Some boats are purpose-built for particular forms of fishing, others can efficiently cover a lot of bases. Mick Fletoridis reports.
REVIEWED: EDGEWATER 170CC
IF I had a shopping list of must-haves for a prospective new boat, versatility would be at the top. For mine, nothing beats a boat that you can launch, jump aboard and just see where the fishing takes you. While it’s usually a good idea to have a game plan before hitting the water, factors such as weather and tides often dictate what your options will be. So it takes a special sort of boat to adapt to different fishing styles at the drop of a hat; one that can have you fishing tight to snags for bream on the same day you were bobbing around offshore targeting kings and snapper. If the same craft can have you safely fishing the bluewater for marlin in good conditions, or do an impoundment bash for natives or trout, I reckon you’ve found the ideal boat. To my way of thinking this sort of “all-rounder” offers the best value, both from a cost perspective and the amount of use you’ll get from it.
The boat you see here fits the all-rounder mould perfectly. It’s a US-built EdgeWater 170CC (CC for centre console) fibreglass sportfisher. “Edgeys” have proven a fairly popular choice with Aussie fishos since their arrival on our shores a few years ago. Boat Fishing has reviewed a couple and come away fairly impressed on each occasion. The last one I’d been on was a 188CC (5.7m), out on Sydney Harbour (Boat Fishing Feb 2011). I was taken by that boat’s solid feel, quality ride and excellent stability. The boat you see here is basically the same package as the185CC, albeit a more compact 4.8m version.
As you’ll note by the signage on its powder blue and white flanks it has a tie in with Japanese tackle giant Shimano. The boat’s owner is Mark Dunphy, sales manager for Shimano Australia and an accomplished all-round angler.
“It will fish for bream to marlin and everything in between,” Dunphy told Boat Fishing prior to launching his recent purchase at a southern Sydney boat ramp.
His last boat was also American, a more purpose-built craft in the form of a ZX190 Skeeter. While the low-slung bass boat was no doubt a superb weapon for inshore waters, its low sides limited its potential for venturing too far afield.
Having only owned his EdgeWater for a couple of months when Boat Fishing caught up with him, Dunphy had already fished it in a few bream comps. He also has plans to enter bluewater tournaments and has earmarked a pair of outriggers to complement the Scotty downrigger used for trolling baits for kings and billfish.
On the water
The day Fisho’s Scott Thomas and I got on board Dunphy’s boat, he basically threw us the keys and took off due to work commitments. This gave us the opportunity to get a good feel of the boat in fishing mode.
The owner had kindly set it up with a bunch of Shimano outfits, as well as trays of lures, jigheads and anything we might have needed for a decent session. While we unfortunately didn’t have loads of time to fish, we made a point of casting plastics around Botany Bay’s Captain Cook bridge. The tide had turned and, going on past experience, hooking a jewie was a reasonable possibility. We fished for about an hour for little result before Scott hooked up. I saw a distinctive yellow tail as the fish shot past, close to the boat.
A few minutes later we had an unexpected around-legal size king in the Environet. While I’d heard of kings being occasionally caught in that location, it was the first I’d seen in nearly 10 years of fishing there. We fished a few more drifts as the run-in tide picked up intensity. The Edgey proved to be a pleasant fishing platform thanks to its good deck layout, hull stability and state-of-the-art on board goodies. At the pointy end it’s fitted with a Minn Kota i-Pilot RTS 24-volt bow-mount electric and Lowrance HDS-8 sounder plotter.
The electronics don’t end there with the console sporting a powerful Simrad NSE8 unit, which Dunphy had opted for to provide greater deep water penetration. Both sounder units have side and bottom scanning capability and displayed impressive pictures with sharp detail and accuracy. Having never played around with this particular Simrad unit, I was quite impressed with its user friendly functions and speed between screen displays. Mark had set up an instrumentation display on the Simrad to show all the readouts from the boat’s Evinrude E-TEC outboard. Powering these goodies, all onboard accessories and performing cranking duties are four 12-volt batteries housed under the console.
I’d describe the deck layout as typically American – well laid out with controls, accessory switches and drink holders all close to hand. The throttle was well positioned and the stainless “captain’s wheel” made steering a precise fun operation – aided by a SeaStar hydraulic unit. Dunphy will be adding a factory grab rail to the console to improve things for passengers, who currently have to make do when underway by grabbing the seat support or console screen. He’s also made the screen removable due to low garage clearance.
The skipper’s bench style seat has a pivoting back support and inbuilt 65-litre live well. The latter has a recirculating pump that operates off water – handy at bream comp weigh-ins. There’s an Igloo ice box up front that doubles as a seat and can be removed to make more deck space for offshore fishing.
Looking aft, the transom features padded jump seats in the corners with storage below for three tackle trays a side. A keen soft plastics fisher, Dunphy has the starboard side’s locker chock-a-block with plastics. The portside is loaded with jigheads.
The 115hp Evinrude E-TEC HO spins a Viper stainless three-blade 13 7/8” x 17” prop and delivers a good compromise between impressive holeshots and top end speed. The grunty DI two-stroke easily has the hull onto the plane at around 3000rpm, from where it powers strongly throughout the rev range to peak at around 5500/5600 rpm and 33 knots.
The transom features an open style engine well which allows for easy tilting of the motor, while appearing to leave the section open to flooding in rough conditions – this threat is alleviated by dual one way self-bailing outlets that drain away any incoming wash. Despite some aggressive reversing manouevres I didn’t see any water make its way into the engine well.
While conditions were ideal for fishing on Botany Bay with calm water and little wind, this meant settling for running into boat wake to “test” the hull. Not surprisingly it soaked up the bumps without fuss. Throwing it into tight turns and changes of direction was the highlight and loads of fun – this is one nimble little boat! With a draft of 28cm (12”) it also showed its ability to negotiate shallow water as I dropped Scott on to a calm beach for photos.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the EdgeWater 170CC, especially the fishing options it can open up for owners.