Review: Evinrude E-TEC 135 HO

By: John Ford, Photography by: John Ford

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

How does the new E-TEC 135 HO outboard perform on the back of a hot new Stacer 539 Nomad?

It’s a scary thought, but what if we were each allowed only one boat? How would we cope with such a dilemma when there are so many fishing boats open to us, so many creeks and rivers, and a never-ending expanse of ocean filled with every fish species imaginable?

Perhaps the designers at Stacer foresaw such an apocalyptic event because the Stacer 539 Nomad might just be the boat to step into the frame as the one-size-fits-all solution.

If you spend any time on the various game-fishing websites it would be easy to accept that venturing 30nm to sea in a 4.5m tinnie is the norm but I’m not that sure I would be comfortable in such a boat when things – inevitably – went bad. And I’m not saying that this 5.5m boat is something we should consider using in the face of an East Coast Low.

To test the theory, I joined Michael Guest on his beautifully fitted out Stacer 539 Nomad for a spot of fishing in South West Rocks.


Stacer 539 Nomad boat review


Handling and ride

Having done the fun fishing part of our boat review, and with enough crabs and fish for dinner, it was time to give the Stacer 539 Nomad a run on the enclosed waters to see what she could do with the specially optioned 135hp E-TEC outboard motor on the back.

With a relatively light weight and not much extra gear on board, the 135 had no problem getting us out of the hole and planing at 2800rpm and12kt. Slow cruise speed was 22kt (3000rpm) with a fast cruise (4500rpm) giving 34kt. Wide-open throttle delivered an impressive 40kt by which time fuel was being burnt at 52L/h.

The most economical speed was at 4000rpm, where we achieved 31kt at 29L/h, giving a range of 91nm with 10 per cent reserve. On the right day that’s enough to get you to the shelf and back and still have enough fuel for a full day’s trolling.

Handling is precise, sporty and responsive and without any pitching or cavitation in sharp turns. Over normal bay chop, the ride is soft and the boat tracks well over wakes when passing other boats.

Because this Nomad is used for shooting the TV series it will often carry four crew with a very heavy load of gear. A 150lt Esky is usually chock-a-block with tackle and then there are the boxes of photographic equipment. I’m told the boat carries the load with ease and there’s enough room for everyone to get the shots without impeding fishing.


135hp Evinrude HO outboard performance

Stacer 539 Nomad turning sharply

Telwater and Evinrude/BRP have been in partnership to factory-fit E-TEC outboard engines to their range of boats since 2011, an arrangement that shows a lot of faith in the American engine manufacturer from Australia’s biggest boat builder.

Because our Stacer 539 Nomad review boat was usually loaded with up to four crew and 100 or so kilos of equipment and tackle, they thought a bit more grunt than the usual 130hp maximum would be desirable.

Stacer may not like to promote it but the path to a higher rating for the 539 was fairly straightforward – a tick to the over-engineered transoms fitted to all the boats in its range.

The E-TEC 135 walks the walk with bucketloads of low-down torque from its V6 powerplant. Even though the 130’s V4 configuration pumps out only a few ponies less, the 2592cc capacity of the V6 makes itself felt over the 1726cc in the 130. Like they say, there’s no substitute for cubic inches.

Not yet included in the Gen 2 range, it’s still a highly technical and efficient high-pressure direct injection two-stroke. At 196kg it’s also lighter than most four-strokes as they play catch-up to the oil burner’s grunty and instantaneous output.

This showed on the water, where the Stacer 539 instantly got to speed in the wash between waves on the South West Rocks bar – it’s moments like this that you’ll be grateful for that sort of reaction.

At all speeds through the range the engine was vibration-free and as quiet as a mouse. Too quiet, Ke-mo sah-bee. The throaty sound of the pulsing V6 is stirring music and should be played loud, although I’m sure the engineers at the BRP sound lab had other agendas.


E-TEC 135 HO outboard specs

MAKE/MODEL Evinrude E-TEC 135 HO outboard motor

TYPE Four-cylinder direct injected two-stroke outboard motor

RATED 135hp


WEIGHT 196kg


PROPELLER Viper S/S, 14.75in x 17in


See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #476, on sale March 24 2016. Why not subscribe today?


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.