To celebrate hitting the 100hr mark on the Mercury Pro XS we decided a road trip and a true test of the engines capabilities was in order.
A dozen phone calls later and the boys were in Joe & Andy from Hooked’n’Hunted (Mad VIDEO EDIT BOYS), Jason and Morgs from Morgan Electrical…
1,742klms on the highway were required to make this trip happen, including a stop at Brisbane airport to pick up the Hooked boys. It’s well worth mentioning here that had the Jetty Boating Coffs Harbour crew not been available to service our trailer bearings the day before the trip we’d have been cactus by Grafton (70klms up the highway)! Norm & Davo not only installed new bearings, but they removed the hubs of their own trailer and fixed them to ours just to be certain that we were good to go… THAT IS SERVICE!
Now for the fun stuff… The forecast leading up to the trip changed every four hours or so (in line with the BOM reports) and the trip was called on and off and back on again at least 10 times… and finally the call was made that “as long as it was under 20knts, we’d be fine”.
Well morning one came around quickly enough and we were soon going to find out what conditions were going to be like. The 5m Cruise Craft Reef Raider was fully laden with 3 bodies, 10 rods, 250L of fuel and about 1,000 topwater lures. We were good to go!
Crossing the bar we found out that there actually was not really a bar as such, just a smooth glide into… horrible cross chop rubbish!!! The dominant SE that had blown the week prior had left its impression on the ocean and the conditions were ordinary at best. My honest reaction was “oh no! What have we done” – as it was a 24klm steam to our first location and 55klm from that spot to the next. We battened down the hatches, took on the spray and marched at 3,200revs or 30klms pr hr for comfort and accepted that it was going to take a little while to get anywhere.
The fishing… The fishing was ultra-tough on mind and body! Hundreds of casts (all top water bar some micro jigging) with the majority ending up in false hope. Spanno’s went cart-wheeling over lures, one GT that shattered some dreams (Joe haha) and a few of topwater glory. The highlight’s being some stonking Red Bass and Andy’s solid GT!
The sea and the journey… Nothing short of epic. It was truly incredible and what life is all about!!! We estimate that we travelled around 500klm’s over the three days at sea, travelling between coral cays, atolls and islands in some of the most picturesque scenery you could imagine. The reef systems were pristine, the water blue, the sand gold and the islands green! We even managed to roll the swags out for a night on a secret island of sorts and cook up some Coronation Trout and Venus Tusk for dinner over a stubby with some other mad keen fisho’s that happened to stumble across the same island… It was one to remember Resh & Matty YEWWWW!!!
The Pro XS… Having never travelled that many miles at sea (yes we are very spoilt in Coffs Harbour with unbelievable fishing 2minutes from the Harbour J) with no fuel gauge (and no radio) We had estimated our fuel usage based on trips North of Coffs, the longest of which was a 55klm run due North. To be safe we estimated our fuel requirements and doubled it! To our surprise it wasn’t really needed, the first day we left with 125L under the floor and 120L on the deck, of the 120 we put 40 in the underfloor bladder before starting the 75klm run to shore and that was it. So for well over 200klms of travel, the boat loaded to capacity we used up less than 160L. Not bad seeing as the last hour and a half was completed at 4,500 to 5,000 revs and 45 to 50klms per hour. The following two days included the all-nighter we travelled over the 200klms mark again, this time adding 60L to the underfloor bladder over brekky and steaming in with just under half left in the tank upon our return. I’m still pretty well amazed by the efficiency and very, very happy with the reliability of the motor. First kick every single time! This was particularly important considering the radio was on, but there was nobody at home!
The 100 hours in summary… Unbelievable!
– Power = Better than our last motor… I didn’t think this was possible…
-Power under load/hole shot = Uncompromised!
-Fuel economy = Brilliant…
-Sound at or above 4,000 revs = Sexy!
-Reliability = Being at sea, 75 klms from the safe port with no radio, no phone reception, just a pack of flares, the mighty EPIRB and a v-sheet… NO WORRIES! Started first turn every time and never missed a beat on the run yewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!
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Name: Shaun "NEB" Cameron. Born: Coffs Harbour NSW 1999. NRL Team: Gold Coast Titans. Favourite Species: Pagrus Auratus - Snapper & Muddies aka Mud Crabs. Blurb; Hi, Shaun Cameron here. I'm a frother on all things oceanic and photography. There's...