Following the success of the Bluefin 620 Centre Console, Bluefin has now added the 525 Centre Console, to their range.
Essentially a smaller version of the 620, the 525 Centre Console is still a big open fishing platform that is built on a well-proven formula used by the builders now for several years. Barry Thompson went to Tauranga to check out the first of the new model.
Bluefin Boats are built by Sportcraft Boats, from their factory in Mt Maunganui and sold through both the Mt Maunganui and Morrinsville Sportcraft Marine shops. They offer an extensive range of models, from open runabouts to large hardtops, which include four standard models in the centre console range. However, being an aluminium boat, every hull, no matter what size is available with a centre console.
He added that while the 525 centre Console is shorter than the 620 Centre Console (5.25m v 6.20m), the 2.30m beam remains the same. It has a significant volume boat for its size and offers a massive fishing space from the bow to the transom. The overall package price also comes down by about $5000 for the smaller model.
The 5mm bottom, supported by a solid stringer and grid system under the cheque plate sole, certainly helps to give the boat a robust and solid feel. I ran the boat in a 15-18 knot gusting Tauranga Harbour, and I found I could drive it at around 20-25 knots without any unpleasant bumps or hull noises. The boat certainly feels stiff, and there was no movement anywhere from the vast open cockpit. Apart from the centre console, and a small forward bow step, there are no other fixed structures.
Now with bow steering as standard, it is a straightforward boat to drive, especially with the 60hp. You do have the option of going bigger horsepower with 75hp, 80hp and even 90hp outboards available, but if you are going to use the boat for sheltered inshore fishing, I reckon the 60 CT is enough. I was generally surprised at the excellent performance of the 60hp CT on the 525 Centre Console.
Power options are outboard only with our rig running a Mercury 60hp 4S with Command Thrust. While we didn’t have a speedo or any fuel data gauges, I did see 28 knots (32.2 mph) on the GPS on my phone. I would estimate that at WOT, the 60hp would burn upwards of a 20-litre tote tank an hour, but bring that rpm back to around 4500 rpm and the fuel usage would drop to about 13 lph @ 24 knots.
The overall layout of the Bluefin 525 Cuddy Cabin is simple yet practical with places dedicated for all your fishing gear. The centrepiece is the console which while reasonably wide still provides easy access to and from the bow. Jamie points out that customised consoles are available and as the console is only bolted to the sole, you can also change its position.
Rod storage is in wide side trays and rod racks for the longer rods, but if you add a hard or soft bimini, there is also the addition of a rocket launcher. Four gunnel rod holders come with the boat. How you configure the transom is your choice.
At the other end, there is a small step to assist you when anchoring and an open anchor well. There is space for a small drum winch, or if you prefer, there is room on the foredeck for a capstan. Grab rails around the bow are standard. Seating is a large fishbin with a squab, but if you need more seating than you can add a bench seat aft, or bucket seats forward.
The hull is the same as the 525 Cuddy that we featured a few years ago, but it has taken until now to see a centre console version. The Bluefin 525 Centre Console is a very practical, easy to use boat with a simple layout, that is an easy clean after a good day’s fishing.
FOR A FULL REVIEW ON THE BLUEFIN 525 CENTRE CONSOLE SEB THE MAY-JUNE ISSUE OF PACIFIC POWERBOAT/ALLOY BOAT, DUE FOR RELEASE APR 24TH.