Saturday, November 18, 2017
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A true blue deepwater fishing machine

With lashings of luxury

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The latest Buccaneer Billfisher proves you don’t have to skimp on luxury to have the ultimate trailerable fishing boat.

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The stylish new Billfisher 735 is the flagship of the range and a proper bluewater voyager. This vessel is ideally suited for those missions out wide beyond Mayor and White Island.

If you thought a serious fishing boat had to be all cold grey metal and bereft of style, comforts and elegance – think again. The new Billfisher is the best of both worlds and even compares competitively in price with the more austere big tinny hardtops.

Mastertech owner Karl Rastrick is visibly excited about the 735 and describes it as very good value for the fishing-orientated family. He’s ecstatic that Mastertech has the Billfisher range exclusively in New Zealand.

“It has levels of high luxury at an affordable price, compared to aluminium craft of the same size.”

He says the higher levels of finish and extras make it very good value.

“Yet it’s a proper blue water boat with a reputation for being amongst the best offshore. It’s up to it.”

Full self draining features mean you can take the odd greenie over the decks and carry on fishing in safety and comfort.

The full walk-around layout is perfect for soft baiters, kingfish fanatics and those who take their anchoring antics to extremes. It also suits drift fishing, casting lures, jigging and handy for the flyfisher.

The self draining decks and completely gel coat lined surfaces, with no carpet, mean slick and easy washdowns and reduced chance of lingering fishy odours, even for the most frenzied bait and burley hurlers.

Despite the absence of carpet, there’s plenty of washdown-friendly upholstery, padding and touches of luxury.

Inside the cockpit, we were blown away with the gleaming curves, attention to detail and level of accessories. It was like sitting in a luxury spa pool, except the water was on the outside.

A fresh water shower helps keen it washed down, also handy for swimmers and divers coming aboard. Eighty litres of freshwater is enough for several showers, plus general washdown purposes.

Underfloor is a massive, lined catch tank with gas strut lid. It removes for easy cleaning and keeps the catch cool and tidied away, out of the sun and maximises cockpit’s useable space.

The locker forward of this is enormous, enough for bins, bags and dive tanks.

A heap of mod cons are standard, including trim tabs, quality lighting everywhere, big bait tank built into the curvaceous transom, topped with a standard bait board with rod holders.

The bait tank shape is more than purely aesthetic – the round shape ensures bait fish are kept moving, rather than nosing into a corner – providing longevity of the bait and better fishing action.

The helm position and front seat crew sit high on swivel bucket seats, over moulded base units with rearward seats below; perfect for aft facing fishing, observing skiers or keeping an eagle eye on lures. The base units have large storage areas incorporated.

The lined cabin is ideal for weekends, or longer, away. Double vee berth with infill and a quarter berth partially under the helm sole provide for three.

A proper plumbed marine toilet is made nicely private when the cabin door is closed. A nifty galley and fridge, pressure water to the sink and area for a gas canister stove provide all the basic necessities for overnight and long weekend getaways.

Shelving and rack space abounds inside and out.

Suzuki selective rotation

The demo model Billfisher at Mastertech is powered with the latest Suzuki AP 250hp four stroke outboard with the latest “lean burn” technology. With four litres under the cowling, the Suzuki has a ton of torque.

The selective rotation gear box is engineered so strong, it can run at full noise in reverse, which isn’t a big feature for single engine installations, but shows how robust the gearbox is.

The benefits of this concept really pay for twin rig installations, however, with the ability to select rotation directions, so counter-rotating props can be easily set up, or changed as required, also improving resale value at trade in time since the owner isn’t saddled with a counter rotating engine.

On the water

Out on Tauranga harbour on a perfect spring day, Waterline had a play with the new Billfisher. A moderate breeze set up a small chop as we left Sulphur Point, still getting our heads around all the nifty innovations and features of the boat. Flicking through the digital options on the dash revealed a fuel burn at idle of 0.6 litres per hour.

(…take in more fuel economy stats to come from Karl…)

Opening up the throttle on the Suzuki summoned instant thrilling power, as the Buccaneer lifted regally onto the plane and there was plenty more in store.

The electronic controlled throttle was so light and smooth, a real delight to use and a comfort to know there’s no cables to wear out or tighten. The steering also was light and easy, with a nifty small wheel that made handling a big boat seem like a driving a mini.

Yet the weight and presence of this magnificent ten ton machine instilled a sense of solid safety and surety. Road noise was non existent, thanks to the solid GRP layup and the foam filled voids within. Even surging through waves and wakes was little fuss for the 735 while despite it’s finger tip controls, felt like a much larger launch as it powered down the harbour.

Vision through the curved glass screens was fine, with a good view across the walkaround decks.

We had to dig deep to find any criticism of this vessel, but eventually found a small niggle – no footrest for the passenger seat. Not a big deal and something that could be easily remedied if required.

At rest the 735 showed the benefits of its size and weight – hardly rolling at all in a moderate chop, with two sizeable chaps leaning on one gunwale. The impressive self draining capability means the Buccaneer could be backed up into unfriendly seas while playing a large gamefish, knowing that if a greenie or two come over the stern, the 735 will deal with it. Plus the ability to slosh any amount of washdown water around the cockpit and know it’s heading straight back out again.

A stroll around the decks shows how accessable this design is, and why it will strike a chord with keen fishers who value mobility and versatility of a true blue deepwater fishing machine.

The Billfisher 735 as reviewed is $160,000 and available for viewing and test drive at Mastertech Marine, The Lakes, Tauriko.

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