BOAT REVIEW Innovision 555

September 2023 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words by Mark Kitteridge. Photography by Roger Mills and Mark Kitteridge. Video by Roger Mills.
OUR RATING
4.5 STARS
Performance
Economy
Handling
Value
Build Quality
Specification
MODEL DETAILS
MODEL Innovision 555
DESIGNER Innovision Boats
BUILDER Innovision Boats
PRICE AS TESTED $POA
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 5.56M
BEAM 2.30M
DRAFT 0.337M
ENGINE Honda BF150 outboard
FUEL CAPACITY 200L
Weight on Trailer 1350 kg
Max Horsepower 150hp
Passenger Capacity 4 people
DEADRISE 18 degrees
HIGHLIGHTS
  • A pure lure-fishing weapon
  • Easily accommodates three actively-fishing anglers
  • We could move right around the boat and cast or fight fish
OBSERVATIONS
  • A step up in physical size on the 515
  • Capacious helm-station storage area
  • Feels like riding on a cushion of air

It might seem strange that lure-fishing enthusiast Paul Senior, co-owner of fishing tackle company Ocean Angler, is actually proud his Innovision 555, a highly-specialised sport fishing boat, doesn’t much look like one.


While I guess the 555 looks the part in a smart, solid, muscular way, there’s otherwise no clue as to its role – no rocket launcher festooned with rods and reels and nothing visible in the flush-mounted rod holders…

Birth and inception
Paul’s initial brief to Innovision’s Simon Minoprio was reasonably straightforward: the boat had to be a ‘pure lure-fishing weapon’ with few compromises. He especially wanted a simple, clean layout, with enough fishing space for two or three fishers to cast soft-baits or top-water lures using today’s longer 8-foot-plus rods. And anglers had to be able to fight a hooked fish effectively. Paul also didn’t want any unnecessary gadgets, cluttering the vessel and potentially requiring constant maintenance.
Fortunately, Paul had a pretty realistic idea of what was possible after running a smaller Innovision 515 for hundreds of hours. There were a lot of things he loved about that more compact vessel, including its smooth, dry ride – it almost seemed to float over the water – and its surprising amount of internal fishing space, excellent stability at rest, and easy towing, launching and retrieving.

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Paul knew those positive attributes would still apply, but with the bigger 555 model, he and Simon had the scope to focus on making an even better lure-fishing boat.
In particular, Paul wanted one important addition. He’d always been ambivalent towards electric trolling motors because they “looked ugly” stowed on the bow and required extra care and attention. However, so many top-class fishers had recommended them to him he relented, eventually settling on a Haswing electric and specifying a bow mount to accept it.

Longer and wider
Paul has been delighted by the boat’s build, with all his important fishing boat boxes ticked. An extra 0.4m of length in the new boat might initially have taken a bit of getting used to. Less than half a metre might not seem much, but the 555 is actually quite a step up in physical size, both internally and externally. Indeed, I could only shake my head in disbelief when I boarded the new boat for the first time – there’s so much room inside, and on the trailer it’s clearly a bigger boat than the 515 too.
While a wider beam provides the greater contribution to its increased internal volume, Innovision’s distinctive plumb bow and twin swim platform cages also play a part. These last are perhaps the most worthwhile additions.


Not only do the cages provide prime fishing positions, they make it much easier to work around the Honda outboard when there’s a fish on the line. The swim platforms are elevated too, so no wet shoes (most of the time), and the rear railing sections drop to become boarding ladders. Great!
I was also impressed by easily-accessed rod-storage under the gunwales along both sides of the cockpit. There are only six in total, but that’s fine by Paul – he says it encourages anglers (like me!) to think about what they really need bring and what can be left behind!
The rod butts slot into padded holes at one end and are Velcroed securely in place – even rod lengths in excess of 8’6” can be accommodated.
While Paul dislikes storing rods in upright holders, as they get in the way when casting or fighting fish, he’s also a realist. Flush-mounted rod holders pepper the coamings and transom, with another four lined up in the bow – perfect when rods need to be stashed securely for a while, for whatever reason.


But it is the decent-sized transom bait-station that provides the only real clue to the boat’s main purpose. A four-position rod rack runs along the rear of a washable, drained filleting board, which has a large tackle drawer underneath.
For seating, there’s a padded two-person bench seat at the helm with a 90-litre Icey-Tek chilly bin underneath, and another a seat in front of the helm console – perfect for one passenger, but two will fit at a pinch.

On the water 
We met Innovision’s Simon Minoprio at Sandspit as dawn was breaking, along with Boating NZ cameraman Roger Mills. Simon had a surprise for us. Instead of his father’s 515 Innovision, he’d brought along the comparatively diminutive Innovision 414 as photo chase boat. I saw only the slightest twitch on Roger’s face at the revelation. Ever the professional!
Fishing tackle, clothes and camera bags were easily swallowed inside the 555’s capacious centre console, which is open on one side for quick-stowing access, with further access under the hinged bow seat.


Paul’s strategy worked: I only brought two outfits rather than my more usual four or five. These joined Paul’s rods in the rod racks under the gunwales.
Launching proved to be a simple affair. It’s something Paul often does by himself, but when beach launching, having someone to hold the boat definitely makes life easier.
The conditions early on were pretty calm, giving us a smooth ride. Pushed along by the Honda 150hp four-stroke outboard, it sometimes felt as if we were riding on a cushion of air.
It was a cool morning so I got to appreciate one of the very few concessions Paul has made to comfort: a centre-console wide enough to shelter both driver and passenger. That wind sure was cold, but that’s what warm clothes, a hat and a buff are for!

For me, the passenger handholds could have been positioned differently – my hand would either get cold holding on outside the centre console or obscure Paul’s view of the large Raymarine fish-finder’s screen if I hung on inside.

Fishing time
Despite the chilly winter temperatures, the fishing was pretty good. I had all sorts of plans, but those went out the window when we spotted some terns feeding vigorously. Paul is hard-wired to seek out work-ups like this and it’s up to everyone else on board to be ready to go!
As the 555’s clean, open layout easily accommodates three actively-fishing anglers, four at a pinch, it was heaven with just the two of us fishing our soft-baits. The rod-storage setup meant there were no pesky outfits in the rocket-launcher to avoid with our long rods, or even a bimini top. We could move around easily, cast in any direction and fight fish as the situation dictated.


And dictate it did: my very first fish from under the feeding birds was a modest-sized kingfish of almost legal length that ate a small soft-bait within seconds of hitting the water. During the ensuing 10-minute fight, I was twice forced to follow the fish right around the boat before finally netting and releasing it.
In the process, I was reminded how nothing beats a centre-console boat (except maybe a tiller-steer configuration) when it comes to scrapping with kings, large kahawai or tuna, particularly where multiple hook-ups are involved! The 555, with U-Dek-padded gunwales affording good upper-thigh support, is especially good. More U-Dek on the floor has just enough give for comfort and offers good grip for bare feet.


Over the next couple of hours we went on to catch a bunch of modest snapper to 2.5kg, along with a nice trevally.
But anyone who knows Paul Senior will not be surprised to learn that catching one or two snapper every few minutes is simply too little action for his liking.
“Let’s head out a bit and look for work-ups!” he declared.
And those of you who know me will not be surprised I rolled my eyes and ruefully shook my head. With time running out and the wind increasing, I could see trouble ahead, especially for Simon and Roger trailing us in the much smaller Innovision 414.
However, I should have had more faith – not in that Paul would be right, but that he would be lucky!


Although a ‘work-up’ momentarily glimpsed through binoculars two miles out to sea turned out to be three gannets sitting on the water, we decided to fish over some okay sign showing on the big Raymarine fish-finder. Not only did we start catching snapper, but we were quickly joined by two whales followed by a bunch of dolphins, and then gannets materialised from nowhere to plummet into the water just 200m away.
A quick shift, and with Paul using the Haswing to keep us perfectly positioned close to all the frantic activity (“That Haswing’s changed my life, mate!”), our rods were soon bending to decent-sized snapper.

In its element
Both boats had enjoyed good success in no time, but a non-negotiable school pick-up for Paul curtailed the session. The 414 headed off into the choppy seas first, just in case it ran out of fuel and needed our assistance, while Paul dropped down “one last time…”
Ten minutes later… we set off after them, with the breezy conditions allowing Paul to show off the Zipwake interceptor trim system he’d fitted. Zipwakes react more quickly than conventional trim tabs, adjusting for optimum ride comfort whatever the conditions. They made a big difference to our trip home, the 555 slicing easily through one-metre swells.
As the cream on our cake, despite our speedy trip back, we found the 414 already safely beached at Sandspit and waiting for a trailer. It seems seaworthiness runs through the whole Innovision range!

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Sessa vessels have a CE CLASS B rating – certified offshore to 200 miles, for winds up to force 8, and waves up to up to four metres high. Very capable, therefore.

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