BOAT TEST: HOOKER 5M PRO FISHERMAN

By: Kevin Smith, Photography by: Kevin Smith


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New boats are exciting, but don’t forget that modern hulls are derived from designs proven many years ago. Sometimes, says Kevin Smith, there’s no need to mess with a design that still works. Enter: the 5m Hooker Pro Fisherman.

BOAT TEST: HOOKER 5M PRO FISHERMAN
HOOKER 5m PRO FISHERMAN

 

TEST: HOOKER 5m PRO FISHERMAN

On seeing the Hooker Pro Fisherman 5m centre-console for the first time, I had a fair idea of what I was in for. I've previously "done time" on very similar commercially-operated boats (while flyfishing off the coast of Mozambique hunting Spanish mackerel and golden trevally - but that's another story) and back then I remember thinking that this style of boats shouldn't be judged on first appearance.

In this case, don't judge this Hooker until you've driven or ridden in it. It's fairly long at 5m but has a limited beam and pretty low gunwales compared to most modern craft. If you know anything about boats you'd probably question the hull's stability before climbing onboard for a test (and maybe even the lower-than-usual gunwales). But take it from me, this one's as tough as nails.

Like all Hooker models, the 5m Pro Fisherman has a really solid construction right from the keel through to the gunwales, and every last fixture inside the boat is of an equally strong build. Being foam-filled and glassed to the max, with no wood in the hull, it's not uncommon for these craft to last a very long time.

The 5m model in particular has proven itself within the commercial fishing industry up north, due to its reliability, strength, economy and its practicality when it comes to commercial-style fishing and crabbing. Commercial fishermen run the boats up shallow creeks, over rocks, drag gear over the gunwales all day long, and regularly run long distances, so they definitely need craft that can stand up to harsh conditions and cop abuse.

 

 

WORK SPACE

Although the Hooker is a narrow boat there's still ample room to move and work in between the stern and the bow. The stern comprises a simple setup with the motor cables and plumbing neatly housed under a small step-up section, all accessible through the flush-mounted hatch lids. Naturally, this feature also serves well as additional seating. The deck is treated with speckled non-slip material, has decent drainage and is super simple to clean. The gunwales are, as mentioned, quite low, but they're designed like that to make it easier when handlining and dealing with fish and pots. Behind and in front of the console are raised hatches, the rear one comfortable to drive from. The seating hatch has storage, while the front seat can function as a decent sized killtank or storage compartment.

The console is fairly small but still has adequate space for motor electronics, a Lowrance HD sounder, open stowage space below and a screen with a grabrail. The bow consists of a small step-up with storage and a reasonable sized anchor hatch. The balance of the craft is neatly finished off with stainless bow and grabrails, bollards and a few rodholders. As far as layout is concerned it's simple and has good workable space throughout.

 

 

EASY RIDER

The test was held in the channels between Fraser Island and Hervey Bay. Sea conditions on the day were relatively flat, with only a small chop to contend with in the bay, but that was more so on the protected side. When it came time to cross back over from the Fraser Island side to the mainland there was a torrid section where the current and wind clashed to create a nasty chop. I have to say that the small Hooker rode exceptionally well while running in all directions through the messy chop.

The ride was soft and comfortable at all speeds, and with a 70hp Suzuki four-stroke there were no issues with power - plus it had the standard good economy that comes with Suzukis. As for a 70hp shunting a 5m boat? Well, that's a no-brainer.

The boat rocketed out of the hole and hauled itself to top speed very quickly. As is the case with any small boat, we got a bit wet in the chop but it wasn't bad considering the Hooker's narrow design. Stability was understandably a bit wobbly but not enough to cause concern, and over time I think you'd get used to it.

Another point to mention is the Hooker's draft. This boat floats on 300mm of water so accessing shallow areas won't be a problem. Overall, ride and handling were definitely the most impressive aspects of our test. With these qualities you could run around the bays and creeks in all conditions without getting too beaten up.

 

 

THE WRAP

The Hooker 5m Pro Fisherman might not have executive style or the graceful lines of a beauty queen - and it carries a medium price tag. However, it's purpose-built, has a number of standard features you'd normally expect to be add-ons, and is really suited to small scale commercial operators or serious fishos and crabbers. On top of that it rides well, is built super strong, and is still easy enough to handle on and off the trailer on your own.

 

 

On the plane...

Comfortable ride considering design

Strong construction

Stable in rough conditions

 

 

Dragging the chain...

Pricey, but this could be reduced with less horsepower and fewer accessories

 

 

 

 

 

Specifications: HOOKER 5m PRO FISHERMAN

 

 

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $44,630

Options fitted: Suzuki DF70ATX four-stroke, marine dual-batteries and isolator, Lowrance HDS-5 colour-sounder / chartplotter with Australia card

Priced from: $39,487

 

 

GENERAL

Type: Centre-console

Material: Biaxial 887 wovings, foam-filled closed-cell

Length (LOA): 4.95m

Beam: 1.85m

Weight (dry): 475kg

Deadrise: 21°

 

 

CAPACITIES

Fuel: 250lt

Max. occupants weight: 375kg

Max HP: 75

 

 

ENGINE

Make / model: Suzuki DF70ATX

Type: DOHC, 16-valve,
multi-point fuel-injected, four-stroke

Displacement: 1502cm³

Weight: 155kg

Gear ratio: 2.59:1

 

 

MANUFACTURED BY

Hooker Boats

31 Muir Street

Bungalow, Qld, 4870

Tel: (07) 4041 7171

Web: www.hookerboats.com

 

 

SUPPLIED BY

Barneys Marine Hervey Bay

Shed 3A, Nissan Street

Hervey Bay, Qld, 4655

Tel: (07) 4124 3170

Web: www.barneysmarine.com.au

 

 

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat 267.

 

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