This is the story of the SeawayFishing Boat, the Polycraft 410 Challenger that I used to fish the seaway from 2007-2014. I originally came across the polycraft boats in 2005 when one of my mates purchased one. He raved about it and the idea of a plastic boat appealed to me, a low maintenance, quiet, stable fishing platform. When my SeaJay 4.2 Nomad was written off in 2006 I started looking at the Polycraft 410 Challenger. I found one at the right price in 2007 and purchased it through Marine Tune at Burleigh Heads (they don't sell Polycraft anymore).
This began 7 years of great adventures. Through my tutorials I have fished the seaway in many different boat configurations and mine was certainly one of the best for it's size and better than many larger boats. I wore out one motor in 6 years(through excessive full throttle starts chasing surface feeders), did thousands of hours fishing the seaway, took it up north on a fishing roadtrip took it out off Bribie, Noosa, Mooloolabah, Inskip Point, Burrum Heads, Bundaberg, into many freshwater dams, Hervey Bay, 1770, Mackay and even got to the northern tip of Fraser Island in a 20kt Northerly(punishing) and it was still going strong.
The boat was sold in 2014 to a mate who is still fishing with it today(and catching some very nice fish). There is no doubt that had circumstances not changed for me personally I would still be using it today and for many years in the future.
Handles small chop well, doesn't pound as hard into big chop as aluminium boats.
Buoyant, will ride over large waves rather than going through them(essential for the north wall)
Exceptional fishing platform
Won't sink even if you do cop a large wave
No corrosion on the hull
Heavy(forget about getting it off the sand if the tide goes down)
Needs decent horsepower, (don't use anything less than 40, they are rated up to 50 now..get 50)
Needs a Hydrofoil to get up on the plane quick
No more than 2 people or you won't get up on the plane in under a minute with a 40hp.
Over time I have installed a number of mods to the boat to improve the way it fishes. None of these are essential but have made my time fishing the seaway much easier.
A. Acrylic plates
Acrylic plates bolted to the rear wall. These are specifically for fishing the North wall during rough weather. The way the wall pushes water around it the rear end of the boat will always be facing the waves. The rear is the lowest point and copped a few waves over it in rough weather so the acrylic plates were added to give the area some extra freeboard. This worked extremely well and stopped 99% of water coming over.
A hydrofoil (SE Sport 200) was added to improve hole shot. Because all the weight was towards the stern, it took too long to get the boat on the plane, for chasing surface feeders every second counts so the hydrofoil was added. It immediately improved planing speeds going from 5-7 seconds before to less than 2 seconds after.
C. Horizontal rod storage
Chasing surface fish requires the ability to cast in any direction and I wanted more storage for outfits. Vertical rod holders were out so I added horizontal rod holders. This kept them out of the way and enabled 360 degree unhindered casting.
D. Angled rod holders for trolling
Store bought plastic rod holders are weak and cannot handle the hits on heavy gear. Trolling for GT's with 30lb gear requires heavy duty rod holders and these fit the bill. It also keeps them out of the way and they can be used for livebaiting as well.
E. Water Separating Fuel Filter.
Motor breakdowns fishing the North Wall are very bad, when fishing in strong winds and swell it only takes less than a minute without power to get your boat pushed into the rocks. Bad fuel caused me problems twice, both when the fish were biting so I added a water separating fuel filter to filter out the bad stuff before it got to the motor. No problems since.
F. Dual Fuel Tanks
Typically you would only use around 10 litres in a 8 hour seaway fishing session, but extended runs down to Palm Beach Reef saw the needle near empty by the end of the fishing day so a second tank was added for insurance. Only one fuel tank is plugged in at a time so that I can be sure there is still 25 litres to spare.
G. Removable Anchor Light.
Due to the need to have an all round anchor light that is unobstructed by anything and removable I trialled a number of options. The plug in varieties caused all sorts of problems due to corrosion on the terminals. I eventually setting on using the plugin base and pole but bolting a battery operated light at the top.
H. Battery Isolater Switch
This enabled me to insure that all electrics were turned off at the end of the day, switches on the switch panel were easily knocked on so it ensured no electrics were on once the boat was washed and put away.
I. Bilge pump in motor well.
Water always drains into the motor well at the back so having a bilge pump in there ensured any excess water could be pumped out instantly. Very useful on rainy days or if you are travelling in chop with a 3/4 wind and getting alot of spray.
Use care when adding seats or bolting anything to the floor. Due to the flexible double hull an overlong bolt can work it's way through the outer hull.
If the skids on the trailer get sticky, use a lanolin spray such as Inox. But be careful, once it's on the boat will come off the trailer like a rocket. Always use a safety chain backing down the ramp.
Some more footage of the boat running below, this was taken running in the new motor in early 2013 so I was only going up to half speed.