• by Steve Morgan
Sportsman boats have been a wonderful match to Brisbane’s Northside Marine. Northside have a reputation for selling quality rigs and looking after their customers like they are family, and they choose brands that allow them to maximise that boating experience.
Northside’s Bill Hull is a veteran salesman with over 30 years experience. You know when he is excited by a boat that it’s worth looking at in further detail. At the time of testing, they had 16 Sportsman boats on order and anglers were loving them.
WHY THE SUCCESS?
Firstly, it is a good looking boat. With an upswept Carolina bow and purpose-built fittings combined with a pleasant matching of gelcoat and seat colours, this is a boat that demands investigation, whether in the yard or on the water.
Secondly, they are purpose built. Although a young company (6 years at the time of the test), they have obviously been designed by anglers, with the layout of the 232 being eminently fishable. Rod holders in all the right places, ample fuel, provision for outrigger bases and a console that can handle flush mounting of big, multi-function screens.
Thirdly, the 232 has enough comforts to keep the family happy for a day-trip. The ability to turn the bow of the boat into a comfortable seating area – the fact that it is complete with seat backs and as an added bonus, there is a toilet concealed inside the console, ticks a lot of boxes. The lack of shade up front is partially offset by the fact that the T-Top is fitted with freshwater ‘misting’ nozzles.
Admittedly, this is the first boat I’ve tested with these built in. It does seem rather luxurious.
Powered by Yamaha’s F250 4-stroke outboard, the boat delivers surprising economy – yielding 1.5km/L at 3,500 rpm. Drop the hammers and the boat goes 84km/h at 6,000rpm, but with the economy dropping sharply.
Supplied on a twin-axled aluminium framed trailer, the rig weighs in at around 2,500, loaded with half a tank of fuel and fishing gear. This is well within the range of most dual-cab 4WDs.
The elephant in the room, however, is the 2.65m beam and the fact that the rig is wider than the 2.5m maximum towing width.
Northside deal with this head-on. They supply all of the paperwork, flags and signage you need to trail an ‘overwidth’ trailer. Since the overwidth regulations were recently modified to reflect common sense, it’s much less of an issue to own an overwidth boat nowadays in Australia.
Of course, keep it on your back pontoon or in dry storage and this isn’t a problem.
At the helm, of course, I felt like I should have my own fishing show, be called ‘Captain Morgan’ and that I should start calling Spaniards ‘King Mackerel’. But then I remembered that I was in Australia and should set my sights to big snapper, small black marlin and some longtail tuna on the way home. This rig would do all of this with ease, and style.
At the end of the day, it’s the small things that make the Sportsman experience what it is, like the anchoring system. Concealed anchor winch and cleats and rope/chain storage makes this the neatest I’ve seen.
Watch the test video on the Fishing Monthly YouTube channel, give Bill Hull a call (I think you wouldn’t need to twist his arm to take you on a test ride) or visit www.nsmarine.com.au for more information and package pricing.
As tested, with all of the options, this rig came out at just under $150,000. Smaller Sportsman boats come in at around half that.
Length – 6.93m
Beam – 2.59m
Transom deadrise – 18 degrees
Hull weight – 1250kg
Weight on trailer (dry) – 2500kg
Maximum HP – 250hp
Fuel – 390L
Water – 56L
Capacity – 10 persons
Top Speed: 84km/h @ 6,000 rpm
Most Economical: 3,500rpm @ 1.5km/L