When you hear the name Alison boats you normally think of quality fibreglass boats that have been around for years. Well in the last few years Alison has moved away from glass and now produce quality aluminium plate boats in a variety of models.
I was lucky enough to jump aboard the 4.55m Arafura side console model when last up in Mackay. I have spent a lot of time in this sized boat from many different manufacturers so I was looking forward to giving the Alison the once over.
Ocean Marine in Mackay fitted this boat out and Scott, the owner of the business, uses this vessel for his own fishing, so it has been set up just the way he wanted. The rig was set up for fishing the inshore grounds and impoundment barra fishing, and when he’s not fishing he is pulling his kids and friends around on skis and tow tubes.
The boat is matched up with a 60hp Evinrude E-tec, which was a good size. We got the boat to 50km/h while the engine was sitting on the recommended 6000 revs, which is perfect, and in a 4.5m boat this was flying! The boat is rated to a 70hp, and I always believe and recommended that you go to the maximum engine rating in smaller boats. The test rig performed very well with the 60hp and I got the feeling that even stepping down to 50hp would not make this boat unsafe or under gunned. I tested the boat on a calm day so we really didn’t get to feel it in rough water and the chop we went through was our own boat chop, so I can’t give you a really good idea of its rough water capabilities, but in the smooth stuff it went very well, turning and responding adequately.
The boat was sitting on a Dunbier braked trailer, which was fitted with rollers and skids so you can drive the boat on the trailer if required. Dunbier is a name that is well respected in the boating industry. The finish of their trailers is fantastic and the moulded wheel guards and LED lights are standard.
One thing I found impressive was the finish of the boat. The sides were painted and it really made this boat look smart and elegant. The stern had a small boarding deck/outboard well that made stepping in easy, plus if a problem arises you can step out, fix it and step back inside.
When inside this boat it feels like you’re in a 5m boat. The console is over to the side and positioned back far enough to give you room in front and behind it to fish. The console looked great and was painted the same as the sides. There was a built in access hatch so you can get to all the wiring without having to get on your back and struggle. This is a huge tick for me! The console has the E-tec gauges fitted within the dash along with a switch panel. There is a good sized windscreen to protect your sounder and also keep you from the wind while driving. This rig was also was fitted with a marine stereo but it’s so well built into the dash you wouldn’t even know it was there.
The lower rear section of the boat is flat and well laid out. The entire deck is carpeted with quality marine carpet and there is nothing apart from seats there so getting around is a breeze. The 4.55m Arafura comes with two seat positions on this lower deck and there is a side pocket either side to throw your daily necessities in for easy access. There is also a rear well for the battery and fuel pumps. This is a great area that keeps everything within reach, however I would cover this up and have two or maybe three hatches along the panel. It would keep everything from the weather and make it look very tidy. The aft of the boat is also fitted with a livewell, which is great for keeping live bait such as prawns, especially when chasing barra.
Moving forward we step up on to a custom built casting deck. It’s a good height to fish from and gives you an advantage if lure casting. The gunwales are at a height that allows you lock your shins against them for security on the front deck. This is a great design.
Underneath the cast deck is storage and lots of it! There is enough room under here for all your safety gear and fishing tackle. There are two hatches that open left and right and are easy to access even with the front seat in place.
The bow of the boat has a massive anchor well that is large enough for all the rope and chain you need along with your anchor of choice. It’s all clean and out of the way. As a little extra, this well is carpeted too so the chain and anchor don’t bang against the boat all day. To top off the anchoring system there is an anchor roller on the bow to help with pulling the anchor up.
The bow is also made with an electric motor bracket. Although there wasn’t one fitted. it’s ready for action if you have one. The gunwales around the boat are fitted with 6 rod holders and the underfloor 80L fuel tank is also filled via a gunwale mounted fuel cap.
This is an Aussie-built boat for the anglers. With multiple options you can throw lures for tuna or poppers on inshore reefs for trevally. On a good day you can head offshore, or you can head up the creeks or impoundments for some lure casting or live baiting. If you can’t decide on one boat, then buy a boat that can do the lot, and this Alison is one of those boats.
The 4.55 Arafura Alison is a very smart looking side console. It rides well with a few mates loaded with fishing gear, and from what Scott says, if you want to play with skis and tubes it goes great!
Alison boats are custom built is Brisbane and there are many options. Sit down with Ocean Marine and nut out what suits you best and it can be done to your specifications.
See Ocean Marine on line at www.oceanmarine.com.au or call Scott Bain on (07) 4952 2436. Ocean Marine is located at 27 Corner Road in Mackay.