Trophy's big walkaround hardtop suits all-weather fishermen and overnight adventurers.
Trophy 2359 Walkaround Hardtop Review
Trophy's big walkaround hardtop suits all-weather fishermen and overnight adventurers
Large, diesel-powered trailer boats—especially those that offer a handy combination of great offshore performance and angler comfort—are proving a popular alternative to traditional, larger sportfishing rigs. There will never be a substitute, of course, for the flybridge cruiser when tackling heavyweight fish 100km from the marina. However, a fast, capable 24-footer is well worth considering if you don't have the budget for a boat that can cost more than the average house.
I first noticed the Trophy 2359 Walkaround at the Adelaide Boat Show and was taken immediately with its bold lines and its rather unique layout. It's a boat that fits nicely into the category mentioned above. The 2359 bristles with the sort of features, standard of workmanship and attention to detail that have made Trophy a big name in boating worldwide. Unlike some of the US-built craft we see here in Oz, the 2359 would fit readily into a heap of local fishing situations, and sales figures across the country to date would certainly support this.
It's a big rig that needs a four-wheel-drive tow vehicle. A Ford F250 or V8 Land Cruiser are perfect for the job. The 2359 hull is available in several configurations and the one I chose to test was the full-length cabin version. This may not appeal to all fishos, but for those who enjoy extended cruising and on-water overnighting, it's close to ideal. There's a shorter cabin option that offers more workspace out back and this would better suit the hard-core offshore sportfisher.
Standard angling features in the 2359 Walkaround include twin sub-deck fish bins, plumbed live-bait tank, quality rod holders and gaff rack. Although at first glance the live-bait tank resembles a toilet (!), it's essentially very cleverly designed. It has sufficient capacity and water recirculation volume to keep a couple of dozen yakkas happy for days if necessary. Stainless steel fittings throughout, and particularly in the cockpit, are about as good as they get.
The extended cabin is nicely equipped for a weekend away. It has a small sink with pressurised water, single-burner stove, fridge and table for two people. This table converts into a full-length bed if so desired and there is plenty of storage space beneath the cabin seats for sleeping bags, pillows and spare clothing. The cabin is lockable and also very well sealed to eliminate engine exhaust fumes while travelling. The hard top is equipped with sturdy grab rails for security while moving through the walk-around areas and there's enough room up top to carry an inflatable if so desired.
The Trophy's helm station is nicely laid out, with very comfortable seating and great all-round vision. In fact, I can't think of another boat in this class that offers 360° vision from within the confines of an enclosed cabin. It's surprisingly quiet with all windows closed, but can get stuffy due to the amount of glass around you and I found it more pleasant to travel with one of the sliding panels at least half open. Up forward, there's a very comfortable berth with double bed, chemical toilet and more storage. A couple or small family could spend as much time on board as desired, making the Trophy a very appealing option for those who have things other than fishing to consider.
Out on the Southern Ocean, however, the big Trophy showed it's certainly capable of travelling far and wide if necessary. There is no doubt it would be capable of running to the Shelf if necessary or island-hopping through the Whitsundays on a tropical fishing adventure. It is powered by a 2.8l Cummins diesel with a Mercruiser Bravo Three X drive, which packs reasonable punch and delivers great fuel economy. Top speed is around 38 knots and the boat cruises effortlessly and economically at 26.
We had light conditions for the test run off Victor Harbor, south of Adelaide, with less than 10 knots of southeasterly breeze and about a metre of swell. This can be a challenging piece of water at times, but on this occasion I was able to push the boat as hard as I liked and it was certainly exhilarating to drive. Acceleration from rest with the Cummins diesel wasn't exactly breath-taking, but it gets the substantial Trophy hull up and planing in acceptable time. For those more concerned with speed than economy, there are other power alternatives, both diesel and petrol.
It's a very responsive boat to drive, particularly with trim tabs fitted, and it took me a few minutes to familiarise myself with the tabs and their optimum setting for the prevailing sea conditions. Trim tabs scare some operators, but as far as I'm concerned, they are a great addition to most offshore hulls and certainly enhance performance if used thoughtfully.
If you're in the market for a nicely appointed rig in this size bracket, Trophy's 2359WA is well worth looking at. It retails, as tested, for around $130,000. Pelican Marine at Goolwa, South Australia, provided the test boat.
WORDS & PHOTOS: SHANE MENSFORTH