Reviewed: the Stabicraft 1650 Fisher giveaway boat

By: Jack Murphy, Photography by: Jack Murphy

Fishing from a Stabicraft 1650 Fisher Working lures around the shallows of Lake Tinaroo. Fishing from a Stabicraft 1650 Fisher
Stabicraft 1650 Fisher beached The Stabicraft 1650 Fisher is versatile enough to take on the rough stuff, yet is eminently nimble. Stabicraft 1650 Fisher beached
Stabicraft 1650 Fisher bent rod One lucky winner will get the chance to do this once we give this boat away. Stabicraft 1650 Fisher bent rod
Stabicraft 1650 Fisher high transom The high transom makes backing down with the Game Chaser Transom feel even safer. Stabicraft 1650 Fisher high transom
Stabicraft 1650 Fisher on water ride Handling and ride are superb. The pontoons instantly stabilise the ride upon landing. Stabicraft 1650 Fisher on water ride
Stressfree winch retrieval Using the excellent Stress Free winch to line up another retrieval. Stressfree winch retrieval

We take you through the many features of our Stabicraft 1650 Fisher giveaway fishing boat.

I’ve become pretty fond of our Stabicraft 1650 Fisher, known as Red Dog — the Trade-a-Boat giveaway boat. She has served the crew well as a companion on solo voyages, provided protection from rough seas and, most importantly, proved herself as a more than capable fishing platform.



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Why is Trade-a-Boat opting to give away a Stabicraft 1650 Fisher? In a nutshell, the main reason is its versatility. This tinnie is small and light, and can be towed easily and fuel efficiently, yet it remains large enough that you’d be safe if a tropical squall caught you by surprise.

It’s nimble enough to fish skinny water, yet still remains strong enough to fish wide on the reef or continental shelf. Throughout its adventures this aluminium fishing boat has caught everything from mackerel to marlin.

The hull itself initially surprised me; it’s soft, quiet, stable and performs like a sports car – very cool for a 5m tinnie. The Arrow Pontoons also make it incredibly safe at sea – anytime I came off a wave on a funny angle, the pontoons would instantly stabilise the ride upon landing. It also has what Stabicraft call the Game Chaser Transom, which allows the boat to back down amazingly fast and accurately, making short work of gamefish or simply docking.



Watch the video to see the Stabicraft 1650 Fisher giveaway boat in action.



Stabicraft 1650 Fisher layout

The Stabicraft 1650 Fisher giveaway boat certainly isn’t shy of a few added options too. Trade-a-Boat went all out fitting up this fishing boat.

Starting from the stern, it’s got a rear boarding ladder, an essential item if you plan on doing any diving or swimming (of which we did a lot). Next are the drainage socks, which can be opened to allow fast water flow out of the boat.

In the cockpit, you’ve got the optional washdown pump and livebait tank that sits underneath the standard fit baitboard. In my option, it’s not a fishing rig without a liveboat tank and I’ll always be ticking that option box.

I absolutely loved the expanse of standard issue drinkholders at our disposal. They also work great for sinker storage when moving between bottom bouncing spots – an age old problem that has cost a lot of fishos their rods due to snapper leads madly swinging around.

If you tilt your head back, you’ll see the rod rack arch that takes four rods. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you might’ve also seen me rig up a DIY flybridge – but we’ll keep that one on the quiet. I’m also in the process of mounting outriggers to the rod arch, as well as a bunch of awesome Railblaza mounts around the boat.



Lowrance marine electronics

For marine electronics, at the helm is a Lowrance HDS 9 Touch with Structure Scan, as well as Sonic Hub and two Lowrance VHF radios (one handheld).

Also an option was the hydraulic steering, which was fantastic in a small boat like the Stabicraft 1650.

Another option I went for was the fully upholstered vee-berth with storage space below. I love this feature – just be mindful that if you store gear on top of the vee-berth cushions (which a lot of people do) it slides around when you hit a wave.

Finally, although the boat is optioned up with a Stress Free windlass, I really love the walkthrough windscreen that gives you great access to the bow. It makes boarding super easy and we even found ourselves fishing from the nose by sitting on the empty window frame – who needs a centre console, eh?



100hp Mercury outboard motor

Powering our giveaway package is a 100hp Mercury Command Thrust FourStroke outboard motor that didn’t cough once. It’s quiet, powerful, seriously fuel-efficient and has great holeshot – firing the Red Dog onto the plane quick smart.

The NMEA 2000 gateway also offers integration between the outboard and the Lowrance HDS-9 marine electronics. You can read engine data like rpm, oil pressure, water pressure, trim and fuel flow right from your screen.

The Command Thrust range, or CT for short, equates to larger legs with reduced gear ratios, for marine engines moving heavy loads or fisherman like me who favour the manoeuvrability and holeshot the bigger legs and props give.

The Mercury 100hp FourStroke uses the same block as the 75 to 115hp range. With 2064cc of capacity, but with a long stroke-to-bore ratio and single overhead cam, the boat engine doesn’t feel like it’s working hard and revs relatively low (up to 5500rpm) while still seeing speeds of around 40kts at WOT. It runs the awesome new Smart Gauges which, like the Lowrance HDS 9 integration, let me choose and set preferred engine data in easy-to-read, backlit gauges.



Stabicraft 1650 Fisher Price: $64,800 (price as tested)



$39,516 (with Mercury 75hp four-stroke and trailer)



MATERIAL Aluminium

TYPE Pontoon


BEAM 2.15m

WEIGHT 460kg (dry)





REC. HP 60


FUEL 100lt



MAKE/MODEL Mercury Command Thrust 100 FourStroke outboard motor

TYPE In-line four-cylinder petrol outboard motor

WEIGHT 163kg (dry)





Stabicraft Marine

345 Bluff Rd, Invercargill

Southland, New Zealand

Phone +64 3 211 1828



See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #463, March / April 2015. Why not subscribe today?


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