The serious fishing walkaround is getting a lot of attention these days, and it’s mostly due to the good-looking, well-executed 46- and 43-foot versions of the genre that Release Boatworks turns out. The new 43 provides a great platform that appeals to many who are looking to move out of a large center-console to the creature comforts this type of boat can offer. Conversely, these boats offer up a great option when downsizing, or for use as a game boat to accompany a large yacht. The walkaround style lends itself to versatility, giving this inboard-powered boat some of the best attributes of a center-console and a large inboard sport-fisherman.
I got to check out the new Release 43 Walkaround at the Miami International Boat Show, and it did not disappoint. From her clean hull lines (an open tribute to the storied Merritt 43) to her highly customized interior and thoughtful outfitting, our test boat reaffirmed my appreciation for smaller sport-fishers. Over the last decade, most of the custom builders have focused on building 60-foot-plus sport-fishermen, so it’s refreshing to see a serious little fish boat that sports all of the tools needed to take a serious crack at any big-game fishery.
Powered by a pair of 715 hp Caterpillar C-12 diesels, the Release 43 boasts plenty of spunk, yet she can clip along at a nice economical cruise. She slips up on plane easily with little bow rise, offering up excellent visibility throughout the power range. Her sweet spot lies somewhere around 1,850 to 1,950 rpm, with a cruise of 27.5 to 28.5 knots. At that speed, she burns around 42 gallons an hour. With four of us aboard, and with three-quarters fuel, we saw 36 knots in the corner with a peak fuel burn of 68 gph.
She trolled beautifully, with a clean trail even at 8 knots, and offered a clean wake for a good working spread.
The Release 43 showcases the expected agility of a boat in this class, and was quite capable of backing down faster than an angler could gain line. She spun on her own axis with a just a nudge more speed on the reverse side, and she reacted perfectly to her wheel while in reverse gear and turned with one-finger control while up and running.
The 43’s hull pockets give her a 34-inch draft, so looking for lobster condos on the Bahama Banks or eeling for stripers in the shallow bays of the East Coast is totally in the game plan.