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Haines Hunter 490 Pro Strike Review
10th May 2011

The Pro Strike is a purpose-built fishing machine designed for serious lure fisherman.

Striking Gold

When you're fishing in a Haines Hunter, getting there is half the fun.

I found myself hooting with pleasure as the Haines Hunter carved through the glass of lake Windamere. We snaked through the old trees that have crept along the dam edge since the drought. I was excited about dropping a line from the 2006 AMIF Fishing Boat of the Year, especially if fishing from it was as fun as driving it. 

I was lucky enough to be invited to fish with Team Evinrude on their latest toy, a Haines Pro Strike powered by a 150hp H0 Evinrude E-Tec outboard. The Evinrude Team have a lot of experience with bass boats and after fishing several bream competitions in estuaries such as Brisbane Waters and the Hawkesbury that are open to the sea, they decided that the Haines Pro Strike provided a bass boat built in Australia for Australian conditions. 

The Hunt for gold

We were fishing in the annual Lake Windamere Golden Classic, which is organised by the Sportsfish Tournament Circuit. Lake Windamere is a well known NSW native species fishery, situated between Lithgow and Mudgee and has been hosting the Golden Classic for 14 years, each year it fields up to 60 boats with three anglers per boat, that's a lot of lures! 

The competition only allows lure fishing (either spinning or trolling). Golden perch are the dominant species but there are good numbers of silver perch, freshwater catfish and Murray cod, all of which count toward your point score in the competition and can be caught on lures. The 'goldens' in this dam are well known for their size, this coupled with the chance of hooking a large cod made the fishing almost as exciting as driving the boat. 

This year saw a marked difference in the competition with a large number of bass boats from 16-20ft (capable of reaching speeds of up to 70mph). With the lake down at only 27 per cent skippers had to be extra cautious. The fact that the lake is low however, made for some fast-paced fishing ? fish numbers are the same but there are a lot less places for them to hide! 

Unlike some freshwater fish, natives tend to cope with drought conditions and smack the lures en masse. During the weekend we all managed to catch several good fish.

Haines PRO STRIKE 

The Haines Pro Strike has become yet another feather in the cap for Haines Hunter after winning the 2006 AMIF Fishing Boat of the Year and it's nothing short of what fisherman have come to expect from Haines Hunter. The Pro Strike is a purpose-built fishing machine designed for serious lure fisherman. 

Its deck is one giant casting platform, making it easy for three grown men to fish from. Under the floor there are ample storage compartments, rod lockers that are 2.4m in length and of course a large live well. 

The hull length is classed as a 4.9m, 5.2m overall and is a beamy 2.25m at its maximum width giving it great stability at rest. But this hull is also built for performance and speed in rough enclosed waters. 

It manages just that, with reverse chines and the Haines Hunter patented performance deadrise V, the result in 
an extremely fast and dry ride with a 150hp rating. 

Team Evinrude

Team Evinrude put in everything a serious angler dreams about, two Lowrance sounders, an LC 332C mounted up front for when you're using the 12V electric engine and an LX 25C sounder/GPS unit for the dash, which is integrated with a 150hp H0 E-Tec. The dash is astounding with a plethora of I-Command digital gauges, the NMEA 2000 Can-Bus layout (in short the integration of sounder and motor), means the digital gauges can give you almost any information on the boat and or motors performance: engine temperature, battery volts, fuel consumption at all speeds, it can even tell you when you don't have enough fuel to get home although you soon work that one out!

With all these electronics there are of course dual batteries, one cranking and one deep cycle. The well-designed E-Tec has a 50amp alternator with a split amp option, which allows a 25amp charge to go to each battery.

Power

Team Evinrude are understandably proud of their E-Tec range. I can now know why after travelling at close to 100km per hour with my head two feet from their 150hp HO and having a conversion without the need to scream. 
I was curious though about the difference between the 150hp HO and 150hp so for all you marine rev heads, here it is. 

The HO series have what is known as a lightning gear case, specifically designed for bass and racing boats. The HO allows you to tilt the motor 5-7in above the bottom of the boat due to its low water pick up.

Believe me, in these boats engine trim makes a massive difference in top speed. Additionally, the skeg on the gear case is chamfered in order to counteract the right-hand rotation of the propeller at speed allowing for easy and accurate steering. 

For someone who is serious about fishing and is a bit of an adrenaline junky, they couldn't ask for much more. If you're hoping to join in the ever growing fishing tournament circuit, a Haines Pro Strike will be right up there for boats to consider, and if you ever get the chance to drive one, don't turn it down. It's just too much fun! 

WORDS : DAN BURGESS

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