BOAT TEST: SEACRAFT FISHER 445

By: Dan Trotter


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On the hunt for a bare-bones aluminium fishing boat at a brilliant price? Dan Trotter says that with a SeaCraft Fisher 445 centre-console, you’re off to a great start.

BOAT TEST: SEACRAFT FISHER 445
SEACRAFT FISHER 445

TEST: SEACRAFT FISHER 445

In a boating world were we often seem to want increasingly more (quality) for increasingly less (money), the brand SeaCraft, distributed in Australia by Sydney-based firm Ausmarine, has carved a niche for itself by producing high volumes of a range of aluminium tinnies and runabouts. With a network of dealers around the country, we're sure to see more and more of these Chinese-made boats out on the water, not to mention their associated SeaTrail trailers and SeaKing outboards. For anyone wanting to occasionally wet a line, SeaCraft offers a number of models that won't blow the budget - like the Fisher 445 centre-console.

 

 

DOWN TO BUSINESS

The Fisher 445 is a great entry-level boat for the price conscious, offering a solid foundation on which you can add various options to make the most of how you prefer to spend your time on the water.

Powered in this instance by a SeaKing 30hp two-stroke outboard, this basic centre-console was both pleasant to drive and fairly stable at rest. Even without the benefits of electronic trim, the boat planes easily and rides with its bow out of the water. The hydraulic steering is a welcome feature, and a pleasant surprise given the boat's $12,999 price tag - for that money I was expecting old-school cable steering, and the usual battle to keep the thing heading in the right direction.

In keeping with older-style two-stroke outboard designs, the SeaKing is noisy, it vibrates and it produces that familiar smell. However, the electric-start engine can also be pull-started, which provides extra peace of mind should any charge issues arise. Yes, fuel consumption is higher, but on the flipside these older-style units are relatively simple and easy to maintain.

Built in China using Australian sheet-aluminium, the SeaCraft's welds appear to be robust and strong, although they're a little bulkier than those found in locally-made alloy boats. The wide gunwales and full-width rib construction adds up to a design with strength and rigidity firmly in mind, but the lack of a deep-vee hull limits its suitability for more demanding offshore conditions.

The full-length carpeted floor makes for a great fishing platform - it's easy to get around, yet it's also compartmentalised, meaning it's easy to lift the flooring should you wish to run wires or plumb a livebait tank. In an effort to keep costs to a minimum, the fitout of the boat - including seating arrangements, electronics setup and livebait / icebox locations - are left up to the owner. Simple sidepockets really are the only addition on offer, aside from the hull itself.

The large centre-console is built strong, with a low-rise handrail for a passenger to hold onto or for mounting a sounder / chartplotter combo using a ram bracket. The console is welded to the boat's ribs for increased strength. Shelved compartments at the rear of the console would be improved with the addition of doors - but again, this is something that can be customised to suit your own needs.

At the transom is a simple rack system that provides space for the fuel tank and battery, where they'll be clear of any water washing about in the bilge. At the bow is a shallow box fitted into the deck that acts as the anchorwell, providing enough space for a rope, chain and anchor for shallow-water applications. Sturdy grabrails provide a spot to hang onto whilst underway, and nav lights are mounted in such a way that they won't affect your night vision.

The forward deck should really be either reinforced or constructed from heavier-gauge alloy sheeting, as it flexes under the weight of an adult. I'd apply some non-skid tape here too, as the polished alloy will be slippery when wet. At the stern, getting in and out is made easy thanks to a port side checkerplate boarding platform and grabrail.

 

 

FISHABILITY AND VALUE

Designed for grass roots fishing, this boat would benefit nicely from a few additions like extra rodholders, skin fittings for hand-line springers, a baitboard, an icebox seat and a few buckets in the rack at the stern. Such an arrangement would set this boat up nicely to target most inshore species.

Stability at rest is pretty good, although I wouldn't encourage everyone on board to suddenly race to one side just to see what species was being worked to the surface. By fitting an upright rodrack to either the port side or the front of the console, as well as one or two horizontal racks under the gunwales on either side, you could store ample rods for every need. The best aspect of the hull being left bare is that there's plenty of floor space to actively chase sportfish without everyone onboard getting in each other's way - a consideration often overlooked by boats with stepped flooring or bench seats.

As priced, the boat is ready to tow out the door and head straight to the ramp - and that $12,999 price tag includes basic inshore safety gear, plus boat and trailer registration. The Fisher 445 can be towed behind any family car without any need for trailer brakes.

 

 

THE WRAP

Let's face it, these days everything in life seems to be getting more expensive, while our wages seem to remain static. When Ausmarine, SeaCraft's distributor, opened its doors its aim was to build boats for Aussies who wanted to spend time on the water, without spending the considerable amount of cash typically required for even a small trailerable tinnie. With that in mind, it set about sourcing a quality overseas manufacturer. Ausmarine admits its first few steps were frustrating, but in the years since it's developed some successful business relationships and the quality of its products has improved accordingly. So if you like your fishing - and you want a boat to call your own but without the hideous outlay - then find yourself a SeaCraft dealer. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

 

 

 

 

Specifcations: SeaCraft Fisher 445

 

 

 

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $12,999 with 30hp two-stroke SeaKing outboard and AL4.6M13 SeaTrail trailer

 

 

GENERAL

Type: Centre-console fishing boat

Material: Aluminium, 3mm bottom, 2mm sides

Length: 4.5m

Beam: 1.95m

Weight (hull): 237kg

Weight (BMT): 511kg

 

 

CAPACITIES

Fuel: 24lt (removable tank)

People: 5

Max. rec. HP: 50

 

 

ENGINE

Make/model: SeaKing 30hp

Type: Two-stroke with carby

Displacement: 703cc

Weight: 74kg

 

 

MANUFACTURED AND SUPPLIED BY

Ausmarine

PO Box 70

Bankstown, NSW, 2200

Tel: (02) 9772 4857

Web: www.ausmarine.biz

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #269.

 

 

Find Seacraft Fisher boats for sale.

 


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