Test: Hooker 8m Pro Fisherman


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A great performance boat for blue water fishing

Test: Hooker 8m Pro Fisherman
Test: Hooker 8m Pro Fisherman

The Hooker 8m Pro Fisherman is a well equipped centre console fisher from Far North Queensland that also boasts bullet-like performance, writes Garry Smith

 

In issue 226 of TrailerBoat magazine I reviewed the sensational 8m Hooker WRC. The 8m Pro Fisherman is built on the same hand-laid eight-metre fibreglass hull and has the same superb ride and sea handling capabilities, but the layout and power unit are completely different.

Powered by twin 175hp Suzukis, the Pro Fisherman has blistering acceleration and excellent handling in a layout that is ideal for the serious bluewater sportsfisherman.

All Hooker boats are built from hand-laid hulls, with the absolute best of materials and workmanship producing a finished product that can hold its own in any company.

Hooker Boats have been in production for 10 years, with more than 500 boats from five to 8m being built in the Cairns factory.

 

NEW FACTORY

Demand for Hooker boats has continued to grow, especially in the recreational fishing sector, and owner, John Margetts, recently moved to a new 1000m² factory at 31 Muir Street, Bungalow, to help meet increased demand.

All Hookers are built to survey specifications and come with positive buoyancy and self-draining floors, making them ideal for commercial and charter situations.

The small centre console in the Pro Fisherman is positioned slightly forward to maximise fishing area at the back, but isn’t so far forward that it increases the roughness of the ride to any extent. There is plenty of room either side of the console to rapidly chase a fish for a full 360° without having to dodge obstacles.

The transom is full height so bill chasers can back up hard on their madly leaping quarry without fear of taking a wave over the stern. The transom’s good internal height creates a safe secure feel, so the family will feel at ease when they venture out into the blue too.

Entry over the stern, on the water and trailer, is via a fold-down stainless steel ladder on the port side. The bottom rung of the ladder hangs well below the hull, making it easy to get that first foot on the ladder. At the top of the ladder is a small pod and from there, it is over the broad transom into the main cockpit.

 

COMFORT PLUS

The inside of the transom and gunwale has thigh-height padding all the way round the main cockpit for passenger comfort. It is attention to passenger comfort and the quality of finish that distinguishes Hookers from other competitors.

There is a lift-out baitboard mounted over the livebait tank at the stern. The fully moulded fibreglass baitboard has a hinged butcher board cutting surface with a small sink/storage compartment beneath.

The fully plumbed livebait tank will hold a good school of livies and the spring-loaded lid stays up so you can chase them two-handed if required.

A hatch at the base of the transom gives access to battery pumps, fuel filters and the like, while the flush mounted quality marine speakers blast out your favourite tunes.

The starboard sidepocket contains a trigger activated deckwash to keep the boat spotless and water runs off readily via the rear scuppers in the self-draining cockpit.

A 600lt killtank is centrally located in the floor and can be flooded at rest and drained on the plane with the bung out or kept dry with the bung in. The drainpipe and bung are large diameter to prevent blockages from scales and fish scraps.

 

AT THE CONSOLE

The console seat has a hinged backrest so the skipper can face forward when underway or backwards when anchored, trolling or backing down on a grander. The padded helm seat will comfortably hold two and hinges forward to reveal a large storage compartment which is fully insulated for use as an esky.

The compact helm has electronics flush mounted for greater protection from the elements and the oft forgotten skipper has small grab handles on both sides of the helm for the really rough stuff. A marine radio, music maker and drink-holders are positioned to the left, but still within easy reach of the skipper. Throttle controls are centrally mounted on the dash for better protection than the usual side-mounted controls. A lockable glovebox and multi-switch panel on the port side round off a superbly finished and very functional helm.

The console canopy is mounted on sturdy stainless steel mounts that go all the way to the floor and double as grabrails. Aerials, navigation and anchor lights, and GPS antenna are mounted on top of the canopy and there is a four-pot rocket launcher and deck light on the trailing edge.

The padded seat in front of the console contains a large fully insulated esky. The Po Fisherman has a bowrider configuration and the front seat compartments are also insulated eskies, so a pile of cold storage is available if required.

 

GROUND TACKLE CHOICES

The Pro Fisherman comes with twin anchor lockers so a sand/mud and a rock/reef set of ground tackle can be carried ready for use at all times.

The test boat was fitted with a centre mounted winch with a split cross bollard fitted, with lock pin for securing the anchor in position on the bow roller when moving between anchorages.

I always prefer a split bowrail for ease of positioning the anchor on the roller and boarding over the nose, but the reality is, it isn’t really necessary on the Pro Fisherman, as the front two support struts are angled back for a good sized anchor be positioned without being removed from the chain, and the height of the nose off the water pretty well precludes using the nose for all but boarding or alighting off a jetty ladder.

We took the 8m Hooker out through the Cairns Harbour leads into the teeth of seriously rough weather to have a play while we watched a local ski race. The Pro Fisherman revelled in the conditions which were far rougher than you would normally venture out in.

Four-strokes have a reputation for being slow off the mark, but the twin Suzukis got the Hooker out of the water like a greyhound out of the starting box, and if you weren’t hanging on, you would end up in the water or on your back on the floor.

Even at cruising speed, passengers needed to be holding on when the skipper hit the throttle, as the acceleration was blistering.

The Hooker simply ate the atrocious conditions, running true and smooth at all angles to the swell and when it left the water, it came down softly on its tail. The spray is pushed out low and flat in the back third of the hull making the Pro Fisherman a very dry boat.

In hard turns it stuck to the water like chewing gum to your thong, with absolutely no sign of cavitation.

The feeling that the Hooker 8m Pro Fisherman, fitted with twin 175hp Suzukis, is a greyhound on water is matched by the performance figures, and it produced some notable readings when put through its paces.

At 1600rpm it produced 12kmh, at 2500rpm it reached 22kmh, at a steady 3800rpm it cruised along at a comfortable 48kmh, and when opened up to 6000rpm it really got up on its tail and clocked a very impressive 89kmh.

With a top-end speed like that, the Pro Fisherman will certainly appeal to anglers who have a bit of rev-head in their blood.

All up the Hooker 8m Pro Fisherman is in the top shelf of eight-metre fishing rigs and anglers will have to search long and hard to come up with a better riding, handling, finished and laid out sportsfishing boat.

 

SPEX

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $134,000
w/ twin 175hp Suzukis, tandem trailer, regos, and safety gear

Options fitted: Telescopic outriggers, Furuno sounder and GPS, Fusion stereo and four speakers, GME VHF, anchor winch, and shower

Priced from: $99,800 w/ 250hp Suzuki and tandem trailer

 

GENERAL

Type: Monohull w/ constant moderate deadrise

Material: GRP hull w/ composite stringers and closed cell foam flotation

Length overall: 7.9m

Beam: 2.45m

Deadrise: 24°

Weight: Approx 2550kg (w/ twin eng.); approx 2380kg (w/ single eng.)

 

CAPACITIES

Fuel: 600lt

People day: 6

Rec. min. HP: 250

Rec. max. HP: 400

Max. engine weight: 540kg

Max load: 1750kg

 

ENGINE

Make/model: 2 x DF 175hp Suzuki TX

Type: Four-cylinder petrol outboard

Rated HP: 175

Displacement: 2900cc

Weight: 220kg

Gearbox ratio: 2.5:1

Propeller: 23in

 

SUPPLIED BY

Hooker Boats,

31 Muir Street,

Bungalow, Qld, 4870

and, Boat Scene Cairns,

370 Mulgrave Road,

Cairns, Qld, 4870

Phone: Hooker Boats (07) 4041 7171; Boat Scene Cairns (07) 4033 8800

Web: www.hookerboats.com; www.boatscene.com.au

From Trailerboat magazine, issue 236

 


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