Greeny’s Quintrex 440 is 12 months old and still going strong. Here, David Green details what makes Dead Fishy III such a great fishing boat.
A BIT over a year ago I bought a Quintrex 440 Hornet. This was built at the Quintrex factory near my home and I had a lot of input into the design. The brief was to do a layout that made as much practical use of space as possible, and to incorporate all the storage needed into a relatively small boat. This was designed in conjunction with Craig Madam who does a lot of the research and development for Quintrex. A lot of these innovations are now fitted to Hornets, and the boat has been very good so far. I’ve never had a boat where so much stuff fits, yet there is no loss of space.
One year on and the boat has been trailed over 10,000 kilometres and the engine has done just under 400 hours, so it’s had a fair run. It has been in some rough country, caught some great fish, won a Flathead Classic and had a lot of keen fishos on board chasing everything from flathead to cod to barra. A lot of fish have hit the deck in the last year. I’ve learnt a lot from this great little boat and the following is an appraisal of what works, problems I’ve had and how the innovations we made turned out. There isn’t much I’d change and the functionality of the design has been the main strength of this rig.
The boat is a tiller steer powered by a 60hp four-stroke Yamaha. These are great fishing motors and troll brilliantly. I love the motor for its quietness and fuel efficiency. Everything you need to adjust is only a few finger spaces away on the tiller. The slow troll adjust switch lets you change up or down by 50 RPM – this is a fantastic feature if you like slow trolling for barra or flathead. This Quintrex is a fair bit heavier than the standard model as it has a 4mm floor and has two big deep cycle batteries mounted midships. With three up and a standard 13 inch Yamaha prop the boat was initially very slow to get up on the plane. A 12 inch prop, lifting the motor one hole and using a foil solved the problem, but when you fish only two up, the engine hits its maximum revs at less than full throttle. I’m still experimenting with props. Maximum speed on GPS is about 27 knots so it isn’t the fastest boat on the water, but that top speed is fine by me. The advantages of the motor as a slow trolling and quiet unit more than compensate for a bit of top end speed. The hull is wide, relatively short and heavy which means lifting the nose requires a fair amount of torque. The ride of the Quinnie is very good, nice and soft and quite dry in most conditions. The hull sits rock solid in the water with minimal windage which is really important when trolling or working under electric power. I’m convinced that the 4mm floor gives a softer ride in most conditions.
The two fishiest additions to this boat’s set up are the 80 pound Minn Kota i-Pilot and the Humminbird 998c side imaging sounder. After a year of use I can definitely say that both of these tools are invaluable aids to catching more fish. In the 2011 wet season run-off the boat caught hundreds of barra, and a lot of these fish could be directly attributed to the use of side imaging technology. At one stage I was able to even call the bites before they happened. Side imaging opens up a whole new world in finding fish once you master interpreting the images. It lets you see fish where you want to cast or troll to, and in situations such as chasing moving schools of barra on the run-in tide it lets you put the boat exactly where the fish are. The mounting bracket has given excellent visibility.
The i-Pilot is a skipper’s dream. The anchor feature works really well and saves on pulling up ropes and covering the boat in mud. I think going for a 24 volt model was definitely worth the investment, as the battery life is very good, and I can use it all day without getting flat. I tend to use the electric on a remote control rather than a foot pedal, and this has been easy and very simple to use. With two remotes it means that both anglers can adjust the boat position which is handy when you hook up a good fish. The central storage of the two big deep cycle batteries gives good weight balance. Craig designed a very clever bracket to hold the batteries under the floor that has worked very well.
The rod locker has been good for carrying a lot of outfits. The ones being used go into the open rod storage rack on the starboard side, and this means you only need to access the rod locker when you change tactics, such as going from casting to trolling or heavy tackle to light tackle. It has been unobtrusive and quite functional. There are four Scotty rod holder mounts for some trolling situations and the rod holders are stored in one of the forward hatches. The removable bins in these hatches have been brilliant as they give plenty of storage options. This boat has at times carried a mountain of gear and it has all been able to be kept in one of the many removable hatches.
The livebait tank is functional but a bit little for big mullet that we use in jewie season, but for everything else works well. The net holder works well and keeps the big landing net out of the way and has been quite tidy and practical for my big barra net. It doesn’t get in the road and the net is always accessible. I’ve recently fitted a Hydrowave to the boat (a new “sonic berley” device from the US – see report in the May issue) so it isn’t short on electronics. The HDS 5 Lowrance mounted on the casting platform has been very good and there is no interference between the Humminbird and the Lowrance. At first there was a bit of spray coming off the transducers but we fixed that by Craig mounting a pair of aluminium brackets over the transducer mounts.
The alloy I-bar trailer made by Telwater is a pleasure to tow and I’ve certainly done some miles dragging the rig from the Gold Coast to the NT and back and had a few other long trips as well. It has had no corrosion problems and the rig is easy to tow with very little windage. The boat can be driven on and off easily and is also very easy to winch. It is great to be able to have a trailer and give it a good hose knowing that you don’t have to worry about corrosion in box frame type designs. The rig has done a bit of rough road stuff and the trailer had no problems. I’m very happy with the trailer; it’s the best small boat trailer I’ve ever owned.
The electronics set up on this boat was put together by my mate Aykut Ahmet. This workmanship is superb, and a year on there has been no real problems. The only breakage for the boat so far has been a button switch going to the sender to check fuel capacity. Everything else has been spot on and faultless. The Anderson plug mount to recharge the batteries has been really good and on remote trips where there is no 240 volt power a 1 kva generator works well to power the 24 volt charger allowing recharge of the batteries.
Some of the fishing highlights of this boat have been fishing the Daly River in the NT and guiding local guide Russell Kenny to a metre fish with me driving (the first metre fish Russell had caught himself for a long time), smashing a stack of big barras trolling the run-in tide by using the side scanner, and watching my mate Kel catch an “oh so close” 99.5cm flathead on a Micro Mullet while his son Angus was on board. We also used Dead Fishy III to win the 2011 Flathead Classic with my son Michael and Kel. This was particularly satisfying after a five-year gap out of the winners circle. The boat has seen a lot of flathead come aboard.
Overall, owners always tend to lavish praise on their own rigs, but I think I can be totally objective in saying that this 440 Quintrex Hornet is a very practical little boat that works extremely well when it comes to catching fish, travelling to remote places and being quiet, fuel efficient and a pleasure to fish from. Dead Fishy III is a little beauty.