The Captain flexes the fibers of a family fisher, taking an Arvor 675 Sportsfish to the end of the earth in search of game-fishing gold.
With nothing but the dull glow of the anchor light to guide us, we pushed on into the black nothingness. Our ambitious plan to get to the continental shelf before sunrise was paying dividends ‑ only 5am and we were already halfway there. However, with 15-plus knots of wind punching into our nose, conditions weren’t exactly improving. My ability to avoid oncoming sets of big greenies in the pitch black wasn’t getting any better, either. Tired, sore and a little disoriented, the only thing keeping us going was the rumour of a cracking temperature break pushing over a set of seamounts called Norah Canyons. Hopefully, it was all going to be worthwhile…
Usually when The Captain heads to the shelf, he does so in no less than 21 degrees of dead rise ‑ the kind of tub that prioritises deck space over creature comforts, horsepower over fuel economy. Getting wet and poor stability usually come as part of the package, but not today. We were aboard the Arvor 675 Sportsfish, unconventionally “fishing” in its layout and aesthetics, and we were keen to see how this luxury crossover would perform 40nm out to sea against one of the toughest game fish in the ocean.
We finally arrived on the canyons as the sun was spilling warm light across the top of the ocean. But beneath the surface was where the magic was happening ‑ a two-degree temperature break bordering a large eddy screamed billfish. The 675 Sportsfish didn’t have outriggers, but we still managed a five-lure spread with the assistance of a set of Reelax Rod Riggers. The trap set, we cleared the decks and packed down the rear lounges – this was no time for cocktails and canapés.
However, after frustratingly passing over the mark several times for zeros, we started to doubt ourselves. Are we driving too fast? Are the lures the right size? Maybe the Arvor doesn’t push the correct wake?
Then came the faint sound of line peeling off a reel. Fumbling over one another to get through the wheelhouse door, we found the little Daiwa Saltist pouring out line and almost down to the backing. The Captain’s crew jolted into action; setting the hooks, clearing the lines and backing down on the rampaging black marlin.
THE BEST TOOL FOR THE JOB
You’ve heard the expression “Taking a knife to a gunfight”. Well, in this fight the Daiwa Saltist was the equivalent of taking a butter knife to the Battle of Stalingrad. After surviving the aerial acrobatics and almost getting spooled several times, the fish still refused to submit. After two hours of sweating, we decided drastic action was called for. We would have to plane the fish to the surface. Driving off the fish to change the angle of the line in the water, we’d then back down on it quickly while trying to recover as much line as possible. We did this repeatedly until the black finally showed itself. Unfortunately, it was tail-wrapped and barely kicking. The decision was made to bring it aboard, as its chance of survival after the release would’ve been slim to none. Opening the starboard transom door, we slid the 100kg beast over the swim platform onto the deck. High fives all round! We then dropped the rear seats and popped the table in the rear deck, and treated ourselves to a feast fit for Kings.
WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING
As we cruised back to port victorious and 100kg heavier in the stern, much heated discussion unfolded within the (fully enclosable) wheelhouse. The main point of contention: would we actually buy a 675 Sportsfish to take game-fishing? Short answer: yes. By no means was it the most comfortable ride we’ve had to the shelf, but you’re never going to get that with a set-forward cabin design and rounded entry into the water. However, once we’d arrived and were trolling, the 675 Sportsfish came into its element. Very rarely do we have the luxury of a fridge, stove, toilet, double berth and a fully convertible cockpit dining area in a 6.5m package.
It also has seriously awesome fishing functionality. There are four rod holders with storage space for a further six small rods below the coaming. With table and seats folded away, the self-draining deck is clean and mean, with heaps of fishing room. There’s a massive live-bait tank, plumbed kill tanks, option for a bait board ‑ and the seat backrests even double as thigh padding when you’re fighting fish for extended periods. The 675 has more storage than any fisho would know what to do with. As expected, stability is awesome and the stepped-up walk-around really opens up the fish spotting (and catching) potential. Simply lean up against the lip of the roof for an elevated view of the ocean or lob stick baits at bait balls to your heart’s content.
Step inside the cabin and immediately feel detached from the elements outside. Its deep entry provides a safe, airy feel with ample headroom. The one-piece windscreen offers great visibility in all conditions while the double berth is perfect for midday siestas. When it comes to electronics, the 675 Sportsfish was fitted with a Smirad NSS7 Evo2, but with a slight reconfiguration of the engine gauges, the dash could fit a much bigger unit.
The Arvor 675 Sportsfish mightn’t look or handle like a blue water brumby, but that’s not what this boat is about. She’s a versatile family fisher more than capable of tackling anything you throw at her; safe, comfortable and practical. Oh, and your other half definitely won’t object when you tow this European beauty into the driveway.
MORE INFORMATION: www.arvor.com.au