On the test day this boat ate up the small chop on the bottom end of Bribie Island.

Sea-Rod 520 side console review

BIG, beamy and Aussie built were a few things that first came to mind when I saw the Sea-Rod 520, made by Formosa Marine sitting on the trailer.
Even though the 520 Offshore Side Console is actually the baby of the pack, it is by no means a small boat.
With an overall length of 5.35m and a massive 2.4m beam, you have the basis of a boat well suited to a number of different fishing situations obviously including offshore.

I’ve always been a fan of side console boats as I believe it gives you additional fishing area and Sea-Rod 520 is typical of this with its massive amount of deck space.
The clean, uncluttered layout provides more than enough room to freely move about.
At the bow a slightly raised casting platform partially segments the boat into two main fishing sections. And while the casting platform is a reasonable distance from the gunwales, it still gives a good vantage point for casting or retrieving the anchor.
In fact the depth of the sides provides an added feeling of security, which would be favourable in more open waters where this boat would come into its own.
Alternatively, you could easily lean against the gunwales of the main section if fishing offshore, knowing there is increased stability with Sea-Rod’s unique four chamber ballast system.

Stability is important, but particularly so when you are able to virtually walk anywhere around the boat, which is the case with this model.
The four chamber ballast is basically sections built into the hull that fill with water while the boat is at rest, giving extra weight in the centre where needed.
This extra central weight down low keeps the boat level while at rest and allows you to move around more freely and steadily.
Water then escapes from the open chambers as you take off and jump on the plane, providing an efficient and smooth ride.

Other features I also like are the self-draining deck, which gets the water away quickly if it does happen to come over the side or stern and makes cleaning easier.
There are a variety of seating positions as well, so it can double as a family and a fishing boat.
The size of the side console is adequate with enough room to fit your choice of electronics, yet not encroaching on fishing room.
It is situated well towards the stern, but you still have very good vision over the high-swept bow.

Since you are seated a long way back and the bow is so high, I was initially concerned about visibility but this was not a problem, even when launching on to the plane.
The test boat was fitted with a 90hp Yamaha 2-stroke that was more than adequate for the boat (I tested it with both one and two people on board), however there is still a little room to manoeuvre if you want to option up to a larger engine, with maximum horsepower rating set at 115.
How you intend to use this big fishing platform will ultimately determine what you put on the back.

The reverse chine deflects plenty of water away.
The reverse chine deflects plenty of water away.
This is a big beamy boat built for fishing.
This is a big beamy boat built for fishing.
The console area is a good size. Enough room for gadgets but doesn’t impact on fishing space.
The console area is a good size. Enough room for gadgets but doesn’t impact on fishing space.
From this angle you can see the four chamber ballast system. Simple but effective.
From this angle you can see the four chamber ballast system. Simple but effective.
Front cast platform with a seat position.
Front cast platform with a seat position.
As mentioned, this is the smallest of the Offshore Side Console models, with others between 5.7m and 6.75m overall length.
So if you are after a big boat with good performance and heaps of fishing room, it would be worthwhile checking out the Sea-Rod range.
Another positive is they are Australian built for our harsh conditions.

I was very impressed with the quality of work and in particular the welds.
The wide gunwales are fully welded, which ensures paintwork shouldn’t be affected by the elements, keeping your boat looking newer for longer.

A lot of thought has also been given to providing some storage in what is an open plan layout.
There is a large side pocket on the starboard side and in the rear compartment that houses the battery.
This rear compartment has also been lifted which is a good move.

However, I would prefer to see the battery mounted on the opposite side to the driving position, but this isn’t a major thing.
While not included on the test boat, there is room to have a live well fitted at the stern.
A solid bait board caters for four rods and an additional five rod holders are laid out around the boat.
Underneath the front casting platform you will find a bit more storage or you could easily fit an extra battery to run a bow mount electric motor (which is what I would do).

Overall the Sea-Rod 5.20 Offshore Side Console is a good package that is easy to drive, great to fish out of and relatively simple to launch and retrieve.
All in all it is well suited for someone who is serious about a variety of fishing situations.

For more information on this and other Sea-Rod boats, contact Brisbane Yamaha on 07 3888 1727 or Coastal Powerboats on 07 5568 0904.
The test boat supplied by Brisbane Yamaha and as tested with a Dunbier wide-body drop axle trailer is priced around $34,490.

About Ben Collins

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