by Dom Wiseman

The Horizon Stryker is my type of boat. Equal part simplicity and functionality, perfect for fishing inshore and offshore. You see, I like to fish in some of the more inaccessible areas up and down the coast and sometimes that makes launching off the beach necessary. At best you can get some dicey beach ramps where the surge can be considerable, making launching a fibreglass boat harrowing for even the most competent and experienced boatie. Aluminium excels in these situations. Tough, dependable and not quite as heartbreaking when a set wave lifts it off the trailer and dumps it on the ramp.
Built in the aluminium boat mecca, Queensland, Horizon boats are tough as nails,  using quality aluminium and include some standard features others would list as options.

The Stryker 438 is a multi-purpose boat in that it’s capable as an inshore fisher as well as a boat you could easily have in offshore conditions. It has an array of features starting with a fantastically deep anchor well that will ensure you always have enough line to find the bottom. The deck is checker plate and while not supremely grippy, courtesy of the optional, yet impeccably finished white painted hull, is safe enough. A sturdy bollard for tying off and small anchor roller, both standard, keep the lines tidy while rails run either side for safety.
Horizon 438 Stryker 7
Horizon 438 Stryker 2The carpeted casting platform, featuring a pedestal seat mount, covers about a third of the cockpit space and is elevated just enough for you to still feel secure standing up there. Storage sits underneath a single large carpet covered lid that reveals a cavernous space. I’d personally like to see more lids in order to access more of the space, because once you pack something up the back, accessing it becomes a game of Jenga mixed with Twister as you attempt to retrieve it over or through everything else you packed in there. Well, for anyone that, like me, accumulates a lot of “necessary stuff” and doesn’t pack well.
Back in the cockpit proper, it is spacious and deep and the floor is at a height that allows you to lean against the gunwale reasonably comfortably for stability when fishing in bumpy conditionsHorizon 438 Stryker 6and it features two side pockets for the items you need to access regularly. The carpeted floor is comfortable and a light grey which wont heat up too much and includes two pedestal seats and three mounts. Two at the rear of the cockpit and one towards the front on the left hand side.
Just under the gunwale to the right of the driver is a switch panel that controls anchor lights and other optional electronics. You could mount a sounder off this bracket which would keep it mostly out of the way and dry. I would opt for a separate sounder and chart plotter based on personal experience and you could fit either dual 5 or 7 inch units on RAM mounts here. These sturdy mounts are tough and will stand the test of time in the salt. Along the rear of the Stryker is a small raised platform that accommodates the battery directly in between the rear pedestal-mount seats. To the left of the driver is a good sized plumbed live bait tank. It will hold a good amount of water and baits ensuring you’ve got time to wait for the big one to come along. On both sides of the transom are two boarding steps which, by their design, add a little stability to an already stable and sturdy hull while the grab rails down either side add security in an already safe cockpit.

Horizon 438 Stryker 25Our test boat was powered by a 30hp two-stroke Mercury which was admittedly rough, as you’d expect from a two-stroke, but spritely in its performance. At full throttle it climbed to 40km/h and powered strongly.
While rated up to a maximum of 50hp, which would be smashingly quick for a boat like this, the Mercury 30hp is more than enough and gets the Stryker on the plane quickly. Good acceleration is provided all through the rev range and while being of, shall we say, older technology, is still capable of providing good performance at a super affordable price point for the average buyer.

Built on the new Hydro-Lift hull with considerable pressed reverse chines and variable deadrise, this hull is a belter. It handles well, slices through the chop and feels sure and secure underway while the chines lift it up onto the plane quickly and provide more than ample stability at rest.
Horizon 438 Stryker 20
Horizon 438 Stryker 21This boat will love all kinds of conditions, from relatively calm like the test day to tougher choppier conditions found offshore and that’s precisely why it is so versatile. The hull is responsive and doesn’t turn like a hyperactive bumble bee when you make a corner as some other hull types do, some almost seemingly turning so flat and quickly, it feels you’re darting about on the water. This hull beds in and doesn’t turn so that you’re fighting all the way around the corner.
This variable deadrise design with 3mm aluminium all round will be perfect in almost all conditions. Of course you have to be respectful of the ocean at all times, but I would certainly take this on light offshore forays chasing snapper.

ON THE TRAILERHorizon 438 Stryker 5
The Stryker sits on a Silverwood 4.2m skid trailer which the dealer makes in house, after acquiring Silverwood trailers some time ago. Interestingly they also make camper trailers and customs. A nice diversification from dealer Neken Marine in Mona Vale , NSW.
The trailer itself is perfectly suited to this boat and can be towed by a medium to large family sedan. Being a single axle, it is easy to manoeuvre and store.

The plumbed live boat tank is a handy freebie, most manufacturers would have it listed as an option,  and the hull rides exceptionally well. It’s the perfect boat for a keen angler who lives near the coast or a slight way up river and wants to head offshore now and again. The build quality is great and the thick aluminium sheeting creates a strong and sound hull.


  • Standard features
  • Hull versatility


  • Forward storage design

Price: (from) $13,475 (As tested) $14,871
Construction: Aluminum
Length Overall: 4.4m
Beam: 2.06m
Draft: 1.10m
Weight on trailer: 600kgs (approx)
Engine: 30hp Mercury two-stroke