Streaker 485 & 502 Cuddy Walk-Thru Review

This couple of cuddy cabins are comfortable and reliable fishing platforms.

These Melbourne-built boats are a timely reminder that not all good fishing boats are built somewhere up north. The two tested here, like peas in a pod, are different-sized versions of the same thing one is a bit bigger, more expensive, heavier to tow and roomier inside.

As far as ‘fishability’ goes, set your budget and make the choice that works for you. You can’t go wrong either way because there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with either of them. These Streakers are as fine a rendition of the classic cuddy cabin fishing boat as has ever been. They’re that good!

They’ve even got rod racks two each. You can stow rigged rods either in the usual rocket launcher over the bimini top, or in racks along each side of the cockpit (in the side pockets). That’s 11 rods in total if so inclined, which is more than the three each most of us like to carry even with three people aboard. You could even sacrifice a space or two for a gaff or net.

Enough frivolity though. These are serious boats and deserve serious attention from anyone looking for a boat around 5m long. Let’s start on that horrible piece of water they call Port Phillip Bay. For our test, the sun was shining brightly (so it does actually happen in Melbourne), but a sneaky 15-knot breeze ruffled the water, allowing the Streakers to strut their stuff.

As you’d expect, the longer and heavier 5.02m model handled the bumps perceptibly better than its smaller, lighter, 4.85m stablemate, but both exceeded expectations in their respective classes. The Streaker’s hull design runs a 17′ deadrise at the transom with moderately flared bows to present an entry point that delivers a comfortable, even ride.

Words like ‘sensible’ and ‘balanced’ spring to mind to describe hull performance, both on the move and at rest while fishing. If there’s nothing fantastic or revolutionary about their at-rest stability or bumpy water performance, neither have I tested a class competitor that shows these Streakers as lacking. Though I have tested a few which aren’t in the same ballpark.

Similar comment applies to these boats’ detail. As fishing boats with an occasional task as family fun machines, there’s a great deal to be said for the cuddy cabin configuration. Cuddies don’t get any better than these. The walk-through screen and foredeck are beautifully done when open, you can be up in the bows in seconds. And the divided bow rail, rope locker, bowsprit and fairlead work together to make handling ground tackle a snap.

Inside, the cuddy is basically a dry stowage area. You don’t expect cuddies to have heaps of headroom if that’s what you want, you should buy a half cabin. I also noted a small shelf along each side where life jackets were conveniently stowed in the test boats. Moulded liners are used throughout the boat to keep everything neat and a moulded icebox lives below deck, between the helm and passenger seats.

Each seat has a footrest, and you can run the boat as comfortably seated as standing at the wheel. The targa bar and bimini are set high enough to allow this. There’s a moulded recess for fire extinguisher or EPIRB beside each seat, and the dash has enough space to flush mount a fair-sized sounder. There’s a (lockable) glove box and a flat section in the dash below the steering wheel with room for two radios or a radio and a sound system.

Each aft corner has its own lidded bait well and a rod holder. Even in the smaller boat, the cockpit sides are nice and high and your toes slot in under the side pockets for security when fishing in rough conditions as they should!
My overall impression of the Streaker Cuddy Walk-Thrus was positive, though there are some aspects that could be improved. The decks were plain flow coat, which can be very slippery when a little water and/or fish slime is added. Carpeted decks are optional in these boats and although ground-in bait and slime take a thorough hosing to remove, at least carpet is reliably non-slip.

My other concern is for people using the windscreen frames as grab bars on a rough day, or for bar crossings. A reinforcing rail around the windscreen frame will ensure it’ll withstand the loadings involved if you accidentally bury the bow into a large wave. 

Both boats come in great package deals: quality trailer, sounder, radio, interior and nav lights, bait board, fuel filter, bimini, rocket launcher, safety gear and rego are all part of the package, leaving only insurance.
Despite nitpicking a couple of details at the end of this test, these are as fine a pair of fishing boats as I’ve ever tested.