Captain's ReportCrestliner designed the 1650 Fish Hawk as a starter package for the “dedicated angler”... someone who wants a nicely equipped package deal, but not something he has to set aside gobs of time for tournament fishing on. Crestliner customers said it needs to be affordable so the wife won’t want to take the house and kids while he keeps the boat... in other words, a weekend toy that won’t break the wallet. We’ve seen this attempted before and sometimes it works, and sometimes... not so much. Does the 1650 Fish Hawk have the stones to keep up with the Joneses while not sending you to the poorhouse?
It always helps to know the mission of the boat before stepping onboard. That way you can make an apples-to-apples comparison of the way it should be versus the way it is. So when it came time to board the Crestliner 1650 Fish Hawk, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by what I found. It wasn’t the thrown-together tin boat I was expecting, but more tailored to the dedicated fisherman who is looking to get on the water on the weekends. By “dedicated” I mean someone who knows what he’s doing and needs the right tools to get the job done. The 1650 Fish Hawk is just the right boat for this customer. It may not be the most expensive boat on the lake, but the Crestliner 1650 Fish Hawk sure gets high marks for being one of the best looking.
Always look at how an aluminum boat is put together. This one is all-welded construction, not a rivet in sight. The hull is smooth and clean with a single add-on keel as the only thing breaking the clean lines. The 1650 has variable deadrise ending in a 12-degree shallow-V at the stern. The hull is basically three pieces.
The topsides are a single-piece of .08-mil aluminum that meets the single piece .125-mil bottom aluminum at the chine. Then that chine is reinforced with an external extrusion over the whole seam. The result is a hull that sounds firm and solid as I pounded on it with my fist. I expected a hollow “oil drum” sound, but did not get it.
Crestliner says that they built this for the dedicated angler, so let’s look at the fishy stuff. At the bow there is a trolling motor. Our test boat had a wireless Motor-Guide and it did a good job of moving us about with little effort against a stiff breeze. The motor was mounted to a raised platform at the bow that it shared with a small storage cubby, and an aerated livewell.
Slightly aft, at the casting platform, you have the first pedestal base, flanked by two storage compartments. Here’s where you get your first indication that Crestliner isn’t trying to cut corners. The undersides of the compartment lids are reinforced with a piece of square channel and the carpeting wraps around the edge for tight fits when closed. Stainless steel piano hinges hold everything in place. Use caution when the pedestal seat is in place here, as it interferes slightly with the center walk-through windshield. Between the dual consoles you’ll find storage for seven rods, and under the deck plate is the trolling motor battery and charger. The cockpit features four pedestal bases and plenty of room to walk around. It measures 6’2” across and the gunwales come up 24 inches. The aft casting deck features another pedestal base, a hatch for the starting battery and recirculation pump, and another hatch over the second aerated livewell.
The reverse chines and low deadrise at the transom did a good job of adding stability to the boat when fishing. I stood on all parts of the boat’s rails and it felt solid and stable, even when another boat’s wake came across. I felt no need to grab a rail for safety and could keep both hands on the pole.
The helm is a testimony to the simplicity of the 1650 Fish Hawk. There are only three gauges: speedo, tach, and fuel. A Lowrance X-50DS fishfinder was mounted to the right of the helm on our test boat. Crestliner also included a 12V power supply at the dash. There are four lighted rocker switches, and at your knees, another switch for the raw water washdown (which is located at the transom).
When under way, I clearly felt feedback on the wheel. In fact, if the boat is not trimmed correctly, letting go of the wheel will result in the boat torque-steering off to starboard. It takes a firm grip to hold the wheel straight. However, if you trim the boat with just a few shots of up-trim, then the spray moves back from the helm to the stern, and the pull on the wheel eases considerably. Now you can let go of the wheel and she’ll track straight. Don’t go nuts on the trim. It doesn’t take much, but you can feel the difference in both speed and the feel of the helm itself. In turns, the boat won’t dig in and get uncomfortable; rather, she’ll slide just slightly to take the edge off the turn. If you turn too hard, the prop ventilates and you have to back off of the throttle to get it back into grabbing water. This is not a bad thing. It keeps you out of trouble when you’re not clever enough to do it yourself.
We’re not trying to win a performance race here, so break-neck turns won’t do. It’s hard on you, hard on the boat, and hard on the critters in the livewell.
We had the max horsepower on our test boat and she performed nicely, and we came home with interesting numbers. Top speed was a very respectable 41 MPH, and if you’re the type to race to your fishing hole and then race back, that top speed created a 9.5 GPH fuel burn, and you can keep up that speed for 78 miles. Cruising speed is another matter. You have a best economy, or best speed choice. 3500 RPMS will give you best economy with 3.5 GPH at 23.1 MPH. 4000 RPMS will give you best cruise speed of 27.6 while burning 4.1 GPH. In terms of miles per gallon, the edge goes to 4000 RPMS by 3/100ths of a mile. In either case, the range is only a mile different (119 miles and 120 miles, respectively.)At the end of the day, I found the Crestliner 1650 Fish Hawk to be exactly as the company billed her: A cost-effective way for a dedicated angler to get on the water and enjoy doing what he does when the work week is over. After all... all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Crestliner 1650 Fish Hawk Walk Through (2010-) is 41.0 mph (66 kph), burning 9.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 35.96 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Crestliner 1650 Fish Hawk Walk Through (2010-) is 27.6 mph (44.4 kph), and the boat gets 6.66 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.83 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 120 miles (193.12 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 90-hp Mercury Optimax.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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