For those after a fishing boat that can be kept on the water, but isn’t as large or as maintenance-heavy as a flybridge game boat, European manufacturer Arvor may have the answer with its recently released 905 Sportsfish.
Previously, I’d been aboard Arvor’s 675 Sportsfish, and on the 905 I recognised some of the same features and design elements, including a wide, beam-forward hull.
Arvor’s Sportsfish range is built to withstand the rigours of offshore fishing. To that end, they have a very functional appearance and feature a cabin or wheelhouse mounted well forward on the hull, with accommodation downstairs. The result is a boat that offers the best of both worlds for keen anglers looking for some versatility and overnighting capability when the fish are biting.
All Sportsfish models are outboard powered, which is great from a familiarity point of view for those who may be stepping up from a smaller outboard powered trailerboat.
BUILT TO FISH
Make no mistake, the Arvor 905 Sportsfish is built for fishing. It has an enclosed cabin and a large cockpit space, making it suitable for trolling, jigging, dropping baits on a reef, or even casting lures once you slide the optional sunshade away to open up the overhead space.
The roomy, high-sided cockpit set-up is ideal, with a large fishing station standard at the rear. It includes a livebait tank, sink, cutting board, water washdown, knife holder and additional storage. At the front of the unit are twin, foldout seats. The only issue I found with the fishing station is that there is no lip on the back edge. The leading edge has a grabrail, which is useful, but no rear lip means tackle boxes and tools unsecured on the station could easily slip into the ocean when there’s any rolling motion.
The whole unit slides forward into the cockpit at the press of a button, allowing the engine space to trim right up so the leg is out of the water. It’s an important consideration when it comes to minimising maintenance costs.
Under the cockpit floor are two large, integrated fish lockers capable of handling largish game fish. The rest of the cockpit features two more fold-out seats, one each side, while there is access to the bow along the port and starboard sides of the cabin. At the bow is a small seating area directly in front of the front window. The test boat featured an anchor windlass operated either from the helm or at the bow.
A large sliding door allows access to the cabin. It stacks to the left as you look forward, leaving a reasonably wide walkway between the convertible dinette and the small galley to starboard. The dinette can be converted into an additional overnighter or the front seat can be converted to face forward. I would like to see a redesign that doesn’t mean you have to go below to find another cushion once you have turned the seat around. Aside from that, it’s a fairly painless experience.
The galley features a sink and bench top with a fridge and microwave below. The test boat did not have a stove top, but I’m sure one could be fitted if required. The mixture of timber veneers and dark table tops is pleasant enough, without being a standout.
The cabin is airy, with a large sunroof overhead, sliding window on the port side and a sliding door allowing access to the starboard side next to the driving position.
Getting to fishing grounds is done in maximum comfort, with plenty of seating for the crew. The helm position offers excellent vision, although I would remove the curtains in the corners of the front window to get the most vision possible. The dashboard layout is sensible, with room for a chartplotter/sonar unit and well-placed throttle and trim tab controls. All are within easy reach from the helm, with standing or seated driving possible.
If you find yourself out late, the downstairs accommodation offers room for four people, with a main berth at the bow and another using the void beneath the dinette. I would never invite this much competition on my boat on any fishing trip, but its handy to know you have the versatility to do so. This layout is used across multiple boats in the Arvor range and is a good use of space. Unlike the Weekender series, none of the berths have separate doorways.
The layout also allows for a toilet to be located directly ahead of the dashboard on the starboard side. It features a toilet and sink, with the faucet doubling as a shower.
Power was provided by twin 250hp Mercury Verado engines, which achieve an impressive wide open throttle top speed of approximately 40 knots (74km/h) and a comfortable cruising speed of 23 knots (43km/h). The engine effort seems minimal given the bulk of the Sportsfish and having twin installation offers some peace of mind for long offshore trips, as you can always steam back in on one engine should something untoward happen.
You can also opt for a single outboard installation. Something around 350hp would fit the bill adequately and, while it may not achieve the speed or ease of operation of twins, it will save money.
Below the waterline, the entry point of the hull is fine and does a great job of piercing oncoming chop and waves. There are two reverse chines running from the bow along the length of the hull that help get the boat planing efficiently. The large flared bow also deflects spray down and away most of the time. Despite the wide appearance of the topside of the hull, it powers through the sea comfortably and securely. Perfect for offshore adventures.
In a following sea as we were coming through the heads, some spray did manage to make it onto the windscreen, although it was easily dealt with by the windscreen wipers. In any case, you’re safely within a cabin so you never get wet.
Despite its apparent size, manoeuvring the Sportsfish is easy with the twin outboard installation. Performance is nimble, with the power steering offering free and easy lock-to-lock steering. The 905 also comes with a bowthruster standard, which, in high-wind situations, is crucially important for a boat with relatively high sides.
I have always found Arvors a pleasure to drive and the 905 Sportsfish is no exception. The finish may not have the utter refinement of more expensive European brands, but it is functional and you can’t help but yearn to head out into the wide blue yonder as soon as you step aboard.
This boat is ideal for anyone looking for a platform they can handle easily, keep on the water at a private wharf and head offshore for regular fishing missions, while still having enough flexibility to keep anyone who says: “What about me, I don’t like fishing all the time …” happy when it’s their turn aboard.
ARVOR 905 SPORTSFISH
Power as tested: Twin 250 Mercury Verados
Fuel capacity: 580lt
Price from: $199,500
Price as tested: $233,021
More information: Arvor Boats Australia, tel: (02) 9319 5222. Web: arvor.com.au.