The Fish City range of aluminium boats has enjoyed great success in its short time on the market, with the company rapidly expanding by offering a number of new models in quick succession. Freddy Foote checks out the newest model and the company’s first cabin boat, the FC580.
This is the very first FC580 model – albeit a prototype – to hit the water. The full production models will follow shortly. The FC580 is really a bit of an all-rounder, but more targeted at those who want a bare and robust fishing tinnie, with a generous cockpit space for fishing, fantastic stability due to its flooding ballast system and now a large casting platform on the foredeck.
This is a boat well suited to both fishing and diving. Add some extra seating aft, and you’ve got a good family boat too, with plenty of storage forward in the cuddy cabin.
As seen on other FC Boats models, there are two stability systems built into the FC580. Aft, there is a flooding keel, which floods when the boat is at rest, making the craft ultra stable, then when underway the water drains out quickly. In the forward section next to the helm there is a controllable ballast system, enabling the skipper to bring onboard the desired amount of forward ballast, and then to dump it when it’s not needed. A simple release valve is located near the helm to easily control the amount of water.
Extra safety comes in the form of a sealed floor and flotation foam under the side decks.
Perhaps the standout feature is the generous casting platform on the foredeck, which can be accessed via a large deck hatch from the cuddy cabin below. I had a good look at this, and it was ultra stable. It’s probably not the place you’d want to stand when it’s a bit sloppy, but for a nice calm day like we had, you’d be a happy camper casting a few baits out from there.
“The forward casting platform adds another fishing dimension to the boat that we know anglers will love. It’s big and incredibly stable and will give anglers the opportunity to cast their baits where they want them,” says Fish City managing director Ross Christensen.
Christensen was right about stability – in fact, the whole boat is rock solid. Two of us on one side of the boat in the cockpit and it hardly shifted. I get to go out on a lot of boats, and this would have to be one of the most stable – I could tell that the flooding keel was doing its thing and keeping the 580 rock solid in the water.
One of the main points that captured my attention was that the 580 has a big-boat feel. This is largely down to the wide side decks that extend outside of the hull. Like other FC Boats models, extended gunnels and a raised sheer line provide ergonomic access around the sides to the foredeck area also. The company has also incorporated a gull wing design that has been successful in its smaller models, which lends itself to making this boat very dry.
Underway, there was excellent visibility forward through the curved windshield, which provided great protection from the wind. If weather conditions are a bit chilly, you can close the helm in by zipping up the clears of the bimini top to keep yourself and passengers snug.
Other features include a passive live bait tank (meaning it fills itself when at rest, and water can be kept locked in until you choose to discharge), large under-floor storage lockers and cockpit side shelves.
Multi Purpose Layout
Having spent a morning aboard the new FC580, I quickly got the impression that the boat offered so much variation that it would suit a wide variety of boating applications. One moment it can be a pure fishing boat for the die-hard enthusiast, and then easily cater for a family day out. The open layout firstly sees an adequately sized boarding platform is on either side of the outboard pod, with the port corner featuring an aluminium boarding ladder. A grab rail has also been welded onto the rear of the transom to aid in re-entering the boat from the water – great for divers.
Our test boat came with two tote tanks, which rest on the floor. While you can’t have an underfloor fuel tank as that area is used for positive buoyancy there is space to store up to four 25L tote tanks.
The transom area has a built-in shelf that ideal for storing any miscellaneous items such as tackle boxes, etc. The battery sits below, but housed up off the floor in its own compartment. Below that rests the bilge pump.
The cockpit is fairly sizeable, with long side shelves running right up to the forward seating area. Two-rod holders each side are situated along the coamings.
Seating consists of two basic pedestal seats. Should you want a different seating configuration, a king/queen style arrangement can also be fitted – a better option if you’re looking at a more child-friendly layout. Additional seating is available in the aft corners, on lift-up seats.
Small storage shelves are on either side of the helm, a great place for keys and cell phones. A handrail runs right along the edge of the forward dash area, and is great for passengers to grab onto. Forward in the well-protected cuddy cabin there is more space just to store gear out of the way. No bunks here, as the primary design focus of the FC 580 is to maximise the cockpit space at the compromise of some cabin area. Though they hadn’t been fitted yet to this prototype, floor rails are to be welded into place to prevent gear sliding into the cockpit when underway. Above, a large aluminium deck hatch provides access to the forward casting platform, and excellent access to the anchor locker.
Our test boat had the engine instruments already mounted in the alloy dash, with the forward dash area carpeted.
The FC580 is easily powered, and a Mercury 90hp two-stroke outboard as seen on our test boat is an ideal match. The 90hp will push the boat along to just under 40mph with a light load aboard. Should you want to load up the boat with more gear and people, then a 115hp outboard would be the logical option.
Back at the ramp, the FC580 is easily handled back onto its single axle trailer, and given the size and light weight of the boat; beach launching is a possibility as well.
Overall, it’s a great boat – a super finish, great features, both from a safety perspective and practicality and overall a value for money package to get you out on the water. What’s great about the FC580 is that you can get one on the water for as little as $39,995 with a 90hp two-stroke outboard and an unpainted hull. This one was priced as tested at $42,995 and included the Humminbird sounder/charplotter. Given that you’re getting a near-6m alloy boat on the water for under $40k and packed with all the safety features that the FC580 has, it’s hard to beat.