by Gary Brown •
The unique 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat is an extremely versatile boat that will have you going over a bar and getting into very shallow water with ease – and this boat has been designed with the not just the angler in mind. It could be used by motor and quad bike users, hunters, campers, divers and for BBQs. Or you could stand and cast lures along the edge of mangroves, wash boards of oyster leases, wharves, mud and sand flats and weed beds. The list is endless.
Craig Jones from Blue Water Fabrications has a background in marine engineering and has spent 10 years coming up with the design of the Micro Cat, and has built it and the trailer from the ground up. When I first laid eyes on the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat I thought of a BBQ boat. How wrong was I! This boat is much more than that.
The Honda 40hp 4-stroke outboard had the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat powering at around 50 knots on calm water with two people on board. This would be less if you had a full capacity of five adults on board or any other major equipment like a couple of motor or quad bikes. Once onboard you will realize how much floor space there is for passengers or vehicles.
Even though the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat sits high in the water it doesn’t have much draft. This enables you to put on a short shaft outboard, which in turn allows you to travel over very shallow water. Craig took me for a spin over extremely shallow water to show me how shallow you could get – I would say we were in around 30cm of water.
By contrast, we also crossed out through the bar (not rough, but a few waves) and the boat came up to and down off the swells with ease. The spray rail chines that run about one third the length of the boat did their job by keeping any spray away. I don’t know how it would go if there was a wind coming from the side, but looking over the side I would say that it would keep the spray going downwards.
As we were scooting along I took the chance to sit up front on one of the bench seats, and was amazed that was very little (a couple of drops) water came in over the front. This would be due to the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat sitting slightly higher in the water at the front.
The launching and retrieving of the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat was a breeze. It was just a matter of taking off the trailer lights, backing the trailer down (keeping the bearing out of the water), undoing the safety chain and slowly unwinding the strap with the winch handle.
Once it’s about to clear the rear skids, you engage the ratchet and climb through the centre of the trailer. Once on the boat, you start the motor and put it into gear, and you can then unhitch the hook and reverse off and tie up at the wharf. What I would get installed on the base of the trailer is a grated walkway, which would make traversing the trailer to get to the boat much easier.
The internal design of the webbing and struts of the boat make the sponsons extremely strong and less prone to vibration and flexing when travelling. The sponsons have been nitro filled to stop any water coming in, and this also stops any corrosion.
If you enjoy camping, this craft would be ideal for family and friends to take their camping gear and pull in right at the water’s edge and set up camp for the night. You could also set up a couple of swags onboard and sleep under the stars for the night.
All in all, after testing the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat, I found that the options for its use is endless. The hull is designed for both rough and smooth water applications, and can go into 30cm of water at high or slow speed. The boats represent the cutting edge of technology and fishing ability. Nothing looks like a Micro Cat, and nothing goes like a Micro Cat.
For the full Sidewinder Series range, from the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat tested here to the Sidewinder 495 and the smaller configurations of the 360 and 320 tiller versions, head to www.aussieboatsales360.com.au . They are based in Canberra, Batemans Bay, Freshwater & Patterson Lakes, and you can contact Jason Graham from Aussie Boat Sales on 0433 531 226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Quoted performance figures have been supplied by the writer in good faith. Performance of individual boat/motor/trailer packages may differ due to variations in engine installations, propellers, hull configurations, options, hull loading and trailer specifications.
Boat length 4.4m
Boat width 2.1m
Length on trailer (motor down) 6.5m.
Width on trailer 2.4m
Height on trailer 2.4m
Capacity 5 adults
Maximum hp 50
Hull thickness 4mm
Side thickness 3mm
Floor thickness 4mm
Internal construction: Aluminium square tubing (secret design)
2 x Highback Skipper spring, cushioned, fold-down swivel seats
1 x battery for motor and electrics
60L fuel cell
Honda 40hp 4-stroke outboard
Humminbird 197 DI sounder
Trim and tilt gauge
4 toggle switches
4 fixed rod holders
4 swivel rod holders
Fold down bimini
Price as tested: $32,900
A large range of accessories are made for the Micro Cat so you can customise it to your own needs.