By George Mitchell
Yamaha Pro Staff
When it comes to boat ownership, it’s really all about having the right package for what you want to do. The more your boat, engines and all the components work together, the more effectively you can fish and operate, and the better performance and fuel economy you’ll get. Essentially, that all equates to happiness.
I was just at the Yamaha V6 F300 Demo Tour in Seabrook, Texas, and that was one of the things we were emphasizing—having everything working together to optimize performance for your style of fishing. And from the start, let me state that the Yamaha F300’s really are the best outboards on the market when it comes to performance, providing a broader performance band of midrange fuel efficiency and power than any other outboard on the market.
They’re also the best when combined with OEM partners. When you combine three F300’s with my boat—a 36’ Yellowfin, it really is the optimum package for performance, speed, reliability, efficiency and fuel economy. And when you combine that with my type of fishing, which is very versatile where I’m fishing for Spanish mackerel on the beach one day, snook fishing in the inlet another and running 200 miles to chase tournament fish on another, you get the best fuel economy, so essentially the best of both worlds.
We need and expect a lot from out boat and motor, and this package has it all. When Spanish mackerel fishing, we need maneuverability so we can turn quickly in a pack of boats or to avoid an approaching wave on the beach that might break at any time. When we’re snook fishing the engines are running and keeping us in place in a moving tide and we need those engines to be super quiet, with no noise when we’re constantly shifting in and out of gear to hold position in a strong current.
That’s where the combination of the motors and the SDS (Shift Dampener System) props come together to create the perfect package for what we want to do. There’s no sound whatsoever when you put the engines in and out of gear, so you don’t spook the fish and shut the bite down.
Then there are the days when we’re a mile offshore catching Sardines and a 50-pound king comes through. I’ll have the “Oh My God There’s A 50-pound King In The Bait School” rod ready to go, and we just put a bait on and toss it back, and that can make your day right there. Here I am in a 12,000 pound, 900 horsepower boat having a full-day charter on less than 15 gallons of fuel.
When I run my normal charters out of Jupiter, Florida, I’m running less than 30 miles in any direction and averaging 1.2 or 1.3 miles per gallon, which is pretty impressive for a 36’ boat.
The beauty incredible midrange fuel efficiency of the F300’s is exhibited in the springtime when we’re doing a lot of run and gun dolphin fishing. It sounds like you run fast all over the place, but we really don’t. My boat gets on plane at 23mph, and that’s what we run. We run for no more than five minutes, then we shut down and scan the horizon 360 degrees with binoculars looking for floating objects that might hold dolphin. If we don’t see anything, we run for five minutes more, and then stop and look again. And we don’t run in the same direction, we zig-zag our course to cover the most water possible. The key to that is that at 23 mph or just on plane, I can get 1.5 miles per gallon.
When you have that kind of fuel economy, it’s actually cheaper for me to run the boat to some of the nearby tournaments than to trailer it. There’s a big tournament coming up at Hillsborough Inlet in a couple of weeks and I’ll probably put the boat in locally and run the 36 miles down instead of trailering it down.
So not only am I being cost efficient and fuel efficient, but I’m being fish smart too. I can zig-zag from 60 feet out to 300 feet of water and see what the conditions are and compare that information with what I know about the bite to get the most current fishing update I can have.
We did a little daytime swordfishing about 18 miles east of the inlet last week for something different. We made six drops, had four bites and caught two fish. Doing something like that is when the charging systems on these engines comes into play.
We have two electric reels going, plus all our electronics, radar, sounder, bait pumps, and everything else going. We also put up our kits and put a big bait out, because you never know when that big dolphin is going to swim by, and we use electric reels on the kites. So we have all this power drain at once, and that’s where you realize that the charging system is better than it’s ever been on these motors, something like 29% better than any other V6 outboard on the market.
I’ve never had an issue where I’m tripping breakers or with a low battery. These motors require very little power at idle. They’re just very efficient.
The same goes when we transition to the evening swordfishing where we’re out there at night. We use strong lights to light up the fishing area, all the electronics and radar. They’re always on watch for us, and yet we have plenty of power to keep thing going all night long.
So whether I’m fishing the inlets, the beaches, running and gunning, swordfishing or tournament fishing, I have the perfect boat and motor combination, along with all the other components to the system to give me the best chance to catch fish with optimum performance and incredible fuel economy. How many boat/motor manufacturers can make that statement?