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The new Seajay 5.6 Striker was designed by the Bundaberg-based boat builder to fill a gap between their smaller boats and bigger rigs like the excellent 6.8 Preda King and 6.8 Pursuit cabin. Darwin’s award-winning BH Marine had a couple of the bigger plate Seajays on display at the 2009 Darwin Boat Show, and while they both sold quickly, BH and Seajay found themselves fielding a lot of inquiries about the possibility of something a bit smaller along the same lines.

In response to this demand and in consultation with their Top End contacts, Seajay built the 5.6 Striker. It’s a centre console plate sportfisher perfect for tropical bluewater and estuary work, and sold by BH Marine as a ready-to-go package. While it’s perfect for offshore jigging, trolling and bait fishing, it’s also not too big for rivers if you’re a bluewater fisho who likes to change it up every now and then.

Between hearing about the new model from BH sales manager Phil Pomeroy and organising a test, Phil inconveniently managed to sell the only one in Darwin at the time. Luckily the proud new owner was happy to let me take it for a run.

The first thing to attract attention is the vessel’s stylish lines. A gentle curve to the gunwales leading up to the bow adds to the sleek look of the Striker, and the test boat was finished in basic blue and white. Performance is just as good as the looks, with a variable deadrise hull design and reverse chines ensuring a comfortable ride. BH sells the Striker on a dual-axle Oceanic trailer with dual roller side banks for easy launching and retrieving.

Launching in Darwin Harbour, I pushed the Striker into some hard turns at speed, and it handled it very well. No cavitation, no hull slip and a smooth dry ride. Heading out towards Charles Point the swell rose to about 1m and there was a bit of wind chop, but the hull punched through it effortlessly without any evidence of slapping or jarring, and not a drop of water inside the boat.

Providing the go is a 150hp Honda four-stroke, the maximum horsepower rating for this model. Hydraulic steering is standard on this model ex-factory. With the 150 purring away smoothly on the back, the Striker jumped up on the plane with barely any prompting, and we were cruising at 45km/h at a shade under 4000rpm. Top speed with the test rig was 83km/h, revving out at about 5600rpm.

There’s a whopping 200l underfloor tank (with a double skin for added safety), so given the Honda’s economical fuel consumption at cruising speeds around 4000rpm, the range is a conservative 350km — even more in good conditions. That’s plenty for offshore trips.

Inside the Striker feels bigger than it is, thanks in part to the open interior made possible by the centre console walk-around design. The huge front casting deck measures 2x2.1m with room for a 120l esky underneath, and a further 140l storage box forward of that. There is plenty of room to fish four anglers in comfort, and the rig is stable at rest.

There are bow rails up the front, and a large anchor well with an electric winch plate fitted should you wish to add this accessory. However, with a boat like this there should be plenty of willing crew around to pull up the anchor the old-fashioned manual way.

The large side pockets provide more storage, with the console also a handy place to store things like safety gear or tackle boxes. On the neat console are all the Honda gauges, a Humminbird 957c combo unit, and a VHF marine radio. All the wiring is under the floor, but easily accessed through a handy hatch.

At the back a large plumbed live bait tank sits on the starboard side, a bait board in the middle, and the rear door with heavy-duty boarding ladder on the port side. Underneath the rear transom is the factory dual battery system.

The Seajay 5.6 Striker is an extremely impressive bluewater rig, and the package from BH Marine represents great value for someone looking for a quality boat built with total fishing in mind. It’s very well made, and the practical design will handle a wide range of situations with ease. BH Marine has paired Seajay quality with Honda reliability and come up with a winner.

PRICE: Boat as tested at time of writing from BH Marine, on an Oceanic trailer, with dual batteries, deck wash, sounder/GPS combo unit and VHF radio — $66,990

For more information contact BH Marine.

Ph: 08 8947 0552


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