Sexy beast

The open de­sign of the 18ft Le­vant 560 makes it an ideal ves­sel for an­glers who want to tow their own boat

Sea Angler (UK) - - Contents - Words and pho­tog­ra­phy by Dave Barham

The 18ft Le­vant 560 is an ideal ves­sel for tow­ing.

Dur­ing a trip to Por­tu­gal to visit a Face­book friend, I stum­bled upon a rather sexy lit­tle bass boat, the Le­vant 560 Open. Mea­sur­ing in at just a tad over 18ft long, the Le­vant 560 is just about per­fect for UK wa­ters, in terms of average size of tow­ing ves­sels found here.

What caught my eye was the fact that it’s a com­pletely open de­sign, with a full walk-around deck area. There’s a sen­si­bly-sized cen­tre con­sole, with enough dash space for fit­ting flush-mounted elec­tron­ics and gauges, and on our boat we had a fold-down ra­dio an­tenna – a great ad­di­tion.

This ves­sel has the tra­di­tional seat­ing ar­range­ment of two be­hind the con­sole and a pair in front. The helm seat is a ‘sport bench’ de­sign, al­low­ing both seated and semi-seated steer­ing op­tions. There is also a rather nifty lit­tle seat on the bow; per­fect for when you’re mo­tor­ing up for an­other drift, and you don’t want to put your rod down or sit on the bench seat – it’s al­most there to just rest your back­side while you’re still stand­ing.

The ad­di­tion of a dive lad­der on the port side stern is some­thing that you rarely see on boats as stan­dard, but if you’ve ever been thrown overboard you’ll ap­pre­ci­ate how hard it is to climb back into a boat, so hats off for yet an­other safety plus-point to Le­vant.

So why do I reckon this beauty is per­fect for UK bass fish­ing? Well, apart from it be­ing an open de­sign, which helps with drift speed (no cuddy to catch the wind), and the ob­vi­ous point of plenty of casting room for fling­ing lures, the big ad­van­tage is this boat only draws 10½in. Of course, you have to fac­tor the leg of your out­board into the equa­tion, but any boat that draws less than a foot has to be a se­ri­ous con­tender for creep­ing into shal­low water or drift­ing over shal­low reefs.

Ev­ery­where you look on this boat it has neat lit­tle stor­age lock­ers, and space has been used ef­fec­tively to keep un­wanted items off the deck. Up the bow there are two lock­ers and a handy cub­by­hole for bits and pieces. There is more stor­age in­side the cen­tre con­sole, both sides, and a fur­ther two lock­ers at the stern – ei­ther side of the en­gine well.

GREAT HAN­DLING

To be hon­est, the con­di­tions out­side the safety of the river were pretty hor­ren­dous, but the 560 coped with ease, and that’s tes­ta­ment to the hull de­sign. Hav­ing spent some time on three dif­fer­ent Le­vant boats, I’ve come to ex­pect noth­ing else.

The boat’s builder, Fran­cisco Alexan­dre loves his boys’ toys and is a true en­thu­si­ast. He pumped up the power on the 560 and was throw­ing it about all over the place, do­ing

dough­nuts, tight turns, and such like, to demon­strate the sta­bil­ity of this lit­tle boat. I was very im­pressed.

Then it was my turn to take the helm and, boy, what a fun ma­chine I found it to be. Turns are in­stant, the throt­tle con­trol is easy to use and the boat re­acts as quickly as any other that I’ve ever thrown about.

Be­cause she’s light­weight, and with the help of the hull de­sign, she’s up on the plan very quickly, and there’s no real drag be­fore you’re on your way. Even at speed, when you throw the wheel round she re­sponds and sim­ply glides into the turn. There’s no digging in at all – it’s like thrash­ing about on a speed­boat, but one that’s build for fish­ing.

I was might­ily im­pressed with this boat. I’m re­ally hop­ing that we start see­ing a few of the Le­vant 560 boats in UK wa­ters. Bass be­ware! For a lit­tle over £13,000, you’re get­ting a whole lot of boat and en­gine, with su­perb han­dling and sea-keep­ing qual­i­ties.

Ready to pile on the

power

A fin­ished boat, ready to leave the fac­tory

She lit­er­ally glides across the water in a turn

The cen­tre con­sole is re­ally well laid out

Lots of space, and note the fold-down aerial

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