Kingfisher 510 Minicats: Stable, Spacious & Capable

  • Boat Reviews

First impressions are important, and lasting. When NZ Fishing News’ Grant Dixon first stepped aboard the Kingfisher 510 Minicat, there were two words that sprung to mind: stability and space. After spending a few hours aboard, he also added capable.

 

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The review boat had been kitted out by Sam Pillage, whose small production company specialises in websites, marketing and marine work. Sam is an avid angler, so his 510 Minicat – Up to Spec – provides a stable platform for his video and photography work, as well as for rigorously testing products.
 
We launched at Mangawhai where Matt Jackson, the principal behind Jackson Brown Marine (a recently appointed Kingfisher dealership), provided a sister ship as the photo boat.

 

The day was a stunner. Outside the harbour, a lazy 0.7 metre swell was running under an oily calm sea, just enough to provide a lift on the bar. The outgoing tide created some good waves to test Up to Spec‘s seakeeping abilities. We opted to run slightly off the normal line for the crossing.

Matt’s boat is more the base model than Sam’s, but both are powered by 90HP Honda four strokes. Both had the same coloured wraps, as opposed to paint jobs, and it made for some impressive drone footage when they were running side-by-side.

 


From a fishing perspective, Sam’s boat has all the bells and whistles. Starting at the sharp end(s) there is a MinnKota Terrova 24 volt trolling motor. Sam, like many others who use this angling aid, says they are game changers. From holding over a patch of fish while jigging, to running a contour line soft-baiting, or top water fishing – they free up the skipper to fish, the vessel directed via a small hand-controller worn around the neck. Through the  ethernet network, the MinnKota talks to the Humminbird Solex 12” sounder, as well as the Honda.

 

Configured as a centre console, it is a full walk-around, enabling the angler to follow any hard-running fish. The step-up casting platform in the bow is a great place for one, possibly two, anglers to work a lure from – be it kingfish around a bait school or temping trout from out of a weed line. There is a convenient step up that makes for easy access to the casting platform and the modest-sized self-draining anchor locker. The latter is hatched, so you can fully utilise the area for casting.

The Kingfisher 510 Minicats offer a capable and practical angling solution, and can be as highly “spec’d” as you want to go.


Comfort underfoot

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U-Deck has been applied wherever good grip, and comfort, is required underfoot. Your feet, legs, and back will thank you after a big day on the water if you have this product as the flooring of choice on your boat!


When leaning hard up against the gunwale, there is good “toe-space” underneath it, to provide leverage while playing a fish. In the stern, there is a gap between the twin bolstered helm/navigator seats and the transom that you can walk through, which completes the 360 degree walk-around.


In the centre of the transom is the bait station, beneath which is a live-bait tank. No window in this one, but it would be easy enough to add to enable the crew to keep an eye on its precious cargo (live baits can be worth their weight in gold in certain angling scenarios!).
 

There is a reasonable amount of rod storage, with holders in the launcher at the rear of the bimini (4), two up in the casting platform, three each side, set at trolling angles in the gunwale; and a further two above the bait board. Long gunwale shelves provide space for smaller gaffs, boat hooks, and other vital fishing and boating paraphernalia.

 

While the outside of the hull has been wrapped, all other spaces are protected by Nyalic – a popular coating that sets the boat off nicely (a full Nyalic job is just an option).
 

Set up primarily as an inshore vessel, Sam has provisions for drop-in outriggers to be run from either the gunwale, or the two outside holders in the rocket launchers, should he wish to chase bigger game.
 

Dry storage is plentiful, with lockers under the casting platform, in the centre console, and under the seats.

One of the design’s key selling points for anglers is the forward casting platform, where the anchor lock is hatched for safety and allows full utilisation of the space.

 

Electronics

Sam has opted for the latest Humminbird sounder/plotter that takes pride of place in the wide, and deep, dashboard. Other features include: a VHF, Scan Strut Rokk Twin Waterproof USB charging ports, Strut Scan phone and camera charging station, Garmin GMI 20 (for engine management display), and a Bluetooth MP3 Audi for music. I was impressed with the tidiness of the electrical fitout, undertaken by Jackson Brown Marine – a professional job, well laid out.
 

The reversible bolster seats are at just the right height to helm the boat either seated or standing. Flipped over, they are a comfortable spot to strayline from seated, or watch the lure spread. 
 

We didn’t plan on doing much fishing, so we didn’t carry a cooler bin, but there is space for this under the seat (accessed from the rear). On bigger missions with a larger crew, Sam adds a 90-litre bin which he places in front of the centre console, adding extra seating as well.

 

On the water

While the Kingfisher 510 was a stable, roomy boat to fish from, what about its performance underway?


First thing I noticed – more so with Matt’s lighter boat than Sam’s (which carried 120kgs of batteries and double the fuel) – was how quick it was to get up onto the plane. It didn’t dig the stern in, simply maintained its at-rest attitude, but just got faster.


Cats take a bit of getting used to, especially in tight turns as many want to lean out of the turn, not in. The Kingfishers tend to turn in, which is a good thing, especially if you are used to driving a monohull. I put the boat through hard-lock turns and it didn’t flinch, apart from the inevitable cavitation, remaining ‘on-rails’ throughout.


The well-appointed helm station with the Humminbird 12” plotter sounder having pride of place.

 

The day was calm, so it was on the bar that we got to check Up to Spec’s rough water capabilities. Deliberately seeking out some rougher water, I made several passes, growing more confident in the vessel’s capabilities each time. It gave its best performance – especially going out – with a bit of speed on. The waves, created by a classic swell-against-current scenario, were short and sharp. The twin hulls and their fine entry cut through them with a minimum of fuss and spray. Coming the other way, there was no hint of bow steering.

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Overall, I rated the boat as a fishing platform. Sam has fitted it out well, with a range of angling scenarios in mind.


With a 90HP on the transom it is a little underfunded power wise – especially if you had a couple of divers and their gear on board, additional fuel, and a MinnKota and its associated battery – but for the basic model, it is adequate. Sam is currently upgrading to one of the new generation Honda 135HP four strokes, which will give it plenty of boogie, something essential for those bar crossings. He expects better fuel economy and a top-end speed of 45knots – now that is flying!

 

Both Matt’s and Sam’s boats were powered with 90HP Hondas, with Sam about to upgrade to the newly released Honda 135HP to deal with the additional weight his boat carries.

 

Options aplenty

There is a heap of factory options available – check out the website: https://www.kingfisherboats.co.nz/ – but a couple of things I would add immediately would be: a set of clears around the helm station, a small lip around the back of the dashboard to create a space for all those little bits and pieces (vehicle keys, sunglasses cases etc; a couple of extra cleats), perhaps recessed ones as they would be handy for tying off at the ramp and for securing buffers; and some cockpit lighting – either overhead or under gunwale. Sam says there is talk of designing in an integrated tank. Currently, fuel is carried in two 45 litre totes. That would free up some room for a little more storage in the stern.

Those options aside, the Kingfisher 510 Minicat gets the thumbs up from me, ticking all the key fishing boxes especially.

 

Specifications:

L.O.A                                                  5100mm

Beam                                                  2330mm

Draft (outboard up)                            300mm

Fuel (2 x tote)                                     90 litres

Hull (bottom and sides)                     4mm

Floor                                                  4mm

Transom height                                  25”

Recommended HP                             90-150

Hull Weight (dry)                                390kg

Hull Price                                           $28,595

Cost – base boats from                      $63,000

As Tested – Demonstrator                 $74,955

-Up to Spec                                        $95,000 approx.

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