Review: Mako 284 Centre Console

By: Kevin Smith, Photography by: Kevin Smith


The American Mako 284 CC centre console with twin 300hp supercharged outboard motors is one beast of a fibreglass fishing boat.

Having taken the title of Australia’s Greatest Boat in 2015 with the Mako 234 Centre Console, Fishing & Leisure Boats has another vessel pushing for a spot in the 2016 line-up – the Mako 284 Centre Console. And if you subscribe to the ‘bigger is better’ theory and gunning it out to the shelf with twin 300hp supercharged outboard motors tickles your fancy, the Mako 284CC is definitely worth a look.

This test ended up going the full hog as Queensland’s Fishing & Leisure laid on a Mako 284CC for a hardcore fishing weekend in Hervey Bay, while Cricks Mount Gravatt supplied the tow vehicle – a brand-spankers RAM 2500.

 

American centre console

Mako 284 Centre Console fishing boat

Goliath sport fishing centre consoles are extremely popular in the US and top brands produce refined variations that serve equally well as family boats. The Mako 284CC fits that mould and is either the ideal upgrade from a smaller boat or a downsize from larger and costlier-to-run sport-fishers.

At a glance the fishing footprint of the Mako 284CC is far superior to smaller centre consoles and the oversized 3m beam incorporates a larger console and hardtop, wider seating, better storage and even a built-in head within the console.

Dedicated to serious offshore angling, touches like the fully bolstered padding around the coamings and two-person fore and rear console seating improve the comfort; those with extended families should consider the optional fold-away rear bench and bolstered cushions for the bow hatches.

The console is proportioned to the beam and boasts wide panels to flush-mount electronics such as dual Garmin GPS Map 7612 XSV units, while retaining room for other gauges and switch panels. I particularly liked the full spread of switch panels with clear Perspex weather shielding, below the steering column.

Mako 284 Centre Console at boat ramp

As mentioned there’s also a head, accessed via a side door on the console. It’s a feature we’re seeing more and more on larger centre consoles and it’s worth its weight in gold when it comes to families afloat.

Another really good option is the clears package that mounts to the console and T-top. Fitting takes a few minutes and it makes a world of a difference when conditions turn foul. Side panels that extend past the console seat work well against quartering wind, chop and swell that generally saturate you.

In the stern, the Mako 284 Centre Console is simple, to maintain the fishability. Behind the console seating you have the colossal pressurised live well with plumbed sink to one side, extra rod stowage tubes, and a bit of tackle storage on the port side. It works well but with no moulded storage in the false transom section, it lacks a decent bait-prep area. However, a classy bait board set-up could easily be added to remedy that.

Mako 284CC at rest on the water

In the bow, additional hatchs for storage on either gunwale double as seating or an elevated platform in calm conditions. All the hatches are insulated, with gas struts adding to safety when stowing or extracting gear.

For serious offshore fishos, both gunwales have flush-mount rod holders over the stern coamings, as well as full racks below and extra rod storage built into the backs of the console seats and T-top. Overall, the Mako 284 Centre Console has a really good layout that’s primarily suited to offshore sport-fishing while also packing the slick finishes and creature comforts to make it just as suitable to day cruising and family boating.

 

Handling and ride

Mako 284 Centre Console video

Knowing how well Mako boats perform from previous boat reviews, my expectations were high for the Mako 284 Centre Console, considering the 600hp mounted on this beast. Before climbing onto the throttles here I realised that I had never tested a Mercury Verado motor on any boat prior to this.

The electronic binnacle controls slip into gear smoothly but when knocking down the hammers, the holeshot didn’t feel lightning fast. That was due to the smoothness of the motors and the ride quality of the hull – the numbers on the screen told a different story. You know how doing 100km/h in an old Mini feels more like 200km/h, while 100km/h in a large luxury car feels slow? It’s the same here.

After a few holeshot trials, I noticed the Verado trims can be set to suit the ride and left there, without having to lock them in for maximum out-of-the-hole acceleration.

In the mid-range the Mako 284CC cruises just over 3500rpm and 25kt. Combined fuel consumption at this speed is around 70l/h – to be expected considering the size and weight involved. At this rate the 863 litre tank will cover serious distance – running the boat over the weekend off Fraser Island, we clocked up 140-250km per day, which is where you appreciate the sheer volume of the fuel tank.

At the top end, the response was impressive and we achieved a WOT speed of 46kt – with five on board and a full fuel tank. The revs topped out at 5900rpm, the twin Verados making a pleasant sound level.

Of course fuel burn changed dramatically – she stepped up to 220 litres per hour. It’d be unusual to travel at this speed consistently and obviously you’d dish the coin out at the bowser, but it’s nice to know you can do speeds like this should you need to.

 

Fishability

Rod holders and centre console on Mako 284 boat

The Mako 284 Centre Console is designed for long-range travel, and the high flared bow and deep entry mean she can tackle serious swell and chop. In the bar crossing at the top of Fraser, the tides have a massive effect, particularly on the run-out tide where you can encounter nearly a kilometre of gnarly swell and chop. We experienced 1.5m bar swell with 12-15kt SE pushing across the tip of Fraser – nothing to stress about, except for one passenger who’d never been offshore and looked like he was about to be pushed over Niagara Falls.

At 15kt the Mako 284 Centre Console nudged over the bar, mincing the short chop and swell with ease. Once offshore the conditions changed significantly with closer to 2m swell and 15 to 18kt of SE wind. Regardless, there wasn’t much change to the ride or comfort.

To maximise fishing time, we fast-trolled the 10km to the reef, slipping a spread of skirts out at 12-15kt. A few minutes in, I was pushing the skirts further back as the 284CC throws a long wash in rough conditions and while free-spooling a lure, the burning sensation in my thumb indicated something was up. As the spool locked up, the rod buckled and in the distance a blue marlin launched out of the water. Sadly it was all over in seconds but what an exciting start to the day.

Bow of Mako 284 fishing boat

On the reef and at rest the Mako 284 Centre Console’s open and uncluttered fishing space was evident, and its stability had five of us comfortably fishing baits and throwing lures at the same time. Numerous bottom species were caught and when changing over to trolling with hard bodies the boys got stuck into a number of game fish species with double hook-ups common. Even the video man got stuck into a few mackerel – made a change from chucking his guts over the side!

On the troll the 284CC’s 3m beam maintains a good wide spread without crossover tangles in relatively tight turns. Low trolls – 5-7kt – produce a reasonably short wash for marlin fishing, while at higher speeds – 10-12k – we set lures around 40-50m to get them just out of the wash.

At the end of the day, the run back to the bar in 15 to 20kt wind and 2m swell was comfortable and fairly relaxed. Over the bar, the lee of the island provided calmer conditions for the 90km run back to base. A few rain and wind squalls made us appreciate those clears – worth every cent as they kept us dry and warmer for the trip home.

 

Mako 284 price

Mako 284 boat decal

Not many boats get as thoroughly reviewed as this Mako 284CC and in the world of centre consoles, it proved itself to be a top-class offshore sport fisher and just as good for loading up with family and friends for day trips to the islands.

The Mako 284 Centre Console price of around $215,000 means it’s by no means a budget affair but when you consider the full package – size, standard inclusions, horsepower, the fact it’s towable and the overall quality and finishes – it looks very reasonably priced in comparison to similar boats. For those chasing either a major upgrade or looking to downgrade from larger sport fishers or motor yachts, this could be the answer. 

 

HIGHS

  • Long-distance comfortable ride and sporty performance
  • Solid build and good finishes
  • Multiple species fishability
  • Suited to serious offshore fishing and families alike

 

LOWS

  • Stern folding-bench should be standard
  • Oversize tow requirements
  • False-transom would be better with moulded storage features built in

 

Mako 284 CC specs

Mako 284 CC price: A$215,500

Priced from, (exchange rate dependent)

 

Options fitted

Tri-axle alloy trailer; Verado upgrade; 2x Garmin 7612; 1kW through-hull transducer; I-com VHF; 360˚ coaming bolsters; white powdercoat on alloy work; electric head and holding tank; electric anchor winch, anchor, chain and rode; Tacho outriggers and shotgun rigger; T-top gullwing clears; 220/240V battery charger and more

 

Priced as tested

A$275,000 (exchange rate dependent)

 

GENERAL

Type Offshore fishing and family boat

Material GRP

Length 28ft 4in / 8.64m

Beam 9ft 10in / 3m

BMT Weight 4345kg (approx.)

Deadrise 21°

 

CAPACITIES

People 13 (DAY)

Rec. HP 500

Max. HP 700

Fuel 863 litres

Water 100L fresh water

 

ENGINE

Make/model Mercury L6 Verado Type Inline six EFI, supercharged outboard motor

Weight 288kg (dry)

Displacement 2598cc

Gear ratio 1.85.1

Propeller Stainless steel four-blade

 

SUPPLIED BY

Fishing & Leisure Boats

167 Currumburra Road,

Ashmore, Qld 4214

Phone (+61) 429 680 504

Web fishingandleisureboats.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #482, September / October 2016. Why not subscribe today?

 


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