Anglers Journal - - CONTENTS - BY ERIC COLBY

Six new en­gines prove big­ger is bet­ter when it comes to out­boards, with three man­u­fac­tur­ers now of­fer­ing V-8 op­tions. By ERIC COLBY

Brian Turner owns mul­ti­ple busi­nesses on Florida’s west coast. When he wants to fish for mar­lin and sail­fish, he takes his out­board-pow­ered cen­ter con­sole about 130 miles to “The Steps” in the Gulf of Mex­ico.

“I like to go fast, and I don’t get a whole lot of time off,” says Turner, 43, of Braden­ton, Florida. “I’ve al­ways liked the speed and the fisha­bil­ity that come with the cen­ter con­sole.”

He got his first cen­ter con­sole, a 42-foot Yel­lowfin, about five years ago and last year had the com­pany build him a cus­tom car­bon fiber ver­sion with triple 350-hp Yamaha 4-stroke out­boards. Haulin’ Grass runs at 65 mph in good con­di­tions and at about 55 in rougher stuff. “I’m trolling for mar­lin in two and a half hours,” Turner says.

Dur­ing the last decade, a grow­ing num­ber of an­glers have moved into larger, faster, more nim­ble out­board-pow­ered cen­ter con­sole fish­ing boats. “It’s all about fisha­bil­ity, per­for­mance and fuel econ­omy,” says Yel­lowfin Yachts pres­i­dent Wylie Na­gler. “I can cover more dis­tance and fish more miles in the same day.”

The big­ger-is-bet­ter trend has been in vogue for some time with both open boats and out­boards. It’s been a chicken-and-egg re­la­tion­ship. Larger boats spurred the de­vel­op­ment of larger (and muli­ti­ple) en­gines. Greater horse­power led to big­ger boats.

“En­gine de­vel­op­ment guided or was a ma­jor fac­tor in the de­vel­op­ment of these boats,” says noted de­signer Michael Peters, pres­i­dent of Michael Peters Yacht De­sign in Sara­sota, Florida, which has nearly a dozen out­board-pow­ered cen­ter con­soles on the draw­ing board. “Peo­ple changed the way they fish to use out­boards. I wouldn’t say the out­boards are great for fish­ing; I would say every­body mod­i­fied their fish­ing be­cause out­boards are great for propul­sion.”

Seven Marine has had its high-out­put V-8 out­boards since 2011, in­clud­ing a 627-hp model, the most pow­er­ful out­board in the in­dus­try. In late 2017, Suzuki in­tro­duced its DF350A, a high-com­pres­sion V-6 out­board with what it calls “con­tra-ro­tat­ing” twin pro­pel­lers. In May, Mer­cury and Yamaha un­veiled nat­u­rally as­pi­rated out­boards with V-8 pow­er­heads — mark­ing the first time the in­dus­try has had three man­u­fac­tur­ers of­fer­ing V-8 out­boards.


Yamaha in­tro­duced the XTO Off­shore this past spring, a 425-hp out­board with a 5.6-liter dis­place­ment, avail­able in 25-, 30- and 35-inch shaft lengths. It runs on 89 oc­tane fuel and has a bore and stroke of 96 by 96 mil­lime­ters, with

a com­pres­sion ra­tio of 12.2-to-1 and dou­ble over­head camshafts. The out­board’s di­rect fuel-in­jec­tion sys­tem has five pumps, three elec­tri­cal and two me­chan­i­cal. An elec­tronic con­trol mod­ule mon­i­tors fuel pres­sure.

For an­glers, the ex­haust sys­tem is in­tended to im­prove re­verse pro­pel­ler thrust. When the en­gine is run­ning be­low 2,500 rpm, the ex­haust ex­its above the anti-ven­ti­la­tion plate, let­ting the pro­pel­lers get a cleaner bite. Yamaha says the XTO Off­shore has 300 per­cent bet­ter re­verse thrust than the com­pany’s 350-hp out­board.

The XTO Off­shore also has a hy­draulics­free elec­tronic steer­ing sys­tem. An elec­tronic mo­tor in the tilt tube moves the out­board back and forth with in­put from the steer­ing wheel, and there’s a man­ual over­ride if there’s a prob­lem with the main sys­tem.

To run the elec­tron­ics that fish­er­men use, the en­gine pro­duces up to 90 amps of to­tal power with a net out­put of 59 amps at idle, 72 at 1,500 rpm, 66 at 3,000 and 46 at wide open. For eas­ier ser­vic­ing, the lower unit gear lube can be changed with the boat in the wa­ter, and the en­gine has 73 de­grees of tilt-up range to get the en­tire en­gine out of the wa­ter.

The XTO Off­shore has a 6-inch-di­am­e­ter gearcase, com­pared to the 5.25-inch gearcase on the F350, and the props come in di­am­e­ters from 16 to 171⁄8 inches, and in pitches from 15 to 25 inches. The en­gine is de­signed to mount on 28½-inch cen­ters, and it has the same bolt pat­tern as the F350.

The 25-inch ver­sion weighs 962 pounds, the 30-inch shaft length checks in at 977 pounds, and the 35-inch tips the scales at 999 pounds. Ben Speciale, pres­i­dent of Yamaha Marine Group, says those weights are fine. “We’re push­ing boats that weigh 30,000 pound­splus, so what’s 100 pounds? I don’t see it as an is­sue,” Speciale says. “The 350 was the same way. The en­gine’s kind of heavy if you look at a boat of to­day, but if you look at a boat of to­mor­row, it’s not heavy at all. It’s easy to make horse­power. Dura­bil­ity is dif­fi­cult.”

Re­tail prices for the XTO Off­shore in gray start at $44,250 for a 25-inch shaft with right ro­ta­tion and $45,185 with left ro­ta­tion. The 30-inch shaft re­tails for $45,000 with right ro­ta­tion and $45,935 with left. The 35-inch shaft is $46,120 with right ro­ta­tion and $47,060 with left.

Mer­cury Marine

Mer­cury Marine’s new out­boards with V-8 pow­er­heads, also in­tro­duced this past spring, dis­place 4.6 liters (279 cid), and they are avail­able in Ver­ado, Fourstroke and Pro XS mod­els from 200 to 300 hp. The en­gines have a quad­cam de­sign and ex­tended ex­haust runners for im­proved flow and torque.

The light­est dry weight is listed at 527 pounds, for the Fourstroke 250- and 300-hp mod­els, which gives them a weight-to-power ra­tio of 1.76 pounds per horse­power, suit­able for lighter-weight ap­pli­ca­tions, such as bass boats. Mer­cury says the en­gine is the light­est in its class by 20 pounds. The Pro XS 250- and 300-hp mod­els weigh 505 pounds.

Ad­vanced Range Op­ti­miza­tion ad­justs fuel de­liv­ery, and the closed-loop fuel con­trol uses a wide-range oxy­gen sen­sor for fuel econ­omy. With their nar­rower pro­file, the Mer­cury out­boards mount on 26-inch cen­ters. A ser­vice

door on the cowl­ing opens for dip­stick checks and oil fills. The en­gines gen­er­ate 20 amps at idle and 85 at wide open, and raise the idle rpm to charge the bat­tery when volt­age is low.

The Ver­a­dos are con­sid­ered Mer­cury’s lux­ury mod­els and have a mid­sec­tion de­signed to mit­i­gate noise and vi­bra­tion. Mer­cury says its Ver­a­dos are 20 per­cent qui­eter at idle and 35 per­cent less noisy at cruise and wide open than com­pa­ra­ble en­gines from other man­u­fac­tur­ers, with 66 per­cent less vi­bra­tion at the helm. “There’s not a qui­eter en­gine on the mar­ket than Mer­cury’s,” says John Pfeifer, pres­i­dent of Mer­cury Marine. “We in­vest a lot into en­sur­ing that ev­ery out­board we man­u­fac­ture meets the de­mands of the mar­ket­place.”

Mer­cury’s 350 and 400R Ver­a­dos con­tinue to be the com­pany’s most pop­u­lar for off­shore use, and Pfeifer doesn’t see the size of boats get­ting any smaller. “Five years ago, walk­ing around the Fort Laud­erdale boat show, you might have seen one or two triple or quad ap­pli­ca­tions,” he says. “The con­sumer wants a large, cen­ter con­sole boat with mul­ti­ple out­boards on the back. As fish­ing con­tin­ues to grow in pop­u­lar­ity — it’s cur­rently the num­ber-one-ranked out­door ac­tiv­ity — so, too, will the de­sire from some cus­tomers who want a big­ger fish­ing boat.” When Mer­cury in­tro­duced the Ver­ado line in 2004, “fly-by-wire was the game changer,” says John Ca­ballero, sales and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor at Seavee Boats. “When they pack­aged the fly-by-wire and the power steer­ing, now you had a tech­no­log­i­cal in­ter­face be­tween the op­er­a­tor and the mo­tor.”

In the early days of mul­ti­ple-out­board

con­fig­u­ra­tions, he says, peo­ple were in­tim­i­dated by the mul­ti­ple lev­ers for shift­ing and throt­tling. With to­day’s dig­i­tal shift­ing, “it doesn’t mat­ter if it’s a triple or a quad. You op­er­ate it like a twin.” Pric­ing ranges from $23,540 for a 250-hp Ver­ado to $24,965 for a 300-hp Pro XS.


Capt. Ron Mitchell of the Ban­dit Fish­ing

Team had quad 300-hp Suzukis on his Sea Hunter 39. “When I got the 350s, it com­pletely changed the boat,” he says.

Much like Yamaha did with the XTO Off­shore, Suzuki de­signed the DF350A as a big en­gine to push big boats. The 55-de­gree V-6 block dis­places 267.9 inches (4,390 cc) with a bore and stroke of 3.74 by 3.82 inches. It has mul­ti­point se­quen­tial elec­tronic fuel in­jec­tion with lean burn and an oxy­gen sen­sor, and the com­pres­sion ra­tio is 12-to-1, which is com­pa­ra­ble to the Yamaha XTO Off­shore’s.

Fall­ing in be­tween the Mer­cury and Yamaha on the weight scale, the DF350A weighs 727 pounds for the 25-inch shaft and 747 pounds for the 30-inch. That gives the 25-inch model a weight-to-power ra­tio of 2.08 pounds per horse­power. (Suzuki doesn’t of­fer a 35-inch shaft.) The DF350A has what Suzuki calls dual “con­tra-ro­tat­ing” props, which have a 15½

inch di­am­e­ter and pitch ranges from 19½ to 31½ inches. The ex­tra pro­pel­ler blades pro­vide im­proved torque for get­ting big boats on plane, and a bet­ter bite for back­ing down on a fish or ma­neu­ver­ing around docks. “I can spin the boat in place on an axis with those mo­tors,” Mitchell says. “Right when the lines go off, we’re spin­ning that boat around and go­ing after that fish. It spins around like a 21-foot boat.” He says he picked up 7 to 10 mph with the new out­boards while keep­ing fuel econ­omy about the same as with the 300s.

Re­tail pric­ing for the DF350A starts at

$32,825 with a 25-inch shaft.


Honda Marine, the orig­i­na­tor of the 4-stroke out­board, in­tro­duced a new 250-hp en­gine ear­lier this year. The big­gest out­board the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer of­fers, the BF250 is a 60-de­gree V-6 that dis­places 3.6 liters and has an up­graded air-in­duc­tion sys­tem, vari­able idle charg­ing and a new gearcase de­sign.

The en­gine has a bore and stroke of 89 x 96 mil­lime­ters, and max­i­mum rpm is 6,300. The lower unit gear ra­tio is 2-to-1, and the 90-amp al­ter­na­tor has a max­i­mum charg­ing power of 60 amps.

For an im­proved hole shot, the en­gine has Honda’s Boosted Low Speed Torque, or BLAST, sys­tem, which uses an air-fuel link tim­ing con­trol to im­prove low-speed ac­cel­er­a­tion.

The man­u­fac­turer’s dig­i­tal In­tel­li­gent Shift and Throt­tle, which can be in­te­grated for up to four en­gines and two con­trol sta­tions, is an op­tion.

The BF250 is avail­able in 20-, 25- and 30-inch shaft lengths and and weighs in at 600, 613 and 622 pounds, re­spec­tively. That gives the

25-inch shaft length a weight-to-power ra­tio of 2.45 pounds per horse. Pric­ing was un­avail­able.


The lone 2-stroke man­u­fac­turer in the game is Ev­in­rude, whose E-TEC G2 se­ries ranges from 150 to 300 hp. The 300-hp out­board has a 74-de­gree V-6 pow­er­head with a bore and stroke of 3.854 by 3 inches and a dis­place­ment of 3.4 liters. Max­i­mum rpm is 6,000, and to­tal al­ter­na­tor out­put is 133 amps, with a net of 50 and 14 pro­duced at idle. It re­tails for $26,000. For Capt. C.A. Richard­son, who spends most of his time in skinny wa­ter go­ing after tar­pon and bone­fish, the torque and lighter weight of a 2-stroke are crit­i­cal. He runs a Hell’s

Bay Mar­quesa flats boat pow­ered by a 90-hp E-TEC out­board.

“I fish in wa­ter from inches deep to up to 3 feet or 4 feet max,” An­der­son says. “The hole shot is amaz­ing, and it’s so re­li­able. Even at rest when the boat is off, the abil­ity to have a mo­tor that’s lighter is ev­ery­thing. The lit­mus test is when we’re at idle speed and I hit that throt­tle, and it jumps on plane.” E-TEC G2 en­gines have a mag­neto charg­ing sys­tem, hy­draulic steer­ing in­te­grated into the mid­sec­tion and an on-board 2-stroke oil reser­voir for a cleaner tran­som and sim­pler rig­ging. They are of­fered in 20-, 25- and 30-inch shaft

lengths, depend­ing on the model. The 150-hp en­gine weighs 300 pounds, for a weight-topower ra­tio of 1.79 pounds per horse.

Seven Marine

Seven Marine out­boards have a pow­er­head that’s de­rived from a Gen­eral Mo­tors su­per­charged alu­minum-block V-8. They are avail­able with horse­power rat­ings of 527, 577 and 627.

The V-8 has a bore and stroke of 4.065 by 3.622 inches and a com­pres­sion ra­tio of 8.6to-1. A closed cool­ing sys­tem re­sists cor­ro­sion. Shift­ing is done through a ZF Marine trans­mis­sion, and the gearcase has dual pin­ion gears that are built to han­dle 1,700 hp.

The en­gines come in 20- and 25-inch shaft lengths, and in 1-inch in­ter­vals from 25 to 39 inches. The 20-inch out­board weighs 1,094 pounds for a weight-to-power ra­tio of 1.74 pounds per horse.

Stain­less-steel head­ers re­duce noise, and the fuel sys­tem has Quick Start tech­nol­ogy, which au­to­mat­i­cally primes when the key is turned on. Seven Marine tar­gets the grow­ing fleet of big cen­ter con­soles with its out­boards. Prices range from around $70,000 to around $120,000 depend­ing on the model and op­tions.

Diesel, Any­one?

Michael Peters, pres­i­dent of Michael Peters Yacht

De­sign in Sara­sota, Florida, says the next game-changer for cen­ter con­soles could be a light­weight diesel out­board of sig­nif­i­cant power.

Bri­tish com­pany Cox Marine has a 300-hp diesel out­board, the CXO300, that is be­ing used in mil­i­tary and com­mer­cial ap­pli­ca­tions. “While we were not ini­tially tar­get­ing the recre­ational mar­ket, high demand has led us to read­just our di­rec­tion,” says Joel Reid, Cox’s global sales di­rec­tor.

The com­pany has dis­played the en­gine at boat shows, and in­ter­est was high. “The salt­wa­ter fish­ing seg­ment will be the main ap­pli­ca­tion in mar­kets such as Florida, Texas and Ge­or­gia,” Reid says. “Over­all, it might rep­re­sent be­tween 15 and 20 per­cent of en­gines pro­vided to the U.S. mar­ket.”

Cox Marine says the CXO300 saves about 25 per­cent in fuel con­sump­tion com­pared to a 300-hp gas out­board.

The in­creased bot­tom-end torque that comes with a diesel should also come in handy on big cen­ter con­soles. Cox says the CXO300 has “100 per­cent higher peak torque at the crank­shaft than the lead­ing 300-hp out­boards, 60 per­cent higher when com­par­ing with a lead­ing 350 hp. This dif­fer­ence is am­pli­fied when look­ing be­low the midrange rpm.”

The CXO300 is avail­able in 25-, 30- and 35-inch shaft lengths. It in­stalls on 28½-inch cen­ters and is avail­able in two gear ra­tios, 1.227-to-1 and 1.46-to-1, for heav­ier boats that spin big­ger props. Cox says en­gine life is two to three times longer than a gas out­board, and that the CXO300 needs “dry” ser­vice once a year, or ev­ery 1,000 hours.

Yamaha’s new XTO Off­shore 425-hp out­boards are de­signed to push big salt­wa­ter boats.

The new Mer­cury V-8 out­boards have the nar­row­est pro­file and mount on 26-inch cen­ters.

Suzuki’s DF350A uses twin “con­tra-ro­tat­ing” pro­pel­lers to im­prove ma­neu­ver­abil­ity on big boats.

Honda in­tro­duced its big­gest out­board, a 250-hp model, ear­lier this year at the Miami boat show.

Ev­in­rude is the lone man­u­fac­turer of 2-stroke out­boards, which have bet­ter bot­tom-end torque.

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