Best picks from backwater to big water
Whether you run a tiny skiff or a sprawling 27-foot bay boat, your inshore fishing experience depends on your outboard. Yamaha covers the entire range of power options, from its portable 2.5 hp single-cylinder model to the V-6 F300 with Helm Master® EX. “The key is the reliability. That’s why it’s Yamaha for me,” says Capt. Rick Murphy, guide and host of Sportsman’s Adventures® TV, sponsored by Yamaha. Murphy has run all sizes of boats with all types of Yamahas. We asked him to highlight his favorite shallow-water rigs.
“There are so many places that are no-motor zones these days; you’ve either got to paddle all day to get there, or run there and remove the engine from the transom,” he says. And that’s just what Murphy does on his 16-foot G3® johnboat, powered by a two-cylinder 25 hp Yamaha. “In fact, our best day fishing was in a no-motor zone. We caught 324 snook, redfish, tarpon, trout and black drum.”
Yamaha’s portable lineup ranges from the 37-pound F2.5, useful for tiny skiffs and flat-transom canoes, to the F25. The engines feature an oil-retention system for leak-free, on-side storage, as well as carry handles and resting pads.
Murphy runs an F70 on his carbon-fiber Maverick® HPX 17S. “I could get away with going smaller on the horsepower to achieve the same speed with the lightweight skiff,” he says. “And now I can float in shallower water and get to fish I couldn’t get to before.”
As skiff-makers continue to build lighter boats, the angler gains multiple advantages with a smaller, lighter engine. Murphy gets 40 mph out of the carbon-fiber skiff with the F70; he got 43 out of his previous skiff with an F90. “In the poling situation, I’d rather be poling less weight.”
The four-cylinder F70 features best-in-class horsepower per liter and, at 257 pounds, weighs less than other comparable outboards. The F70 delivers superior hole shot and acceleration due to an advanced sensor and a 2.33-to-1 gear ratio.
Yamaha’s Helm Master EX now brings total boat control to single-outboard boats including larger bay boats. Murphy uses the original Helm Master on his offshore boat but says the system also delivers exactly what inshore anglers need.
For instance, when fishing docks and bridges at night, you can hit Stay Point® to hold up-current of the fish. “If you’re on a rip and want to hold a 220-degree heading with a 3-knot current behind you, the boat does it for you,” he says.
In addition, Helm Master EX helps you dock more easily and can follow a shoreline contour.
“There are things you can do with Helm Master EX that you can’t do with a trolling motor,” he adds. “The key is that four-strokes, and their quiet operation, have helped complement what Helm Master now brings to us.”
REMEMBER to always observe all applicable boating laws. Never drink and drive. Dress properly with a USCG-approved personal flotation device and protective gear.
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