By: Rick Huckstepp, Photography by: Rick Huckstepp

Questionable ‘bass boats’ are becoming more common on our sheltered waterways but Sea Jay has incorporated all the prime requisites of such a vessel in its compact 4.65 Nomad Viper Ultimate Edge, notes Rick Huckstepp

You would be excused for thinking that the market place is saturated with those sorts of boats many are now using for estuary fishing, that are loosely termed ‘bass boats’.
The manufacturers of these boats try and incorporate as many fishing features as possible and often they have to leave out other important assets such as ample seating and other creature comforts.
Sea Jay has done well to cross many of these bridges with the 4.65 Nomad Viper that we took for a run on Moreton Bay recently.
It is a shallow V-bottom hull increasing in sharpness toward the bow with chines that sweep up high at the forequarters.
This design offers the best of both worlds in that it does not sacrifice stability at rest when anglers are moving about and can handle short sharp chop found in open expanses of shallow water.
The high chines at the forequarter also allow the water to travel up the hull before being turned down and away, keeping the occupants as dry as possible. Lower chines often cannot turn water away and create more spray than they prevent.
The carpeted marine ply deck is neatly laid out with the forward casting platform occupying about half of the boat. It is rebated about 75mm below the coamings that are wide enough for installations such as downriggers and rod holders around the gunwales of the boat.
The anchor well is quite large and the hatch is completely removable to access the ground tackle.
Located over the centreline aft of the anchor well, is a large square live fishwell in which half a dozen good sized bream could survive. Another is located over the centreline against the transom bulkhead. These are ideally positioned. The well aft is less prone to spillage when travelling over rough water and if it does, the water is not pushed back in the face of the skipper and passengers. This would be the case with the tank forward, although the hatches are a neat and firm fit with the rest of the deck. With both over the centreline, the boat is less prone to list whether they are in use or not. A couple of other hatches open to tackle box stowage and the battery box for power to the Minn Kota electric trolling motor fitted on the bow.

The helm station is totally recessed into the bulkhead that supports the forward casting platform. Portside of the curved Perspex wind deflector, the bulkhead is rebated to make a step, up to the casting platform. A stowage box is within this step and, to one side, a number of aluminium flush fitting plugs may be removed and the butts of fishing rods inserted for vertical stowage when underway.
The footwell in the cockpit is short, allowing for a maximum sized rear casting platform. The forward section of the platform may be raised in sections revealing cushioned seats underneath. Low profile rails support the casting platform and are low enough to be out of the elbow’s way when seated, and when the lid is raised, it provides a high padded back rest.
The helm seat may be used while the two other seats are converted back to casting platform.
Under the seat cushions, further stowage is available across the beam of the cockpit.
Hatches can be opened either side of the aft fishwell. On the starboard side, the engine-start battery is installed and more stowage is available in the other. Both have carpeted floors up off the bilge and a robust stowage rack goes back into the transom bulkhead.

The stern of the boat has been kept short to maximise the casting deck space. This has worked a treat. This writer has spent hundreds of hours aboard a five-metre boat of a similar cast deck design and, as far as fishing friendliness and usable space is concerned, this boat offers just as much but in a smaller overall length package.
Even though the transom has been kept short, there is enough room for a step out on the portside with the starboard side space being interrupted by the engine wiring harness crossing over from the Yamaha and passing through the bulkhead.
Back at the helm, a neat moulded dashboard held a Humminbird depth sounder/GPS combination unit and the Yamaha instrumentation for the 80hp four-stroke engine.
This engine is 10hp under the maximum recommended but more than matches this particular unit in the power to weight/capability department.
Typically four-stoke quiet, it pushed the rig along at around 65kmh.
Steering is easy with minimum torque to deal with and manoeuvrability excellent. Under Minn Kota power, the boat is responsive and, without overly high sides, was not wind affected when manoeuvring in a designated direction.
This boat, as packaged, competes well in the marketplace especially in the value for money stakes. The finish and attention to detail is impressive with even the insides of compartments and bulkheads getting a good spray paint finish.

Well finished
Maximum casting deck space achieved in a relatively small boat

A safety rail on the coaming for the portside passenger would offer more bracing/leverage rather than holding onto the arm rests
A safety lanyard should be installed on the anchor well hatch to prevent it becoming airborne toward crew at speed


Specifications: Sea Jay 4.65 Nomad Viper Ultimate Edge

Price as tested:                $35,880
Options fitted:                 Colour paint
Priced from:                    $35,470 w/ Yamaha 80hp outboard, Minn Kota electric motor, trailer, Humminbird sounder/GPS and more.

Material:                          Aluminium (3mm bottom, 2mm sides)
Length overall:                4.65m
Beam:                      2.08
Weight:                          Approx 418kg

Rec. max HP:                   90
Rec. max engine weight: 195kg
People:                          4
Fuel:                               60lt (under floor)

Make/model:                  Yamaha F80 BETL
Type:                              Four-stroke EFI
Weight:                           172kg
Rated HP:                        80
Displacement:                  1596cc
Gearbox ratio:                 2.31
Propeller:                         17-inch

Stones Corner Marine,
117 Old Cleveland Road,
Stones Corner, Qld, 4120
Phone: (07) 3397 9766

Originally published in TrailerBoat #221


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.