The Sea Jay 485 Tropic with the 70hp Yamaha four-stroke could well be the ideal boat/motor set up for the keen angler looking for a dedicated fishing boat that can be towed with the family six or big four sedan and won’t cost an arm and a leg.
The craft handled beautifully when I spent the morning aboard it around Jumpinpin, was very steady at rest and the 70hp Yamaha four-stroke was powerfully smooth through its entire rev range.
Standard features within the 485 Tropic include a deep vee hull with reversed outer chine, carpeted floor areas, wide side decks, electric motor pad, kill/dry storage well, three hatches within the forward casting deck, underfloor flotation and seating options.
The centre console layout ensures a lot of useful fishing room within the Tropic. Up front the elevated cast deck comes equipped with three hatches, the forward one for anchor storage, middle for electric motor battery installation and the 1m wide rear hatch ideal for either dry storage or a fish kill tank. I actually caught some fish on the test morning and put the kill tank to good use!
Further bow area features consisted of a Minn Kota Riptide 55 set up on the dedicated pad to port, three in-floor seating spigots, plus low but full length split bow rails.
Stepping down 25cm into the main work area sees the angler able to brace on the console rail to fish or enjoy a seat at one of the three available positions aft of the centre console. The centre console was equipped with a tinted windscreen plus centre shelf with light.
A Humminbird 798 CXI colour side imaging sounder was fitted and proved very useful during our fishing time at the ‘Pin.
Instrumentation was deceptively simple but comprehensive nonetheless. Mounted to port of the wheel (linked to hydraulic steering) were three Yamaha Digital Network gauges to fully provide information on all engine functions including RPM, speed and trim. A check at the ramp revealed we had travelled 20.8km at varying speeds and had used 6.6L of fuel.
A bank of switches was located to starboard of the wheel while engine forward controls were mounted to the outer edge of the console.
Seating on the reviewed craft consisted of well padded pedestal seats, the skipper’s seat featuring plenty of leg room under the console and offering excellent all round visibility while driving.
Other cockpit features consisted of rod racks set up to starboard, a large side pocket to port along with fuel filler and filter. A neat full height engine well took up only a small area within the cockpit. The floor to gunwale height of 55cm and outside freeboard of 70cm means on the right day the Tropic could certainly venture offshore given its exceptional stability and easy riding ability. A pair of grab handles completed the aft transom features.
Note that although six rod holders are standard fare on the Sea Jay 485 Tropic none were fitted to the test craft as per owner James Cullen’s specifications.
The Sea Jay’s 377kg hull and three passengers proved no obstacle at all for the new Yamaha F70A four cylinder four-stroke engine on the transom. It was the top power rating available for the craft; 60hp is recommended.
The Yamaha F70A was whisper quiet in best four-stroke tradition at idle, didn’t make its presence known via decibel output. The 996 C.C EFI four- eased the 485 Tropic onto the plane at 15.3km/h with 2800rpm on the tachometer; 3,000rpm saw 22.7km/h, 4,000rpm recoded 35.8km/h. 5,000rpm recorded 52.4km/h and 6,000rpm a lively 67.6km/h.
One of the best features of the Yamaha F70A was the sheer grunt of the thing. Even when just onto the plane a stab of the forward control lever saw instant response. I was particularly impressed with the easy cruising ability of the engine, which saw us moving at 40km/h at a gentle 4,400rpm.
I guess it speaks plenty about the ride and handling of the rig that although I appeared to be having some pleasing success with the fish on the morning I occupied the driving seat for most of our time on water.
The hydraulic steering made it easy to maneuver the craft in against likely banks and against some current at times. Running along through chop at the ‘Pin I noticed that wave impact was quite minimal and we remained dry thanks to the hull’s large spray chine which deflected water very efficiently.
One point that impressed me was the stability of the Sea Jay’s Sure Trac hull which featured a 15 degree Vee mated to four decent strakes per side, good sized keel and a wide reversed outer chine to really grip the water both under way and at rest.
Of interest is the fact that we seldom ever see reversed chines of that size on mid sized alloy craft: cost is a factor but the benefits cannot be understated when it comes to sure ride and excellent stability at rest.
The Sea Jay 485 is a lot of fishing boat for the money. It’s virtually all work room and being rated for up to five folk means that two might fish up front, another three astern, or ideally fishing just four serious anglers aboard. Freeboard and general sea keeping ability was very good and I saw the craft as suited to all manner of fishing pursuits from impoundments to the ocean on a good day.
Supplied on a Redco single axle trailer the rig easily slipped on and off the trailer as a one person effort with ease.
A high standard of finish matches the outright fishability of this rig. Attention to detail was evident throughout, from the paint job to the neatly smoothed welds throughout. The smooth running and very quiet Yamaha 70hp four-stroke outboard was a very good match for the hull and made easy work of powering it.
Fitted with useful extras such as the Minn Kota 55 plus battery, Humminbird 798CXI, Yamaha Digital Network gauges and sports style wheel linked to hydraulic steering, I considered the craft excellent value for money at $35,490 including safety gear and registration.
Without the electric outboard, sounder, Digital Gauges and steering package, but still including the important Yamaha 70h four-stroke, the rig would leave Stones Corner Marine’s yard for $27,490 with safety gear and registration.
Stones Corner marine can be contacted on (07) 33979766, fax (07) 33972456 or on the net at www.stonescornermarine.com.au.
|Length on trailer:||8m|
|Height on trailer:||1.45m|
|Hull construct:||3mm sheet alloy|
|Floor to gunwale:||0.55 m|
|Engine fitted:||70 Yamaha four-stroke|
|Towing:||Family six or big four sedan.|