample room for large tackle boxes and safety gear.
The well making up the travelling area is an aisle running abeam midships. The console features enough room for large electronic cabinets that may be gimbal-mounted on the starboard side and there is plenty of leg room under the console for the skipper. Padding in the seating department is excellent and the seating in the middle for the third angler has a lift up base with stowage below.
Immediately behind the centre seat, in the rear casting deck, a 120lt, fully-plumbed automatic bait tank will keep fish in good condition until the weigh-in. It has a vented, removable divider inside to keep the catches of two anglers apart.
Tackle lockers and iceboxes feature on each side of the rear casting deck.
Two central hatches hold the batteries in a dry compartment along with the engine oil reservoir.
A hinged flap covering the forepart of the engine well offered more standing room and this was angled up at the rear so that anyone standing on it would realise they were near the edge. When swung out of the way, access was available to the oil and fuel tank cap.
Curved, moulded steps on the transom wrapped around the engine, finishing this hull’s smooth lines.
The 150hp HO E-TEC was hooked up to a hot foot accelerator while the gears were still shifted with the standard remote shift.
Travelling via the canals with three aboard, the Pro Strike tackled the wash from about 12 other boats, some up to seven metres, without any dramas. With the tilt keeping the bow in the air, freeboard was not an issue and very little water came aboard, other than some wind-driven spray coming over the forequarters with a 20km wind behind it. This is normal for any open boat in that wind/chop situation.
With so many boats on the water, a driver was supplied due to public liability issues. So we sat back, noting the excellent manoeuvrability, especially when turning hard at speed through the chop. Stability at rest was also very good and, while there is but millimetres in the lip height at the edge of the casting decks, one felt safe moving around freely. I wouldn’t see this type of boat restricted to waters south of the tropics either, though some might like a higher barrier between the deck and the water outside.
The E-TEC provided this boat with plenty of punch and hole shot was excellent. These engines are comparable in noise output to four strokes and all reports on fuel efficiency indicate they are very similar to a lot of models and situations.
This boat is towable with a six-cylinder family car.
WHAT WE LIKED
Lots of dry stowage
Plenty of standard rod security
Comfortable seating for long hauls
Bum seating positions for pedestal seat supplied on fore and aft deck
NOT SO MUCH
Specifications: Haines Hunter Pro Strike
Price as tested: $50,000
Options fitted: Minn Kota electric motor, upgraded, helm sounder, extra sounder on bow, tilt helm, extra drinkholders, two pedestal seats for casting platforms, retractable grabhandles, helm trim lever, gas struts on hatches.
Priced from: $45,000
Length overall: 5.22m
Weight: Approx 580kg, hull
Transom height: 20 inches
Max transom engine weight: 225kg
People: Offshore: 3 Inland: 4
Max rec HP: 150
Make/model: Evinrude E-Tec 150HO
Rated HP: 150
Propeller: 22-inch Raker
BRP Australia via Haines Hunter
Phone: (07) 3287 4088
Originally published in TrailerBoat #213