Queensland boat manufacturer TABS builds no-fuss plate boats for serious fishos. SCOTT THOMAS reports on a sportfisher’s special.

Fc1:TABS boats has chiselled a solid reputation for no-nonsense plate sportfishing boats. Sprouting from the hub of Australia’s boat manufacturing, south East Queensland, the TABS story began around four years ago and has since expanded to a nationwide dealer network. Close to a thousand kays south of the boat’s origins, Pittwater was host to TAB’s newest offering Ð the 4.6m Territory. This solid pointy-nosed platie looks set to suit the growing number of inshore sportfishos chasing bream, flatties, jew, bass, trout and more. And when the weather turns sour or you want to head outside for a bit of pelagic action, the 4.6 territory looks to have the credentials to handle the rougher conditions.

What’s it got to offer? The Territory’s constructed using 4mm alloy bottom and 3mm sides with a fully welded and sealed top deck. The overall feel of the boat can be summed up as solid. The test boat was painted black outside with a white interior. Gone are the days of plain white boats. The black looked quite good, and would certainly appeal to comp fishos who are after a flash looking boat but don’t have a deep enough pocket to match.

Design & layout
Sitting on the transom was a 60hp Yamaha four-stroke Ð these whisper quiet four-strokes need no introduction. The Territory is rated to a maximum of 75hp and, in my opinion, would benefit from the maximum power. While the 60hp was adequate, if nothing else, a change of prop would have helped its top end speed.

The port side transom features a roomy livewell and across from that a large storage area with enough room for battery and gear storage. Each side of the boat had a handy side pocket tacked on for extra storage and quick access and its kept out of harms way (unlike a few similar boats) Ð no more bruised shins.

As you’d expect, rod holders, grab rails and bollards are all in the right places.

The test boat featured a side console, although it’s available as a centre console as well. It’s really up to the individual which option they choose. Side consoles are best for those who appreciate having the helm tucked out of harm’s way and leaving ample fishing room throughout the boat. It’s only a small console, so fighting fish around or over it isn’t a problem. Centre consoles on boats below five metres can often restrict space, although if it’s your preference one would certainly have a place on this boat. With the side console fitted on the review boat it appeared to lean slightly starboard with only one person onboard. If planning on plenty of solo fishing, the centre console might prove a better balanced option for such missions.

While the helm seat was adjustable up and down it would benefit from either a sliding position, or perhaps the position of the seat would need to be moved back towards the stern. I personally couldn’t stand up whilst driving because of the minimal space between the wheel and seat. Passengers have the option of positioning the seat in several places throughout the boat. The removable seats and nifty, locking base, had three positions on the main floor and casting platform. The console itself is neat and basic and featured a tacho, speedo, compass, switchboard and tinted windshield.

The Territory’s casting platform is configured with two hinged doors allowing access to the massive storage underneath. The aforementioned seating position is situated in the section between both hatches. Beyond the platform, there’s an open anchor well and a special electric motor mount. While not fitted, a bow mount electric would really open up some great fishing options with this boat. I wish my boat had one of these purpose-built mounts as it would have saved an awful lot of trouble having one welded onto the correct position!

On the water
Boat test day was sunny, not a zephyr of wind and absolutely no swell Ð a nice day on the water, but lousy conditions for real boat testing. Despite the conditions, we pushed on, there were deadlines to meet. Jumping on the plane was achieved with little fuss, although we didn’t have a GPS for speed readings, so you’ll have to take my word for it. According to the boat’s speedo, WOT went somewhere around 30 knots and 6000rpm. The Territory felt solid Ð passing waves from other craft were chopped through easily. The reverse chine and deep vee kept spray at a minimum. The 15-degree deadrise at the stern afforded an adequately stable boat while the bow’s deep vee provides a very dry, “solid” and reasonably soft riding boat for its size. As mentioned previously, the 4.60 Territory reviewed would probably benefit from more horsepower or perhaps a change of propeller. Either way it certainly wasn’t a major issue Ð if price was a concern and you opted to go with a 60hp outboard you wouldn’t be disappointed. Tight turns at speed were accomplished remarkably easily, even with a fair amount of boat wake about.

All up, the TABS Territory offers estuary sportfishers a good versatile and solidly constructed boat. Its carpeted throughout and featured loads of fishing space; the estuary sportfisho chasing bream, flatties, jewies or bass would be well catered for. And as the name suggests the 4.6 Territory Ð and its bigger 4.75 and 5m siblings Ð should be at home on any of the rivers in Australia’s north. The only gripe I had was the boat’s obvious lean via its console, however this could be easily fixed with a little thought to repositioning the battery and other weighty items portside. That is of course if solo fishing’s your thing.

TABS 460 Territory
Length: 4.6 metres
Beam: 2250 mm
Weight: 485kg (hull only)
Deadrise: 15 degrees
Fuel:  75 litres
Power: Max. 75hp, as tested with 60hp Yamaha four-stroke
Price: As reviewed $31,815
Contact: Enterprise Marine on (02) 9913 7767;

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