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Here in the Territory, there’s a strong tradition of building solid plate-alloy boats to handle the wide spectrum of conditions encountered by Top End anglers, whether they’re chasing barra up a tidal river or billfish out wide. Darwin-based fabrication company Custom Works’ Chief designer and owner, Dale Smith, has a long history in the alloy boat building game.According to Dale, integral to the success of his highly-sought-after Eliminator range is the hull’s pronounced 15-degree dead-rise which gives it more vee than usually found in NT-built boats. As a result, the hulls give much better bluewater performance by reducing the tinny slap that so many of us are unfortunately accustomed to.I have had the opportunity to ride aboard most of the Eliminator range from the small 4.8m right through to the imposing 6.8m open and cuddy-cab versions. To say I have been impressed with their on-water performance is an understatement and epitomised by the fact that I decided to buy a fully-custom-built 5.8m Eliminator which is the focus of this review.Layout and options As you can see in the accompanying photos, this Eliminator is in a side console configuration which works best for me. This not only gives the skipper his own side when trolling or jigging; it also leaves a ballroom-like space in the centre of the boat which is no real surprise given a massive beam of 2.45m. This space easily allows for the setting up of a couple of mozzie domes and camping stretchers for those overnight or extended trips. Recessed under the gunnels are LED lights as well as 12-volt plugs for fans to keep sleeping fishos nice and cool during the Build-up and Run-off.Up front there is a huge elevated casting deck and those who have been aboard reckon it needs its own postcode! It is also big enough to easily accommodate a third mozzie dome. Under the forward casting deck is an enormous storage area accessed via two large, gas-strut-assisted hatch covers. Under the aft hatch sits a 105L esky, yet there is still enough space around it to accommodate 5 x 20L jerry cans and other assorted fishing and safety gear. Under the forward hatch sits a purpose-built cradle and dedicated deep-cycle battery to accommodate a 40L fridge-freezer. At the pointy end there are also a covered anchor well and two halogen spotties, mounted torpedo-tube style, to help light up the night.Like all Eliminators, this 5.8m model has a fully-sealed deck with scuppers that can be easily closed to prevent water getting in when backing off the trailer or bobbing around in lumpy conditions. Under the floor, there are two deck-fill fuel tanks with the forward one holding 165L and the rear 145L giving a total fuel capacity of 310L — just perfect for those long-range trips. Also under the floor is a 50L freshwater tank hooked up to the deck-wash system.Other layout features include a beautifully-crafted port-side rod locker, smaller side-mounted courtesy lockers and 2 x lure storage lockers in the transom with each holding 6 large lure boxes. The inside of the transom also houses the two engine-cranking batteries, which are hooked up in series to the Engel battery allowing all three to be charged at the same time with the 175hp four-stroke running.With regards to the console, it is perfectly laid out for the skipper and includes a huge filing-cabinet-style drawer that remains totally dry at all times — perfect for me to accommodate all of my camera gear and still leaving heaps of room. The front of the console has a large hatch allowing easy access to all the electrics should there be a need to check them.  On the rear transom are steps to hold the pedestal seats out of the way when sleeping on the deck, and additional grab rails to assist with getting in and out of the boat via the boarding ladder. A neat removable rigging station is mounted on top of the transom with a small shelf underneath just perfect for holding a couple of lure boxes, pliers, braid scissors and a Boga-grip. On the stern is a set of trim tabs to offset the side-console arrangement. However, in practice these are unnecessary and they never get used because the boat always rides level without them. Under the waterline are mounted two blue Aqualuma lights that provide a bit of bling bling and other benefits including attracting baitfish and squid to the back of the boat when night fishing.Lastly, to finish the package off, I opted for a pretty specky green metallic paint job — one beautifully prepared and applied by Rocky Merlot from Merlot Refinishers located in Berrimah.  Most people who see the boat spend the first five minutes just talking about the paint job!Out on the water Since I picked up my 5.8m model some 4 months ago, I have taken her on three long runs across to the Tiwi Islands with each round trip averaging 250-350km. Given these took place in the Build-up, a constant companion has been the 15-20-knot north-westerly sea breezes which always makes for lumpy conditions. Doing such trips in my old 4.8m plate boat with an 11-degree dead-rise meant that my chiro’ saw plenty of me, as being banged about for 2-3 hours at a time is something only dedicated (or mad) fishos would ever put up with. Well I am very pleased to report that my new Eliminator certainly has nothing in common with my last boat or the Ricky Martin song “She bangs!” No, this new 5.8m baby is much more refined… to the point that I have even started sitting down behind the console for most of the long afternoon runs home.  Also my former skippering attire of spray jacket and ski goggles now spend most of their time unused in a storage locker.Now I’m looking forward to taking on the south-easterlies next Dry Season during the long 50-60km runs from Darwin to the jigging grounds out at North and South Gutters.In addition to eating up conditions on the bluewater, the big new Eliminator also has no qualms operating in very skinny water which is a necessity if you want to get yourself into those small coastal creeks away from the top of the tide. Often it’s a situation of who dares wins. So if you’ve got the nerve and a foot and a half of water to work with, then an Eliminator will keep you planing over that shallow sand-flat and right into the creek channel you’re aiming for. With the new rig, I have yet to take on the vagaries of Shoal Bay north of Darwin on a falling tide, but no doubt I will and with plenty of confidence in my new boat’s shallow-water abilities.More information at SPECIFICATIONS Measured length:    5.8m Beam:    2.45m Internal freeboard:        625mm Hull thickness:    5mm Plate 5083 Side thickness:    4mm Plate 5083 Dry hull weight with motor:    1260kg Max. horsepower:        175hp Motor supplied:    175hp from Frenchy’s Marine Max. transom weight:    270kg Transom shaft length:    25 inches Max. fuel capacity:        310L Trailer:         Voyager dual axle


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