Earlier this year, the image of a strange craft popped up on The Captain’s newsfeed. It was narrow like an SUP, agile and fast like a PWC, yet kitted out for serious fishing. This thing stuck out like a pink Cosmopolitan cocktail among The Captain’s usual rum-fuelled newsfeed of deep vee battle-axes. Intrigued, but not alarmed, The Captain did some digging and discovered it was an H:Skiff, made by H:Craft — a boat builder with some of the wildest racing and sport fishing hulls. The H:Skiff might only be 4m, but it has got a pretty tough rap sheet: fully foam- filled, self-draining deck and a crazy 7.6cm draft. Naturally, we made a few calls and lined up a ride.
Eventually, testing day came, and when the H:Craft team picked The Captain up from the airport in a 1.2L two-door hatchback, he enquired, “What tow tug will we be using to launch the H:Skiff tomorrow?”
“You’re sitting in it,” Team H:Craft chuckled. “The skiff only weighs 85kg, which is probably less than you, Cap!” “Ah, so will we be chasing marlin or tuna?” The Captain queried.
“Here’s the thing Cap, this is a one to two-man vessel, designed mainly for flats fishing. So tomorrow I thought we could hit up the estuaries and target flathead, bream and blackfish!”
“Oh, great.” The Captain unenthusiastically replied.
SUP ON STEROIDS
With most of The Captain’s experience behind a steering a wheel, rather than in front of a tiller, and having never been on an outboard-powered boat with a beam less than 1.2m, The Captain was well out of his comfort zone. After spending a little time getting used to the craft and gaining his sea legs, it was time to focus on the next task — catching a flathead. The Captain successfully navigated the H:Skiff into previously uncharted skinny water rats where no other outboard-powered vessel could venture. This was one of those rare times a man could actually be proud of his “vessel” only going three inches deep.
However, after a few dropped flathead, and with The Captain’s patience at critical mass, the decision was made to pepper the nearby mangroves, where the blackfish surprisingly snuffled soft plastics. The Captain then decided it was way more fun to drive the H:Skiff than it was to catch fish smaller than most of the skirts in his lure roll. After an hour or so, the rain and wind rolled in. With no protection from the elements, it was time to head back to dry land. The Captain released all 20 horses of the Suzuki four-stroke and blasted the little H:Skiff back to the boat ramp. The hull gave zero shits as it skimmed across the surface of the chop, seemingly getting better with speed. The Captain ruminated that it probably had something to do with H:Craft’s racing pedigree.
Back at the ramp, The Captain stroked his beard for a bit, lost in thought. Would he ever own this boat? Probably not. But then that’s primarily because of his lack of patience for estuary fishing. However, if you’re looking for a lightweight, seriously fun craft that can get you up onto the flats or deep into the creeks, the H:Craft definitely delivers. It’ll go anywhere a kayak or SUP can go, with a whole lot more speed and a hell of a lot more sex appeal.