November 14, 2014
Even with 25-knot winds straight out of the south and a full moon the night before—usually not the most productive time to fish—Florida Sportsman Associate Editor Jerry McBride took advantage of the chance to get out of the office for a couple hours of fishing with Sundance Boats' G.B. James aboard the new Sundance FX17 Flicker.
A late-morning start gave the Intracoastal Waterway plenty of time to chop up. A veteran of the bass circuits with a lot of offshore fishing experience, this would be G.B.'s first visit to southeast Florida's snook flats. With lots of flush deck space and a shallow draft, the 17 Flicker appeared to be the right tool for the job. For a closer look at the FX17's all-composite construction materials, hull design, standard equipment and options, as well as performance data with a variety of engines, visit www.sundanceboats.com
Length Overall: 17 feet, 1 inch
Beam: 6 feet, 6 inches
Transom height: 20 inches
Weight (dry): 860 pounds
Deadrise at transom: 10 degrees
Draft: 7 inches
Fuel capacity: 12 gallons
Max. horsepower: 70
G.B. James pulls the trailer straps off the Flicker and turns over the engine in preparation for launch.
I shot a few pictures of the interior during the quarter-mile run to the flats. Standard under-gunnel carpeted racks hold three rods on each side, in addition to two vertical mounts on each side of the console.
Flush rear deck hatches open to provide dry storage or livewell space, as well as access to the bilge pump and livewell plumbing. Lots of livewell options on the Flicker—front casting deck, console and rear. Flush mount stainless cleats and pushpole holders are standard equipment.
Fuel separator mounted under rear hatch against transom.
Poling platform is standard, but left plenty of rear corner deck space for casting behind cockpit. Helm cushions and backrest are also standard seating, along with a seat forward over the console livewell. G.B. explained that we were fishing on a basic, option-free hull.
A small drift chute slowed us enough so we could effectively work a variety of lures despite the wind. Even in the nasty chop, I never detected even a hint of hull slap.
A hundred yards into the drift, and we have our first hookup.
With spotted seatrout season closed, it was no surprise they were hungry.
This trout didn't seem the least bit guilty about cannibalizing a trout-color suspending plug—everything eats little trout, including bigger trout.
Next catch, a little better trout on a D.O.A. Shrimp.
We decided to get some running shots of the Flicker before the wind and approaching storm got any worse. G.B. dropped me off on a nearby spoil island with the camera.
Running into the wind, the 70 popped right up on top of the chop. Yamaha test engineers say that takes about 4.5 seconds. Holeshot, according to the specs, is actually over a second faster with a 60 on the transom, although it produces slightly less top end.
Listed top end with the 70 is 39.1 mph, burning 7.9 gallons per hour. At 3,500 rpm cruise, burn rate drops to just 3.8 gph.
Sleek Flicker at rest. Considering the beam on this 17-footer is less than 6½ feet, the casting decks were more spacious than on a lot of larger flats boats.
Front hull is pre-wired for a trolling motor, which would have been handy for fishing in the wind, although the lack of electric prop noise, in combination with the no-slap hull, probably helped us sneak up on more fish.
Do you call it Carolina flare if it's on a flats boat? That flare creates a lot of deck space over a relatively narrow pad. Running hard on the choppy surface, the only moisture that made it past the sharp entry and flared hull were a few drops of rain from an approaching front.
Back to fishing. G.B. hooked up to something substantial enough to rip off three good runs against the drag.
Whatever it is, it's headed for the only structure within a hundred yards.
Fighting a circling fish is when the big casting deck and wide, walk-around gunnels come in handy for maneuvering past the console. The narrow console aids in moving about the cockpit.
An exhausted G.B. hauls the culprit over the side. They pack a lot of power in those baby gag grouper.
Okay, we're kidding. G.B. was actually bowed up on his first snook—but it did eat the same Arkansas glow jig as the little grouper. We released the silver fish and called it a day. The Flicker ran easily at wide-open throttle back to the ramp into the 25-knot slop—no squeaks or rattles—a tribute to the rigidity of Sundance's I-Beam hull construction.