The Yamaha SHO Four Stroke Outboard Really Does Offer the Best of Both Worlds

Everyone seems to talk about the speed, power and torque, but don’t overlook the fuel economy which will save you time and money

By Dave Wolak

Yamaha Pro Staff


There are so many great things about my 250 h.p. Yamaha VMAX SHO four stroke outboard, but one of the things I don’t hear a lot of people talk about, yet something I have noticed over the last couple of years is the fuel efficiency of these motors. Fuel efficiency and reliability have been the cornerstone of the four stroke outboard market, but because the 250 h.p. Yamaha VMAX SHO four stroke has so much torque, speed and power, all I ever hear anyone talk about is the performance of the engine. Well I’m here to tell you the fuel efficiency is one of its best features.

If gas prices weren’t so high I might not have noticed how much I save over the course of a year, both in money and time. When I get to an FLW event, I’ll fill the gas tank of my Ranger right to the top, which is right around 50 gallons.

Lately I’ve been staying at cabins on the water in the locations where the events are taking place, which leaves me two options for fuel—pulling my boat out of the water and driving it to a gas station, or filling up at a marina on the water (if there is one) and paying an even higher premium for fuel. A lot of the locations don’t even have a gas station near the cabin, but either way, I’m looking at 30 minutes to an hour of time, plus the expense of filling up with gas, and when you spend a long day or several long days on the water, the last thing you want to do is give up any down time you have to recharge and take care of your gear so that you can run to get fuel.

But because the Yamaha SHO four stoke outboard has such excellent fuel economy, what I’ve been doing is filling my boat up the Saturday before practice, and I haven’t had to fill up until tournament day. And I’ve been running hard all over these big lakes during practice, but because the engine is so fuel efficient, I haven’t been burning much gas, so I can fish the entire three day practice period before I have to fill up again.

Even on the big lakes like Table Rock and Hartwell I’ve been getting in three full days of practice without filling up. I’m not running slow, but I’m not running wide open either. I’m keeping it under 4,500 rpm, but running my normal ranges to look for fish. I’ll bet if I laid off it and kept within the optimum 3,000 to 4,000 rpm range for fuel economy, I’d save considerably more.

With gas at $4.00 or more a gallon, I’m seeing not only fuel savings, but time savings as well, and over the course of a year on the water, that really adds up. If I just saved $20—that’s five gallons of gas, every time I was on the water, by the end of the year, I could probably take my family on a vacation with what I save in fuel expenditures. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me.

That means the recreational boat owner that fishes three or four days a month could probably make his engine payment using just what he saves on fuel by owning this engine. That’s substantial.

Right now, I’m halfway through the FLW season, and I’ve got some good tournaments coming up that I think play to my strong points. I’ve got the Potomac River, Kentucky Lake and Lake Champlain all in a row, and they’re all big bodies of water. I’m going to see my first blade of grass for the year after fishing a bunch of rocky shorelines. When I get on grass I feel in more of a comfort zone, but I haven’t seen a stitch of grass all year. We’ve been in rocky impoundments and places with submerged timber and things like that, so I’m looking forward to seeing some vegetation.

At the same time, all these bodies of water are big, and with the price of gas where it is, I know I’ll be able to fish the entire practice period and only spend around $200 on gas, which is incredible given the price of fuel. These lakes are huge, and I use all of the lake even in practice, and I’m able to save money and time because my 250 h.p. Yamaha VMAX SHO four stroke is so fuel efficient.

And when tournament day arrives, I not only have that great fuel efficiency to fish wherever I want, but I also have the tremendous power, speed and torque to be the first boat there or to make a major move and still have plenty of time left to fish. This engine really does give us anglers the best of both worlds.


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