Haines Hunter 600R Review

This Haines Hunter bluewater rig will have fishos jumping for joy.

Haines Hunter have been building quality Australian made powerboats for years out of their Melbourne factory. Now with a new set up in Queensland, it seems Haines Hunter are on the up and up. The staff fish and their fishing experiences fuel the innovation.

Riley Tolmay, after sales manager for BRP, is also a keen fisherman. He knows what makes a good fishing boat and by the look of his new Haines Hunter 600R with twin Evinrude 115hp E-Tecs rigged on the back, he also likes to look the part. We cast our eyes over this boat recently and it shows how versatile you can make your craft when you get more involved with your boat builder and with after-market accessory companies. Riley considered many boats but decided that the Haines Hunter 600R offered him the fishability he needed, with ample dry storage and a soft ride.

Chased by a chopper we ran the 600R in a 15-20 knot nor’easter, heading both with and straight into the wind. On the day of our shoot, and as can be seen from the shots accompanying this article, we put in some serious effort to get some air under the hull and succeeded on several occasions. 

Hunting out in the blue, being chased by a helicopter, is an awesome feeling and requires a decent pace and quality driver. Riley drove the craft like a superboat racing champion. Surprisingly we were on the receiving end of a soft ride with the ample deadrise offering good wave piercing ability and soft landings. The hull weighs in at 1150kg and once airborne, there was no thunderous crash or nasty thud as we landed back in the wet stuff. Getting a boat props and all out of the water may result in a few tough landings, but on the whole the Haines Hunter rode brilliantly. 

It must have looked quite spectacular from the shores of Long Reef as we were told after returning to the boat ramp that someone had rung 2UE claiming that a police helicopter was chasing a boat out to sea. 

Solid Performer 
Rigged with twin Evinrude E-Tec 115hp engines, the boat moves along at a good pace. A top speed of 40 knots is possible in calm conditions, but we doubt many people will be hammering out to fishing grounds at that speed. The fuel consumption of the twin engines is a little on the heavy side (approximately 74lt per hour), which would make a fair dent in the 210lt fuel tank onboard. The cruising consumption though is a mere 24lt per hour. 

Running 17-inch Viper props, the engines deliver enough power for quick planing and will even get the boat back to shore with one outboard not working, therein lies the advantage of twin rigs when fishing out wide. They allow for a little peace of mind in the event of an emergency. 

The Evinrude engine instrumentation includes a rev gauge, speed and oil pressure. This is all linked via the Can Bus system to the sounder, which can show all the information on one screen.

Compact fishability
Tied up at the wharf the Haines Hunter looks like a small trailerboat. So much so that we didn’t even realize that it was Riley sitting some 50m away when we arrived. But once onboard, the Haines Hunter feels roomy. The beam is a generous 2.4m and with a waterline of 6m the available fishing area is expansive with a high freeboard offering good leverage against those monster fish you are going to catch just because you have a Haines Hunter. 

While Riley uses the cabin mainly for dry storage, there is ample room to have a quick nap or lie down if you are feeling seasick. John Haber has invested a lot of time into making sure there is space for everything and the cushions in the cabin lift up to reveal massive storage bins. 

There is plenty more storage around the boat. The skipper’s seat holds a five five-drawer tackle compartment and a storage area under the passenger seat. Storage along the port and starboard sides can fit everything at arms reach and a handy side door that easily slides out for bringing big fish like marlin on board. Not sure if Riley will get to use that one. The crew is catered for with a folding seat at the stern.

The cutting board workstation was built by Haines Hunter and makes a much bigger workspace. It has four rod holders and space for all your fishing paraphernalia. 

Customise your rig
Riley loves his fishing and his music, so he has taken the time to add an extensive list of after-market accessories to make his pursuits more enjoyable and accessible. It is here that his boat differs radically from most. He has retrofitted Relax outriggers and stainless steel rod holders for bluewater trolling, a Penn Fathom master downrigger for chasing kings, and a full set of clears for a dry run out wide.

Electronics are all high quality, a Jensen stereo with iPod interface including a subwoofer, Navman 27meg and VHF radios adorn the dash and Evinrude E-Tec I command gauges add to the flashy factor. For finding fish and he needs plenty of help, Riley opted for a Lowrance sounder/GPS chart plotter unit.

The gunwales feature Rex Grips and an anchor winch has been added to the bow. A multiple battery system is a must and features two Optima cranking batteries with an additional deep cycle house battery for the electrics. All this sits neatly on a Mackay Trailer. 

Riley’s carefully researched, purpose built inshore sportfisher is also capable of some arduous bluewater fishing.