Test: Profile 635H

A stand-out boat at the 2013 Hutchwilco Boat Show, the Profile 635H took out the Aluminium Fishing Boat 6-7m award on debut. Matthew Jones went to the home of Profile Boats in Napier to find out what makes it tick.

When I’m heading out before sunrise for a day’s fishing there’s a few things that really get me in the mood: a hassle-free launch, a hot coffee while heading out, the comfortable year-round protection of a hardtop, an automatic windlass once at the chosen fishing spot, and, of course, the smell of bacon and eggs sizzling away while the first baits hit the water. All of the above is possible with Profile Boats’ eye-catching new model.

Launched at the 2013 Hutchwilco Boat Show, it’s full of features to have the fishos among us leaping out of bed early, but it’s also got a range of added comforts to make it versatile enough for the whole family to enjoy. I was impressed, and the boat show judges must have been too, as it was awarded the Aluminium Fishing Boat 6-7m award, amidst strong competition.

It’s fair to say this boat’s debut was a success, with the company taking orders for four at the show and one more in the two weeks before I went to Napier to take her for a spin.

Team effort

Profile boats are built and designed with serious fishing in mind. How can you tell? Well, the clever use of limited space — specifically the angled rod holders, fantastic bait station set-ups, excellent easy-access live-bait tanks and clever functionality wherever you look — is a dead giveaway.

Profile Boats’ managing director Brian Firman says, above all else they wanted superior fishability without compromises. “Everything had to be in proportion because a boat’s got to look right and it’s got to be functional as well. Toe space was also a priority, as no other pontoon boats have that,” he says.

The Profile team set out to build the ultimate six-metre hardtop and they’ve done a commendable job — this is one wicked boat. The experienced crew at both Profile Boats and retail arm Firman’s Marine were allowed input, and that blend of ideas certainly comes together well. The 635H is fully CAD designed, and is the smallest model in the Profile fleet to feature the signature toe holds underneath the internal pontoons, which offer a secure footing when dealing to big fish offshore.

For recreational use, the outboard pod is sealed, effectively making it part of the hull, extending the buoyancy aft and the overall length to 6.35m. For commercial use, the pod can be left open (and used as a storage/live-bait tank), meaning it is not part of the hull and the boat can be put into ‘under six metres’ survey with a hull length of 5.99m.

Maximise your play

For the size of the boat the fishable cockpit is huge. Being impressed with the fighting space on offer, I mentioned to Firman you could easily fit a decent marlin in the cockpit, to which he replied with a smile, “You could fit two.” And even though he’s biased, you could lay two solid swordfish in there and wouldn’t that be a good day!

For those interested in backing down on rampaging game fish, Profile’s Wave-deflector transom door is standard on all models. Live baits are in easy reach within the transom walk-through tank, and the angle of each of the fully-welded rod holders is perfect for trolling. There are four rod holders in the gunwales, seven in the rocket launcher overhead and another six on the bait station. A further six rods can be safely tucked away in the side-mounted rod racks — also handy for keeping nets and gaffs ready for action.

The clever bait station is a brilliant and very functional option. Twin food-grade plastic lids lift up to access lure/knife storage on one side with hand (or saltwater fillet) wash facilities on the other. Three large hatches offer easy access to the twin batteries, fuel filter and live-bait tank plumbing. Large drains below and a saltwater wash-down hose will make clean up as straightforward as it should be.

A large underfloor bin will cater for dive tanks or the resulting haul. It features a gas stay to save fingers and foreheads from unnecessary torture. A 70-litre ice bin also neatly tucks away beneath the customisable king/queen passenger seat for additional out-of-the-way catch/beverage storage.

For a cooked breakfast (complete with hot coffee) the passenger seat lifts up to reveal the two-burner gas cooker, while the milk can be kept chilled below. The cooking facilities remain nicely protected within the hardtop for all-weather use. The Profile 635H is also well suited to diving adventures, and while on board I could almost taste the garlic butter scallops sizzling away. A freshwater shower head is also an option for a post-dive rinse.

There’s plenty of dash space on offer, with a flush-mounted Lowrance HDS10 able to be viewed from the cockpit while fishing. For the soundtrack to your waterborne adventures, an optional iPod docking Fusion MS-IP600 stereo system neatly mounts overhead.

Taking flight

Flying in to Napier, the sight of bright blue skies and a couple of metres of swell breaking along the coast had the anticipation levels on overload. Minutes after touchdown we were casting the lines and heading out onboard Brian Firman’s Bertram 35 ‘photo boat’ with the Profile 635H and 940HW (review coming soon) taking turns launching through the wake. Once at our destination, the swell kicking up presented further opportunities for airborne testing, which the Profile 635H passed with flying colours.

With the photos done, getting on board the 635 in the swell was fright-free thanks to the staunch bow rail and abundance of non-skid and grab rails. Once inside there were absolutely no complaints about the visibility and headroom beneath the hardtop.

Our test subject had the beefed up 6mm hull (5mm as standard), which punished the messy seas and large swells during our test. The sharp chop made the ride feel a bit stiff at around 20 knots, so the throttle was given a good nudge and the ride just got better the faster we went — it was even capable of nearing WOT in stroppy conditions and it also turns corners like it’s on rails. It’s also stable both at rest and underway.

Yamaha’s impressive new F200F outboard provided outstanding mid-range torque and made the Profile 635H exceptionally responsive to helm — comparisons with expensive Italian sports cars spring to mind. The lightweight 4.2-litre V6 is currently the lightest 200hp four-stroke on the market at just 227kg (50kg lighter than the previous F200C) and is not just electrifying in its power delivery but also sounds fantastic — again, very Ferrari-like.

While the optional wipers and sliding side-windows weren’t fitted, the windscreens were treated so this wasn’t an issue. The small amounts of spray generated from our airborne manoeuvres simply beaded off while we stayed dry, warm and protected within the hardtop.

Enhanced comforts

While it’s a superb fishing boat, Profile Boats has also included a few extra comforts to make your time on the water as enjoyable as possible. An adjustable soft-rider pedestal seat is standard for the skipper and the join where the pontoons meet has been angled further aft for a softer ride and sportier look.

Beneath the front squab in the cabin is a solid step for access through the front hatch. This also lifts up to reveal an optional portable toilet. There’s storage beneath the squabs on either side and the bunks can be made full-length with optional extensions.

There’s a full-length dash grab rail with another two grab rails on the ceiling overhead allowing a fourth passenger to enjoy the protection of the hardtop while safely standing between the seats. The rubber non-skid flooring is a nice optional upgrade (from treadplate), which really increases the comfort level while remaining easy to clean.

Profile builds its own smart-looking twin-axle braked aluminium trailer (optional), which weighs in at only 360kg to further complement this eye-catching rig’s visual appeal and minimise the towing weight.

The last word

Sometimes functionality comes at the expense of aesthetics, but not so with the Profile 635H — it’s fast, very functional and it looks great as well. Six metres is a versatile size and the hardtop offers year-round comfort while remaining easy enough to tow and handle at the ramp. With 250 litres of fuel on tap and the outstanding fuel economy, impressive power and staggering trolling distances on offer with the new Yamaha F200F outboard (0.57 litres per Nm) you can really make the most of your play.

Fishermen will find plenty to drool over on board the 635H, and not just when it comes time to tuck into the bacon and eggs for breakfast.

For more information contact Firmans Marine Centre on (06) 835 9718, email or visit

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Photography: Matthew Jones

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