By: Rick Huckstepp, Photography by: Rick Huckstepp

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Any fisho worth his salt would be instantly familiar with the Cruise Craft brand, and Rick Huckstepp discovers that the new models just keep getting better.




Cruise Craft has long been known for quality across its whole range, which, if you take note at boat ramps, is predominantly made up of half-cabin Explorers and Outsiders.
Cruise Craft Outsiders are revered by many as the ultimate all-rounder for fishing and family fun. Now, the recently released Explorer 625 cuddy has set the cat among the pigeons in the fishing boat market.
According to Cruise Craft, many long-time owners of half-cabins are looking for cuddies now that the family has grown up. And that's where this new model comes in.




The 625 Explorer Cuddy Cabin is based on the 600 Explorer, but has undergone a significant makeover as far as size and shape are concerned.
There has been a slight extension in its hull length, and this has allowed for a more elongated cabin hatch for easier access to the anchor well. The footwell in the cabin has also been upgraded to provide a step up to give the crew more leverage when working the ground tackle. Or you could install a windlass.
A Porta-Potti sits nearby, and a cushion infill and base drops between the V-berth to make a large bed for one - or two small people at a squeeze.
A one-piece internal liner is used inside the boat, and the void between the two skins is filled with positive foam flotation - an intelligent safety feature. The anchor well hatch has also been upsized.
At the helm, the dashboard has been widened by 100mm and the screen has been modified accordingly. It is fitted with toughened glass panels in front of skipper and passenger, and a strong stainless-steel grabrail traces the inside of the top edge.
The dash makeover has allowed for large cabinet-type electronics such as Lowrance's LCX104c to be either flush- or bracket-mounted, and it also retains enough space for other instrumentation like a compass. This boat was fitted with a flush-mounted Lowrance X100 colour depthsounder and Global Nav 3300 monochrome chartplotter.




The seating is adjustable forward and rearward but does not swivel; but there is ample room to move around the helm area, and the seat supports are skeletal rather than boxed in for extra room.
While you might reckon this space could be better used for tackle stowage if it were boxed in, it was great for sliding in iceboxes, keeping them off the outer cockpit fishing deck. I could also see a Waeco-type fridge sliding under each seat. The sidepockets have padded fascias that allow feet to fit under when fishing from the gunwales, and the rear lounge lifts up for extra seating and to allow access to the fuel filters, oil bottle for two-strokes (which is filled via a port in the outer coaming) and battery setup.
The transom boasts clean lines with a telescopic stainless-steel ladder recessed flush into the boarding platform, aft of the marlin door in the bulkhead.
The 150hp Johnson two-stroke engine was fitted with non-feedback mechanical steering, which is being used increasingly by manufacturers these days. When trimmed correctly, the boat didn't suffer much from propeller torque-steer.




We took the cuddy 15km northeast off Jumpinpin Bar in SE Queensland and faced a pretty vicious metre-high chop all the way there.
It was the sort of water that would turn you around if you had some time free the next day to give it another try.
The Cruise Craft carved its way through at 30kmh throwing very little spray. After nearly six hours on the water there was just a hint of salt spray on the windscreen. Even with three hefty gentlemen aboard, there was room for a fourth; and when all three of us stood at one gunwale to pull the drogue, use the net and wind fish up, the Explorer listed only to a point where the opposite chine exited the water - and that's where it stayed, rock solid.
Having spent plenty of time aboard the half-cabin Outsiders, the extra space in the 625 Explorer's cockpit was noticeable. With the seating slightly more than 200mm forward there was no noticeable adverse effects in relation to the boat's centre of gravity when on the plane either.
The baitboard is at a fisho-friendly height, and it was nice to have those iceboxes stashed under the seat frames. It freed the deck up for some serious angling.
Coming home we were running with the chop, which had moderated to more of a swell, cruising at 60kmh. There were a few big swells on the Jumpinpin bar, but they failed to broach the boat if you backed off the throttle. This is a safe, seaworthy boat, and even relatively inexperienced owners would have to do something really stupid to make it misbehave.
Now that the kids are off your hands, it might be time to upgrade your current rig or perhaps spend some of your well-earned retirement funds on your first. It couldn't be better spent than on one of these boats, which hold their value very well on the secondhand boat market.
Decked out for offshore work, this would be an excellent small gamefishing boat; and as we proved, it was pretty adept at putting us on a reef in fairly messy conditions.
And yep, the fillets tasted great!




• Stable, dry and seaworthy
• Versatile and fishing-friendly rig
• A real offshore proposition
• Very well fitted out




• Helm seating doesn't swivel
• Vee-berth is really only big enough for one person




Specifications: Cruise Craft 625 Cuddy Cabin




Price as tested:  $61,995
Options fitted: 27meg radio, rear lounge, targa bimini, canopy and cockpit spotlights, sounder and GPS, baitboard, padded coamings, livebait pump, deckwash, trailer, boat and trailer registrations
Priced from: $50,922




Material: Fibreglass
Length (overall): 6.54m
Beam: 2.45m
Deadrise: 20°
Towing weight: 1996kg




Fuel: 240lt
Water: n/a
Berths: Vee-berth w/ infill
Rec/max hp: 175/200




Make/model: Johnson 150
Type: Carburetted V6 oil-injected two-stroke
Rated hp: 150
Displacement: 2589cc
Weight: 177kg
Gearbox ratio: 1.85:1
Propeller: 17in stainless




Cruise Craft, tel (07) 3390 4877, email
or visit



Originally published in TrailerBoat #188

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