Still dominant after 40 years
  |  First Published: April 2013

For around four decades Clark boats have forged a reputation for strength, toughness, space, performance and stability and I’m pleased to report that the latest Clark 485 Dominator offers all this.

The side-console 485 Dominator could be regarded as an all-round fishing boat in many respects. Angler-friendly features abound and the side console allows plenty of room to move about freely.

Anglers could fit a bow-mount electric motor and fish for bream or bass in estuaries or impoundments or run out into the bay or inshore for pelagics or reef fish, and on the right sort of day, head offshore.

The 485 Dominator is very roomy and its 2.23m beam allows four to fish with ease and the 70hp Suzuki provided very good turn of speed and a quite good ride.


The forward casting platform is 40cm high, 2m wide and 1.5m long, with storage below for electric motor battery, tackle boxes and more. There is a bow pad for the electric outboard, 3mm plate sides and side pockets for storage.

The cockpit has 67cm high sides for ample peace of mind for anglers with children.

An open anchor well aft of the bowsprit would be fine for most applications although if anchoring offshore is required, extra rope might need to be stowed elsewhere.

Hatch covers in the casting deck were finished neatly and fitted flush, including the twin lids over the 100L plumbed livewell with divider. There is a seat base up front, too.

The floor-mounted side console provides plenty of legroom and its neat windscreen to deflects some breeze from the skipper. The wheel for the Teleflex cable steering easily fell to hand, as did the side-mounted engine controls.

There was a switch panel set to starboard and, as we often see with Suzuki installations today, a multi-function GMI 10 gauge was installed in the carbon fibre-look dash.

No other instruments were fitted but there was ample room for a 10” sonar/GPS combo screen.

Three strong, comfy pedestal seats could be moved around to best suit conditions.

The 1.2m side pockets are raised above the floor and there are grab rails and four rod holders on the all-welded side decks.

There’s a large plumbed live-bait well in the full-height transom to starboard and a raised shelf below, with the engine battery to port. The fuel filter and primer bulb were tucked under the transom cap yet totally accessible – full marks!

The Dominator’s full width pod has a non-skid boarding platform with a retractable ladder to port with convenient grab rail.


The Clark 485 Dominator is rated for 60hp-90hp engines. A 60hp would be adequate for angling with two aboard but if one wanted to tow a tube or skis between fishing trips, a 90hp would get the nod.

The 1.5L Suzuki 70hp provided ample power and performance with two aboard during the test runs. It was whisper-quiet at idle yet pushed the 485 Dominator onto the plane at a mere 8.5 knots (15.8kmh) at 2800 rpm.

At 3000rpm we recorded 16.4 knots (30.4kmh) and at 4000rpm we hit 19.7 knots (36.6kph). At 5000rpm the GPS registered 28.2 knots (52.3kmh) and that’s where we stopped the brand-new engine.

With 1000rpm in reserve, a fully run-in engine should top 35 knots (65kmh). At 4000rpm the Suzuki sipped 7.6L an hour – cheap cruising indeed.

The steering was quite light and only a hint of spray came aboard when we ran across wind-driven chop. Heading straight into oncoming swells inside the bar produced little in the way of loud impacts or heavy jarring and a following sea produced no surprises, the hull tracking straight and true.

The 3mm plate sides, fine bow entry and well-formed 3mm bottom bring the hull weight up to 380kg, which undoubtedly helped to iron out the chop. Stability was excellent, the hull hardly leaning at rest due to its moderate vee aft and the grip offered by the bottom strakes.


The Clark 485 Dominator is a popular size and a real Jack-of-all-trades. It’s quite suited to a wide range of fishing scenarios, from family fun boating through to light offshore work. Its 750mm high external sides and full-height transom are strong points for good seakeeping.

Thanks to the internal workroom, flexible seating options and angling features, four could fish together without much trouble.

Finish is very good, with welds visible but neatly smoothed. The paint and general standard of appointments were quite high.


Length on trailer6.15m
Hull3mm plate alloy sides and bottom
Hull weight 495kg
Capacity4 adults
Fuel80L underfloor
Test engine 70hp Suzuki
Towing 6cyl or mid SUV

Test boat Supplied by Pacific Marine Centre, Loganholme, Qld, ph 07 38011722 or email --e-mail address hidden-- Price as tested on single-axle trailer and including safety gear and registration: $27,800.

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