by Dom Wiseman

If you’re looking for a boat that you can keep on the water, but isn’t as large or as much hassle as a game boat yet can do just as much? The Arvor 905 Sportsfish could be the boat for you.

We’ve tested the 675 Sportsfish previously and the 905 features the same design elements with a wide beam forward hull. The Arvor Sportsfish range of boats are built to withstand the rigours of offshore fishing. To that end they look functional and feature a cabin or wheelhouse mounted well forward on the hull with accommodation downstairs offering the best of both worlds for keen anglers looking for some versatility and overnight stays when the fish are biting.

They are all outboard powered which is great for those who may be stepping up from a smaller trailer boat as the familiarity of the outboard drives can aid the transition to a large boat.

WHAT’S ONBOARD

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 opening up the space overhead. The set up is perfect with a large fishing station standard at the rear of the roomy high-sided cockpit. It includes a live bait tank, sink, cutting board, water was, knife holder and additional storage. Down on the front of the unit are twin fold out 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 grab rail 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.

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The whole unit slides forward into the cockpit at the press of a button allowing the engine room to trim right up so the leg is out of the water. Very necessary when considering how best to reduce maintenance costs. Underfloor in the cockpit are two large integrated fish lockers capable of handling large-ish game fish. The rest of the cockpit features two more fold out seats, one of 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 from the helm position or while 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 the 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 is 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 am sure you could if you chose to. The mixture of timber veneers and dark table tops is inoffensive without being a standout.

2A1A6083The cabin itself 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 any 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 maximum vision possible. The dashboard layout is sensible with room for a chart plotter/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 or two couples 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 well executed use of the 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

Power was provided by twin 250hp Mercury Verado engines which achieve a wide open throttle of approximately 40 knots and a comfortable cruising speed of 23 knots. The engine effort seems minimal given the size of the craft they are moving 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 single outboard install. Something around 350hp would fit the bill adequately and while it may not achieve the speed or ease of operation of twins, will save you money and in reality you aren’t going to be charging off at full noise offshore in all but the most benign of conditions.

ON THE WATER

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 that run from the bow along the length of the hull which help get the boat planning 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.

Arvor 905 Sportfish-9

In a following sea as we were coming through the heads, the boat did get some spray up and onto the windscreen, although easily dealt with by turning on the windscreen wipers. In any case you’re safely behind a cabin so you never get wet.

Manoeuvring the vessel despite its size is easy with the twin outboard installation and is one I would prefer. Performance is nimble with power steering offering free and easy lock to lock steering. The Arvor 905 Sportsfish also comes with a bow thruster standard which in high wind situations is crucial for a boat with relatively high sides.

OVERVIEW

I have always found the Arvor boats a pleasure to drive and the Arvor 905 Sportsfish is no exception. The finish may not have the utter refinement of more expensive European brands, but they are functional and you can’t help but yearn to head out into the wide blue yonder as soon as you step aboard this one.

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 that says “what about me, I don’t like fishing all the time” happy when it’s their turn aboard.

 

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Fishing station

Cockpit space

Twin engine performance

 

Passenger seat cushion

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Price: from $199,500 (rigged 1 x 350hp Mercury Verado), as tested $233,021 (included 2 x 250hp Mercury Verado, Simrad Electronics pack, Exterior Light Package and Retractable Awning)

Construction: Fibreglass

Length Overall: 8.88m

Beam: 2.99m

Max hp: 2 x 250hp outboards

Capacity: 580L

Weight: 3706kg with max engines

Engine as tested: Mercury Verado 250hp x 2

Fuel Capacity: 580L