REVIEW: BLUEFIN FIRECAT 4.95

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH


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One for the tournament anglers, the Bluefin Firecat 4.95 is designed to reach the fishing hotspots in speed and comfort.

REVIEW: BLUEFIN FIRECAT 4.95
The Bluefin Firecat 4.95 - solid rig for your fishing needs

When I first laid eyes on the Bluefin Firecat 4.95, the scene that immediately came to mind was one of bass and bream tournament fishing. The boat’s low profile, sleek and super-fast lines, sizeable cast deck and, of course, a 115hp four-stroke Yamaha, all point it towards some serious angling action.

For a plate aluminium boat, I must say the designers have done a particularly great job of making it look the part, not only to suit the avid tournament angler, but also recreational lure fishos.

Although looking the part might be a key priority to some buyers, there is a lot more to this style of boat — there are a number of key ingredients, both externally in the hull and internally in the layout, that make the Firecat the ideal lure-fishing boat.

Sporting a sleek hull design combined with a moderate deadrise, a decent beam, and an internal layout comprising a comfy side console, several storage options, and fully carpeted front and rear casts decks, reaffirmed my initial impression that this Bluefin design was right on the money.



ALL HANDS ON DECK

Dedicated lure angling, whether freshwater or saltwater, is best done from boats with good flat decks — preferably with front and rear casts areas and with as low a profile as possible for stable casting.

The Firecat’s clean and spacious carpeted deck automatically gives it a fishable feel. Up front, the sizable raised cast deck could fish two if you don’t mind sharing. But if you do, then your partner can always be sent to the smaller rear cast deck.

In addition to the spacious front cast deck, there is plenty of storage below. There are dedicated hatches for tackle trays and boxes, along with gear storage and a decent-size livewell. The wide coaming running along the full length of the gunwale also allows for easy mounting of the electric motor in the bow, sitting on a separate bracket protruding off the side.

The console and passenger seating is a good 300mm or so below the level of the front and rear cast deck, making you feel snug and secure. For the skipper, the small side console with windscreen provides comfortable protection while driving and has enough room to flush-mount gauges on either side of the wheel. The sounder is mounted on a ram bracket off to the side, while limited space on or above the console means the stereo is housed below. This setup admittedly works, but I would ideally prefer a bit more space on the console.

The Firecat’s passenger seating is open plan, either adjacent to the skipper or slightly forward in the secondary seat base. A full-length rod locker, which comfortably takes 7ft-plus rods without snapping tips, runs down the port side. This locker is even large enough to mount small racks or holders.

The stern is home to a small cast deck which, although not huge, is certainly spacious enough to work a lure from. Another cast deck also means more storage below, so there is no problem on this boat when it’s time to load up.

The pod off the transom is another of the 4.95’s appealing features. Not only does this allow full use of the actual deck area, it also works well as a boarding platform from in and out of the water. I also like the fact it has a ski pole, which means it can also work as more of a family fun machine.\



SPEEDY STABILITY

With a boat like this, namely one ideal for tournament fishing, speed is essential because the general nature of the competition angler is to get to the spot as quickly as possible. Fitted with a Yamaha 115hp four-stroke, the Firecat jets out of the hole and up to 35kts (64.8kmh) in no time. A 115hp engine represents the maximum rating on these boats — I believe this to be more than enough considering their size — but you do need to upgrade to the 4mm hull to be able to fit 115 horses.

The hull reacts well to trim when up and running, with a stable ride throughout the speed range, and the ride remains dry when knocked through the moderate chop. When pushing into turns, the hull again has a really good feel on the water. Thankfully, this stability meant I never had the feeling that I was going to be chucked out.

In addition, I found the boat’s full decking and carpeting not only worked in terms of fishing, but also helped in creating a better ride. The additional weight tends to help with softening the ride while carpeting also deadens the noise produced by aluminium, especially if there no foam.

Overall, this is a comfortable boat to drive — it’s quiet on the water and quite soft for a low-profile, limited-deadrise hull. Like any boat of this style, the Firecat is not specifically designed to take on serious wind, swell or chop; it’s better suited to taking on flat water or moderate chop.



THE WRAP

Whether you’re keen on freshwater or estuary angling, the Bluefin 4.95 Firecat is a very suitable rig. And coming in at slightly less than 5m and with a full packaged weight of less than a tonne, it’s very easy to handle. It’s also towable with a standard vehicle or ute.

Priced at a little more than $44,000, the Firecat 4.95 might not seem all that cheap, but in all fairness it boasts a solid plate construction and it is quite a bit more economical than some of the fancy imported bass boat currently found on the market.

ON THE PLANE...

· Colossal rod-locker

· Solid ride and sturdy-looking build

· Simple but workable layout that suits bow and stern fishing

 

DRAGGING THE CHAIN...

· New console design would be good considering today’s preference for large electronics

· Would prefer a fully carpeted rod locker

· The passenger grab-handle could be positioned better

 

BLUEFIN FIRECAT 4.95 SPECIFICATIONS

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $44,554 ($38,899 with 90hp engine)

Options fitted: Custom wrap; Humminbird 788 sounder / GPS; Minn Kota I-Pilot RT-55; Fusion audio system; sub-woofer; amplifier; ski pole; fold-down ladder; carbon-fibre dash insert; tackle trays; Extreme steering; Gussi steering wheel; Yamaha 115hp four-stroke.

Priced from: $30,664



GENERAL

Type: Recreational and tournament fishing

Material: Aluminium

Length: 4.95m

Beam: 2090mm

Weight: 430kg

Deadrise: 15°



CAPACITIES

People: 5

Rec. HP: 90hp

Max. HP: 115hp (with 4mm bottom upgrade)

Fuel: 85L



ENGINE

Make/model: Yamaha F115AET-L

Type: Four-stroke, 16-valve DOHC direct action in-line four-cylinder

Weight: 185kg

Displacement: 1741cc

Gear ratio: 2.15:1

Propeller: 13x19in



MANUFACTURED BY

Bluefin Boats

9A Production Avenue

Molendinar

Queensland 4214

Tel: (07) 5571 5277

Web: www.bluefinboats.com.au



SUPPLIED BY

Liverpool City Marine Centre

10 Kelso Crescent

Moorebank

NSW 2170

Tel: (02) 9602 9535

Web: www.liverpoolcitymarinecentre.com.au

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #298, August/September 2013

Find Bluefin boats for sale.

 


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