REVIEW: ANGLAPRO BANDIT 454 TEAM

By: JOHN FORD, Photography by: JACK MURPHY & MICHAEL BLANCH


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The new Anglapro Bandit 454 Team is a fishing-centric rig featuring the best accessories from Anglapro’s closest friends in the marine game.

REVIEW: ANGLAPRO BANDIT 454 TEAM
The Anglapro Bandit 454 Team packs in all the best parts from multiple packages into one

It all started when editor Ange asked how my fishing was going and I admitted that, despite having tried to employ the skills required for lure fishing, I hadn’t been having much luck.

"Tell you what; let’s organise a boat test and get young Jack Murphy to come along to see if he can show you how it’s done," Ange said.

It certainly sounded like a good idea. After all, Jack’s a self-confessed fishing tragic who always seems to get great results.

The plan started to come together when Derek Rodway from Sydney’s Good Times Marine launched his new Anglapro Bandit 454 Team to the market; I was keen to be among the first to test it. When I suggested we take it out for a spot of fishing on Sydney’s Botany Bay, Derek was a little hesitant, explaining the boat was destined for display at the Sydney Boat Show and that he wanted it in pristine condition — no bait and fish guts all over the nice interior.

He started to warm to the idea, however, when I promised we would be fishing with lures and releasing anything we caught. In the end, Derek even offered for his sales manager, Michael Blanch — also a keen young fisho — to come along as a local guide.


A TEAM EFFORT

Test day dawned without a cloud in the sky or a breath of wind on the water, and as the sun rose higher we were blessed with one of the warmest winter days Sydney had seen in years. Before heading off we had a good look over the new boat while Derek explained the background to the new Team concept, which also includes an Outlaw 434 in vee-nosed punt configuration.

Based on the successful Bandit 454 hull, the Team model has a number of extras to make the boat even more fishing friendly, and Anglapro has garnered support from suppliers to provide products for the boat at a reduced price.

Lowrance kicked in an Elite 7X sounder, Dunbier reduced the cost of the gal trailer, Minn Kota fitted a 55lb I-Pilot electric motor and Nautilus Insurance threw in one year of comprehensive insurance, all for a total saving of $1500.

In addition, the hull is emblazoned with gunmetal grey metallic paint exclusive to the Team range. The changeable metal effect as the sun hits it at different angles is dramatic, turning the boat to a shimmering rusty red. Sponsors’ stickers across the rear of the hull and the red accents of the Anglapro logo add a little extra bling.

Derek described the Bandit range as deep-vee centre consoles and the while the sharp entry at the bow is certainly aggressive, the deadrise at the transom is relatively flat — probably in the 17° range — but still deeper than many pressed-alloy hulls. At the sides, 100mm chines give the boat stability at rest and added lift during acceleration. And for extra strength, all floor ribs are continued up along the sides to wide side decks that offer passenger seating when underway or during a break from fishing.

There is a raised casting deck with a built-in plumbed keeper tank towards the bow, as well as a storage locker for tackle and the Minn Kota battery, while a plastic roto-moulded well designed to keep noise down when anchoring sits in the bow itself. The central console has a smoke-coloured windscreen and open storage at floor level, and the twin helm seat has a swivelling backrest and lifts to reveal a watertight storage bin.

There is space below the wide transom for the removable fuel tank and an eski, and a bait tank with a plastic lid is to port. A 60L underfloor tank is available as an option but you should get five or six hours of running time from the frugal Suzuki, so most anglers would likely find the fuel in the larger tank stale before it needed refilling.



SWEET RIDE

One-up across Botany Bay’s flat water, I had plenty of opportunity to give the Bandit some stick and test its handling, and I have to say it proved to be one of the sweetest-riding and best-handling 4.5m boats I have ever driven.

The new hull has had an extra degree of deadrise pressed into the 3mm bottom and it seems to give the hull a softer ride and more stability at speed. It tracks superbly and feels well balanced and light at the wheel once trimmed out a bit on the plane. And it turns into corners like it’s on rails, with the aggressive chines biting in as the boat rolls into the turn, allowing it to keep its line. The boat even feels safe and predictable through spirited manoeuvres at full noise, with no tendency to slide the back out.

There was some cavitation at slower speeds, which Michael later suggested might mean the motor needs to come in a notch. The 60hp Suzuki was fitted with a 15in prop that gave more speed at WOT, but Derek later suggested a 14in for better lift out of the hole if the boat was to carry a larger crew.

Even with the 15in prop installed, holeshots were still brisk and I was planing at 8kts (14.8kmh) in around three seconds, with only a slight rise from the bow and with no effect on forward vision. The boat settled into an easy mid-range cruise at 18kts (33.3kmh) and wound out to 32kts (59.2kmh) without reaching the rev limiter.

There unfortunately wasn’t much of a sea to play in on the day of the test so I had to resort to chasing some wake from other boats — the Bandit felt soft and stable even over some of the nastier waves, with no banging from any fittings. Later in the day we headed into the backwash from the cliffs offshore, where the boat was able to travel at full speed in the slight conditions.

Seating is simple but comfy and the windscreen manages to direct most of the breeze overhead. Driving from a standing position is perfectly comfortable and the controls are well placed and smooth in operation. And rather than a more standard Elite 7X, the top of the dash was adorned with an upgraded Lowrance HDS7 that included a GPS and other HDS facilities, including engine readouts.



BITE SIZE

It was soon time for Jack to come aboard to show off his fishing prowess and we handed the cameras over to Michael to record our seemingly inevitable captures for posterity.

We started by fishing the monster navigation markers around the oil refinery, casting plastics and letting them settle to the depths. My second cast scored a hook-up that looked promising until a Chinaman leatherjacket came into view just in time to see him bite me off. I quickly declared I was in the lead with a 1-1-0, only to be overruled by the young guns with the assertion that leatherjackets rated as a minus score. Dozens of the bitey critters followed Jack’s cast in, so we moved to a more likely place in the weeds closer to shore.

After half an hour or so Jack and I were both impressed with the Bandit’s great stability, with us both casting, retrieving and moving around to re-rig. The wide coamings offer good security and it’s easy to get good footholds into the side of the boat on both deck levels. Access around the boat is easy, although I would have liked the optional handhold at the console to avoid using the plastic ’screen for security when stepping down from the casting deck.

Despite sneaking up silently under Minn Kota power, we couldn’t find anything in the weeds and mutterings of the moon being in the wrong phase, the tide running the wrong way and Derek jinxing us with his demands for a spotless boat were coming from the young fellas.

Michael finally said he was going to have to take us to his secret spot at the southern end of the bay, where old hulks swung at anchor, trailing years of growth from their rusting hulls. My casting was so fine that I managed to snag the cunji on the side of several hulls, but none of us hooked up to anything that moved.

Jack thought the oyster racks looked inviting so we headed over for a last-ditch attempt at finding a bream. Nothing. But don’t let our disappointing attempts colour any feelings you might have about the Bandit.

Unlike us, it performed faultlessly and on a day when the moon is in the seventh heaven and the fish gods are more generous it will have its holding tank overflowing with tournament-winning bream.



THE WRAP

The new Team version of the popular 454 Bandit is sure to lure even more anglers to the brand with its sensible array of standard features. It looks sensational in the new paint scheme but the attraction is more than skin deep, with its solid construction as well as sweet handling and ride.

At $34,990 as tested it’s great value, but if you want to put some money aside for bait you can pick one up for $28,990 with a 40hp motor.



ON THE PLANE...

· Well-equipped and good value

· Superb handling and ride from a 4.5m boat

· Stability at rest



DRAGGING THE CHAIN...

· Could use a grab rail at the console (I’m told that’s an option)

· Leatherjackets should count



ANGLAPRO 454 BANDIT SPECIFICATIONS

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $34,990

Options fitteed: 60hp upgrade; Lowrance upgrade; bow spray chine; seat upgrade; concealed control box.

Priced from: $28,990


GENERAL

Type: Centre console monohull

Material: Aluminium

Length: 4.5m

Beam: 2.1m

Weight: 380kg (approx.)

Deadrise: N/A (around 17°)


CAPACITIES

People: 5

Rec. HP: 60

Max. HP: 40-60

Fuel: 25L



ENGINE

Make/model: Suzuki DF60A

Type: Four-stroke in-line three-cylinder

Weight: 104kg

Displacement: 941cc

Gear ratio: 2.27:1

Propeller: 15in


MANUFACTURED AND SUPPLIED BY

Good Times Marine

2 Toorak Ave

Taren Point?

NSW 2229

Tel: (02) 9524 6999

Web: www.goodtimesmarine.com.au


Originally published in TrailerBoat #298, August 2013

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