BOAT TEST: SAVAGE SL480 PRO ANGLER

By: RICK HUCKSTEPP, Photography by: LOU MARTIN


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Whether on the salt or inland, the SL480 Pro Anger will cast fear into the hearts of your prey — but it’s really the bream that’ll be sorry you showed up, writes Rick Huckstepp.

BOAT TEST: SAVAGE SL480 PRO ANGLER
SAVAGE SL480 PRO ANGLER

 

BREAM BASHER


The extraordinary level of interest in Australia's bream fishery continues to manifest itself around our coastline and its estuaries. This is no doubt a result of the current series under the banner of Australian Bream Tournaments.
Bass have never had it so good. They have gone from the number-one target species to one that's too far from home;  and in Queensland - where anglers require an impoundment permit - they're getting far too expensive to pursue.
Some states require saltwater fishing permits and others don't. In any case, with so many urban communities close to the coastline, the bream that have been getting fat all these years are now in the firing line, simply because a 15-minute drive to the tidal river is much better than a two-and-a-half-hour slog inland.
Savage has joined the throng of builders jumping on the tournament bandwagon, producing the 4.8m Pro Angler to cater for those that fish both inland and coastal estuaries. And it's a versatile boat that's definitely worth checking out.

 

 

STELLAR CAST


This aluminium-hulled rig is a floating casting deck - in this case with a carpeted cockpit, recessed just aft of amidships, which is big enough to house two people.
The gunwales sit around 90mm above the carpet and are void of rodholders, with only a couple of pop-up cleats with which to tie off. Fly-fishos will love that.
A built-in rod locker keeps your outfits secured when heading to and from the ramp, and as is commonplace with carpeted decks, strips of Velcro can also hold rods on deck for high-speed travel between hotspots.
Large holding tanks sit in the aft section of the foredeck and the forward section of the aft deck, and these can be reticulated separately. Two anglers in a comp can thus keep their catches separate until judging time.
Other hatches abound on both decks, and they feature a plywood floor to keep contents high and dry should the bilge get wet. A post base for a lean seat was mounted on both casting decks, and a recessed hatch in the bulkhead of the foredeck featured a three-drawer tackle locker to keep your favourite lures within easy reach.
Mounted on the bow, a Motor Guide electric motor with 82lb thrust provided the silent push and pull required for that competitive edge. And it had plenty, too.
Hit the power switch to full gallop mode and you have to brace yourself or go for a swim! It ran on a 24V system with a pair of Trojan deep-cycle batteries strapped down inside the aft section of the forward casting deck.

 

 

BITE ME, SMALLFRY


The bream were on the bite on the Coomera River, but their size left plenty wanting. Sorry folks: no pics of the author with small fish!
The SmartCraft instrumentation indicated 59 per cent fuel left in the 60lt tank, so we turned some of that into turbulence and wake - albeit only a small amount.
Full throttle on the 90hp Mariner Optimax realised 62kmh on my handheld GPS. Getting out of the hole with both fish tanks full seemed a little slow and produced some shuddering with full throttle. This abated once the boat was on the plane, and methinks the new propeller had not been re-tensioned as required after the six-hour run-in period.
With the leg trimmed in, the helm exhibited a lot of torque, but only a small amount of out-trim removed that to finger-touch control of the wheel, port to starboard. At that point, though, cavitation was easily generated in general turns.
Something to look at here may be the height of the engine anti-cavitation plate in the water; and if this did give a more effective scope with the trim, perhaps hydraulic steering would be the go. And maybe setting the leg deeper in the water.
The latter would provide a superior all-round solution considering the paces these boats are put through, including high-speed manoeuvring around timber, structure and wharves.

 

 

SMOOTH OPERATOR


The run over small chop was very quiet and  soft - the flotation foam in the hull provided  a deadening effect.
After two hours of thrashing around the waterway, the SmartCraft gauge showed  56 per cent of fuel left back at the ramp. Hmm..  if that's correct, it represents very good economy.
If you're on the hunt for this type of boat, you will get dizzy with all the options available among the various brands. You'll probably need a month of Sundays to look at them all.
But the SL480 Pro Angler is definitely worth considering. Packaged at an attractive price with plenty of horsepower, the V-hull will hold you in good stead on those windswept exposed waters, whether you're on the salt or inland.

 

 

HIGHS


• Heaps of under-deck stowage
• Horsepower to burn
• Good stand-up fishing stability
• Intelligent layout and neat finish

 

 

LOWS


• Holeshot was a bit sluggish
• Cavitation/torque issues need attention

 

 

 

Specifications: Savage SL480 Pro Angler

 



HOW MUCH?


Price as tested: $33,000 minus  trailer
Options fitted: Motor Guide electric motor, additional depth sounder
Priced from: $30,527

 

 

GENERAL


Material: Aluminium  3mm bottom, 2mm sides
Length overall: 4.8m
Beam: 2.1m
Freeboard: 0.5m
Deadrise: 16°
Weight: 380kg dry hull only

 

 

CAPACITIES


Fuel: 60lt
Passengers: Three
Water: n/a

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: Mariner OptiMax
Type: Three-cylinder two-stroke direct injection
Rated hp: 90
Displacement: 1524
Weight: 164kg
Gearbox ratio: 2.33:1
Propeller: Laser 20in stainless steel

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


Savage Boats, tel 1800 114 880  or visit www.savageboats.com

 

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #187

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