Savage Jabiru better than ever
  |  First Published: April 2009

The number plate used to say it all: ‘Victoria: On the Move’. They moved alright, with thousands of them settling in warmer climes in northern NSW and southern Queensland and now one more famous Victorian has moved to the Gold Coast.

The whole Savage Boats manufacturing facility has taken up residence at the Gold Coast Marine Precinct under the roof of the massive Telwater conglomerate.

The full range of Savage boats is being produced, including both fishing and pleasure craft, with popular models already available. The Coomera River adjacent to the factory was the venue for an outing in the 435 Jabiru Pro, an ever-popular fishing craft.

Powered by a Mercury 40hp two-stroke, the Jabiru was a nippy and performed well with features, ride and the traditional punt stability that we've come to recognise over the years as one of the strengths of the Jabiru.

In fact, the Savage Jabiru was one of the original punt-style sport fishing boats. These boats have gained a great following in recent times because of their stability and capacity to pack in a lot of features.

Ride in punts can vary according to the design, but in the well-made 435 Jabiru Pro the bow has sufficient initial fine entry to iron out chop or wash, while the above-water flare will kick spray well away from occupants.

Few changes

Comparing the Telwater-constructed Jabiru with a friend's older (but still going strong) craft, I noted there were few changes. The small exceptions are a little more floor depth and a tad more beam.

Up front there is a solid bow eye with a wide and very strong foredeck directly aft. The rig has side rails, which are useful around the ramp or maybe for a quick tie-up for a few casts to a likely hot spot.

Storage under the 30cm-high carpeted casting deck is one of the really appealing features of the 435 Jabiru Pro.

Side hatches directly behind the wide foredeck allow easy access to the ample under-floor space available.

A seat spigot is set up between front hatches, allowing an angler to work up forward while using the foot control of an electric motor to position the rig. An electric bracket was not fitted to the test rig but is an option.

Centrally in the rear of the Jabiru's casting deck was a large plastic moulded tank, which allows buyers the option of further storage. Alternatively, optional factory plumbing would allow its use as a competition livewell, as it's the required size.

Within the large, fully carpeted cockpit there's sufficient open space for four anglers (the maximum occupant rating) to fish comfortably.

The rig features side rails aft as well as paired rod holders. There are three seating positions in this aft area with a spigot to port (somewhat forward for best weight distribution) and another to starboard to cater for a side console should one be fitted.

The seat nearest the engine had its mounting on the forward face of the rear thwart, which formed part of the aft casting deck/storage area extending right across the stern.

Hatches allow access to fuel tanks or a battery. All shelving in this area is off the floor – as it should be – with the Mercury's tote tank snugged onto the port shelf.

Pedestal-style swivel bucket seats were fitted to the test rig and I found knee and leg height to be ideal everywhere but, most importantly, while at the tiller of the smooth but powerful 40hp Mercury two stroke.


Rated for engines from 30ho to 40hp, the long-shaft Mercury two stroke 40 was ideal power for the 435 Jabiru’s 222kg hull.

With two people on board the craft planed at 7 knots (13kmh) with minimal engine effort. Cruising at around half throttle saw a speed of 19 knots (35kmh) on the GPS with wide-open throttle recording a brisk 26 knots (48.4kmh).

In typical two-stroke style the 40hp Mercury just wanted to get up and go and a twist of the throttle saw instant pick-up at virtually all engine revs. The Mercury was not at all noisy and I didn’t notice any exhaust smoke.

In the Coomera River the Jabiru’s bow design and 12º deadrise aft provided a smooth ride. The rig didn’t bang or make excessive noise as she was driven hard over wash from passing craft.

With well-formed hull pressings, the 435 Jabiru Pro could also be turned very hard without side slip, so I did a few figure-eights at speed. Stability was brilliant at all times, whether fast under way or simply at rest.

Standing to fish would be the norm in this craft under most circumstances.

The ride in the Coomera River was quite dry but users might expect – as in any other open boat of this size and configuration – to put on the spray jacket if running across wind-blown chop coming from the side.

I think the Queensland-made Jabiru gives nothing away to predecessors whatsoever and is still great value for money as a basic, no-frills rig that is suited to plenty of fishing applications.

The test rig was not painted but paint, along with a host of other often-requested features such as a bow-mount plate, battery tray, full-length side rails, rod holders, side pockets, transducer bracket, bimini, side console and transom step are available ex factory.

For more information contact your local Savage dealer or go to www.savageboats.net.au .



Motor fitted:40hp Mercury long shaft
Towing:Family four sedan or wagon
Price as reviewed:$14,150

Reads: 5617

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