by Dom Wiseman

Stabicraft 2050 Frontier

What boat do you choose if you are a tackle manufacturer with a lodge in Northern Queensland? Well, if you’re the owner of Zeikel Lodge you choose a Stabicraft. But not just any Stabicraft, you’d go for something that allows excellent fishing all around the boat, the ability to fish in semi enclosed water and something big enough to head offshore to chase pelagics on the reef. Enter the Stabicraft 2050 Frontier. As the name suggests Frontier fishing is what you’ll be doing.

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Stabicraft may not be the prettiest boat on the market but despite the tank like appearance, they are a much sought after platform. They are an aluminium build with a look that resembles a RIB and the Frontier with its rear mounted console is the perfect fishing platform.

 

 WHAT’S ONBOARD

Stabicraft_Raymarine-2The 2050 is a deep boat. It’s the first thing I noticed when I stepped aboard recently. The floor is set low in comparison to the gunwale height and immediately offers a safe environment with almost no chance of toppling overboard. This makes it an excellent platform for offshore fishing with the high sides keeping you safe and the gunwale an excellent height to lean against coming up to my mid thigh in the deepest part of the boat.

The design of the boat is a typical centre console except the console is mounted in the rear third of the floor plan. This does reduce some space behind the console seat at the rear of the boat, but opens up an enormous amount of space up the front. Realistically there is enough space behind the console to move around for one or two maximum, but more than two people back here could be an issue on a hot bite. From the console though, visibility is excellent .

This boat also has positive buoyancy which if you haven’t ever thought about such things is a massive plus on the safety side of the equation. If you happen to get swamped by a wave or wash, the boat will still float allowing stranded passengers precious time to grab safety gear and to stay with the boat until help arrives.

The console on the 2050 we tested is relatively small in the scheme of the overall platform yet has enough space for two multi function display units, one dash mounted and the other on a bracket above. There’s not much room for anything else. The steering wheel is mounted flat on the front surface and in the case of this boat I felt the throttle was too close to the steering wheel. It’s also very stiff so smooth controlled acceleration isn’t really possible. A fly by wire throttle control would deliver a nicer feel. Below are two shelves which will handle most of your small belongings, but if you want to be assured of keeping things in working order, bring a dry bag just in case. For rough conditions or standing passengers either side of the console, there is a sturdy grab bar over the top of the console.

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The owner has added a small Bluetooth Fusion module in the recess behind the display units with a small controller mounted on the bottom left of the dash itself. He has also run the engine data to the unit via a NMEA cable so there are no gauges anywhere. In fact there’s no room for them. All readouts are run through the Raymarine Axiom units.

I do love the width on the gunwales on these boats. It provides multiple advantages including a great and comfortable place to sit while fishing but more importantly, the width allows for a wide and spacious shelf along each side that fits a lot more than a conventional shelf. The topsides of the gunwales are also covered in grip, making them a safe place to stand while entering the boat from a wharf of pontoon. As you would expect on a fishing boat, there are rod holders (not as many as I would like), cup holders, rails and finally welded cleats positioned at crucial points along the sides.  There is also a large bait tank in the back port corner with a viewing window in the front. A single battery in this case in mounted on a shelf under the transom, although with all the electronics these days I’d consider two. While the floor is set low in the hull, the boat comes with a 200L fuel tank.

Up the front under the casting deck are two cavernous storage locations. These can be used to fit tackle boxes, safety gear or a combination of the two. The owner has also covered the traditional checker plate on the platform and floor with EVA foam grip which is extremely comfortable under foot. I would add this myself if I was to use this style of boat anywhere where the sun can heat the floor up enough for you to fry an egg on it.

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POWER

IMG_3943The boat is powered by a 2015 150 Honda engine previously on another boat before being swapped over so it has well and truly been run in. It is 25hp below the maximum rating for this hull but after running around for the day, I get the feeling that 150horses is more than enough on this hull. It gets the boat up on the plane quickly and has more than enough top end to keep most owners happy. It’s also a four stroke power plant so is insanely quiet and has that iconic Honda sound about mid range that sounds like it could go on forever and never miss a beat.

 

ON THE WATER

The Stabicraft 2050 is a nice solid feeling boat underway. The driving position provides a good view ahead and the steering wheel is positioned well whether standing or sitting. As mentioned previously the throttle is located too close to the wheel, but a smaller throttle than the one supplied with the current Honda 150hp fitted would solve that issue.

I found the hull design very dry considering it is a centre console which can traditionally be quite wet. We crossed Pittwater during a solid enough knot Nor’ Easter running perpendicular to the wind and chop and didn’t get bucked around at all. We also only got a few sprays where water pushed out to the left came back into the boat. The hull has a fine entry and keeps water well down courtesy of the solid chine that starts at the bow and runs down to where the hull flattens out at the stern.

 

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The space onboard for fishing means up to three people can move about with relative ease. There is so much space onboard for people and with the front casting platform, immediately ahead of the console or the transom all free and uncluttered. There are two pedestal seats located immediately ahead of the console on either side of the boat. The stability at rest is also exceptional with three on one side hardly tipping the boat at all.

TOWING

We couldn’t get an exact weight on the entire package of custom trailer and boat, but we towed it with a 3500kg capacity dual cab ute. I’d estimate the entire package weighs under 2,000kg.

OVERVIEW

Make no mistake, this is a serious and tank-like fishing platform. Anyone looking for something easy to tow but with size should consider the Stabicraft 2050 Frontier. It has space aplenty and handles like a fibreglass boat making it the ideal inshore/offshore option. It’s big too and space is a precious commodity when all your mates want to step aboard.

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Versatile

Ride

Single helm seat

Throttle placement

 SPECIFICATIONS

Price: starting from $80,000 as tested

Construction: Aluminum

Length Overall: 6.25m

Internal Beam: 1.65m

Draft: N/A

Max hp: 175hp

Capacity: 7 people

Deadrise: 17 degrees

Engines: Honda BF150 Four Stroke

Fuel Capacity: 200L