Bass Pro Alton Jones on the Yamaha V MAX outboards
Let's hear what difference the new Yamahas will make to a tournament fisherman.
Editor’s Note: After digesting his turkey dinner, our Outboard Expert Charles Plueddeman, returned to his Yamaha file, from which he’s already written last week’s reviews of the new offshore and bass boat Yamaha four strokes. Now he’s sent along a short interview with a bass pro who provides some additional insight into the performance of the new outboard engines. Alton Jones is part of Yamaha’s team, but as you can expect, he’s looking for every advantage when he’s fishing competitively.—John Burnham
At last week’s media launch for the new Yamaha , it was 2008 Bassmaster Classic Champion Alton Jones, a member of the Yamaha pro staff, who took me out to sample the performance of the new four-stroke V MAX SHO 250 outboard. As we idled through a long no-wake zone, Jones offered some illuminating comments on the motor, the new Skeeter FX-series boats, and bass-boat performance in general. I guess after 19 years of tournament fishing, this 45-year-old pro from Waco, Texas, has learned more than a thing or two.
It’s the broad powerband of the new V MAX SHO that Jones really appreciates:
“Now I’ve got the hole shot to run with the fastest boats,” said Jones, who admitted that in recent seasons the Mercury Pro SX made any boat faster than his old Yamaha V MAX two-stroke. “But more than just acceleration, what this motor gives me is the torque to keep the boat stable at lower speeds. I can run 35 or 40 miles per hour and still keep the motor trimmed up some because this motor can maintain leverage on the transom and hold the boat. You can’t always run wide-open in a tournament, because the water is too rough, or the boat traffic is too heavy, or you are running in a narrow river where it’s just not safe to be going real fast. Sometimes we get in some big water on the Great Lakes, and you want to be able to power up and over big waves. This motor never falls out of its powerband. I can plane this boat off from a start with the motor still trimmed out. The bow comes up, but it gets right on plane. That’s some power.”
Jones is right. I trimmed the motor out about half-way and mashed the throttle, and the big Skeeter popped right up and took off down the river.
Two new Skeeter boat models, the FX21 and the FX20, were designed specifically for the new Yamaha V MAX, and Jones used mid-speed turns to demonstrate the results.
“They extended the sponsons (the portion of the deck that overhangs the hull transom, and works like trim tabs to help the boat get on plane) and the hull is shaped to feed more water right at the prop,” explained Jones, who then put the boat into a hard turn at about 40 mph. “So I can make a turn like this and the prop just keeps digging into the water, and holds the boat on plane but never blows out, either.”
Jones is also concerned about economy.
“Yamaha says with the new four stroke I’ll get 12 percent better fuel economy than the two-stroke V MAX,” said Jones, “which give me more range and maybe I don’t have to worry about running out of gas as some tournaments. But get this. I have also figured out that I’ll save about $1,000 a season not buying two-stroke injector oil. That I like.”
Good point. But I’m guessing Yamaha would keep his oil reservoir topped off anyway.
- Lenny Rudow is Senior Editor for Dominion Marine Media, including Boats.com and Yachtworld.com. With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, he has contributed to publications including Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design who has won 28 BWI and OWAA writing awards.
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Tags: Alton Jones, Bassmaster, fuel economy, Mercury Pro SX, Skeeter FX series, Skeeter FX20, Skeeter FX21, Yamaha, Yamaha Vmax SHO