Test: Fish City FC600 Centre Console

By: Matthew Jones , Photography by: Matthew Jones


Fish City FC600 Centre Console Great ride: front flooding ballast and rear keel, flared bow, generous chine and extended external gunwale Fish City FC600 Centre Console
Fish City FC600 Centre Console Generous centre console affords skipper and passenger plenty of protection. Large storage area in console caters for dive gear, tanks and batteries Fish City FC600 Centre Console
Fish City FC600 Centre Console At one point, three big blokes stood on one side and the boat hardly noticed Fish City FC600 Centre Console
Fish City FC600 Centre Console Underfloor and bow storage; padded seat doubles as 80-litre chilly bin; non-slip bow platform Fish City FC600 Centre Console
Fish City FC600 Centre Console Folding seats maximise space; live-bait tank; removable baitboards available Fish City FC600 Centre Console

We like to think we know a good thing when we see it, and we’d already managed to test the FC600 Centre Console before it was judged best Aluminium Fishing Boat Under 6m at the 2013 Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show. Matthew Jones puts it to the test on a windy Hauraki Gulf afternoon.

Test: Fish City FC600 Centre Console
Fish City FC600 Centre Console

Whether you're heading out to catch fish, win a competition or snare a succulent feed of crayfish and scallops, having the right tool for the job certainly makes all the difference. Fish City's FC600 is one such tool.

Bow down

The FC600's take-no-prisoners bow with its impressive flare, raised sheer line and generous beam was the first feature to catch my eye.

Fish City sales manager Craig Archer says the substantial bow and 200-litre front ballast tank allows the FC600 to punch well above its weight and effectively makes this clever boat behave like a bigger vessel.

Rubber non-skid is included on the bow and gunwales for safe boarding and extra backside comfort, which can also turn the bow section into a raised casting platform. Access to the anchor is as easy as it gets.

Fish and dive weapon

Included in the standard package are six gunwale-mounted rod holders (with room for more) and seven overhead in the rocket launcher. Side-mounted rod racks are a great place for nets, gaffs and spare rods.

Rear seats fold up and out of the way to increase the fishing room and the boarding platforms have been kept small to allow a hard-fighting fish to be chased around the boat, which is where a centre-console design like this one is hard to beat.

An 80-litre chilly bin fitted with a squab doubles as a seat with plenty of fresh air up front. Both soft-rider pedestal helm seats can be swivelled to face the rear or sides, depending on where the action is. While not fitted to our test boat, Fish City offers multiple removable baitboard options — both transom and bow mounted.

The centre console is double-sized to allow both the skipper and passenger to enjoy plenty of protection from the large bimini top and full clears. An immensely solid bimini top frame (doubling as a grab rail) curves well aft so two passengers can stand behind the helm seats to enjoy shelter from the elements.

Good balance

Archer says they wanted to go out and build a perfect six-metre centre console incorporating as many features as they could in a hull that could be driven by 115 horses. It's fair to say they've done a great job, which saw the FC600 take out the Aluminium Fishing Boat Under 6m award at the 2013 Hutchwilco Boat Show.

The innovative front flooding ballast tank system gives you the best of both worlds. On a calm day or in a following sea keep it shut off for better performance and fuel economy. But when things get snotty on the nose, fill her up and close the valve to reduce bow lift, allowing the beamy flared bow to do its thing.

Another impressive feature is the whopping 180-litre fuel tank to allow multiple-day competitions to be fished without trying to rush back before the gas station closes. The fuel tank is located in the centre of the hull so there's no balance issues as fuel is used up.

On the water

The solid hull demolished the chop with ease and, while the ride was comfortable enough, we decided to flood the front ballast anyway to see if it made a notable difference — and it certainly does. The 200-litre capacity takes about a minute to fill once planing, reducing bow lift and smoothing the way, sacrificing a bit of speed as you'd expect.

This innovative fishing weapon is supplied on a good quality braked Voyager trailer. At around 1.5 tonnes on the trailer and just on the maximum 2.5-metre road-legal beam, it's well within the braked towing capacity of most SUVs and bigger family wagons.

The last word

Fish City's FC600 is a hardcore fishing and diving machine, packed full of useable features. Sure centre consoles aren't for everyone, but if you foam at the mouth at the thought of filling the bins with fish or the live-bait tank with crays and scallops while enjoying an unimpeded view of nature at its best, then the FC600 will blow your mind.

For more information contact either Fish City branch — Albany (09) 476 4282 or Hamilton (07) 846 6675 — or visit fishcity.co.nz.

SPECIFICATIONS

FISH CITY FC600

LOA

6.0m (19.7ft)

Beam

2.5m

Deadrise

18°

Towing weight

1520kg (approx. with full fuel tank)

Engine as tested

Mercury 115hp Optimax (150hp max)

Fuel capacity

180L underfloor tank

Package priced from

$60,000 (115hp Optimax)

Price as tested

$68,995

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