Interview: Adam Ward on the Edge

So Adam, you’ve moved on from your beloved Skeeter to the more versatile Edgewater. You’d have some fond memories of your old boat?
Getting out of the Skeeter was probably the toughest choice I’ve had to make in fishing terms. I’d been on Skeeter’s Pro Team for the past four years or so and have a great working relationship with Josh Batterson at Skeeter Australia. I believe they are the pinnacle of bass boats in the country. From a tournament point of view, I wouldn’t own anything else.

But after fishing the comp scene seriously for the past 10 years I had found that my priorities were changing and I wanted to start exploring offshore more in my free fishing time. A mate of mine at home in Forster kept phoning me about his exploits offshore, and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

You were looking for a boat that you could still enjoy your bream fishing in, but also explore your new found passion for snapper fishing. what got the Edgewater over the line?
I’d been closely paying attention to a mate and fellow Shimano team member, Chris Cleaver, who already had a Edgewater 170cc. He was posting photos on social media of the snapper, kingfish and other species he’d been smashing offshore one weekend and then winning or placing highly in bream tournaments the next. It was clear that I wanted a boat that would allow me to do both.

Although I knew I would have to sacrifice the high speeds the Skeeters are renowned for, but the pros outweighed the cons. The Edgewater 170cc is a big boat for a 17 footer. The high sides and deep vee gives you more confidence when crossing a bar or if the weather blows up while you’re out at sea. Its fibreglass hull is super strong and the positive flotation is a major safety bonus. The ride is soft, stable, smooth and quite dry for a centre console design.

In the lake I can still sneak over shallow water flats and oyster leases as I did in the Skeeter and although it is a higher boat sitting in the water, it does not appear to get blown along in high winds when you’re drifting the flats casting at bream.

You’ve been bitten by the snapper bug pretty hard. How did your early expeditions go?
Yes, the snapper bug has bitten about as hard as they pull drag off your reel over a shallow reef. My first taste of snapper fishing was at last year’s Dave Irvine Memorial Snapper Tournament at Coffs Harbour. I had a ball. My second fish on the first day went 90cm and from that moment I was converted. I didn’t fish for them again until this year’s tournament and we got some great fish. At that stage my boat was only about a week old and I knew I’d bought wisely.

Coffs is a snapper fishing Mecca and although my mates informed me not to expect the same quality of fish down at home I have had success on every outing lately fishing the inshore reefs between Forster and Crowdy Head.

Apart from snapper, the kids and I have been having a ball spinning up bonito and catching some quality bream in the washes. The kids are only young and I feel safe and confident taking them outside in the Edgewater. When winter is gone though I can also look forward to targeting some new species like dolphinfish at the fads and trolling for those little black marlin that follow the bait closer to shore around Christmas. Then I can take the family wake boarding and tubing up the lake.

What did you take from your experience as a bream angler and put to use targeting snapper?
I think snapper fishing is closely related to bream fishing in many ways. Fishing plastics for each species requires finesse at times. Using the lightest jig head and leader, downsizing your plastic size and sometimes slowing things down when they are quiet. Other days fish will smash a plastic without thinking about it. I believe persistence is the key to catching more fish.

What do your prefer to target, bream or snapper?
The simple answer is if it’s a tournament weekend or pre fish day, I’ll target bream. Any other day I’ll be heading offshore to chase the reds. Knowing that my boat is more than capable, I can have my bream gear and snapper gear on board and make a decision on the morning, depending on the conditions.

Back to the boat, the Edgewater is built overseas, how did you order it?
The purchase of American made Edgewaters is made easy in Australia as they are now sold exclusively by Josh at Skeeter boats. The boats sit perfectly on Australian-made Easy Tow trailers. Engines are fitted in-house at Josh’s Penrith workshop as are all the finishing touches like sounders and electric motors.

Powered by a new E-TEC, what speed is she capable of and how does it ride?
Powering the boat is a new 115hp Evinrude E-TEC. I’ve been a big fan of E-TECs since joining the Pro Team seven years ago and personally wouldn’t run anything else.

The power to weight ratio of this engine means that the boat jumps out of the hole quickly and smoothly and trims out to a stable top speed of 37 knots fully loaded. The fuel economy of the 115 is awesome – four-stroke economy with two stroke power and without the associated service costs that go with a four-stroke.

There’s a 300 hour first service interval and five year warranty, what else could you ask for?

Being a bigger boat, what electric did you go for?
The electric motor up front is a Rhodan 80lb unit. They are new to the Aussie market and have a spot lock function, similar to other brands. Although it does function well, it lacks a foot control unit, which I believe is essential when bream fishing tight areas like oyster racks and areas where you need both hands free to fish. I’ll replace it with a new Min Kota iPilot before the start of next year’s bream series.

Your dash has a Simrad unit taking pride of place. Give us your impressions.
My electronics come from Simrad, part of Navico Australia. A NSS12 touch screen sits on the dash which is absolutely awesome for offshore work. The split screen function gives a wide view of both sonar and chart which makes life really easy when drifting across the same grounds and tracks while watching for bait and fish around the boat.

A NSS8 touch screen unit is located up at the bow which allows me to search for fish while controlling the electric motor both offshore and in a bream fishing scenario. Both are linked together so information can be sourced at either unit or added at the press of a button.

Also linked to the units is a Simrad structure scan kit and a sonic hub music system. A Simrad VHF radio also lives in the dash.  All of the electronics and Evinrude engine are powered by three Century 720 Marine Pro batteries and are recharged by an on board plug in Stirling Pro Mariner 3 bank charger.

All was fitted out by the expert team at Tuncurry Auto Electricians, another one of my long-term sponsors. The batteries and charger are all installed in the massive centre console storage compartment along with an EPIRB, fire extinguisher and all other safety equipment.

Who did the sticker work?
The Edgewater has been wrapped by Richard Potter at X Factor signs in Sydney and is a great way to promote my sponsors’ products. Simrad and Shimano both made the wrap possible and it has turned this Edgewater into a unique and striking fishing platform capable of taking on most of Australia’s favourite species.

I look forward to fishing with you in the future, Adam. Is there anything else you would like to mention?
To sum up, my Edgewater is a functional and practical boat which ticks all boxes for me. It allows me to continue with my tournament bream fishing but enables me to also venture offshore to chase bigger fish. It’s also very family orientated as we can fish safely with the kids and go family cruising and wakeboarding in summer. I’m sure the boat will be coming along on a few trips up north during holidays over the next few years.

Edgewater 170CC E-TEC
Length: 5.18m
Beam: 2.2m
Tow weight: approx 1200kg
Powered by: 115hp Evinrude E-TEC
Fuel Capacity: 121 litres
Price as boat, motor and trailer: $50,000
Contact: Josh Batterson Skeeter/Edgewater Power Boat


This story was first published in the Fishing World October 2013 issue.


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