Barry Thompson checks out the Extreme 745 Game King, one of Extreme Boats most enduring models and finds a boat that has matured with age.
When it comes to building aluminium trailer boats, Kiwi boat builders are amongst the best in the world, and one of the leading brands is Extreme Boats. Manufactured out of their ever-expanding operation in Whakatane, Bay of Plenty, Extreme Boats are New Zealand’s most awarded aluminium boat manufacturer with over 20 models ranging from 5.5m to 11.85m. While local sales absorb most of the annual production, the export market is continuing to evolve, and with the recent appointment of a European dealership, Extreme Boats are taking that to a whole new level.
This award-winning manufacturer has received high acclaim in New Zealand, including four major awards this year at the Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show. These include winning the best new model, specialist fishing boat up to 7m, specialist fishing boat up to 8m, and also winning the overall boat of the show.
The concept behind the eight model Game King series is the ultimate small boat game fishing experience for those wanting to hit the deep sea and bring home a trophy fish or two. Along with the versatile 605 Game King, right through to the monster 1185 Game King for the serious operator, the 745 Game King is designed as an all-rounder, catering for your serious fishing desires while still being a practical and a well-appointed family boat.
EXTENDING THE RANGE
Our test venue off Whakatane saw a light, moderate sea state with 15 knots of breeze and a low swell. While the 745 was comfortable enough at full speed (41.5 knots), it was a pleasure to drive at 4000rpm @ 23 knots. Plus, there was a considerable difference in the fuel consumption from the single Honda 225. An important aspect to consider if you are using the boat for game fishing is the range, so top-end speeds are not as important as how far you can go at a slow cruise. In the case of the 745 Game King/Honda 225 package we recorded a range of around 300nm at 1500 rpm based on tankage of 300 litres.
If you are going to drive for extended periods, then seat comfort is also essential. The 745 Game King scored well, with a fully adjustable helm seat that offers seated, bolster or full standing driving positions, so you can get yourself set up the way you want for the sea conditions. I liked the bolster style, and when I did go back to the seated position, I found the helm, controls and footrest were all correctly placed. No matter what driving position you choose, the visibility is excellent all around and the seating comfortable.
Being a hardtop, it goes without saying that you have all the weather protection you want, be it from the harsh UV or a cold and wet day. You get a natural airflow with a short sliding window either side, and you could also add an overhead hatch if you want more.
The 745 Game King is based on a deep vee 21-deg hull with a 2.49m beam, with a high chine with full shoulders that provide fantastic stability. The wide flat chines taper well toward the fine-entry bow and dissipate the water flat and wide. Add to this a flooding keel and, whether at rest or full-throttle you can be confident of a very stable, soft, dry ride.
Extreme pay a lot of attention to not only the style and presentation of their boats but also to the overall construction strength. The standard hull is 5mm, with a 6mm or 8mm option, with topsides all in 4mm. All structures are fully welded, and all buoyancy and fuel tanks under the sole are pressurized.
Power options are mainly outboard and although the majority have been built for a single outboard (150-300hp), there have been a few twin rigs as well as a single diesel sterndrive version.
The cabin is reasonably conventional with a two-tier shelf layout either side and storage under the vee berths. You have the option of a portable head beneath the centre squab, plus an infill that turns the entire cabin into one extensive berth. Great for overnighting. Like the rest of the 745 Game King, the finish is exceptional, with not a hint of alloy anywhere. Fabric covers everything, and it presents a warm and appealing ambience.
You have the option of an open hardtop or a fully enclosed wheelhouse with an aft bulkhead with central door and drop-down side windows. If you do go for the wheelhouse, the internal layout can be completely reconfigured to include a dinette that converts to another berth and a small galley module behind the helm.
Stepping up into the hardtop space, there is a generous size helm to starboard with enough real estate for up to a 16″ MFD. When it comes to seating, you have a lot of options, from a couple of buckets seats to back to back king/queens. Our test boat had a pair of swivelling bucket seats on alloy bases, that included storage drawers as well as storage spaces under the curved rear seats. As our boat had a Minn Kota trolling outboard, one of the rear lockers was devoted entirely to the battery bank. Again, this is all customer-driven, and you can add things like a cooker, sink unit and a fridge/freezer into the modules. All adds up to making this a great weekender.
The cockpit is vast and provides fishing space for at least four anglers. The wide coamings are at a perfect height for stand-up fishing, and they come with a total of six-rod holders (you can add more). An overhead rocket launcher looks after more rod storage. All fittings such as rod holders and bung bases are welded in.
The cockpit sole in our boat was covered with the optional SeaDek flooring, which adds a subtle finish to the presentation of the boat, as well as being extremely hard wearing and practical.
No serious fishing boat would come without a live bait tank, and in the Extreme 745 Game King, that’s built-in under the port side transom walkthrough. This can be used as an additional storage area. Alongside in the centre is a dedicated bait station, with battery storage in starboard side lockers. There is an optional swim step platform cage which is great for extending your fishing space. There is also a tee style dive ladder, perfect for divers to use without needing to first remove fins. Steps and ladders fold away neatly when not in use.
External storage is provided in a large wet locker in the sole, with concealed hinges (no stubbed toes!) which can be used for wet storage, dive gear, spare anchors, catch – or even an oversized live bait tank if needed. There are also various side trays and extra space under the transom. The 300-litre fuel tank runs down the centre line, with all areas either side taken up for buoyancy. Buyers have the assurance of knowing that all Extreme Boats hulls are built to survey standards and are New Zealand Boat Building Standard Compliance Plate Certification (CPC) certified.
Coming with an unquestionable pedigree and attention to detail that is hard to beat, the 745 Game King is an absolute winner. While the model has been part of the Extreme range for several years, it has continually undergone subtle changes that have developed the boat into what it is today. It’s a boat that will undoubtedly suit serious fisherman, and there is enough onboard to make it a great family weekender. Unquestionably a genuine all-rounder.
- Boat Design Name: 745 Game King
- Year Launched: 2019
- Builder: Extreme Boats
- Designer: Glenn Shaw
- LOA: 7.43m
- Beam: 2.49m
- Deadrise: 21 deg
- Height on Trailer: 3.10m
- Towing Weight: 2300 kg (Approx)
- Max Speed: 41.5 knots
- Construction: 4/5mm Alloy
- Fuel Cap: 300 litres
- Engine Range: Outboard 150-300hp
- Engine: Honda 250
- Propeller: 17” 3bld SS
- Trim Tabs: Lectrotabs
- MFD: Raymarine
- VHF: ICOM
- Winch: Maxwell
- Ent System: Fusion MSRA70N
- Trolling Motor: Minn Kota
- Price of Boat: $NZ174,000.00
Performance – Honda 250