The 520 Fisher with 140 Suzuki four-stroke outboard is the sort of plate alloy craft that will fulfil a multitude of roles. There is room for five anglers to comfortably fish on board in nearly every type of environment – estuaries, bays or offshore. With it's high standard of finish, great paint job, and sleek hull design, the 520 Fisher is also one attractive craft.
Each Fisher is virtually a custom rig. In the particular craft we reviewed, there were some innovative features. For example, adjacent to the 40cm high casting platform with it's massive storage locker underneath there are handles inside the bow area so the owner can tie his crab pots down when on the move.
The 520's centre console is equipped with both a windscreen rail plus a neat T-top to provide shade for occupants. The heavy-duty windscreen, the T-top and bimini can all be lowered forward for storage by undoing a couple of large knobs.
The sturdy alloy console features a flat shelf aft of the screen where a compass, Lowrance 5200c Global Map and a Furuno FCV 620 sounder are mounted. Down on the next level a grab rail stretched across from the passenger's side with a lockable glove box and marine radio immediately below. Central on the console were switches, 12V outlet, and an array of instruments linked to the 140 Suzuki directly over the wheel.
A neat steel mesh shelf within the lower section of the console was conveniently designed to store items that might need to be kept handy.
Whether driving from a seated or standing position I found the forward controls for the Suzuki to be very handy on the starboard edge of the console.
Similar to the forward deck, the remainder of the craft's self-draining floor is also carpeted to provide sure footing when offshore.
The near waist high cockpit of this craft is very well set up to suit the angler. Side pockets are generous at almost 2.5m long and the starboard pocket carried around into the transom area allows a pair of engine batteries to be mounted well off the floor. A deck wash hose is also usefully set up in the aft corner of the starboard pocket.
Additional transom features included a storage console set up on the floor, with a bait station above. Rod holders, shelfs and a cutting board are handy on the bait station, which is at just the right height for easy use. To port was the wide transom door. This is full-height and opens inwards for safety. A couple of smart touches included the cross bolt style lock and rubber seals on the door: the first to ensure the door would not accidentally open and the second to keep water out. A three quarter bench seat aft is an option if required.
Other cockpit features include aft cleats, transducer bracket, a pair of rod holders each side plus neat aft side rails that extend down onto the pod on which the engine was mounted. Divers or swimmers would find these rails handy when re-entering the craft via the aft checker plated duckboard.
With a top speed of just over 63km/h the Fisher 520 is certainly a lively performer yet the hull planed at a modest 15.3km/h at 2,800 rpm. The 520 is rated for outboards from 90 to 140hp and given the very robust construction of these plate craft, which in this case featured 4 mm sides and a 6mm bottom, I saw the 140 as the right engine for the job.
Other speeds recorded included 17km/h at 3,000 rpm, 39.6 at 4,000 rpm 52.4 at 5,000 rpm and the zippy 63.6 at 6,000 rpm. With two aboard I found that 4,000 rpm for 52.4km/h was an ideal cruising speed.
With it's 17 degree Vee plus under water strakes mated to a small outer reversed chine the 5.2m long and 2.2m wide hull has the sort of attributes a knowledgeable boat buyer will be looking for.
The review was undertaken at Pumicestone Passage at Bribie Island and while initial plans were made for a long run across the bay to fully test ride and handling a looming summer storm saw us confining our run to the passage. The Fisher did not make enough wash either at high or low speeds for me to throw the craft hard across so I wasn’t able to assess the hull's ability to handle wave impact.
Nevertheless, a big fat Riviera saved the day and we took the opportunity to push the Fisher over it's wash at a good speed. The result was not surprising: there was little impact from the 500kg hull, which was exactly how I’d found other Fishers I've reviewed in the past.
Stability was just as pleasing. The deep Vee hull settled nicely in the water at rest with the chines doing their bit to keep it from rocking around.
Given the features, the comfortable ride and sure handling, the Fisher 520 should make a great all-rounder or off shore rig. And with 100L of fuel under the floor the 140 Suzuki four-stroke should provide some very cheap runs out wide.
The reviewed craft comes home for around $54,000 with the electronics as listed and from around $50,000 with a 90 Suzuki in lieu of the 140. Fisher Boats can be contacted at www.fisherboats.com.au or on phone (07) 5495 4696.
Weight of hull: 490kg
Deadrise: 17 degrees
Engine ratings: 70 to 140hp
Engine: 140hp Suzuki four-stroke
Fuel capacity: 100L
Towing: family six sedan or wagon