Deciding on what boat to purchase can be a daunting task. It’s very different to purchasing a car, a home, or any other major purchase. The hardest part about choosing a boat is picking one that can suit a variety of fishing applications, such as the family, your mates, your budget, your cars towing capabilities, your driveway, and of course; you want it to look cool. All these aspects need to be taken into consideration before you even take it out to test its performance on the water. I believe that the 525 Prowler is one boat that can cover more bases than your average; read on and I’ll explain why.
The Prowler comes in at an overall length of 5.30 metres. It’s weight, height and length mean that it can be towed easily with a V6 sedan or wagon so there is no need to consider upgrading the average family car for a larger 4×4. It will also easily fit in the average driveway, carport and larger garages, so storage issues are not of concern. The 525 offers exceptional cross over appeal. It’s spacious centre console lay out is perfectly suited for targeting bream and faltties in estuaries, trolling for trout in big freshwater lakes, running up and down salty rivers for barra, bottom bouncing for reef species and trolling for game species. It would also have no trouble acting as a water ski vessel. The only thing it can’t do is comfortably fish more than three people, head out wide in really rough conditions and like all centre consoles offer protection from the wind and rain.
The 525 is laid out simply and it maximizes fishing space as all centre consoles should. It allows full walk around access without the need to squeeze around the console sideways. The seat included on the Limited model is a large padded bolster seat with storage under the cushion for tackle trays and you could also fit a small esky or large tackle box under the seat it self. Rod holders are also provided in the stern side of the seat, which is great as you always have somewhere to place a rod. Two people can comfortably lean against the bolster seat while under way and also lean against it on the stern side while fishing. The seat, console, steering and throttles are all laid out with intelligent design. I’m 6’3” and was delighted that I didn’t have to bend over to steer, or work the throttle, and I could fully control the boat whether I was standing, sitting or leaning against the seat. The console and helm itself is stylish and has been designed with the fishermen in mind. There is ample room for all controls, which are in easy reach, and there is enough room to flush mount a 10” gps/sounder unit. The front of the console offers a cushioned seat that is actually comfortable to sit on. This seat folds forward to allow under console storage. Two more floor hatches sit under the console, these rae suggested as small kill tanks however constantly getting to them to place fish would become very tedious and in my opinion they are far better suited as long-term storage for things like extra ropes, first aid kits and other itmes. The 525 is fitted with four gunwale mounted rod holders for trolling with two more in the Haines Hunter bait board. The dual batteries, water separator and fuel filter are all easily accessible for maintenance and are top quality components. All wiring and cables throughout the boat are clean and well placed. The Limited edition is fitted with a cork floor, it looks great but is an expensive option that is not a necessity. Haines Hunter do a great fleck and flow coat so your boat would look great without it. All the glass work, gel coating and finishes on the fibre glassing are of excellent craftsmanship and quality with no rough or unfinished edges. The whole boat is finished immaculately in every way. The side pockets are roomy enough to fit multiple gaffs, nets, rods and anything else you want for easy access. Lastly and of great importance is ample room to tuck your feet under the side pockets and nice high sides to lean your knees against when fighting that fish on a rocking boat.
We launched in Melbournes Port Phillip Bay for the day of testing and were greeted by a ¾ metre chop. Although rougher conditions would have been desirable these conditions did offer a great insight into the hulls capabilities. The 115 Yamaha four stroke pushed the 525 on to the plane nicely and I immediately noticed how soft a ride the aggressive entry and 21 degree dead rise provided. Pushing straight into the chop at speed was a breeze and like all Haines Hunters this boat just eats through choppy water and gets softer the more speed you give her. The lack of weight in the front of all centre consoles can make handling and steering into the chop finicky but the 525 handled this better than most comparable vessels I have been in. Turning sideways into the waves at speed and performing quick circle work when I lost my hat overboard was no issue for the 525. The steering was very responsive at all speeds and porposing, cavitation, too much drag and too much bow lift were of no concern what so ever. The high sides give the boat a very safe feel and provide you with a feeling of security that is largely due to the excellent ride and hull performance while under way and at rest. The 525 rode better as it went faster and speeds in excess of 70 km/h proved her to be a dry boat. In fact, no water entered the boat at all.
Its evident upon close inspection that every aspect of this boat has been finished beautifully and well thought out and to be honest after testing it I really want one! There are no cheap plastic parts used anywhere and the boat is an excellent fishing platform for 2 people but still comfortable enough for three. The hull provides a fast, safe and soft ride and the boat is dry and quite stable for a deep-vee hull. The best part about this boat is its ability to fish in ocean, bay, estuary, river and lake waterways without any form of compromise. There are a host of options that can be added to this vessel via the Haines Hunter aftercare centre and the first I would go for would be an bow mounted electric motor. If you’re looking for a boat that has versatility, exceptional handling, a great look and is small enough to keep in the average drive way and large enough to take offshore or out on rough days with comfort, the 525 Prowler must be taken for a test run.
Overall Length 5.30m
Overall Beam 2.10m
Overall Height 1.88m
Transom Height 25”
Weight (Boat Only) 500kg (approx)
Max Transom Weight 390kg
Max Horse Power 130hp
Fuel Capacity 125Lt (approx)