by Dom Wiseman

My first introduction to Stabicraft boats was back in the early 2000s at the Port Stephens Trailerboat fishing competition in Nelson Bay, NSW. Conditions were atrocious and quite honestly, I’m not sure I would have wanted to go out in most other boats. The 5.5m Stabicraft we had to fish the event was exceptional in questionable conditions and I walked away very impressed with the ride delivered by this remarkable and relatively new rigid aluminium pontoon designed bull. It wasn’t pretty, but it was certainly effective. With that in mind it did not take much persuasion to test the new Stabicraft 1600 Fisher Carbon Series.

Stabicraft are unusual looking boats. They burst onto the scene in Invercargill, New Zealand in 1987 as the first rigid hull chambered aluminium boat. It gives them a unique look and in the years since my first ride on one I’ve come to quite like the purposeful appearance, especially on the 1600 Fisher Carbon Series. The first boat they made was a 3.5m dingy called the Ally Duck and since then the range has expanded quickly to over twenty models.

They have a cult like following and are now available all around the world in recreational and commercial applications which is a testament to their usability.

Stabicraft 1600 Fisher 15

Stabicraft 1600 Fisher 2WHAT YOU GET

The Stabicraft 1600 Fisher Carbon Hull was developed in 2015 and came after extensive research and development. The design features the proven Arrow pontoons using 3- and 4mm marine grade aluminium construction. The pontoons used on the latest model of the 1600 Fisher are slimmer than the original design and taper at the nose. This has allowed Stabicraft to alter the chine angle where water exits the hull delivering a softer, dryer ride. It is a change that has resulted in the 1600 Fisher delivering a great ride, and being such a light hull, it is also quite sporty. Despite this lightness, it rides as if it was much heavier and sure of itself.

The 1600 Fisher range is a cuddy construction using traditional aluminium bottom and sides and a resin infused carbon composite top side for the cuddy cabin layout. It is clear they have spent time ensuring that the join is a quality job and it’s hard to see exactly where the aluminium ends and the carbon begins. It delivers protection and a stunning, almost futuristic appearance. That look extends through to the dashboard which is an interesting layout. The sounder on the test boat was mounted in a recess in the centre of the dash. The positioning did make it difficult to get a good look at the screen from the cockpit unless you remember to spin the seats around. It also means there is only enough room for a single screen install.

As the name suggests, this boat is designed for fishing and the space in the cockpit will allow you to do almost any type of fishing you desire. The gunwales are wide, covered in places with non-skid material and are wide enough to accommodate cup and rod holders and to sit on comfortably. It’s also reasonably high, coming up above the knee, when standing and there are shelves underneath ensuring anything you need is within easy reach. The cockpit floor is made from checker plate aluminium. There are two fold down jump seats in the back corners of the cockpit that fold up when not needed. But on the test boat they continually dropped down while we were under way. Some catches here would remedy that issue.

Stabicraft 1600 Fisher 8

Stabicraft 1600 Fisher 7Across the transom is an optional bait board set up. The transom doesn’t extend all the way to the floor, so floor space is maximised. An issue in this area is the bracket for the bait board encroaches into this space so an unwary passenger or owner could easily do some damage on the tab that extends under the gunwale.

The other issue is that in standard guise this space will be taken up with portable fuel tanks. The boat we tested had a 60-litre under floor tank. It is the first 1600 Fisher to be fitted with a built-in tank and will be offered as a option on future builds. It is definitely an option box I would be ticking if buying one for myself.

Moving to the front of the cockpit the helm seats are mounted on aluminium pods, with storage underneath, welded to the side of the boat. But the seats are not the sturdiest I have seen.

The targa, which can be folded down for storage, adds more rod storage options, although like the seats, isn’t the strongest I’ve seen with a fair bit of side to side movement.

The cuddy cabin provides additional storage for fishing gear and clothes but not much more. The test boat had been fitted with an anchor winch that fed the line and chain into a well inside the boat. This resulted in the anchor chain banging on the side of the boat while underway.

POWER

The new Yamaha F90 XB unit is a four-stroke platform that is 10kg lighter than the previous generation engine. It’s a Single Overhead Cam four cylinder 1.8-litre multi-point fuel injected unit. It also has better speed, acceleration and fuel economy. Yamaha claims it is nine per cent more fuel efficient than the current F100.

Stabicraft 1600 Fisher 13

Stabicraft 1600 Fisher 3The weight reduction has come via a redesigned mounting system and in a good result for the modern demands of boat owners the alternator has been improved with a 35amp charge at wide open throttle and an impressive 28 amps at a mere 1000rpm.

The new unit is impressive and has torque and efficiency in bundles.

ON THE WATER

On the day of the test the conditions were hardly what I would term as challenging for the little Stabicraft but they provided a good indication of the boat’s ride and build quality. The hull, being foam filled is extremely quiet underfoot and you do not hear the water hitting the sides as you can in some other aluminium constructions. At 4.35m in length, it’s a small package, yet rides like a larger boat.

With the 90hp Yamaha strapped to the back, the hole shot and acceleration is impressive with power available throughout the entire rev range. The twin pontoon design of the Stabicraft is particularly impressive and dry. Not once did we receive any spray on the window. The boat was sure footed when turning bedding in at a perfect angle so occupants were not left hanging on for dear life.

Stabicraft 1600 Fisher 10

Stabicraft 1600 Fisher 5Fishermen will be more than happy with the stability provided from the foam filled pontoon design.

At the helm, the limited adjustment on the seats is an issue if you prefer to drive standing up, particularly for bigger people, and the floor against the right hand side of the hull comes up at an angle meaning your foot is never quite flat. It’s not the most comfortable. I would opt for a seat that had more adjustment and a little sturdier.

ON THE TRAILER

With a quoted tow weight of 1000kg the Stabicraft 1600 Fisher Carbon is well within the capabilities of most medium sized vehicles down to something like a petrol-powered Mazda CX3 with a braked tow capacity of 1200kg. It means that for families there is almost no need to upgrade your car at the same time as the boat.

OVERVIEW

Stabicraft boats have earned quite a reputation for their offshore capabilities. While the hull on this model has all the hallmarks of an excellent rig, it could do with some amendments in the standard inclusions for it to truly own the Fisher tag. It’s perfect for small families with keen anglers and is more than capable at this size for inshore and offshore trips.

POSITIVESStabicraft 1600 Fisher 6

  • Great ride
  • Quiet and stable

NEGATIVES

  • Standard inclusions lacking

NUMBERS THAT MATTER

Price: (from) $43,990
Construction: Aluminium
Length Overall: 4.35m
Beam: 2.02m
Weight on trailer: approx 1000kgs approx
Engine: Yamaha Four Stroke 90hp
Fuel Capacity: Portable

 

 

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  • Heath Russell

    can you please let us know the price as tested