Salt Patrol 2019 27 Ft. North River Seahawk O/S
Today’s advanced North River Seahawk Offshore fishing boats give anglers many of the same capabilities as natural marine predators. These state-of-the-art vessels allow anglers to fish bays, large rivers or to venture far out to sea and chase down game fish with relative ease.
Thanks to technological and design advancements, the new North River Northwest aluminum welded fishing boats in the 23 to 31 feet the Seahawk Offshore (O/S) series have become more specialized than ever for the task of seeking out and taking on Northwest saltwater species. Like marine predators they are better suited for angling, due to a few key elements that make a salmon fishing craft like the Seahawk O/S an effective fish-catching machine.
Twin 200 hp Evinrude’s and 15 hp HO kicker
When I went looking for new boat North River this being my third O/S, I was looking for an all-around workhorse of a vessel. A tough and extremely functional Northwest fishing boat, with tons of fishing space, very low maintenance and the extended range to fish for salmon, halibut, and tuna very comfortably but also tow easily to fish Puget Sound and bigger lakes.
After owning several North Rivers, aluminum boat always made the most sense for being practical and providing ease of maintenance. The new 27-foot North River Seahawk O/S fit this bill to the tee. Easy enough to trailer to the most distant angling locations, plenty of range on the water, and an enclosed cabin to comfortably handle temperamental Northwest weather and of course North River’s reputation for quality-built aluminum boats made my decision once again an easy one.
Power and Range:
Like the old saying goes, in order to catch fish, you have to go where the fish are. When it comes to saltwater game fish such as salmon, halibut, or tuna, this typically means motoring out to the blue water, many miles from the nearest port.
That’s why an offshore fishing boat’s power and range are so critical to angling success. The Seahawk O/S can be ordered with a single or twin outboard or even an inboard diesel. On my 27ft O/S I once again went with twin 200HP ETEC Gen 2 (G-2) Evinrude’s for the long runs to the tuna grounds my boat will be making each summer. These engine packages allow the Seahawk O/S to be able to get out to the fishing grounds in a hurry, or move to a more productive spot quickly.
A boat’s range is an equally important part of the equation. After all, what good is being fast if you run out of juice before you can get the job done? Take into consideration how far you’ll be running on your fishing forays. I found the 27 Seahawk O/S boat provides an ideal balance of power and range. The Evinrude ETEC’s have sufficient horsepower and fuel economy to move the boat through rough seas. I’m getting close to 3MPG at 30MPH and a top speed of just over 40MPH with 4 blade props. The fuel capacity on my 27 ft. Seahawk O/S was more than sufficient with 130 gallons giving it plenty of range. There are no oil changes on Evinrude G-2’s ever and service only every 5 years. Way more fishing time then any 4 stroke can provide!
Kitsap Marina in Port Orchard WA. installed my Evinrude G-2 engines on my new O/S. I also had them install a fuel injected Evinrude 15HP HO kicker on my 27 ft Seahawk O/S. This motor is extremely fuel efficient and is know as the power monster as it can run the run my entire boat electronics system all day without running down your batteries. The 15HO is tie-bared to the port G-2 engine and all are controlled by a Simrad Auto Pilot from the helm or the rear station.
The Seahawk O/S deep entry vee (55º bow/ 20º transom,) wide bottom and exclusive step-chine design deliver smooth and controlled operation in all water conditions. Savvy anglers refer to North River boats as “Sea Tanks” as the boats are built extremely tough to last a lifetime.
More important than anything else is the seaworthiness of your fishing boat. In order to have a safe and enjoyable fishing trip, it’s imperative that your vessel be able to stand up to the unpredictable and unforgiving marine environment. The length of a boat alone by no means determines whether it is seaworthy. Whether your craft is 15 or 40 feet long, it needs to have a hull specially designed for handling big ocean swells, wind waves or a nasty combination of the two.
North River Seahawk O/S boats feature “deep-V” hulls that allow them to cut through rough seas effectively. Electric trim tabs make trimming this boat in choppy seas extremely easy. When it comes to hull design, another key factor is the beam of the boat. Generally, the wider the beam, the less side-to-side rocking action you’ll experience. Our North River boats run admirably, even in sloppy seas, and they have proven to be incredibly stable platforms for fishing in the ocean environment.
A big-water boat’s “freeboard”, how high the sides of the vessel are above the waterline is another important factor. Boats that don’t have enough freeboard just don’t cut it with us. One good swell can fill it up like a bathtub, creating a potentially life-threatening situation. Having sufficient freeboard, like what’s built in to each and every Seahawk O/S will allow for a drier, safer ride and much more comfort while spending many hours fishing.
North River boats didn’t stop with just building plenty of freeboard and closed transom design for a dry ride. They built safety. A large automatic bilge pump is standard (two in my boat) and they have also designed in a large self-bailing deck so the Seahawk O/S can shed water quickly. A note of caution regardless of the brand of boat you select, before you even think of heading miles offshore to distant salmon, halibut or tuna grounds. Make sure your vessel is equipped with all the essential Coast Guard-approved safety equipment (PFDs, EPIRBS, flare kits, survival suits, etc.). Perhaps the most essential item on any boat is a VHF radio. Our Lowrance VHF radio and Digital antennas are mounted on the included welded aluminum, installed radar tower for long-range reception. Should an emergency situation occur while you’re fishing offshore, being able to quickly communicate with outside agencies or other boats can be crucial.
Fishability: Power, range and seaworthiness are key elements for any fishing boat, but these are generally important factors for non-fishing craft as well. What really separates an average boat from a superior angling vessel like a North River is “fishability.” This term actually refers to a number of qualities and features that make a boat specialized and well suited for fishing assignments. All of the following qualities contribute greatly to the North River Seahawk O/S fishability.
A good fishing boat, or any fishing boat for that matter, should supply plenty of room to fish. In most cases, the majority of fishing space should be in the stern. The large decks on the Seahawk O/S provide for the overall fishing performance and enjoyment of everyone on board. North Rivers can be ordered with many optional features to meet the needs of every angler’s style of fishing and boat layout.
Seahawk O/S design provides easy mounting of downriggers & rod holders
When fishing offshore, it’s important to have at least four strategically placed trolling rod holders on your boat; My new O/S has 3 Scotty Striker rod holders along the transom and one on each gunwale on Fish Fighter Products sliding rail mounts. Fish Fighter Products rail mount always me to move the rod to the height and position I want for downrigger fishing or diver trolling. They can also slide off if your netting a big fish. I installed mine with Tackle Tenders which allow me to store rod upright, place a Pro-Troll flasher in the provide slot or a Yakima Bait Fish Flash.
This way, you’ll be able to troll enough lures to mimic a bait school and attract schooling salmon. I consider Scotty Downriggers to be key components of my salmon trolling mix. Downriggers provide controlled depth fishing; presenting the lure at the depth the fish are at, and allow us to cover plenty of ground while searching for actively feeding fish. My new North River boat has weld on downrigger brackets that provide for easy mounting in the correct location on the boat’s gunnels and stern for three 2106 HP Scotty downriggers.
Any fishing boat should have adequate space for all the fishing gear you need to bring with you on any given trip. My North River Seahawk O/S comes equipped with a lockable sliding door on the cabin. Above the cabin are easily accessible welded on rocket launchers that provide great storage for 14 fishing rods. Your extra rods can be up, out of the way and not interfering with any ongoing angling activity. I can also hold three more on each net holder on both sides of the aft cabin.
In addition to plenty of convenient 14 rocket launchers rod storage, our boats offer a convenient and safe location for 2 landing nets. North River welded the net holders with 3 additional rod holders to the side of the cabin. Getting to a net in a hurry can often mean the difference between landing or losing a big fish at the side of the boat.
North River installed a removable Defiance Bait Tank in the center of the rear deck. They install quick shut off valves making operation of the tank fast and easy. If you want to remove it takes 10 minutes and all you see after its out is a screw in deck hatch. My Defiance bait tank has 3 more rod holders on it and we like it so much we leave it in all year. The North River O/S has a large built in fish box on the stern with a custom removable rigging/filleting table above it. I also have a macerated fish box in the deck next to the cabin door.
For easy of loading and unloading the boat North River welded in a door on the port side. You never know how much you like this feature until you have one and best of all you lose zero space.
On the starboard side there is a fold up step which facilitates easy boarding. North River also installed a freeman aluminum hatch on the stern for very easy waterproof access to the bilge pump, macerator pump and seacocks.
The Seahawk O/S provides plenty of dash space to mount electronics. A great fishing vessel like the Seahawk O/S provides enough helm space to easily mount our state of the art Lowrance Electronics such as two HDS Live-12 sonar’s/GPS/chart plotter/ HALO 24 Radar, twin Link-8 VHF/AIS radio, Simrad AP-44 Auto pilot, Simrad NAIS 400 and other important marine electronics. The installation location on the Seahawk O/S allows for easy access and unobstructed viewing by the skipper from the helm station or the stern fishing area through the large windows on the cabin.
Behind the helm station is a built-in electronics box that holds all the labeled wiring and a Simrad S5100 sonar module that allows me to run 3 transducers at the same time. It also houses the ethernet expansion box and the auto pilot controller. The cabin stereo system is networked from the HDS Live units.
The aft helm steering station also has a 12” HDS Live mounted for easy reading from the rear deck why fishing. The rear help station holds the controls for the 15HP HO kicker including the push button troll button to give you that precise speed for trolling. There is also an AP-44 auto Piot Controller. Inside the rear station is built in storage for extra tackle boxes. My new boat is equipped with a TM-285W 1kW and a Lowrance 3-1 for clear side and down scanning imaging. Lastly, I installed a Siren Marine monitoring system on the boat. The Siren Marine System will Geofence the boat. It will notify me if the boat moves or if a bilge pump runs, the battery loses charge or the shore power is not on. It has an intrusion system and will report to my cell phone of you can add a number like the marina office or fishing buddy.
The large cabin on the Seahawk O/S provides great protection from the elements
For offshore fishing trips, having somewhere to escape the elements if conditions turn ugly just plain made sense to both of us. We have spent too many trips in the NW rain and wind and the built-in pilothouse with cabin heat on the Seahawk O/S offers protection against wind, rain, and splashing from big swells and wind waves. I ordered my new Seahawk O/S’s with a custom dinette, Wallis forced air heater, electric/12V fridge, which allows us to easily prepare meals and keep warm while fishing. This cabin lay out also provides lots of storage compartments and tackle rigging station for our vast amount of equipment. The cabin has two air ride seats, one reversing to face the table on a pivot and additional table seat. There is also a double seat on the starboard side of the cabin.
In summary, for big-water salmon, halibut, and tuna angling assignments, you’ll want to select a North River Seahawk O/S which offers an ideal combination of seaworthiness, power, fishability and comfort. These boats will provide you with all the necessary tools for getting you and your gear out to the fishing grounds safely and quickly; locating the game fish you want to target; hooking and landing fish; and storing your catch for the long run home. My North River Seahawk O/S boat does just that.
If you see me at the dock stop and tour my new North River Seahawk O/S as Team Lowrance we attend many of the NW Salmon Derbies Series and Tuna Tournament events.
North River Scout
I was in the market for an open 19-20 ft open boat to handle our river and lake fishing assignment’s along with a backup Puget Sound boat when the Seahawk O/S is on the moored on the coast. About the time I was going to talk to North River about possibility of ordering a new Scout a friend came to me and told me he was selling his North River Scout. The Boat had just been repowered with a 150HP tiller prop outboard and a 9.9 kicker. The Scout was in great shape and was loaded and is now part of the Salt Patrol fleet. The North River Scout is the premier welded aluminum open fishing guide boat in the NW and features stable 360-degree fishability.
The boat has a Titian tiller assist steering and an auto pilot on the 9.9 kicker. She is also setup with a 24V battery bank in the front for an electric trolling motor. She is equipped with two sliding seats on storage boxes and one pedestal seat. There is a large fish box with wash down hose and in floor fuel tank. My Scout has LED deck lights and there is even a remote-controlled spotlight that can mount in the bow running light socket to make getting out on the water early much safer. She rides on an EZ loader tandem axle galvanized trailer with hydraulic/electric disc brakes.
I customized her to handle my fishing needs by adding a Lowrance HDS Live 9” with a 3-1 transducer in the port side instrument box. I also added two Scotty 2106 downriggers for lake trolling.
I then went to Fish Fighter Products for help setting her up. They provided two Tackle Tenders on sliders bars with QRS Rod Riser next to the front seats. At the stern we added two rod risers with Tackle Tenders giving the boat many options for different fishing needs. I also installed a Fish Fighter Products Breakaway CR Anchor and their removable Extreme Duty anchor caddy. I can later add the interchangeable electric trolling motor mount when we have a need for stealth.
My new Salt Patrol North River Scout is now sporting a new Yakima Bait boat wrap featuring the all new YBC Spinfish lure. She is ready for Columbia River springers, fall kings or trolling lakes for kokanee or trout.
15Ft Glass-Ply Moocher
I love my boat, cruising the Puget Sound and the offshore coastal waters fishing for salmon and tuna are my favorite angling pass times in my twin engine North River Offshore. But there are times when a small boat can be a big advantage fishing Puget Sound salmon.
First not every angler can afford a large offshore boat. With gasoline prices, fishing from big rigs can cost you, not just operating them but towing them to top locations to fish. But anglers in small boats can sometimes find fishing that others have a hard time reaching.
Probably more fish in modern history hit the decks of small aluminum and fiberglass boats than any other watercraft. One only needs to check out the boat ramps on any summer weekend to confirm this.
Well if you have been following fishing reports in the South Puget Sound (Tacoma area) it’s been quite good, not only for summer kings but also for winter blackmouth the past few years. The salmon seasons here are also some of the longest in the state.
The only problem is accessing this fishery, with few boat ramps long lines have been the norm during this fishery. So, I looked into some options as I like to leave my North River boat in Westport for the summer but also didn’t want to miss out on the great local fishing opportunities which last year was better than the ocean for king salmon.
My fishing partner Jerry Henderson (aka: Uncle Jerry) has had a boat in a locker at Pt Defiance Boathouse for years, pretty much doing the same drill, one boat at Westport, one in Tacoma. I’m pretty sure he fishes 5 days a week. After seeing his great locker setup, it didn’t take long before I called Art Tachell at the PT. Defiance Boathouse (253-591-5325) and rented my own boat locker.
What’s great about this facility is your boat is locked in a secure dry place, no boat ramps, you wheel it out of the locker on a dolly and use one of the elevators to drop you down to the water. The staff controls the elevator operation via cameras and intercom system, you just climb in your boat and say go! Seconds later you’re in the water and on your way. After fishing you drive back into the elevator and your boat goes back on the dolly, a quick boat rinse and motor flush your back in your locker, with a total time process of 10-15 minutes.
Art maintains a great tackle store, with bait, all the must have tackle selections, plus food, drinks and of course hot coffee. They also have ethanol free fuel and a fish cleaning station. Yep take your catch home cleaned and fillet. Add this to a current fishing report from the courteous staff and you have everything you need and you’re ready to be fishing the local productive waters within minutes. One of the other added benefits is some of the best anglers I know fish out of the Pt Defiance Boathouse.
Now I just needed to find a locker boat. After some hard searching, I found my boat. It is a 1987 15ft GlasPly Moocher. Its short enough under 16ft to fit in the boathouse locker that I rented, but with a very nice beam so its very stable. These boats were built to drift mooch out of and allow me to stand on the side without even felling the boat is the slightest bit tipsy. These GlasPly Moochers are very hard to find and I felt very lucky finding mine.
It needed some work, well maybe a lot of work…LOL! It had two older motors on it a 50 & 8HP. They both got sold and I went to Dave Johnson at Kitsap Marina (360-874-0504) in Port Orchard who handles all my boat and motor maintenance.
I just wanted one motor on the Moocher that would troll down and Dave set me up with a 50-horsepower Evinrude E-Tec. outboard. It has a trolling speed control on the tiller so you can get your trolling speed dialed in right on the money. It also has great fuel economy. I can fish six or seven days in a row before refilling the 12-gallon bow gas tank. My Evinrude equipped moocher can easily cruise over 30MPH and troll as slow as 1MPH if needed.
Last the Moocher needed some fiberglass repair. Well maybe more than a little according to my friend Robin Halbert who owns Fiberglass Fixer (253-486-8930) in Enumclaw. Yes, he put more then a few hours into restoring it and added an upgraded I wanted by molding in two downrigger mounts on the gunnels. After Robin was done the boat look brand new.
Thanks again Robin, you’re a master at your trade!!!
After that I added two new seats, two Scotty 2106 electric downriggers and a Lowrance 9” Elite Ti Sonar/GPS and my new small boat project was done.
Let me just add that most locker boats have seasoned hulls with somewhat newer motors and run in length 15-17ft. You don’t need to go through the restoration process I did when you find your boat, but I went into this knowing I was looking at restoration project with this GlasPly, but I will be keeping my moocher for a very long time.
Small Boats: More Time Actually Fishing
Besides being able to be in the water 10 minutes after arriving at the Pt Defiance Boathouse parking lot (No waiting in launch ramp lines anymore). Many times, boathouse anglers can be in the honey hole and limited out before many anglers even can get their boat in the water. I saw this happen many times last summer during the morning king bite.
You can easily fish by yourself and since you’re not dealing with trailering and you tend to fish just the more productive times around tide changes, but you fish them more often as access is easy. When your towing a big boat after going though all the setup up procedures you have a tendency to pound out the entire day on the water since you towed the boat there and put in the effort.
With a small boat you also have an incredible better maneuvering then in a bigger boat. I can turn in a couple of boat lengths which allows me to stay on a bait patch. On my big boat you’re always looking for a turning lane to get turned around. When the fishing is good sometimes this can take a ¼ mile in a larger boat with heavy traffic around.
I can stop and play a fish all the way around the boat, no windshield. It’s also very easy to jig out of as you can easily back into the current and stay vertical with the jig on the bait with very little wind resistance.
Not a lot of tackle required. I carry a few Pro-Troll flashers and some Silver Horde spoon/squid setups for my downrigger rod and some Pt. Wilson Darts for my jigging rod.
Sometimes I even take a fly rod and target cutthroat or resident coho on the beaches before going salmon trolling. The low profile of the moocher makes a great stealthy fly-fishing platform. There is always something to fish for in the South Sound.
It’s also very convenient to use the Pt Defiance ramp next to the boathouse to put your locker boat on the trailer if you want to fish a local lake of have maintenance done on the boat.
Small Boats: The Down Side
It doesn’t take much weather to get you off the water in a small boat. Heavy rains are not much fun or is a breeze that comes up and makes a fun choppy to ride back to the elevator. Fortunately, most of the wind comes from the south in Tacoma and Pt Defiance makes a good wind block allowing you fish many days you could not in other areas. Yep, I do miss the North River diesel heater in the winter! The good news is most of the fishing takes place close to the Boathouse so short runs are the norm.
Take a look at a small boat if you’re just getting into salmon fishing. It’s very economical way to fish and you will learn a lot. If you’re in the Tacoma area call Art at the PT. Defiance Boathouse he can get you setup before all the lockers fill-up this summer. You will also spend more time on the water and make yourself a better salmon angler. Why I will never give up my 27 North River Offshore or my 19 ft Scout for my overall fishing, adding my 15ft GlasPly Moocher to my fishing arsenal has paid big dividends producing many more fishing opportunities and much more time on the water for me.