by Shane Mensforth

There are five models in Haines Hunter’s Offshore range, each of which is designed to carry big horsepower and travel quickly to blue water fishing grounds. These boats are very angler-orientated and, as such, come with plenty of handy inclusions in the standard package.
To my way of thinking at least, the 625 is undoubtedly the most versatile rig in this range. It would be at home on the bay chasing snapper, out wider trolling for tuna, or prospecting around the offshore reefs and islands. It’s a big boat, but one that’s still manageable for the solo angler if required.
The test boat, set up by Sports Marine in Adelaide, was presented with a few bits and pieces, including a bimini, from Haines Hunter’s optional extras and appealed immediately as a serious blue water sport fishing rig. Maximum power had been fitted, which makes good sense, given the boat’s intended applications.

WHAT YOU GET
Like all Haines Hunter boats I’ve tested, the 625 Offshore is built with precision and extreme attention to detail. The test model looked quite striking, with white topsides and deck contrasting against a black hull with red, white and grey graphics. Underfloor foam flotation is standard, which is naturally desirable in a long-range trailer boat, and so is an automatic bilge pump.
Haines Hunter 625 Offshore 14
Haines Hunter 625 Offshore 7A quick look around inside reveals plenty to keep the serious offshore angler happy. There are dual live bait tanks in the transom (not plumbed in the base package), deck wash system, stainless steel rod rack, deluxe bait board, glued-in cockpit carpet and a terrific removable side door for dragging in those trophy fish. There is no doubt this would be handy for landing those massive bluefin tuna that have dominated the southern states game fishing scene for the past few months.
Internal layout provides a decent fishing cockpit, a reasonably comfortable cabin, and an extremely efficient helm station for long runs offshore. There’s plenty of storage, with broad cockpit shelves, a deep compartment set between the helm and passenger seats, and a heap of dry storage up in the cabin beneath the V-berths. Cabin headroom has been increased for extra comfort, and it’s possible to order bunk in-fills to facilitate an over night stay if required.
Seating is quite comfortable for both helmsman and passenger, with upholstered swivelling buckets mounted on sizeable storage lockers. Directly beneath the helm seat there are five plastic utility trays that will handle plenty of fishing terminal tackle, lures and similar angling accessories. These trays are removable, enabling quick changes for different fishing situations.Haines Hunter 625 Offshore 9
Hydraulic steering comes factory fitted in the standard package, which is naturally essential when you’re talking big horsepower and heavy engines. Deck hardware is first class, with six recessed cleats, four stainless steel rod holders, well positioned bow and grab rails, and an integrated bowsprit that will handle most long-shaft anchors. There’s ample room in the rope locker to fit a drum-style anchor winch, which can be factory fitted if required.
Haines Hunter offers seven optional colour/graphics packages for this boat, as well as four upholstery combinations. You can also opt for clip-in carpet rather than the standard material for a few extra dollars. In fact, the optional extras list is about as extensive as you’d ever want, and even includes a Waeco CF40 fridge/freezer for those who enjoy a cold drink while they are wetting a line.

POWER
Haines Hunter recommends outboards of between 150-230hp for the 625 Offshore hull, and there’s no doubt it needs plenty of grunt to perform well in the sort of conditions often encountered by long-range anglers. Sports Marine had gone straight for the max and installed a 225hp Mercury Verado, which turned out to be an excellent choice.
Verado has been a real winner for Mercury since its introduction a few years back. The 225 is an in-line six cylinder engine with a displacement of 2.6 litres. It’s supercharged and equipped with electronic fuel injection, making it one of the most powerful engines in its class.
Haines Hunter 625 Offshore 2
Haines Hunter 625 Offshore 4At around 290kg it’s certainly no lightweight, coming in just above the V6 offerings from both Yamaha and Honda.
At 3500rpm we achieved a very comfortable 28 knots (52km/h)– and this is where you’d want to drive the rig to attain optimum fuel economy. Bumping the revs up to 4000, our speed climbed to 33 knots (61km/h), and pushing the hammer right down to a maximum 5250rpm brought us quickly to a top speed of 46 knots (85km/h). That wide open throttle figure seems to indicate that a slightly smaller propeller would suit the boat better, as Mercury quotes 5800-6400rpm as top revs for the Verado 225.
It’s also possible to order the 625 Offshore with a transom built to take dual outboards, and this is one option well worth considering if you venture wide of the coast on a regular basis. There’s nothing like the security offered by twins, and I can see the 625 working nicely with a pair of 115s on the back. It can certainly handle the weight.

ON THE WATER
I had been hoping for a bit of wind and chop for our scheduled test run in the big Haines, but this wasn’t to be. There was barely a zephyr from the north-east as the rig slid off its trailer at Adelaide’s North Haven Marina, and we were soon blasting out onto St Vincent’s Gulf and running to the west.
As anticipated, the Verado 225 provides plenty of power, pushing the hull onto the plane in the blink of an eye. I really like the electronic gear shift and throttle control, which takes a bit of getting used to at first, but will definitely make life easier in the long term.
Like all of the larger Haines Hunter boats I’ve driven over the years, the 625 Offshore handles superbly at speed. In the near calm conditions I was able to push quite hard, dropping back to around 30 knots while negotiating tight turns and then accelerating quickly back toward 40.
The hull loves plenty of out-trim at speed in a straight line and really was quite exhilarating to drive on a day like this.
Haines Hunter 625 Offshore 15
Haines Hunter 625 Offshore 13Without any chop at all to contend with, I can only assume that the 625 rides as well on a bumpy day as its bigger sister, the 675 Offshore. Both are built on the time-proven 21 degree Performance Deadrise Vee (PDV) hull, which softens the ride noticeably while running at all angles to the sea.
Stability at rest is pretty good, assisted by 2.4m of beam and plenty of hull weight. We drifted across the Outer Harbour shipping channel, then dropped the pick on the adjacent silt grounds, and in both instances it was easy to move around the boat in typical offshore fishing mode. This really is a great hull, and one that is ideally suited to blue water fishing.

ON THE TRAILER
In my opinion, Easy Tow makes the best big boat trailers in the country, and I found it a snack to drive the Haines on and off at the local ramp. The dual axle model supplied is strongly built and tailored perfectly for this rig.
Haines Hunter 625 Offshore 3
Haines Hunter 625 Offshore 5You’ll need a decent tow vehicle to pull the 625 on the highway, with a mid to large four-wheel drive the preferred option. The tide was well down at the conclusion of our test run, exposing a section of slippery, algae-covered concrete that can bring conventional vehicles unstuck, and we used low range 4WD to retrieve the boat without incident.

OVERVIEW
I was confident before stepping aboard the 625 Offshore that I would be impressed, and that’s precisely how I felt when we had the rig back on its trailer. Haines Hunter has obviously listened to customer feedback, particularly regarding the list of standard inclusions, to present a complete blue water fishing package. Wherever you look around you while on the water, there’s something that is sure to make your fishing day more enjoyable.
I’m keen to get back into this outfit on a rough day, and I have no doubt that impressive trend would continue.Haines Hunter 625 Offshore 11

POSITIVES
Terrific level of fit-out, even in base form
Typical Haines Hunter build and finish quality
Big fuel tank for long-range fishing

NEGATIVES
Live bait tanks should be plumbed as standard

NUMBERS THAT MATTER
Haines Hunter 625 Offshore 10
Price: (as tested) $109,950
(from) $102,950 with 200hp four-stroke
Construction: GRPOverall length: 6.40m
Beam: 2.40m
Deadrise: 21 degrees
Dry weight: 1150kg
Fuel capacity: 280 litres
HP range: 150-230
Engine fitted: 225hp Mercury Verado four-stroke