Anglers must trust their outboard motors, for it's the motor that gets them to the fish. Recent advances in outboard design and technology have made getting there half the fun.
A Chicago television sportscaster did a broadcast while zooming across Lake Michigan in a boat powered by twin 250-horsepower outboard motors. Amazingly, with 500 hundred horses churning on the transom he never once had to raise his voice to be heard.
There's a new motor making noise in the boating world, but not on the water. It's Mercury's new Verado, boasting state-of-the-art, 4-stroke technology.
"You know you have a winner when fishermen tell you their 15 horse kicker motor is louder than their main power," said Kevin Luebke, freshwater endorsements manager for Wisconsin-based Mercury Marine.
The Verado, introduced in February at the Miami International Boat Show, is the result of a five-year, $100-million effort to change the design of four-stroke engines. It features an in-line six cylinder block, which gives the motor better balance and a distinctive look.
Four-strokes outboards have always been hyped as being quieter and cleaner than their two-stroke cousins. But four-strokes suffered from a comparative lack of power. Mercury's Verado is built with a supercharger that places the engine in a performance class by itself.
"Anybody can slap a supercharger on an engine, but the Verado was built with the super charger in mind," Luebke said. "What was missing from the four-stroke was power and performance. We have that with the Verado. It performs like a two-stroke, with tremendous holeshot and top-end speed, but it's quiet and clean."
Plus, lower emissions have earned the motor EPA compliance and a three-star California Air Resources Board rating. Add to that an idle-exhaust relief system, low-pass acoustic system, air-induction system with a highly-tuned resonator and lots of acoustic foam. Mercury also added power steering and a digital throttle and shift system that give the operator instantaneous control and effortless shifting.
"It's like turning the wheel on an automobile," Luebke said. "It's effortless. There's no resistance."
Shaft lengths are 20-inches and 25-inches in the 200, 225, 250, and 275 horsepower models. A 30-inch shaft is available in all but the 200 HP model. Programmable two-speed trim and tilt maximizes performance.
Although at 630 pounds the Verado is heavier than other four-stroke engines, it's the lightest complete system available. Suggested retail price is $15,895 for the 200 horsepower engine and $19,000 for the 275 horsepower engine.
And how has the engine caught on with boaters?
"If you order one now you'll be lucky to see it in September," Luebke said.
No doubt about it; the clean, quiet power of the Mercury Verado is an absolute dream.
Ted Takasaki, president of Lindy/Little Joe and a professional walleye angler, writes this column with Scott Richardson, an outdoors writer based in Illinois. Ted can be reached at email@example.com, or (218) 829-1714.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.