North River Seahawk
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.
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 must 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 went with twin 225HP Mercury 4 Strokes 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 225 Mercury’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 48 MPH with 3 blade Mercury props. The fuel capacity on my 27 ft. Seahawk O/S was more than sufficient with 130 gallons giving it plenty of range.
Kitsap Marina in Port Orchard WA. installed my Mercury engines on my new O/S. I also had them install a fuel injected Mercury 15 HP Pro Kicker . This motor is extremely fuel efficient. The 15 Pro Kicker is tie-bared to the port 225 engines, 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 into 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.
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.
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 you’re 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 while fishing. The rear help station holds the controls for the 225’s and the 15HP Pro Kicker . 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 with a custom dinette, Wallis forced air heater, electric/12V fridge, which allows us to easily keep drinks cold and keep the cabin 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.