Review: Arvor 905 Sportsfish
ARVOR'S 905 Sportsfish is the third boat in the range that Fishing World has tested. While all three boats belong to the same Sportsfish family, each one has its own unique characteristics; in other words they’re much more than different size hulls with the same features.
The smaller 555 was an easily towable trailer boat for the budget conscious fisho with aspirations for owning an Arvor. In the middle, the 755 was a great all round boat featuring a family friendly cabin with loads of fishing features for the die-hard angler. The 905, meanwhile, is the big brother of the range and features so much more for someone seeking a larger boat, more cabin space, while not compromising the fishability.
While the 905 is at the bigger end of the scale for boats we review, we thought it would make an interesting comparison to the previous two print and online video reviews.
Fishing World had arranged to meet George Lirantzis from Ulladulla Game Fishing Club and keen young Sydney angler, Michael, for a morning’s fishing around Sydney Harbour while shooting some video of the 905.
The weather was perfect. Actually maybe a bit too perfect for a “real” boat test, but we weren’t complaining. The plan was to spend an hour or so flicking lures at some salmon schools just north of Sydney Harbour and get a feel for the boat and its fishability.
With four onboard, I spent most of my time at the helm steering the boat. The fellas had a ball casting lures at salmon schools working up and down Sydney’s North Head.
While chasing salmon isn’t the most glamorous fishing, and this boat is capable of so much more, it did highlight some of the boat’s positive fishing features during a hectic session with plenty of hookups and casting.
The cockpit is big and accommodates four fishos with ease. At the transom there’s a large “bait station” that actually slides back and forth. It’s a great idea and allows easy access to the transom. Game fishos will love this idea for landing big fish or fighting fish without obstructions. Large transom bait stations can get in the way and this unique feature solves that issue.
The bait station itself features a sink, cutting board, wash knife holder and storage. There are also removable rod holders and storage for tackle trays above the station. While on its front, there are two fold-down seats for passengers. More fold down seats are available on the side under the gunwale.
With the bait station in its place at the transom, there’s easy access via walk-thru doors on either side for landing large fish or accessing the engines. Also at the transom is a large plumbed livewell tank and under the floor, an extra large kill tank.
Besides the generous cockpit space, grippy floors and well-designed bait station, fishos will also appreciate the high gunwales, making fishing safe in sloppy seas. There are ample rod holders in the gunwales and horizontal rod holders underneath for storing rigs rods/reels out of harms way.
Most “crossover” family/fishing boats compromise on one or the other, however the 905 is large enough to be designed with fishing in mind from the cabin door back.
Enclosed cabins have become more and more popular; seen by many fishos as the next evolution from the popular hard top configurations. Cruising around or reaching distant fishing ground during winter is made so much more enjoyable in a closed cabin. Even a crew of four or five could easily fit inside this cabin, close the door and enjoy the ride. There are several passenger seats, a table, plus the comfortable helm seat. The cabin feels spacious, not at all stuffy. On that note, there’s ample ventilation for warmer days with a full sliding door next to the helm, sliding windows and sunroof providing air flow.
When you’ve reached your destination you can take advantage of the table, stove top, microwave, sink, fridge and ample storage in this part of the cabin. Offshore fishos or those embarking on multi day trips will appreciate all of these features. You’re hardly roughing it on this boat!
There’s space to sleep six people onboard when you include the spacious twin size bed in the forward berth, a full size mid berth for two and a convertible bed for single or double in the main cabin. The big forward berth bed also features loads of storage space for use during day trips for carrying gear out of harms way. There’s also an enclosed sea toilet onboard and a pull out shower.
The helm on the test boat featured a 9-inch Simrad chartplotter/fishfinder, plus a few Mercury gauges, bow thruster control, trim tab control, drink holder, etc, with space left over for some additional gauges or electronics if needed. Above the helm there’s loads of dash space.
On the water
The 905 Sportsfish was fitted with the recently released twin 250hp V8 Mercury four-strokes. These latest generation Mercs really are a stand out in outboard technology with incredibly quiet operation (without losing that V8 hum at full throttle), while offering great fuel economy, heaps of torque in a lightweight package.
The 905 features a maximum 500 horsepower rating, and the Mercs deliver on their promise. Jumping on the plane required forewarning to passengers to “hang on”, while mid range acceleration was equally powerful. Top end speed went a little over 40knots. With the cabin enclosed and the gentle purr of the V8s, it really didn’t seem that fast!
The boat itself handled the conditions well. While conditions weren’t exactly testing, the mild swell and wind chop was no match for the 905 with a comfortable cruising speed around 25 knots providing a comfy ride for all onboard.
The beauty of a boat the size of Arvor’s 905 Sportsfish is there’s really no need for compromise. It can be an effective fishing boat and a comfortable cruising boat for the family at the same time. While it may not suit die-hard game fishers who might prefer a more purpose built offshore rig, the all rounder fisho with an interest in cruising will benefit from a boat like the 905 Sportsfish. Best of all, you won’t have to compromise on a solid list of family friendly features while enjoying a well designed fishing platform.