by Peter Jung •
We have done a number of Haines Hunter boat tests over the years at Fishing Monthly. I believe I have been present for all of them, but as a helper rather than the person putting the boat through its paces. So when Simon Ryan from Boats and More in Shepparton and Echuca said to me that he wanted to test a Haines Hunter 625 Offshore Hard Top they are going to have at this year’s Melbourne Boat Show, I knew it was going to be a good day.
Most boat tests generally start at the boat ramp, but with Simon based in Shepparton and us wanting to do the test in Port Phillip Bay, this trip actually started with the drive from Shepparton to Altona to do the test. Boats and More matched the 625 Offshore to a Dunbier Alloy dual axle trailer. Simon explained that there were a number of reasons for this. The alloy style trailer to reduce the tow weight a little and the dual axle set-up to ensure effortless and safe towing of the package. Being a country dealer, Simon explained that they are very mindful that many of the customers purchasing boats from them will travel many kilometres to their fishing destination (saltwater or freshwater) so it is important that the trailer is a perfect match for the boat.
The trip to and from Shepparton certainly was hassle free and the addition of a stone guard at the front of the trailer to protect the hull during any travelling is a great touch.
Having the correct vehicle to tow the package is as important as the correct trailer. You will require a 4WD or larger vehicle to tow this package safely.
LAUNCH AND RETRIEVE
As impressive as the towing was, launching and retrieving the Haines Hunter was also done with relative ease. The ability to drive the boat on and off the trailer is a big plus and the ease in which a dual axle trailer can be manoeuvred makes it less likely you will have dramas at the boat ramp.
Launching and retrieving is all about having a system that works for you and Simon and Mark had it down pat. They had the Offshore on the water in only a couple of minutes.
FIRST AND FOREMOST A FISHING BOAT
I always like to talk about first impressions and the first thing you realise with the 625 Offshore is that it is a serious fishing boat, with the features to match. From the skipper’s seat back you have plenty of space for multiple anglers to fish from. There is a removable side door to get in and out of the boat as well as bring your larger captures through. The bait board is sturdy, the transom contains two live bait tanks and everything has a place and is accessible. Lockable doors provide access to batteries, pumps, and so on, and ensures an uncluttered working area. A deck wash ensures if things do get a little bloody you can just hose it off and let the self-draining deck do the rest.
Looking forward from the skipper’s seat, there is ample space to flush mount your electronics and have radios and more up and out of the way. The seating is comfortable and can be turned around so you can have a full view of the rear of the vessel. Speaking of views, there is a good 360° view from the skipper’s seat.
The cabin forward isn’t overly large, but provides good storage for your gear and somewhere to retreat to while the fishing is slow or you are at rest.
Above the decks is a sturdy hard top with rocket launchers for your excess fishing rods. The safety rail forward ensures anytime you need to venture to the forward deck you can do it in relative safety.
As Simon said to me, if you want to go well offshore this boat is capable of it.
RIDE AND HANDLING
The small chop on the testing day was never going to truly test the Haines Hunter 625 Offshore. It did however give you an idea of how well the Haines hull will deal with anything thrown at it. The advantage of a fibreglass hull is how softly it handles chop and swell. It was obvious on the day that driven correctly the 625 would deal with most conditions and get you home safely.
SUZUKI 250HP 4-STROKE
The Haines Hunter 625 Offshore has a standard maximum horsepower rating of 230hp. Boats and More had the transom upgraded on the test boat to 250hp. The added power making it even more suitable for those offshore exploits.
The Suzuki 250hp APX on it was certainly impressive. It was very quiet and pushed the boat to a maximum speed of 70km/h. As you can imagine, the economy wasn’t fantastic at that speed, but drop it back to 48km/h (3750rpm) and your economy was a very respectable 1.4km/L of fuel burned providing a great range of travel for a days fishing.
It’s hard not to be impressed by what the 625 Offshore has to offer and the way that the team at Boats and More had set it up. It towed well, it is serious offshore boat, with a motor that is reliable and offers great economy for its size. It screams fishing but has enough creature comforts for the family to enjoy as well.
The extras that Boats and More included like the stone guard on the trailer and the Turbo Swing around the motor (gives you the option to ski behind the boat) further enhances the versatility of the package.
To find out more about this and all the other Haines Hunter packages available you can contact either the Shepparton or Echuca Boats and More stores or go to their website www.boatsandmore.com.au.
Overall Length – 6.40m
Beam – 2.40m
Height – 2.30m
Weight (boat only) – 1150kg
Fuel Capacity – 270L
Max hp – 230hp
Max hp (tested) – 250hp