by Peter Jung •
Lake Eildon is Victoria’s inland freshwater playground. It is home to a flotilla of houseboats, has multiple accommodation options and is an angler’s paradise with Victorian Fisheries stocking a huge amount of native fish into it in recent years. It was also the perfect venue to put the Clark Fishmaster 430 side console through its paces with the team from Boats and More.
We have done a number of Clark tests for Boats and More in the past, but this was the first test on a boat from the Fishmaster range. Aimed firmly at the estuary, lake and river markets, it’s also available in tiller steer or centre console configurations. The test boat was a side console and the boat was matched with a Suzuki 40hp 4-stroke outboard.
The nuts and bolts of the Fishmaster
Any boat aimed at the lake, river and estuary markets must have a few things in my opinion. First and foremost is fishing space. The Fishmaster has a reasonably large forward casting deck that incorporates some underfloor storage and a plumbed livewell.
The deck is large enough to comfortably cast lures from and could be used by two people if need be. If bait fishing is your go, both seats on the lower deck swivel and there is enough room between the rear storage for you to be comfortable.
You can easily put your feet up with fishing rods placed in the rear holders and enjoy a morning soaking a bait. Apart from the storage in the front deck, there are also a couple of side pockets for the items you need to get your hands on in a hurry and some space under the console. There is certainly enough storage to keep your fishing areas clear of obstacles while you are on the water.
Second on my list of must-haves is the ability to mount electronics, in the form of sounders and gauges or an electric motor on the bow.
The side console of the Fishmaster isn’t huge, but is well planned out. Not only does the driver have ample room to drive the boat comfortably, there are also enough flat surfaces to mount any switches and gauges and plenty of room for a medium to large sounder. Although the test boat wasn’t fitted with a bow mount electric motor bracket, this is an available option. If your intention is to fish casting lures, this would be a must for me.
Lastly and just as important as the previous points, a small boat should be easily launched and retrieved by one person. The 430 Fishmaster was matched to a Dunbier trailer that was ideal for exactly that. You can easily drive it on and off or it can be winched by one person, depending on your preference.
The other plus of having a boat this size is that the family sedan will comfortably tow it with a minimum of fuss.
Ride and Performance
I have to say, of all the Clark boats that I have tested, the Fishmaster was the best to drive so far. The handling was good at low and high speeds and it dealt with any chop we had on the testing day with ease.
It had good stability at rest. I was very comfortable standing on the forward casting deck taking photos for another test and after we finished it was great platform to fish from.
Suzuki 40hp 4-stroke
The Clark 430 Fishmaster is rated to a 50hp motor. For testing and pricing reasons the crew from Boats and More fitted it out with a 40hp 4-Stroke from Suzuki and a white one at that. The white Suzuki certainly was a point of difference, but the colour really was the only change to what is a proven motor.
It got the Fishmaster up to a very nippy 44km/h and with the Lean Burn technology that Suzuki incorporates into their motors, it provides a good balance between economy and output. You could comfortably run around at between 3000 and 4000 revs all day and know that you will have enough fuel in the tank to get home.
The Clark Fishmaster 430 is a great medium sized sportsfishing boat. You could add as many bells and whistles as your needs require and have a boat that will last you many years. I think I would opt for a 50hp outboard, as I firmly believe this would maximise the performance of the boat, particularly if you intend to have 3-4 people in it.
As I said on the testing day, that’s enough photos and videos – let’s get out and have a fish. I think that is the reaction you want to have if you buy a fishing boat – you should want to use it.
You can find out more about the Fishmaster 430 and the Clark range of boats by going to the Boats and More website www.boatsandmore.com.au or give their Shepparton and Echuca stores a call.
Hull Length 4.38m
Bottom and sides 3.00mm
Weight (hull only) 303kg
Min hp 30hp
Max hp 50hp
Max people Four
RPM Speed (km/h) Economy (L/hour)
Idle (750) 1.2 0.4
1000 4.0 0.7
2000 7.2 1.9
3000 9.6 4.3
4000 27.4 5.6
5000 39.1 10.6
WOT (5600) 44.5 13.8