OUR grandfathers would turn over in their graves if they new we’d retired the old bond wood boat and Seagull outboard for a $20,000 dollar tinny to go out and catch bream. That’s the way a reasonable number of fishos have gone, with all manner of 4-5m boats fully decked out for chasing fish around the estuaries and dams. Tournaments have had a lot to do with this, as anglers finetune new techniques and revisit local grounds with surprising results.
Having said that, the majority of bread and butter anglers prefer their straightforward tinny which doesn’t have such a high price tag on it. Outside of these couple of groups there are certainly plenty of anglers who enjoy a diversity of fishing in a variety of destinations. One day it’s up the creek crabbing and prawning, the next it’s out in the bay chasing a few mackerel then, when conditions are favourable, it’s out to a few of the inshore reefs chasing a feed of reefies.
It’s nice to be able to do all this in the one boat and you’ll find the new 4.5m Fisher with the extended transom an extremely versatile boat. The places I’ve seen various versions of the 4.5m Fisher around the state in recent times have really surprised me. For a locally produced boat they really get around in the hands of everyone from the family man to the professional angler.
Most of the boats that Fisher produces these days are in the 4-5m range, and because everyone has different needs the boats in this category have the advantage of so many layouts – centre console, side console, tiller steer and runabout. After many, many years of boat building Col has come up with a superb hull design in these plate alloy boats, and you’ll never be totally convinced of how good they are until you go for a run in some rough water.
Our latest run was in the 4.5m extended transom side console and the 4.8m tiller steer. The 4.5 with the extensions runs out to 5m metres overall, and with a 100hp Yamaha four-stroke on the back it’s a daunting combination.
Typical for most days when you plan to go boating, the sky was grey and the wind was up, so common sense told us to stick our test run to Pumicestone Passage. When the tide runs against the wind you end up with quite a short little chop and while not huge, it’s enough to give a good indication on how the boat performs.
With a basic boat you’d expect this outfit to be heavy in the tail end and bog down upon take off with the bow high in the air. Not so. You don’t have to work the throttle much at all to get under way and then it’s very smooth sailing.
As we headed up the Passage to a bit of calm water so we could take the photos there were a number of other boats travelling in the same direction, some bigger, some smaller. I watched with great interest how the other boats were performing in the same conditions. Traditional style tinnies pushed a fair amount of water and spray out from the bow as they punched into it, while the bigger and heavier fibreglass boats ran across it without a worry. That’s exactly what we did. The boat has a 17° deadrise with a fine entry and I was taken by just how well the boat ran through this. Very little spray was thrown out and we caught up to and passed a few of the other boats without really trying. The look on their faces was worth a laugh as we overtook, not to mention my urge to use a bit more of those hundred horses bolted on the back. I eased off at 40mph and there was still more to go. On a good sea you’ll get close to 50mph out of this rig.
Our speed probably had a little bit to do with the lack of spray that was thrown back on us as we’d overtake our on spray before the little that was thrown up got a chance to come back onto us.
It’s because of the capability of the hull to handle a rough sea, and the solid construction of the boat, that it’s so well suited to a number of conditions, able to take a load and accommodate a decent size engine on the back. Col’s a keen angler himself which no doubt has helped in the design and layout of the boats. If you’ve ever piled a heap of crab pots into a boat or thrown a cast net off the bow you soon appreciate a roomy and stable boat.
As far as the ride of the boat and the performance goes, you’d really struggle to pick something wrong with it and that also goes for the 4.8m tiller with a 60hp that we also test drove.
In looking through this layout and its features you’ll see a few inclusions that you normally wouldn’t see in a boat like this.
For want of a better description, this particular outfit is really a big dinghy with a side console. The upper section of the bow is made with checkerplate aluminium which brings us back to the point of throwing a cast net. The checker plate is nice and strong and doesn’t tend to be as slippery as your standard aluminium.
The anchor well has a latch down lid which eliminates any hole to fall into while you’re working off the bow, and it’s a great added safety feature for keeping the anchor in place in a bumpy sea. The area under here is fully enclosed with a lockable door so valuables can be placed up in here as well as give a dry storage area. This isn’t a standard feature but it’s a good idea to keep in mind.
Like the front area, the deck is also formed with checkerplate with four different positions for removable pedestal seats. You can have none or all of the seats in to suit how many people go out in the boat and what sort of fishing you’re going to do. Even with the four seats in there is still plenty of open deck space.
The deck is all at one level, although like the rest of the boat there’s the option of having a raised casting platform if you want to customise the boat a little further.
A nice extra I thought for a boat this size was the wet underfloor tank. When flooded it’s a great live fish well or place to drop a few fish into and bleeding before placing into the ice box. It lies in the aft section of the boat and runs lengthwise down the centre. The lid of the hatch is simple yet quite clever with its two tiered hinge system. A forward small section opens or the whole length can open. (It’d be nice to think that you’d need the big lid to place the fish in, but let’s face it – most of our fishy stories will fit through the small lid.)
In front of this lies the underfloor fuel tank which holds 120 litres. In boats like this where, depending on the layout, a lot of the weight ends up at the back of the boat, the added weight of a reasonable fuel tank is helpful to the ride of the boat.
Outside of the fillers for the fuel tanks and the wet tank, the deck of the boat is fully sealed from the underneath section of the hull which makes it airtight. The hull is ready for survey with the option of foam filling below deck.
With the fully sealed deck comes scuppers in either corner of the boat which allows the deck to be drained and hosed out. The scuppers aren’t just open holes – they can be opened and closed.
With the extended transom in this version you have the boarding platform or duck board across the back and a full height transom, and with the bigger engines this is the better way to go. The full transom gives the depth for the livebait tank and for a couple of service shelves to be raised off the deck for housing the battery, and in the case of two-strokes the oil bottles on some models. It all makes for a tidy and friendly boat to work from.
The side console is a compact unit yet has room for GPS and sounder on top, radio below and switch panel with dry storage inside.
Now should you like the sound of this boat (the yellow boat) but maybe a different layout, have a look at the 4.8m tiller (red boat) with the 60hp Yamaha four-stroke. The hull itself is pretty well identical but the layout makes it very different. The 4.8 actually has more room inside as there’s no extended transom or side console, just a big open boat. Col tells me this is actually the more popular of the rigs. The way I see it, if you wanted to head out into more open waters, as in offshore, the extended transom of the 4.5 has the beauty of taking the bigger engine and the safety factor of the full height transom so no waves slop in over it.
If you wanted to stick just to the estuaries and semi-open waters, the tiller 60hp would be the pick of the boats and quite a few dollars cheaper as there is less work in building the boat and there’s a smaller engine on the back.
Both of these boats have been painted and look very schmick. I didn’t think S.E.S yellow could ever look so good on a boat. Of course, you don’t have to paint the boat which will save a few more dollars again.
These days Fisher Boats is based on Bribie Island so it’s not far down to the water to test drive the boats. Col encourages interested parties to take a test ride because taking people out for a run in rough seas is the boats’ best selling point.
Test boat courtesy of Fisher Boats (07) 3408 0722. BMT package prices start from $25,000.
Make/model - Fisher 4.5m side console
Length - 4.5m (5m overall)
Beam - 2.15m
Weight - 370kg (hull only)
Construction - plate alloy
Bottom - 4mm
Sides - 4mm
Deadrise - 17 degrees
Fuel - 120L underfloor
Flotation - air-tight hull, optional foam fill
Height on trailer - 1.7m
1. One of the best selling points on the Fishers is their ride. This extended 4.5m side console with the 100hp Yamaha four stroke is quite a machine.
2. Not a bad sort of a bow for a tinny.
3. There’s no shortage of room with a number of seating options.
4. Thanks to the way the seats are positioned you still have a good clear walk down the centre. Note the hinged lids on the centre wet tank allowing a small front lid to be lifted or the whole lid.
5. The 4.5m is measured to the transom. The extended transom takes the length to 5m, which is the length to the engine.
6. The 4.8m Fisher in the tiller steer has a totally different look and layout yet retains that superb ride.
7. The layout of the 4.8m tiller. How’s that for room!