Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Cornelius, OR
Re: PWC Fishing (All Purpose)
I'm also having that secondary fuel system put into my PWC. I just sent Joe a text telling him to add the fuel bulb. Thanks for that suggestion, CGRFish!
My first PWC was a 2011 Sea Doo GTI 130 SE. Regular price $9500ish. Top Speed 55ish.
1. Extremely stable. The lower end GTI hull is great for any beginner since it is stable and forgiving.
2. The dual throttle system (iBR) on Sea Doos is the best on the market, in my honest opinion. Very easy to navigate around docks.
3. Comfortable and ergonomically designed seats, coupled with deep footwells, make you feel "locked in" and very secure.
4. Easy oil/filter/spark plug change routine if you are a DIY guy.
5. 3 performance settings: learning, cruise, and sports, as well as eco mode. You can adjust the level of performance as you gain confidence and experience. Set to sports mode when you need extra power on bar crossings, or set to cruise and eco if you want to limit your speed and performance to save gas.
6. The overall throttle performance feels great, and very intuitive.
1. Rough ride over chop.
2. Not so good fuel economy.
3. Seats wear out quickly.
4. Found out the hard way to use a quick disconnect hose fitting in the flush port, as it is prone to loosening when you attach a regular hose. PITA to re-tighten and, honestly, a slight design flaw to be careful of.
My current PWC is a 2016 Yamaha VX Cruiser. Regular Price $9000ish. Top Speed 53ish.
1. The primary reason I purchased this craft was due to the brand new, and highly fuel efficient engine that was available in the VX lineup. It's a small 3 cylinder engine that reportedly can get 155 mile range on 18.5 gallons of fuel. I ran 120 miles, and had 2.3 gallons left in the tank on my endurance test. A game changer. 7mpg boat. 125 line, here I come.
2. Deeper V hull gives a better ride in chop than the Sea Doo.
3. Well designed flush port that is in the engine compartment.
4. Sealed flotation units instead of foam.
5. Engine quality seems quite good, well engineered and thought out.
Cons: Sadly, lots...
1. The craft was made as a "fun" model, and the stability is not great for a fishing craft. It is very light, and with the engine being so light, it rocks side to side quite easily. I'm having Joe put on some new pontoon/sponson hybrids to alleviate that issue for me, and I'll post on here after we test them out.
2. The seat is wide, and the footwells shallow, so you ride a bit higher. Due to these factors, it feels less secure to me. Also, a wetter ride than my Sea Doo at lower speeds.
3. The Yamaha version of a dual throttle system (Ride) is more difficult to use than the Sea Doo version. The reverse throttle is an actual separate throttle, with a completely different performance curve than your main throttle, so it is far less intuitive and responsive than the Sea Doo, which utilized the secondary throttle as a gear shifter of sorts (squeeze to engage reverse bucket, then use main throttle for power). I have to plan my docking maneuvers on the Yamaha, whereas with the Sea Doo, I felt in total control while docking.
4. The main throttle performance curve is awful for the ocean. It is designed to be pinned at WOT all the time on lakes and rivers, so it is basically a hair trigger. When out in sloppy seas, you want fine throttle control to maintain a steady speed. There is no way to adjust or tune the throttle to fix this, not even aftermarket parts.
5. Cruise control tries to make up for this, but it fails. Imagine trying to push a button with your right thumb while trying to hold an exact speed of 35 while bumping around in chop and trying to hold a hair trigger with the index finger and middle finger of the same hand. Takes me 5 or 6 tries...
6. The paint scrapes off. The Sea Doo had a robust paint job with a lot of clearcoat. You can scratch Yamaha paint very easily by just moving around your boat and fishing. Doesn't bother me at all, but if you want your boat to look good for a long time, be wary.
7. Low weight carrying capacity in the rear and unstable performance under load once your fuel runs low. With a cooler of ice/crabs/fish, plus the weight of gear, I was practically popping a wheelie at the end of a tuna trip. Another reason for the pontoons.
8. Lots of recessed screws on the handlebars. You have to remember to wash them out well, or you can get corrosion there. Sea Doo has a much cleaner layout for their handlebars.
Why I passed over Kawasaki:
1. Highly regarded as the best overall riding PWC for those that like to ride PWC's.
2. Highly respected in offshore racing and performance. The hull is supposedly the best for chop and very stable.
3. Largest fuel storage.
4. Reported great reliability.
1. No dual throttle system. You have to take your hand away from the handlebars and pull a lever to go in reverse. After using Sea Doo iBR, I just couldn't imagine going back to a lever reverse system.
2. Not so great fuel economy. Even with the larger fuel tank, it still didn't have the range I wanted in an upgrade.
3. Smaller rear deck. I didn't want to have to build an aluminum frame to hold my cooler (which is funny, since I am having Joe do that now).
4. It costs $14,000.
If Kawasaki made a fuel efficient model using the Ultra LX hull, put a handlebar lever for reverse, shortened the seat to allow for a larger rear deck, and was sub $10,000, I'd have bought that instead.
Yamaha overall: Fuel efficiency is their main advantage. And it's something of a big deal for anyone considering offshore fishing.
Sea Doo overall: Great for beginners. Safe and stable rides. Lots of options to learn at your own pace.
Kawasaki overall: If you want to take on bigger water with a better hull, or just have the best ride possible in chop, this is the PWC you need.
Best all around winner:
From what I have heard, it would be the Yamaha FXHO. It has a larger and more stable hull than the VX that I chose, but still has better fuel economy than a Sea Doo or Kawasaki. Ultimately, I believe these are the most important factors anyone should consider when buying an ocean boat, not just a PWC; a good stable craft with plenty of fuel to get you home safely.
I took a chance on the VX, and now I'm having to get work done to correct the stability issue. In hindsight, it was a bittersweet choice, as I am needing to spend more on this project than I initially intended. I don't think any ocean fisherman should buy a VX at this point, unless you plan to add some type of pontoon system to the boat to offset the weight capacity and stability issues. These issues will become very apparent if you ever need to reboard your craft and you find it tips over while you are trying to get back on.
"Be mindful when fighting monsters, lest ye become a monster yourself. As you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes back into you." Friedrich Nietzsche