Video: Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody

By: Matt Jones, Photography by: Matt Jones, Video by: Matt Jones

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

The new Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody is a thrill to behold – from the helm or viewed from afar.

[Update 09/09/2015: This boat is now known as the Surtees 850 Game Fisher.]

The Widebody version of Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher is undeniably an offshore weapon but with all that onboard comfort and showstopping looks, it’s sure to impress the family and make you the envy of all those who go fishing as well.

 


CMLOGO

This boat was rated as one of the best of the year. It has been nominated to participate at Australia’s Greatest Boats 2016.


 

SURTEES 8.5 GAME FISHER WIDEBODY

Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody

They say good looks are synonymous with success and if that’s the case, then the Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody is destined for big things. Wherever we took the big Surtees on our photo shoot and test in sunny Whakatane, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, the mesmerising effect on all who laid eyes on her was plain to see.

From all angles the Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody means business. But good looks aren’t the only attribute the big Surtees has going for it.

Surtees Boats is one of a handful of NZ-based manufacturers to achieve the stringent CE tick of approval. The company has done so by instilling a devotion to quality and design excellence throughout its range, and ensuring only the highest quality materials and fittings are used.  Furthermore, one man is tasked with overseeing the entire build process of each boat that rolls out of the factory, ensuring a sense of pride in workmanship. Study the neat welds, open and close the bi-fold doors or safely run your hand along an underside edge. It all speaks volumes for the quality that Surtees prides itself on – and justifiably so.

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody

Surtees Boats’ home waters of Whakatane turned on a stunning spring day to showcase the new 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody’s high-quality paintjob and seductive lines. After backing down the ramp, the big Yammie was ignited and Sheaff simply drove the boat forward to unlock the trailer hitch, before buttoning off to allow the offshore powerhouse to glide gently back off the trailer. The notorious Whakatane bar was surprisingly calm but we managed to find some chop and swell further offshore to put the big Surtees through its paces, at least until a date with a chopper beckoned. 

After watching the Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher demolishing waves from above, I had a feeling I was in for a treat when I got back on board for a long-awaited turn at the helm – I wasn’t wrong. The potent combination of Surtees’ armour-plated hull and Yamaha’s outstanding 350hp V8 four-stroke outboard motor (with drive-by-wire electronic throttle) offered an exhilarating drive of which I’ve experienced few equals in this class.

This boat’s undeniable X-Factor was further bolstered by the comfortable helm, expansive views and adjustable Ultraflex power steering.

Planting the throttle saw us hitting 35kts in impressive fashion – in fact I’d be surprised if you couldn’t tow a skier behind this versatile rig. With Surtees’ Ultrastrong Deck System encompassing a 6mm hull with 5mm sides and six-year hull warranty, effectively it’s built like a tank but rides like a thoroughbred.

We ran the big Surtees hard at all angles to the chop and slight swell and couldn’t upset its balance or extract even the slightest bang from the refined hull. While we took a bit of spray across the toughened, tinted glass screens this was quickly sorted by the triple wipers which are a standard feature.

 

LAYOUT

Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody interior

On an offshore fisher it’s vital to achieve that balance between a capable cockpit, inspiring handling and a comfortable haven for the crew in all conditions. It’s fair to say Surtees’ flagship ticks all the boxes. 

The easy-to-use Garmin GPSMap 7012 touchscreen features an autopilot for relaxed trolling. Grabrails feature throughout, while the uncluttered cockpit will comfortably fish six. There’s even room for a couple more on the Portofino transom if conditions allow. Each angler gets a cup/sinker holder and solid aluminium rodholder to relax and wait for the bite. 

The easy-access livebait tank will hold a decent stash of livies, while the baitboard is at a comfortable working height for filleting the resulting catch. Clever little touches feature throughout, like a handwash system on the back of the baitboard and wraparound grabrails for fishing the rough stuff. 

Deck of Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody

Anchoring over offshore reefs is made easy with the Garmin CHIRP transducer offering impressive detail below, while the Stress Free Maxi NG series drum winch puts 200m of warp and chain at your disposal.

Cockpit space is maximised, yet fully utilised with a fold-down side seat and transom bench seat. A further fixed lure-watching seat, all-round foot space, thigh-height gunwales and a flip-up transom door top off the sociable, yet functional business end.

 

 

THE VERDICT

Fishing from Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody

The Widebody version of Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher is undeniably an offshore weapon but with all that on board comfort and showstopping looks, it’s sure to impress the family and make you the envy of all those who wet a line as well.

With its 2.8m beam and 3.6-tonne dry tow weight, the Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody is a serious towing proposition requiring a considerable tow vehicle. Despite its size, launching and retrieving with the Surtees’ Quick-Hitch trailer catch is a straightforward drive-off, drive-on affair.

It’s certainly got the ride, features and range to venture far and wide in safety, comfort and style. It’s left a lasting impression on this boat reviewer but it appears I’m not the only one who’s been wooed by the new Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody’s charms.

 

HIGHS

• Combination of looks, finish, fishability, ride and functionality

• Size-defying handling

• Offshore weapon with empowering ride

• Exhilarating drive of the beastly Yamaha V8

• Comfortable and accommodating

 

LOWS

• Sizeable towing proposition (over-width flags required)

• I had to hand it back at the end of the test

 

SURTEES 8.5 GAME FISHER WIDEBODY SEA TRIALS

Single 350hp Yamaha V8 four-stroke outboard with 15 x 16¼ stainless steel propeller

RPM

SPEED (KTS)

FUEL BURN (nM/L)

1000

5.4

0.75

2000

8.1

0.43

3000

14.6

0.43

4000

24.8

0.48

5000

30.8

0.38

5500

35.1

0.27

* Sea-trial data supplied by the author.

 

SURTEES 8.5 GAME FISHER WIDEBODY

PRICE AS TESTED

Surtees 8.5 Game Fisher Widebody price: $289,000

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Bowthruster, Ultraflex adjustable power steering, four large solar panels and regulator, Garmin autopilot, Garmin electronics with CHIRP transducer, triple batteries, satellite TV, 350hp Yamaha V8 outboard upgrade, and 550lt fuel tank upgrade

 

PRICED FROM

$262,000

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Aluminium

TYPE Planing monohull fishing boat

LENGTH 8.5m    

BEAM 2.8m

WEIGHT Approx 3600kg (boat + motor + trailer)

DEADRISE 18°

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (DAY) 12

PEOPLE (NIGHT) 3+1

REC. HP RANGE 250 to 350

FUEL 550lt (450lt standard) 

WATER 100lt

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Yamaha F350 outboard motor

TYPE Four-stroke V8 outboard motor

RATED HP 350

DISPLACEMENT 5330cc    

WEIGHT 346kg

PROPELLER 15 x 16¼

 

MANUFACTURED & SUPPLIED BY

Surtees Boats

2909 State Highway 30, RD2, Whakatane. New Zealand

Phone +64 7 322 8461

Email boats@surteesboats.com

Web surteesboats.com

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #459, November / December 2014. Why not subscribe today?

 

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