Fishing in Godzone’s editor, Matt Hewetson commissioned a new boat to assist with generating content for the magazine and digital club. Aptly named ‘Godzone’ the vessel is designed for inshore lure fishing.
The last time I went out in an Oceanpro centre console was back in spring of 2020 and Pauanui based builder Mike Bush had just finished his very first model. I can recall the little 440 (4.4m) vessel impressed me for its sea worthiness and fishability. That day we ventured over the Tairua bar and out to Slipper Island to stalk the shallows softbaiting for snapper. What appeals to me about centre consoles is how you can cast lures from all around the boat, with no hard top in the way and is a key feature for myself when looking at a boat. That day on the water Mike also got to see how an avid soft bait lure angler uses the small boat and space to get the lure presentation to fish well away from the vessel. I also gave him feedback on what I would like to see on the boat with a forward casting deck ideal and placement for a Minn Kota to complement the centre console and tailor it even more for lure fishing. A couple of years later I kept in touch with Mike as his boats gained popularity and he designed more models and sizes which were sold directly and through Family Boats in Auckland. I decided to get one of his centre consoles built for the magazine as with so many people becoming time poor, I needed a boat under 5m to easily launch on my own and get out on the water.
Mike and I looked at what was needed and welcomed the partners Mercury, Lowrance, U-DEK, and Minn Kota who would become greatly supportive of the new build to aid in getting the vessel on the water. From this the new 460 EVO was hatched as the ultimate version of the Oceanpro 460. The hull and deck has been increased to 4mm for extra durability and a quieter ride, while also allowing for additional speed and range provided by the Mercury 60hp four-stroke. With the added raised casting deck in the bow to increase the boat’s fishing area and provide storage below. The extra room up front allows anglers to cast safely ahead of the boat’s drift with good leg rails for comfort and an impressive Lowrance HDS 12” sounder. When fishing from the casting platform, the angler can use the sounder to hunt down fish and see what structure is approaching using Side Scanning or ActiveTarget Live Sonar fishing. This exciting Lowrance feature will be discussed in future issues of the magazine. Mike also added a recessed Minn Kota bracket on the bow, with cutaway rails to create a low profile trolling motor installation. This electric trolling motor is a key product employed by the Godzone team when shallow water softbaiting, it can also be used in deeper water to spot lock over sign on the bottom or when fishing a workup and dropping lures. The 460 EVO also comes standard with dual layer U-DEK for practical flooring and a live bait tank to complete the ultimate Oceanpro fishing machine. U-DEK were very helpful when designing the look and utilising the logos of each partner in the deck flooring with fish measures on the sides. The product is a must have for open boats with increased decking that is exposed to the elements.
The centre console is suited for an outboard from 40-60hp and I decided to go with a 60hp engine to provide better range and power at hand if fishing with three people. Mike advised he had yet to run a 60hp on one of the boats as most were fitted with 40hp or 50hp engines. Selecting the Mercury 60hp EFI meant we could also utilise their impressive data to vessel system information, Mercury VesselView. This feature allows you to display your engine information and sounder, including rpm, speed, fuel flow and efficiency, temperature, and trim. VesselView helps keep track of everything and fully integrate your existing multi-function display with your Mercury propulsion system using VesselView. This means it is also compatible with the Lowrance displays, with all the VesselView information and control capability on the touch screen of the sounder. A key feature I loved using is the Vessel Control Trolling feature to slow troll live baits or lures and we used this feature to land a kingfish on a kahawai on the very first fishing trip out in the new boat. Testing the boat on the water after running in the Mercury outboard and we had it up to just over 30 knots! Pretty impressive for a small craft under 5m and with two adults on board. Cruising at around 23 knots in calm conditions and only using just over 13 litres/hour. The 60hp outboard has the power when needed and outstanding fuel efficiency with our trips out testing and fishing using only 8-12 litres with the motor used a lot for trolling, started often when drift fishing and covering the coastline lure fishing. The updated centre console and technology onboard is going to significantly help the magazine to create content when boating and fishing around Godzone, and we look forward to hitting the water in 2023.
- Model Oceanpro 460 Evo Centre Console
- Price As Tested NZ $73,000 incl Lowrance electronics and Minnkota
- Type Centre Console
- Length Overall 4.6m
- Beam 1.83m
- Hull Bottom 4mm (5083)
- Height On Trailer 2.1m
- Trailerable Weight 750kg
- Deadrise/Transom 16 Degree at Transom
- Person Capacity 4 Persons
- Fuel Capacity 25l Tote Tanks
- Power Option Outboard 40-60hp
- Manufacturer Ocean Pro Boats