Sharing a boat can have its pitfalls, but three good fishing buddies have got it sussed. Grant Dixon talks to the three chippies, Brad Bowden, Mark Lindsay and James Marcinowicz, and finds out what makes their boating ménage a trois work…

James with a personal best 11.88kg snapper.

Holidaying together at Waipu Cove, where they met through surf club activities, James, Mark and Brad share common interests: a love of the water, whether fishing in it, diving or surfing, as well as a proclivity for being ‘socially active’. ‘

“Dad used to take us fishing with hand-lines at the sprat wharf – he didn’t realise what a monster he had created,” Brad quips.

The boys fished with parents and mates, and doing charters together before they decided they needed a boat of their own.

They established a joint account, purchasing a four-metre 60hp Yamaha-powered Fyran centre-console for $7000 which they then used mainly to target snapper in the greater Bream Bay and Hauraki Gulf areas.

It proved to be a great little boat in which to hone their nautical skills and gave them a taste for adventure further afield.

A plan was hatched to get into a bigger boat to expand their horizons, so with a little help from family and friends, The Specialist was purchased for $75,000 two seasons ago.

The Specialist in its gamefishing livery overnighting at the Poor Knights Islands.

The 2006 Westcoaster 730 was a former company demonstrator, so had all the bells and whistles. Powered by a Yamaha 250hp four-stroke and equipped with a 270-litre fuel tank, the boat has plenty of range to see the boys get out wide chasing billfish. To date they have two striped marlin to their credit – or more correctly to Mark’s credit.

They run a shared ‘chair time’ system when marlin fishing, with each of them getting a 20-minute slot each. Mark’s has been the lucky spot so far! This season Mark has been delegated helming duties, while James and Brad catch up.
James and Brad say they are the snapper ‘specialists’, with several impressive catches to their credit. James has a personal best of 11.88kg on six-kilo line, while Brad recently landed a 15.1kg snapper on 15kg tackle to win the DB Export NZ Wide competition.

The mates never let a chance for little banter and ribbing go by: while Brad is claiming snapper honours with the heavier fish, James suggests his is the most meritorious and worth more points because he caught it on the lighter line. Unless either of them improves on their PB, you can guarantee the ‘discussion’ will continue well into the future.

Mark is two-up on his co-owners in the billfish stakes and has been designated helming duties until Brad and James catch up.

The Specialist is well set up for sport-fishing, as well as overnighting. It has downriggers and outriggers, a livebait tank and tuna tubes, plus a full suite of Simrad NSS Evo II electronics, including sounder, plotter, radar and autopilot. There is a full set of Shimano Tiagra game gear on board.

The Westcoaster is a big volume boat with broad shoulders, so there is plenty of cabin space. The three buddies are all relatively tall, well-built guys, yet they can sleep comfortably in the cuddy cabin with plenty of space to stretch out.

Other features include a gas cooker, basic galley items and an electric toilet.

The Specialist has proven quite a comfortable boat for overnighting and the boys have enjoyed several trips away in her so far and are looking forward to plenty more.

The three are easy going and say there needs to be some give and take when sharing a boat.

When the three of them are away together, the boat account takes care of the bait, ice, refreshments and fuel – when it’s taken out individually, the cost is on that person.

Running costs, such as motor servicing, insurance and maintenance come out of the boat fund, along with any ‘capital improvements’.

The boys recently debated the relative merits of a new sounder transducer or replacing the cockpit matting with SeaDek, coming to consensus that a practical fishing item such as a more effective transducer takes precedence over upgrading the decking.

This 15.1kg snapper saw Brad take out the species honours in the year-long DB Export NZ Wide on-line competition.

They jokingly refer to The Specialist as Squabbles but say they always manage to work out any differences amicably.
They have a few ‘loose’ rules. If one person wants to take the boat out, they have to ask the others if they want to go along first before inviting ‘guests’. The boat always comes back with the fuel tank filled, and is also left clean and tidy.

Any breakages or damage is put right by the person causing it.

While the boys say they would love to upgrade to a small game boat such as a 35-foot Bertram, that will have to wait.
There is no reason if we look after what we have got, why it shouldn’t last us for many adventures to come.

The next ‘major’ consideration is a new trailer with a decent breakaway brake system, and perhaps adding in a small freshwater system.

Their plans this season include plenty of gamefishing, as well as searching out a few bluenose and ‘puka spots – hence the need for a better transducer.

Your can guarantee these three will make the most of their opportunities, calling when necessary on the ’10-knot’ clause in their contracts to get off-site and on the water.