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Evolution 552 Axis
  |  First Published: July 2012



The new Evolution Axis design has come about through a strong switch in anglers’ desire for broader fishing methods and species choices. Always listening to what customers want and continually evolving with technology and fishing styles, Evolution has designed their latest inclusion for the versatile angler.

Once upon a time anglers put their focus on narrow windows of fishing, such as bream in the estuaries or tuna offshore, which reflected in their boat choice. Large half cabin style boats were aimed at anglers who wanted to chase snapper, gummies and whiting in the bays, and serious offshore rigs were intended to cover the miles in search of marlin, tuna and sharks. Centre console boats had a strong following in more tropical climates and small flashy American boats were designed for the lakes and up narrow estuaries.

Nevertheless, over the past few years anglers have been realising the versatility available in a purpose-built centre console/open style boat. It allows you to be fishing up an estuary one day and in the bays in search of a snapper or offshore chasing pelagic species the next.

The Evolution crew have evolved with this coming trend and have designed the perfect ‘Jack of all trades’ boat. As the name says, the Axis is designed for ocean, estuary, freshwater and anything else you so desire.

On The Trailer

Paul Junginger, owner and designer of Evolution Boats, has kept the Axis design close to the extremely successful hull of the Evolution 552. It has all the important and successful features, such as the 21º deadrise, huge reverse chines that give the hull its unparalleled stability at rest, and the large running strakes that make this hull stick like glue and give the hull its on water performance.

As with all Evolution hulls this one is foam-filled with special closed cell foam that makes the hull unsinkable. All the fibreglass is hand laid including the stringers, which eliminates any chance of hull rot.

Being a true multi purpose hull, a lot of features have remained the same as in a half cabin boat. The moulded bow-sprit large anchor well can still fit an electric anchor, which means you can seriously anchor up and snapper fish out of the boat. At the transom the semi recessed pod/engine well sees the 150hp E-Tec not sticking out like a sore thumb off the back, and the internal space hasn’t been compromised with the flat transom offering plenty of room for fishing.

Internal Layout

Inside the boat first impressions leave you buzzing with the potential of this vessel. Your biggest headache will be deciding what species you are going to head off and chase on any given day.

Starting at the bow, the anchor well will easily accommodate an electric drum style anchor winch. Located behind is the Minn Kota RipTide electric motor that allows a stealth mode of fishing when you are sneaking up on wary fish.

The large casting deck is where it really all begins with the Axis. The large raised front deck has plenty of room for two anglers to comfortably fish side by side. Underfoot the storage setup makes you wonder how they managed to make everything so big.

The battery hatch has plenty of space for the biggest 24V electric motor setup you could ever need and sees the wires running up through a moulded tube so nothing is exposed.

The dry hatch located on the port side is big enough to fit all the tackle that would make even the biggest lure junkie happy. The centre tank can be plumbed as a live well that will easily fit the biggest snapper, flathead or cod in it; or just kept as a kill tank. The oversized rod locker on the starboard side will easily fit multiple rods up to and over 8ft long with ease.

Adding to what is already a great setup with the moulded gelcoat floor there is also the option for a carpeted deck – something I would definitely go for to keep everything a bit more quiet when chasing sneaky species.

Another small feature that I really like was the small shelf that ran around the casting platform just below the gunnels. It is the perfect addition for anglers to be able to keep all those bits of tackle close by, while also keeping them completely out of the way – this sort of stuff really proves that it’s the small things that count.

Gunnel height on the Axis is the same at the front as the 552 cuddy however there are slight changes. The height tapers down towards the transom and the width of the gunnel is wider.

Moving back off the casting deck sees a small step down to the proper floor height and the huge centre console, which has had a lot of thought put into it. The overall size of the console allows two anglers to sit behind the windscreen and out of the weather when travelling. The big dash space enables you to have all the big electronics that are normally associated with bigger boats. The test model had the new Lowrance HDS Gen2 sounder/GPS, along with switch panels, radios and all the relevant digital engine gauges.

Under the main part of the console there was a press-stud flap that gave way to another huge storage area. In fact it’s probably big enough for two fish boxes, which means that you can keep plenty of gear nearby and dry.

The seating arrangement is ideal with a large bench seat that has a flip/flop back, which is comfortable no matter whether you are driving or facing out the back with a set of rods for snapper. The under seat storage spot makes a perfect dry area, or even as an ice box. Lastly, the box is on an adjustable slide that allows you to move the seat into the perfect position whether driving or fishing.

To add to the already abundant storage spots, the side pockets are big enough to fit nets, gaffs, rods and all the other bits that side pockets hold. Down on the floor at the back of the boat there is also the big underfloor kill/storage tank that comfortably fits another fish box and allows access to the bilge and live bait tank pumps.

Along the back of the boat, Paul has kept with his winning formula of the flat transom and efficient use of space, however, as this boat is aimed at a variety of fishing methods, including tournament style bream fishing, there are a few changes from the standard boats.

The twin battery is setup off the floor in their own dry hatch, which also houses the oil bottle for the E-Tec. I was happy to see that the water separating fuel filter was also placed in this hatch where it’s easy to get to rather than in the awkward underfloor hatch.

Either side of the battery hatches are where the real changes are seen. A pair of plumbed 60L live wells located on each rear corner of the boat were built with the tournament bream angler in mind, which would allow two anglers to keep their fish separate in a competition. I can also see the potential up an estuary with one filled with live prawns and the other live mullet. Or offshore chasing kings and being able to have twice as many live baits – the options are endless.

The addition of snapper racks and the moulded bait board mean that it’s still designed for some serious bait fishing. In fact, this is what makes the Axis so good, you can do so many things out of it. The hull makes it a very capable offshore rig for hunting marlin on the inshore grounds, and equally comfortable at the other end of the scale in a small estuary chasing bream and estuary perch.

Another available addition to the boat is a neat alloy Targa top and rocket launcher that will make it perfect when out all day in summer.

Power Plant

While it may not look like it in the photos, this is a serious sized boat that is built tough. It really needs a decent amount of power to get the best out of it, which is why the Evolution boys went for the 150hp E-Tec.

The V6 engine offers a whole pile of grunt to get this boat on the plane in a second then keep it there with no effort. Punching the throttle pushes you back in the seat and gets your cheeks flapping in the wind.

Best of all, it can do all this with minimal fuel consumption.

On The Water

The overall performance of the Axis is very close to the 552 cuddy. This is because it weighs the same as the cuddy even though it’s an open boat.

Stability is like a rock, which is going to be a real bonus when you are up the front casting lures in sloppy conditions. The big high sides will enable you to fish in some serious slop and swell.

As for performance, the boat popped easily onto the plane at 2200rpm and 12 knots. It just loved to cruise at 22-25 knots with 4200rpm, where it used around 24L per hour. Its top speed was at 38 knots, which feels twice as fast when you’re not hiding in a cabin.

In tight turns the hull sits very flat and sticks to the water like glue due to the big running strakes, which also give the boat great control and slower speed planing.

Overall it’s a very impressive vessel. Its size and stability make it a boat that is well worth looking at and, especially if you’re an angler and want to chase a variety of species.

For more information contact Evolution Boats 4/254 Canterbury Road, Bayswater VIC 3153 on 03 9738 0085, or visit www.evolutionboats.com.au.

Specifications

Length:5.52m
LOA:6.20m
Width: 2.49m
Engine rating:115-150hp
Fuel:150L
Hull weight:820kg
Deadrise:21º
Length on trailer:7.40m
BMT:1,500kg

Price as tested $

Reads: 2779

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