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Savage is one of Australia's most loved boat brands. Indeed, when John Ford attended a Savage media day it turned out that two thirds of all the journalists present had at some time owned one. Now the saga continues with the latest Savage Jabiru Pro.

Savage Jabiru

Savage is one of this country's longest surviving brands, having been in production for 100 years under various owners. Today Savage boats are made on the Gold Coast by the Telwater group, the Queensland giant that also owns Quintrex and Stacer. 

While Savage boats shares production facilities with its cousins, the company retains its identity and its own research team. In fact, Savage recently revamped its entire range in an ongoing effort to differentiate the brand as a force in its own right.



Savage Jabirus have been around for several years. When first released, these boats were regarded as pioneers in the vee-nose punt-style fishing boats category, which became so popular amongst enclosed-water fishermen. That's because the design marries two concepts: the flat bottom punt, which has lots of room and stability at rest but little in the way of roughwater handling; and the vee-bottom tinnie, which can handle some chop but is tender at rest. The resultant progeny of this wedded bliss is a sharp bow entry running back to a moderate deadrise at the transom, but with wide shoulders to provide fishing room all round.

The Jabiru is available in a wide range of bright colours but the 485 Jabiru Pro that I tested came in an upmarket black finish with red and grey crossed graphics and white logos. Sidedecks are 2.5mm flat surfaces with a plate-construction look that creates a pleasing and modern impression.

The interior has a bright and breezy feel thanks to its blue marine carpet and white aluminium. The side-console set to the rear starboard quarter provides a real feeling of space. At the bow is a checkerplate boarding deck, which creates a covered storage area for anchor and safety gear, while to port is a bracket for an electric motor. Our test boat included a basic MotorGuide Wireless trolling unit as part of the package.

Up forward is a casting deck with three lifting hatches for storage. It leads back to the lower marine ply floor with the carpet covering. To port is a rod storage box with a hinged lid. The console to starboard is a simple aluminium binnacle with a small screen fitted to a sturdy stainless steel bracket which doubles as a grabrail. At the dash are instruments for revs, speed trim and fuel as well as room for a small screen. There is also provision to move the two fold-down seats to different locations thanks to five spigots in the floor. I was pleased to notice that, while the seats looked basic, they were deceptively comfortable, with good lumbar support.

A close look at the sidedecks reveals a neat finish with a rounded profile. They're also wide enough to sit on. Towards the stern is a central starboard fuel filler as well as low grabrails and plastic rodholders. On the test day the Jabiru's stability was shown to be good enough to handle three big blokes on one side - always a good thing when there are raised casting decks to perch on. A second casting platform at the rear had more storage and a livebait tank.

Spirited performance came from a 75hp E-TEC that offered a top speed approaching 40kts (74kmh) according to my handheld GPS - swift for a boat of its type. Handling was very nimble and sporty, with heaps of power out of turns, taken at speed with confidence. When turning, the chines dig in and combine with the flat profile to keep the boat feeling like it wanted to slide out. Over chop near a bar entrance it had a tendency to bang if pushed but this is not really the forte of the wide shouldered design.




Savage has a well laid out little rocketship in this new Jabiru. It has the speed to get to favourite fishing spots quickly and room enough for three to cast lures without getting tangled up. I feel the 485 Jabiru Pro does the name proud and is an excellent addition to the Jabiru fleet.



On the plane...

Good looking and well finished
Stable at rest
Ample speed and safe handling


Dragging the chain...

No dedicated anchorwell






Price as tested: $28,990
Options fitted: Painted hull, livebait tank, utility tray, electric motor
Priced from: $27,990




Type: Side-console monohull
Material: Alloy (3mm bottom and transom; 2.5mm topsides)
Length: 4.85m
Beam: 1.95m
Weight: 430kg
Deadrise: 13.5°




People: 4
Rec. HP: 60
Max. HP: 75
Fuel: 70lt




Make/model: Evinrude E-TEC 75
Type: Direct-injection, three-cylinder, two-stroke
Weight: 145kg
Displacement: 1296cc
Gear ratio: 2.0:1
Propeller: 17in stainless steel




Savage Boats




Blakes Marine
130 Windsor Rd
McGraths Hill, NSW, 2756
Tel: (02) 4577 6699

Story and photos: John Ford
First published in TrailerBoat #282

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