Long-time rock-hopper/fly-fisher Craig Worthington finds himself sliding back into the boating scene, thanks to the Zego’s many beguiling charms…
Downsizing seems to be a popular trend these days. Those of us who have had a good few years in big boats – over the six-metre mark, say – are starting to think again about the joys of small, personal fishing craft.
I had been dreaming about ‘downsizing’ for a long time. My passion for fly-fishing didn’t really mix that well with the design and clutter of our family’s ‘big’ boat. A high and solid rocket launcher would often get in the way, as did a substantial ‘cuddy cabin’ bow section. Add a few more bodies, plus rods sitting in rod holders, and there is very little fly-casting space left.
The reality is that fly-fishing is a specialty pursuit best suited to small, open boats with clean decks and minimal superstructure. A good fly-fishing boat should allow 360 degrees of casting space and be quiet enough to allow for stealthy fishing in skinny water.
I therefore contemplated at length the potential pleasure of being out on the water in my own small, but purpose-built, fly-fishing craft. By strange coincidence, Grant Greenbury of Zego Sportsboats made contact with me around this time regarding a new open-plan fishing boat he’d recently designed and built. It looked and sounded like a fly-fisher’s dream. The boat incorporates the time-proven, unsinkable Zego polyethylene pontoons and apparently has a stability that only the best rigid-hull inflatables could match.
Although technically labelled the Zego 300T, I took one look at it and immediately dubbed it the ‘Zego Fly’ – although it could just as easily have been dubbed ‘Zego Spin,’ ‘Zego Shoot’ or maybe ‘Zego Explorer’. The boat’s design fits such a multitude of possible applications – anything where stability, ruggedness and load-carrying capacity would be an advantage.
I was given the opportunity to test the Zego for an extended period and quickly fell in love with its sporty design and – for a dinghy-sized boat – its spacious layout. I chose a tiller-driving format to get as much deck space and casting room as possible, and quickly discovered the Zego Fly was stable and quite predictable while underway. This is a boat that older kids could easily drive and use safely.
A long-shaft Tohatsu 18hp two-stroke outboard pushed the Zego along at a good clip, and the easy towing and launching were a pleasure after too many big-boat years.
Getting used to tiller driving again was the hardest part of the process; I found having a bowline to hold onto with my right hand made it easier. A ‘bum bar’ for something to grip while driving and lean on while fishing could be a useful addition. Grant has fitted centre consoles to these little boats and has said that a bum-bar is possible, but such additions compromise space. After all, this is a three-metre boat!
This compact boat is advertised as a ‘fair weather craft’, but we put it to the test anyway in a messy sea with a horrible short chop on top of an incoming onemetre- plus swell. The Zego handled the conditions admirably with two adult males onboard. When the sea was following, there was some cavitation from air between the hulls, but some tweaking of the motor position should fix that. The Zego still felt far safer than many other small boats would have done in those conditions.
In calm conditions it really shone, getting up on the plane easily. It is light and manoeuvrable but still firm and stable on the water. As a single-person fishing craft it absolutely excels.
What I am enjoying most are the Zego design features that place it firmly between the big boat and small boat categories. This is a ‘big little boat’. I can still get out to the Bay of Islands’ islands, but instead of having anchoring hassles, I can just haul the Zego up a beach. Similarly, I can sneak around quietly in shallow, reefy water casting my flies into likely-looking kelp holes, but still fire up the Tohatsu and blast off to chase a bunch of birds when they start working on the horizon. This is a small boat that truly offers the best of both worlds. Not surprisingly, you’ll be hearing more about some of my adventures in the ‘Zego Fly’ in future issues.
Length: 3.0 metres
Beam: 1.92 metres
Construction: Two polyethylene pontoons filled with closed-cell foam and a sturdy aluminium bridgedeck; 4mm on the floor and 3mm on the sides.
Also, a robust, adjustable enginemount bracket made from 4mm aluminium.
Price includes: A custom galvanisedsteel flat-bed trailer.
$6600 (incl. GST)
Available direct from Zego Sportsboats in Waipu.
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