Pro fisher gets a uni degree and advocates AMM as the thinking man’s tinnie
After 12 years of retrieving fishing lines and lifting spanner crab pots, second-generation professional fisherman Shaun Blaney decided it was time to switch his gear for a haul of university texts.
But his pursuit of a degree and eventual new career didn’t dampen his passion for the thrill of a good hook-up — it just removed that opportunity for the next eight or nine years.
Blaney became a Senior Advisor Workplace Relations and an Industrial Advocate at the Local Government Association of Queensland.
Somewhat frustrated about having been boatless for far too long, Blaney walked in the door, loosened the Windsor knot on his tie, plonked himself down and started thinking about what sort of boat would suit the needs of his young family and himself.
It could not have been an easy decision; too much knowledge about too many different types of boats. Brought up in a fishing family, he had been in and around boats ever since he could remember, before progressing to his own boats.
The Former Fleet
“I started out with little 10 footer tinnies, then upgraded to 12 footers and then a 16 foot aluminium centre console,”Blaney said.
“I also did a lot of professional fishing in catamarans: 18, 23 and 28 footers, as well as a 48 foot Randell.
“But most of my fishing career was out of a large plate boat, a 22 foot Pacific Custom Craft, particularly for spanner crabbing between the Gold and Sunshine coasts. I also did a lot of professional work in an 18 foot Shark Cat,” he adds.
Tinnies, large plate alloy and fibreglass vessels and plenty of catamarans… the options were varied.
“I originally was looking at 23 foot catamarans because you do get a good ride in them,” Blaney said.
“But I also was looking for more room up front for the kids (Shaun has three of them) or for a couple of adults to sleep. I also wanted to keep the whole rig under the three-tonne mark which is difficult to achieve with that size catamaran.
“Then when I looked at Australian Master Marine’s large plate alloy boats, well, there was no comparison. They’re a bigger boat overall.”
Blaney began to zero-in on an AMM Weekender 7400.
His biggest concern was getting that really good ride for the kids. They’re young and he didn’t want to put them off boating by them being knocked around.
“I know what big plate boats typically are like: they’re good, they get out there, they bobble around a bit, they have high sides, they’re a good, safe boat, but they do tend to lean into the wind and they can knock you around a bit.
“I was a bit concerned about that.”
“But then I had heard a few stories about how far AMM have come along with the deeper vee hulls it’s easy to see the difference between old plate boats and the current AMM Weekender which has a deep vee from a 20 degree deadrise.
“So I took this hull out with a couple of 175 Suzuki’s on the back with Matt (Matthew Thomas from AMM), in about 20knots of northerly on the bay.
“It was fitted with trim tabs and I was quite taken back by the ride. It was impressive,” Blaney says.
The new AMMs are also a fair bit heavier than the old boats Blaney was used to.
“I think it’s a combination of things like the 6mm plate they use in the hull and they also build them really heavy down low… they’re quite heavily framed,” he says.
Convinced that AMM had pushed the boundaries of improvement, Shaun placed his order.
“Since taking delivery, I’ve had it outside the South Passage Bar in 25 and 30 knot winds,” Blaney enthuses.
“Off Amity Point (at the southern end of Moreton Bay’s notorious South Passage Bar), I deliberately turned it around and started running back with the waves on the stern quarter in about a metre and a half of sea. I was very impressed, no broaching at all.
“I also ran it into a head sea with 25 knots of northerly blowing and a metre-and-a-bit of chop. In many other boats, you would get your knees broken, but the 7400, it just rocketed across — no problem at all,” he says.
The AMM 7400 Rig
Shaun has powered his AMM Weekender 7400 with a pair of 140hp Suzuki outboards, which, reflecting his commercial fishing background, run off two separate 240 litre fuel tanks, two independent water separators and separate wiring looms to create a ‘fail safe’ back-up system.
Early consumption figures show Shaun’s Weekender covers around 1.4 km per litre when run between 3800 and 4200rpm, which translates to around 25 or 26 knots running with three adults and a three quarter load of fuel.
Shaun opted to have the below floor areas foam filled for extra safety as well as specified the hardtop to be 300mm longer than standard. He also ordered a removable hardtop extension and a lockable sliding cabin door.
The electronics array gives an insight into his days as a pro fisherman with a 12 inch Simrad NSE plotter and multi-function display; Simrad 4G Radar; separate 1kw Airmar SS264 50kHz and 200kHz transducer; a Furuno 587sounder, twin Garmin instrument readouts for each engine with both displaying information in digital and analogue formats and a sonic hub for entertainment.
There’s also a 100 litre underfloor fresh-water tank, live-bait tank and a deck wash, insulated 160 litre kill tank that doubles as a fish box, and built in esky under the port side extended seat box.
“Being in boats all my life, I know what ultimately really matters out there,” Blaney said.
“I see people stacking their boats up with all sorts of things, but going back to my commercial roots, I only need things that do work,” he adds.
Fishing My Family Will Never Forget
I have owned three boats in my lifetime. The first was an 18 foot off the beach cat I used to sail around Moreton Bay before we had kids. The second was a 3.5m Zodiac powered by a 15 hp that we use in the Noosa River for family holidays. I ordered the third a couple of weeks after we decided to move to the Northern Territory about 12 months ago.
After getting some tips from some Territory locals (“6 to 7m, plate alloy, plenty of fishing room and a cab for the family”) I spent a couple of weeks researching the net and did not take long to decide on AMM. I visited Matt at the Brisbane Boat show and ordered a boat the following week. A 7.0m Tournament with the standard fit out. Over the following couple of months I added a Stress Free winch, dual 150Hp outboards, extra fuel capacity, Garmin electronics and a few other bits and pieces.
The boat arrived in the Territory about 4 months later. I went over the boat after getting it home and the first thing I noted was the build quality lived up to my expectations which were based on all I had read on the net and heard from others. Outstanding may have been an understatement. To this day there is still nothing I can critique.
We went out for the maiden voyage the following week-end. The day went seamlessly from launch to retrieval. Who would have guessed the transition from a 3.5m inflatable to a 7 metre plate alloy boat would have been so natural. It took me a while to learn the benefits of twins around the boat ramp and sight fishing around rock ledges, but apart from that, I always felt 100% comfortable at the helm.
Since then my wife and our three boys (5, 7 and 9yr old) spend most week-ends on the water. We have clocked up 120 engine hours in under 5 months which have been very enjoyable and incident free. We have travelled in all conditions (horrendously rough to glass) and have fished for pretty much any species you could imagine (bill fish through to barra in the rivers). Most trips see us out at first light and back at last light but we have also comfortably done overnighters.
The boat has performed exceptionally well and I can honestly say that there is nothing that I would change. If I was buying a new boat today it would be exactly what I have now. I have no hesitation in recommending AMM boats to others and will continue to do so. Thanks to the crew at AMM for providing us with such a high quality vessel.
Rob, Michaela, Tom, Will and Ben
The Great All-rounder
I decided to upgrade my boat mid-2013. The boat I had wasn’t suitable as my kids were at the age where they wanted to come to sea, fishing with me. I needed something bigger and most importantly, safer. The search began and I finally found what I believed was the boat for me. Bush and Beach magazine featured an ad for the new AMM 4.9 metre range so I contacted Barton the owner and arranged a test run. I was hugely impressed and ordered one immediately. The boat I ordered was slightly modified to suit my requirements, wider gunnels, larger fish/kill tank, extra rod holders, casting platform, electric motor mount and a wider centre console.
Nothing was a problem for the AMM team and I was kept fully informed at all stages of the build with regular emails and pictures of the boat as it progressed through the various stages of construction. The finished product is as I requested and I believe the build quality is second to none. It is outstanding!
I picked up my boat October 2013 and had it fitted up with a 70hp Yamaha four stroke mated with a 55lb Minn Kota Ipilot. Since getting the boat I have used it for lure fishing in estuaries and offshore chasing snapper and pelagics. I beach launch into surf and it is very easy to use in these conditions, quite simple for me and a deckie to handle. It is easy to retrieve from the beach and the trailer setup supplied with the boat handles the conditions well. When at sea the boat is an extremely stable fishing platform and when travelling, is dry and comfortable even in fairly severe chop.
If you are in the market for a great all round fishing boat that is safe, has a full height transom, is self draining with positive flotation and is built to the highest standard then check out the AMM 4.9 range. I’m certainly glad I did.
Thanks to the team at AMM
We recently decided to upgrade our alloy boat and after studying all the options made the decision to go with AMM. I had read in previous reviews that AMM can be pricey however I found Matt made every effort to quote our boat competitively and with no hidden costs, which if you are trying to stick to a budget is very important.
I had a fair idea of what I required. I wanted an excellent fishing platform with all the gear, live bait tank, kill tank, deck wash, bait board etc, but as I have 2 young children I also needed a family boat with plenty of shade, a good sized vee berth, a toilet, seat boxes that incorporated a fridge, a sink, plenty of storage and lots of deck space thrown in. With patience Matt helped guide the outcome to a family boat of outstanding quality.
A 7.4 Tournament with a full length hard top was used as the base platform which AMM customized to my requirements. Being a Fitter Welder by trade, I know when I see quality fabrication processes by good tradesmen and I was pleased with what I saw. AMM are one of the few still using a 6mm plate bottom and full height girders under the deck, these boats are built like tanks and the extra weight helps the deep vee hull design improve the ride to a level that competes with fibreglass boats in the same class.
AMM involve you in all aspects of the build if you wish and I found they never lose patience with queries or requests for info which I had plenty of. I was regularly at the shop and at no stage did I feel as though I was unwelcome during my visits to watch my boat being built.
The paint finish of the boat is outstanding and the time taken to prep surprised me. The fairing process is extensive and it shows in the outcome. All the welds were faired beautifully and the hull is one of the straightest plate boats I’ve seen.
The fit out and electrical requirements were far from standard as my requirements were for a camper as well as a fishing boat and all my requests were met in the usual professional manner. When inspecting the main distribution board, the layout is exceptional. Everything is installed neatly with no clutter and labelled for easy identification. This comes back to their previous planning in making an adequate locker size. I was consulted as with the rest of the build for the dash layout and it was set out to be simple and functional for me under way.
The biggest concern when building a boat should be for the safety and not only do I feel safe but I also have confidence in the hull with my family on board. These are stable boats and handle varying conditions with a sure footed reliability.
I had a high expectation when I set out to buy a new boat and AMM delivered, they take time and pride in all the small details and it shows. They build boats to a very high standard and I would not hesitate in recommending the AMM team.
We have a boat that will give our family years of enjoyment and for that we thank AMM.
I like to fish
My experience with AMM…
Let’s turn back time …4 months ago.
I met a couple of guys from AMM…Barton and Mathew.
Heard a lot about these boats and decided to check them out.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had over 20 boats in my time.
Started with a 12 foot tinny and ended up in a 34 Black Watch.
Any way I like to fish and also have the ability to move around not dependent to the weather.
So I asked myself what is the best trailer boat around?
My criteria was this…
Has to have a GVM less than 3500 kg.Two motors…preferably 4 stroke.
Good quality trailer. Built out of heavy plate (6 mm bottom)
Have a good waterline length. A range of 400 plus km at cruise speed.
Must have good manners in any direction.
And has to be a pocket battleship in all conditions.
What I ended up with was exactly that. It does all of the above and some.
Some people say fiberglass rides the best,
But AMM have move into new territory in striving for the ultimate boat.
I cannot even begin to tell you about the quality of this boat and its capabilities.
I fish 100-plus km offshore and feel totally at ease in this little battle ship.
Do your self a favor and at least go for a ride in a 7.4 AMM.
Mark – Mackay
I purchased my first AMM in 2001. After five years, I upgraded to a 6800 Cuddy to meet the needs of my young family and still be able to venture offshore for serious fishing. I had no hesitation in returning to the AMM team for my second boat as I knew we would benefit from the flexibility in design and layout, excellent quality and attention to detail and, most importantly a soft dry ride
A Findlay – 6800 Weekender
Second to none
I recently purchased a new AMM 6.1 metre centre console in May this year and have been very impressed with the performance of the boat as well as the superior level of professionalism and service which the AMM staff have offered both before and after taking delivery of the boat. I have owned a number of boats with the ride quality and handling of the AMM being second to none. The hull offers a soft, dry ride (which for a centre console is impressive in itself) while at the same time providing a stable, spacious platform to fish from at rest.
David Long 6100 Centre Console
I have now tested the AMM in some good Tasmanian seas to 30 knots of wind offshore around the SE coast and it handles and rides better than any of my other boats or those I have been in
C Thomson – 7400 Tournament
Being an avid fisherman and boilermaker by trade, I had come to that stage where it was time to upgrade to a new vessel. We had well and truly discovered the range and weather limitations of our 5m centre console, the thought of being able to fish in comfort without being battered by the elements was high on the agenda. So I set about with the mindset that I was going to build my own plate sportsfisher.
After conversing with other fishos who have built their own boats, I was swaying into looking around to see what other custom plate boat manufacturers were producing for your money. After checking out some of their product it was reassuring to me why I made the decision to build my own boat, poor weld quality and poor finish. I was firm in the belief that I could produce a better quality boat – until I went down and visited Matthew Thomas and the boys at AMM. There it was in front of me, they were building my boat before me. On commencing my tour through the workshops the first thing you notice is that from the fabrication bay through to the fit out bay, everything is clean, organised and in its place. This is an easy way of identifying trades people that take pride in their work. Would you have your car serviced by someone in a junk yard?
For the first time I had found someone that was capable of building a vessel to the standard of build and finish that I required and was interested in building quality and not quantity. We made our intentions clear from the start we wanted the best and if it took a little more time and money so be it… And so “The Agency” was conceived. Throughout the construction process the guys were very adherent to our needs and often invited us down to check on progress as custom features included a raised roof, longer bunks, higher dash (we are a very tall family) and a new high visibility sloped windscreen.
Upon completion of the boat the question still remained, how well is this thing going to swim? Without doubt a boats performance is determined by what lies beneath the water line. Mega horsepower doesn’t equal speed and efficiency if you’re pushing a barge. Have you ever been in a 3.5 tonne plate boat that planes at 8 knots? Well they do exist and there building them today down at Australian Master Marine.
Six months later, many fine fish have come aboard and the teething process has been hassle free. The important question here is will AMM be the builders of our next boat. Without a doubt this will be the case.
Simon and Max Parker – owners “The Agency”
Purchasing a new plate boat was not an overnight decision for us, nor would it be for most other people. We probably spent nearly 10 years thinking about, researching, studying and talking to manufacturers before making a decision to go with AMM. In these turbulent financial times, entrusting our hard earned money to Barton, Matt and Linda was never a concern, because great boat builders will always be there.
Being fully involved in the build process from start to finish has been a pleasure. I am sure I frustrated Laurie and Bevan in the fabrication shed, as we made changes to the boat as we went along. But they never let on, credit to them.
Frank has done a fantastic job fairing and painting the boat.
Something AMM has all over the competition, is build quality, paint, fit and finish.
Fitting out a boat usually sets the men from the boys. Dave has been “the man”, perfect job.
All this taken into account, the most rewarding part of the whole project, has been getting to know the “AMM Family”.
Without doubt, the finished product has exceeded all our expectations, far and beyond. It IS a privilege to own an AMM boat!
Keep up the great work Barton and Matt.
Craig & Leanne Wilson