Author: Ken “Brownie” Brown
Reprinted with permission.


I have just returned from a 7 day marlin fishing trip to the Ribbon Reefs. We stayed aboard the mother Ship Bali-Hai 11 and fished with Corey Hard on Mauna Kea and Sharky Miles on your new Maritimo 550, with 2 teams of 2 anglers alternating boats every day.

There were obvious differences in the boats and moving from one to the other organising video coverage, gave me the chance to compare their qualities.

Mauna Kea is a 44ft Pleysier design hull Assegai. It’s a full blown fishing boat and although she’s got a few seasons under the belt is in excellent condition.

Since my last boat was a 40ft custom built Pleysier, she’s my kind of boat, fully functional and designed with one thing in mind, getting after big fish. So I jumped on her the first day.

Corey and the Hard Core team are just that. Young guns who really know their stuff and they fish the tackle, angler and boat on the limit, if the angler can keep up.

Two of our anglers were fit as and fished like animals. Good chair technique putting maximum pressure on the fish and the ability to crank line on to a 130 like an Americas Cup winch grinder meant that Corey could really go hard. Got one over 900 and one over 800 that day and therefore had the chance to observe a classic built for the job game boat go through it’s paces.

No surprises … it went backwards easy as and fast … and spins on a dime. The sea was rough. which meant a bit of water over the transom, but it drained fast and it does add to the excitement and it keeps the deck and angler cool.

Made a mental note after that day “Win Lotto … buy Mauna Kea”

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The next day, the same 2 anglers and I were aboard the Maritimo 550 with Sharky and his crew and I have to admit, that although I was looking forward to a day spent in luxury on a big stable platform, I was prepared for a less impressive performance when the action started.

I had watched it was we ran out from Cooktown to the reef and was impressed how it handled the seas that come with 20-30kts of SE wind.

I have to be honest and say that in my mind, anyone who tries to tell you you didn’t feel a thing in seas like that is either a salesman, a massive bullshitter, or both. However, from my view aboard Mauna Kea and the report from the mates on the Maritimo, she handled the conditions very well.
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The day started out with a shot from a big fish just after lunch. It scoffed the big scaley we had skipping on the short side and left a hole in the water big enough to park a Volkswagen in. Sharky is a hot young skipper. His style is less aggressive than Corey’s, but he still right on the fish. Having learnt my own driving skills from Bob Jones, I could see the influence of the many years Sharky spent with Bob on the deck.

Fighting that big lump meant of lot of heavy duty chasing and I was amazed at how fast the Maritimo backed up. Even more amazing was the close quarters manoeuvring and the fact that the boat didn’t seem to fight itself like big boats can, when asked to spin in their own length at speed while going backwards.

The bottom of Number 10 lit up that afternoon. There were a lot of big fish there and they were keen to eat. The first fish probably would have gone 1000, but it was released as were the next 5 we caught that day, with 2 being over 900, one over 800 and a couple of rats of 400 and 300. We pulled the hook on another rat about 300 just on stumps and all sat back and marvelled at the day we had just had.
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I reckon I’ve had the best look at a 550 Maritimo in a full on fishing situation. The boat is a winner. Handled great and never once did it’s size compromise fish fighting ability.

Mind you Sharky and his crew were red hot and the story of how he lit up the bottom of 10 in his big Maritimo that day will long be talked about.

As for the air conditioned luxury and creature comforts to be enjoyed while waiting for the action to start … well I’ve got one comment … How long has this been going on?

Made a mental note after that day … “win Lotto … buy a Maritimo 550”


Ken Brown
Phone: 07 38932433
Mobile: 0428 735947
eMail: Brownie
Web: Coast Watch

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