On water boat testing can be and is a lot of fun. The opportunity to spend two or three hours putting a boat through its paces and getting to know the people that are putting the package together provides a great insight and knowledge of a great variety boats and what they are capable of.
A recent visit to Warragul to visit the team from Warragul Marine Centre provided the opportunity to take an in-depth look a number of boats from the Savage Aluminium range. Arriving at their new premises I was immediately drawn to a wrapped Savage 455 Scorpion and I hoped that this was one of the boats they wanted tested.
It was and we headed to Lake Narracan to following day to see if it performed as well as it looked.
The one first impression you don’t generally get is the chance to tow the boat to the water. It is a short drive from Warragul to Lake Narracan and as I had a loan car from Subaru I was able to assist in taking a boat and took dibs on towing the Scorpion. The Outback 3.6R I had been given is a typical family vehicle with a few Subaru bells and whistles. I had no concerns that it would tow the boat, but the bonus was that you got a feel of what you would be able to see behind you and how it would effect the vehicles performance.
In a nutshell, I had to remind myself that the boat was there. You had good visibility and the Savage I-Beam trailer with its alloy wheels looked an absolute treat (more about the trailer later in the review).
Launching the Savage 455 Scorpion was simple with its drive on drive off trailer and could easily be done on your own if required (something I believe is essential for this size and type of boat). Simon took the boat off the trailer, but it was left to me to take it up the lake to where we would be running around and taking photos. I may have taken this chance to have a bit of a play. I liked what I found. It tracked nicely and got onto the plane with little fuss. Simon and David did mention that it looked like I was having too much fun.
Savage Aluminium boats are the oldest aluminium boat manufacturer in Australia and are recognised by many as building tough and affordable boats. Until this trip I had had very little experience with the brand and the range of boats they have to offer, but I was looking forward to seeing the 455 Scorpion in action.
The 455 Scorpion falls directly into what I would call a sport fishing boat. The model tested was a side console with forward and rear casting areas. It had a MotorGuide Xi5 wireless 55lb trust bow mount electric motor and was powered by a Mercury 60hp CT 4-stroke engine. Other options included on the test boat were a Lowrance Elite-7 HDI combo, offshore motor-well and vinyl wrap.
Included in this configuration was a twin live well in the forward casting deck, a full-length rod locker and an additional live bait tank in the offshore rear well/casting deck. There is also plenty of gear storage available for your safety gear and fishing tackle to ensure your casting area is clear to maximise your fishing space.
A quick explanation about the offshore motor-well. You have the option of getting the 455 Scorpion with an open or standard transom or the offshore version that has higher splashguards around the motor, and both configurations are fitted with the rear live bait tank as a standard feature. The motor-well does make lure fishing from the back a little more challenging, but would be a godsend when soaking a bait for snapper or gummy shark in any bay or inshore grounds.
The console set up while simple, was comfortable (the seats were great), with the seating configuration well thought out. At 6’2” there was plenty of legroom for me and still enough space to store a tackle bag or the like out of the way. There is also enough room to place any electronics and gauges you may need or want on the console itself.
Getting wet while using an open boat is something we all like to avoid. The majority of Savage Aluminium boat range comes with their Ultra-Lift Hull. The Ultra-Lift Hull design is an extra large extended reverse chine with an increased deadrise. This effectively maximises spray reduction and neutralizes chop. Lake Narracan was never going to truly test this. The only real chop was being made by us and the Scorpion dealt with this no problem at all.
I found the stability underway and during cornering to be a pleasant surprise. It was difficult to make it play up without doing something out of the normal, which you wouldn’t do when heading to or from your favourite fishing spot or during normal use.
A very important test for me with this style of boat is stability at rest. For a vast majority of the time you are using it as a casting platform. I had David Garcia go and have a cast around and I used the boat as a camera boat for the majority of the time and the stability at rest was excellent.
The reason I was drawn to this boat in the first place was that it would meet the needs of the types of fishing that I do. It is small enough to fish shallow water estuary systems, ideal for fishing impoundments and lakes, has inshore capabilities and will get you offshore in the right weather conditions. The addition of the electric motor further opens up your fishing options and your ability to target fish in and around structure. Perfect for those lure anglers amongst us.
I do however have a pet hate, which is an open anchor well (not a big deal I know), they tend to provide a tripping hazard and/or something to catch your gear on. This may be because I very rarely anchor and fish. For those that do, it provides easy access, deployment and retrieval of your anchor with minimal mess going into the boat. Snap out of it I say to myself.
Maximum horsepower for the Savage 455 Scorpion is 60hp. The team at Warragul Marine Centre felt that a motor at the top end of the horsepower range is the best option for the Scorpion. Base packages starting with a 40hp are available, however I agree, if you are going to get this type of boat, the maximum horsepower maximises what you can do in it.
It is hard not to be impressed by the Mercury 60hp 4-stroke with a command trust gearbox that was on the back of the 455 Scorpion. These motors are super light for their size and the command trust gearbox gives you a hole shot that would rival most 2-stroke motors. Added to that they have great fuel economy, so the 70L underfloor fuel tank of the 455 Scorpion will last just that much longer.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you enjoy trolling for natives and trout in the freshwater or flathead and salmon in the salt, the Mercury will do that with bells on.
I wouldn’t normally say too much about a trailer because it is in a dealer’s best interest to ensure a trailer matches the package it is on. However, I have to mention the Savage I-Beam trailer the 455 was on. I love the I-Beam configuration; it is bolted together so any piece can be replaced if required. It is easy to get to and wash down all the places that need to be washed. It had alloy wheels and a spare tyre. As Simon said to me, he has had plenty of enquiries on the trailers, let alone the boat.
As far as towing goes, a larger 4-cylinder vehicle or above would get you on your way to and from your favourite fishing location.
The Savage 455 Scorpion has a lot of things going for it as far as a sport fishing boat is concerned. With 3mm bottom and sides, it will take the inevitable bumps that fishing can sometimes bring. Savage aluminium boats may not have some of the bells and whistles that their Telwater cousins have, but they are built with practicality and a purpose in mind and over 100 years of experience to produce affordable packages to get people on the water. I can’t say enough about the trailer, I may need to go and see Simon myself.
Last but not least the vinyl wrap on the boat really stood out. This may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it appealed to me and finished the package off for me nicely.
The package we tested sells for $31,990, but has a base starting price point of $20,875 with a 40hp 2-stroke Mercury electric start, power trim outboard, alloy trailer and wheels, rego’s and safety kit.
For more information on this boat or on the rest of the Savage Aluminium boat range you can contact Warragul marine centre on 03 5623 6250 or check out their website www.warragulmarine.com.au .
|Length of Hull||4.55m|
|Weight (boat only)||350kg|