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Australian-built specifically for bass and bream fishing, the Bass Star 4.8 is a shining example of boat design. Rick Huckstepp finds this star offers style, stability and the smoothest ride around




The Australian boatbuilding industry has never been more buoyant, despite competition with extensive imports of fibreglass boats and even in the face of the various governments in this country hell-bent on closing off as much water as possible unless you don a mask and snorkel. The boating and fishing community may feel a little confused by the authorities' attitude - why is it okay to drop a grappling anchor onto a beautiful coral garden and rip its guts out when you have finished your dive but not to troll over the coral with a hook in the water in search of pelagics?
The growing number of closures and restrictions on offshore fishing areas has resulted in an increased interest in the inland impoundment and estuary fishing scenes. This in turn has been the catalyst for a burgeoning satellite industry, with boatbuilders turning out (and importers bringing in) some incredibly good fishing platforms specifically catering for the two Bs - bream and bass - but also attracting anglers who pursue other fresh and saltwater species such as barramundi, saratoga, cod and yellow belly.
TrailerBoat has tested fibreglass, aluminium and even carbon composite boats for you over the past few years and recently had the opportunity to test the latest offering from Aussie boatbuilder Tabs All Plate Boats, the Bass Star 4.8m.




If looks count for much, this rig starts off as a winner. It has a very pointy bow and a beamy stern, similar to the lines you would expect from a fibreglass, American-import, bass boat. The aluminium work is nicely styled with rounded profiles and finished with a very high quality paint job. The deck is expansive and is littered with flush-mounted hatches fore and aft. This deck is clad with an incredibly good looking carpet that you could curl up and sleep on. It is a fine-strand, non-loop type that will have hooks easily removed when they get buried. As it turns out this carpet is the type Riviera use to line their floating gin palaces - can't really get a better endorsement than that can you?
Seating is on a cushion on the deck and a leg well has its starboard side occupied with a console module that sports a wind-deflecting screen. The small size of the console area will restrict the fitting of extra electronics. On the test boat a RAM bracket had been fitted to the side of the console to install a large cabinet depth sounder unit. The value with this style of RAM bracket is that the unit is easily swivelled so that its screen may be viewed from any position on the boat.
Two long rod hatches extend fore and aft each side of the leg well and are fully lined with the same style deck carpet. Under the helm seat area another hatch opens to a 130lt live fish tank that has a removable partition to keep competing anglers' catches separate. More hatches across the stern offer battery placement and dry stowage and another two wing hatches occupy the foredeck with plenty of room for large deep cycle batteries to drive an electric motor.
A lean seat for the foredeck base comes standard with this rig.




The test day on the Broadwater was fairly calm but plenty of powerboats and small shipping rigs pushed up plenty of wake to run the Bass Star over. A 100-foot gin palace ploughing its way north left three quarters of a metre of waves behind it, and initially we thought that we might have fluked a soft landing over a wake coming over the wake - but running over other big wakes showed that the Bass Star has one of the smoothest rough water hulls in the bass boat line up. It felt like it was riding on a cushion of air and the ride was incredibly soft in big chop.
For a test of speed and handling, I wound the 100hp Yamaha four-stroke out to full throttle with the tacho showing 5500rpm and our hand held GPS registering 62.5kmh. The rig could probably do better with a reprop to get the rpm up to its recommended range. A reprop might also improve holeshot, which while acceptable was not neck snapping by any means. With a rating on the transom for 140hp, this unit would really boogie if you topped up the horses. The hull was responsive under the hydraulic steering but high speed turns with the leg trimmed right in produced excessive prop ventilation, which might be remedied with the engine lowered one bolthole.
Stability while fishing the decks was excellent and underfoot the hatches felt rigid.
The 4mm bottom and 3mm sides gave this rig plenty of rigidity and some of its quiet running would be attributed to the double carpet lined hatches and under floor flotation. Not a lot to do in the fitout department either - it's all there, done for you.
The Bass Star competes very nicely price-wise against the fibreglass American imports and locally-grown rigs such as the fitted-out Quintrex Hornets, and Tabs' commitment to quality in everything to do with this boat is plainly evident. The Bass Star is one slick rig that any boatie would be proud to be seen in. Just add water and fish!



Incredibly soft ride
Impeccably finished in every way
Good stability when fishing the decks



Excessive propeller ventilation
A removable seat with a backrest would be a good option




Specifications: TABS Bass Star 4.8




Price as tested: $33,995
Options fitted: Blue paint and Motoguide Electric Motor
Priced from: $31,495 plus freight



Material: Aluminium
Length: 4.8m
Beam: 2.1m
Deadrise: 14
Weight: 550kg hull only (approx)
Rated hp: 140



Fuel: 75lt



Make/model: Yamaha F100D
Type: Four cylinder, four-stroke.
Displacement: 1596cc
Weight: 174kg
Gearbox ratio: 2.3:1
Propeller: 19K series



Endless Summer Marine, 1 Ducat Street, Tweed Heads, NSW, 2485, tel (07) 5536 5312 or visit



Originally published in TrailerBoat #192

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