SAVAGE’s Pro Angler is a boat that was released before its time. We saw a couple of them around the boat show circuit around five years ago, but it was only recently that the market developed to a point where serious social and tournament anglers started to want peak performance from their craft.
There aren’t too many aluminium tournament-style boats out there that are under 5m and rated up to 115hp, so the re-release of the Savage 480 SL Pro Angler will definitely create interest amongst boat lovers of this ilk.
We recently took the second generation of Savage’s offering for a spin on the Gold Coast Broadwater. The test boat, owned by Southport’s Nitro Marine, was fitted with Mercury’s three cylinder OptiMax 90hp, direct fuel injected two-stroke.
Essentially, this boat is a cut-down Savage vee-hull, similar in concept to the Stessco Mirage. An advantage of this design is an abundance of under-floor storage that would otherwise be lost if the boat was manufactured with concave pressings. The design has also enabled Savage to achieve a variable deadrise that can cut chop with a deeper vee up front while flattening out at the back to add stability and gain speed.
For an aluminium craft, I found the Pro Angler to be surprisingly soft-riding, even when driven reasonably aggressively through the chop created by Gold Coast gin-palaces. The hull jumped quickly onto the plane and the OptiMax revved effortlessly to near-6000rpm, suggesting that it would easily take a lot more weight (in the form of electric motors, tackle and batteries for instance) or an inch or two extra pitch on the prop. The test boat was fitted with a stainless steel 20” model that just touched on 40 knots at wide open throttle.
The full table of speeds and efficiencies through the rev range are listed here, with the speed readings taken on a GPS and fuel flow from Mercury SmartCraft’s own fuel transducer.
Although the test boat was near-tournament-ready (just add an electric motor plus batteries and you’re off) there are already changes touted for future models out of the Savage factory. These include a second livewell, a smaller console that’s fitted a foot farther back towards the aft of the craft and an extended rod locker.
You can order a Pro Angler with an electric motor mounting plate up front and there’s plenty of room under the front deck to permanently affix batteries for this without impinging on storage space. A plywood sub-floor goes part of the way to keeping your gear dry. It won’t be drenched by water in the bilge, but will still get dripped on from above in a rainstorm.
At the helm, the seats are comfortable and attention to detail is pleasing. Both the driver and passenger have footrests, there’s a dedicated sounder-mounting position and the suite of gauges were easily read and accessible.
On the port side is a short rod locker that will be extended in future models and a passenger-handle on the top of this is a necessity. You need to hold onto something at over 40 mph!
Although there’s no pod, the engine doesn’t eat up much of the rear deck, with a small, self-draining well all that intrudes.
Under the rear deck, there’s a plumbed, tournament-sized livewell that drains back through the transom and a plywood sub-floor that’s notched to allow access to the bilge for cleaning. Hatch sizes are extremely generous, so there will be no bottle-necking when stowing your gear.
Social or tournament anglers that appreciate a bit of speed should take the opportunity to check out the Pro Angler – especially if you’re at a loss about what you should strap your 115hp engine on next.
Like all Savage aluminium boats, they’re fully welded out of the highest grade of marine alloy and have marine foam flotation underfloor.
The rig as tested cost $27,990, but future models with a 90 OptiMax will be $29,100. You can opt for a two-stroke or four-stroke motor for cheaper package prices.
You can check out the Savage 480 SL Pro Angler, along with other boats in the Savage range, at S & J Rodgers Marine at 16 Park Road, Vineyard (ph. 02 4577 6251).
(measurements from GPS and SmartCraft gauges and fitted with a 20” SS propeller)
|RPM||SPEED||FUEL USAGE (l/h)|
Length - 4.80m (16 feet)
Freeboard - 60cm
Beam - 2.10m
Max hp - 115hp
Bottom thickness - 3mm
Side thickness - 2mm
Hull weight - 380kg
Length on trailer - 6.0m
Package price as tested - $27,990
1) For an aluminium craft, the Pro Angler was surprisingly soft riding. Fitted with a Mercury 90 OptiMax, it achieved around 40 knots.
2) There’s plenty of deck space on the Pro Angler. Moving the console 300mm back will create even more.
3) Hatch sizes are very generous. There will be no bottle necking when stowing your gear.
4) You can see the lower gunwales created by the cutting down of a Savage vee-hull. Deadrise at the transom is reasonably shallow.
5) As well as maximising under-floor storage, the deep bow cuts through chop nicely.