The Evolution 500 is one of several excellent fishing craft within the Evolution line up. This Australian manufactured boat has been on the market since 2003 and is real value for money. Whether a total beginner or a seasoned angler this boat wont disappoint, with its superb features and smooth ride.
Evolution craft feature deep vee hand-laid fibreglass hulls with foam injected extra rigid fibreglass stringers below the floor for the ultimate in strength and longevity. The timber free under floor cavity is foam filled to offer both quietness and reserves of buoyancy.
The great ride and handling, plus a large amount of fishing room distinguishes this craft from its competitors. It has all the features from a locking anchor well up front right through to a plumbed live well in the full height transom.
The key to the Evolution’s success as a fishing boat is its roominess and ride. It’s quite broad shouldered, around 2.25m in width, and is one of the beamiest craft in its class. It offers a lot of useful fishing room within the 1830mm wide, 690mm high cockpit. Around one half of the craft is devoted to fishing space and a family or group of really keen anglers can work in plenty of comfort within safe confines.
The Evolution 500 Cuddy’s attractive bow is dressed up with a strong bow sprit, a stainless steel bow rail and concealed bollard. The area is accessed via the cuddy hatch, which I had no issues with using the hatch to test access.
Down below, within the windowed cuddy cabin, was a pair of cushioned Vee bunks that offered comfortable seating or, with the addition of an in-fill, a bunk for a couple of tired anglers to stretch out on. The area is also handy for storage of tackle and similar while travelling.
Cabin storage space is also available below the bunks and in the over head cuddy shelving, which served as a back rest. The flat non skid area right at the front of the cuddy serves as a step when tending the anchor or leaving the craft via the cabin hatch.
A four piece windscreen was neatly fitted atop the rear section of the cuddy cab and offered excellent protection from slip stream under way. A colour coded folding bimini was a sensible option on the test rig and, to my mind, enhanced the craft’s sporty look.
Aft of the windscreen is a wide flat area with lip that would be ideal for storing handy personal items. And with so much available space on hand, there is plenty of room for as many nav aids as one might wish to install. Right in front of the skipper’s upholstered slide adjustable pedestal bucket seat was a raised section of dash moulding with a compass, gauges to monitor the 90 E-Tec on the transom, and a neat trim-tacho-fuel array. Switches for various functions were further to starboard along with side mounted engine controls.
Skipper and first mate’s pedestal bucket seats came neatly embossed with the Evolution logo, and the slide adjustable option meant that the skipper could stand and drive if preferred. Features for the front passenger included a large side pocket, a dash mounted grab handle, a drink holder to compliment the skipper’s, and a foot rest. Side and forward visibility for skipper and mate was unimpeded.
After spending time within the Evolution’s big cockpit, I believe the craft can allow four anglers to fish in comfort. Toe holds under the side pockets were useful, grab rails were built into the 690mm high gunwale’s wide tops, and the large easily accessed side pockets were equipped with rod racks offering full sized boat rod storage with tips protected.
A pair of rod holders are gunwale mounted aft, and a glass fronted live well is set into the port quarter of the transom. A pair of off floor storage compartments within the transom are located each side of the central compartment housing the engine battery and fuel filter.
A 60L under floor fish/icebox is located below the rear two person removable seat with its transom width coaming back rest. Other transom features include a rod holder equipped bait station with cutting board plus a handy ready use tackle storage compartment to starboard on the upper transom.
The cockpit drains at the transom remove any water into a sump equipped with an automatic bilge pump.
Features aft of the transom consist of cleats, twin boarding platforms plus associated grab rails. The fuel filler built into the very upper extremity of the transom is a neat and stylish item that reflected the overall finish and presentation of the craft.
A 21º deadrise with reversed outer chines mated to some pronounced planing strakes along the length of her hull made the Evolution 500 cuddy a smooth ride and kind handling craft. A fine bow mated to plenty of above water flair kicked spray well away from the hull at virtually any speed and contributed to a soft ride at higher speeds. Admittedly, most of the test runs within the Jumpinpin area were in smooth water but jumping the small waves coming in from the bar caused no bumps or thumps to be transmitted into the interior of the Evolution. A dry hull weight of 600kg combined with good design easily ironed out any rough water.
The Evolution’s hull remained dry under power, much as one would expect from a cuddy equipped craft of this style. The ease of control, via the non feed back steering plus the degree of stability of the hull, was hard to put off a level situation due to its grip on the water – another great bonus for the angling team.
With engines rated from 75-115hp the mid range 90 E-Tec made easy work of powering the craft. In typical E-Tec manner the engine proved powerfully smooth and remarkably quiet throughout the entire rev range and planed the craft very easily at 22.3km/h at 2,800rpm. 3,000rpm saw 28.5km/h on the hand held GPS unit with a very smooth 4,000rpm producing 40.4km/h, which in my view was an ideal cruising speed. Other recorded speeds were 56.4km/h at 5,000rpm and 58.6km/h at 5,300rpm. In all, plenty of pace for fishing requirements.
We towed the craft to Jacobs Well with a small utility so a family six or big four sedan would have no problems with the craft on the tow bar. The Dunbier multi-roller trailer supplied with the Evolution was a delight to use with launch and retrieve a one person job for all practical purposes.
In rating the Evolution 500 Cuddy I’ve given the craft very high marks. There’s no question that it’s a big little boat in all aspects. Standard of finish was high all round and the craft is ideal for family or dedicated angler usage. It’s not intended for overnight or extended cruising but would fulfill an overnight stay easily enough with a bit of preparation.
Off shore, bay or estuary work is this rig’s strength with a high level of sea keeping ability, courtesy of 720mm high sides.
Cost as reviewed was a reasonable $45,500 for a complete package including safety pack and registrations. With a 75 E-Tec astern a rig would come home for around $39,500.
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|Length on trailer:||6.5m|
|Height on trailer:||2.10m|
|Towing:||Family 6 or big 4 sedan or wagon.|