REVIEWED: Quintrex 450 Hornet Trophy

The completion of the 2007 National Bream Series saw one lucky competitor take home a brand new 4.5m Quintrex Hornet with all the bells and whistles. Mark Ward took a close look at the prize.  

AFTER more than seven years of competing in the National Bream Series, I finally got my hands on the champion’s prize boat. Unfortunately, it was just on loan and the boys from Quintrex made me promise to bring it back Ð but not before I’d  dragged the first bream over the side!

I loaded the 450 Hornet Trophy with an array of bream rods and picked up a mate to assist with the “test” before heading out in a 25 knot south-easter. Perfect weather for testing but ugly for fishing, especially after I was told the battery for the electric motor had not arrived prior to the test. Dropping the anchor and using bait would have been disrespectful on a tournament boat designed for casting and retrieving artificials, so it was lure fishing under wind power, and there was plenty of it.

Design & layout
Quintrex has been building the popular Hornet range for a number of years now and the 450 has been added alongside the 400, 435, 480 and 500. Based on the Eclipse V-Flared Hull design, the 4.5m Hornet is an excellent size for tournament fishing. In this situation, where two anglers need to comfortably fish out of the vessel Ð boats like my 4.1m model seem small in comparison to this larger 4.5m craft. The other thing I liked about the Hornet was while it was big enough to fish two, it was light to tow, simple to launch and ran an economical 60hp Mercury four-stroke that pushed it along at over 30 knots. That’s not fast by tournament boat standards but for fishos like me who only fish a handful of tournaments a year Ð but are on the water two or three times a week Ð an economical boat that’s easy to launch is more important than owning a 200hp rocketship.

The Trophy featured a standard side console design that allowed plenty of room for anglers to run around the deck. The console was small enough to work around but also housed the sounder, GPS and essential gauges and as an option, Quintrex now offer a small fridge that can be positioned under the console. An elevated casting deck, both front and rear, allowed for plenty of under-floor storage, the only thing missing was a place to store those expensive tournament rods but a rod storage compartment is a factory option.

Accordingly for a tournament boat, the layout was all about fishing. The bow casting deck featured a 55lb Minn-Kota Riptide bow-mount electric and a Lowrance X-515 sounder (with transducer mounted on the foot of the Minn-Kota). A live well was fitted under the bow’s casting deck floor and is managed by a Flow-Rite live well system.

The Hornet’s 4.53m overall length and 2.05m beam, makes it a decent sized tournament craft. Quintrex’s new M3 transom design is available on all of its pod-fitted vessels and provides anglers, divers and swimmers with a useful platform for boarding, standing on or swimming and comes complete with a very soft deck grip. These functional pods also add space and stability to the hull.

The Hornet’s hull is manufactured from 3mm pressed alloy on the bottom and 1.6mm on the topsides and is made to “basic flotation” specifications.

On the water
In an attempt to catch some fish from the Hornet we tried to escape the wind but to no avail. It had been blowing for days so the sheltered bays were all dirty and weedy so we decided to tough it out in the open and fish the cleaner incoming tide. The stability of the Eclipse V Flared Hull was impressive and made the conditions bearable. We managed to convince a few fish to eat our lures so the Hornet did its job well considering. An aspect of the hull worth mentioning is its shallow draft. We drifted over water little more than ankle deep by simply trimming the outboard up and allowing the wind to blow us along.

As we motored out of a relatively calm river into the white-capped open estuary we had a perfect opportunity to see how well the hull performed. It took it all in its stride, slicing through the chop with remarkable efficiency. I’ve been operating tinnies ever since I was a little kid and I’m amazed at how well these new hull designs handle rough water. A 4.5m tinny with a reasonably heavy 60hp four-stroke outboard on the transom effortlessly pushing past 30 knots in rough conditions highlights how far these boats have come. There wasn’t an issue with having the Hornet opened up; with the spray being pushed well out to the side of the hull, the faster you went, the dryer the ride was. We wore a fair amount of spray when motoring side-on to the wind due to the breeze blowing the spray back over us but there’s not a boat on the market that could have helped us that day. The familiar sound of “tinny slap” was ever present in the choppy water but to be fair, I’d have no hesitation in recommending the 450 Hornet to any angler wanting a well-designed, dry and smooth fishing vessel.

The Mercury four-stroke provided a nice mix of economy, performance and quiet operation. We were able to talk without screaming and had no problem with popping the boat up onto the plane when skipping from spot to spot. It took close to 3000rpm to do six knots, with 4000rpm lifting it out of the hole and planing at 18.5 knots. The Merc maxed out to 6000rpm and 31.5 knots. These speed readings were done with the standard alloy prop and playing around with some stainless steel props would probably give more performance and economy.

In tight corners the hull sat nice and flat and was very well behaved. Reversing the hull didn’t sink the stern. At speed and trimmed out, it was revving a little hard and needed to be trimmed down a little in tight corners due to ventilation so a tuned prop would turn an excellent fishing boat into an even better one. It’s definitely a boat worthy of the number one bream angler in the country.

Quintrex 450 Hornet Trophy

Length: 4.53m
Beam: 2.05m
Weight: 393kgs (Hull Only)
Power: Max.60hp, as tested Mercury four-stroke
Price: As reviewed, $31,293

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