One of Victoria’s popular fishing charter companies has given itself an upgrade, by fitting Mercury Verado FourStroke outboards.
The Reel Thing Charters offers fishing, diving and sightseeing tours from Port Phillip Bay to Phillip Island.
“We have three boats which are in heavy demand,” said owner, Mark Ratchford. “A 38-footer, a 28-footer and a 26. We’ve just repowered the 26-footer with a pair of 175 Verados and I think they’re really good.”
The boat – called The Reel Thing – is an aluminium tri-hull which weighs in at some four tonnes when fully loaded. It’s surveyed to carry 12-plus-1 people inshore, where most of the fishing takes place, or 9-plus-2 people offshore where the diving charters tend to go.
The Mercury Verados replaced a pair of Suzuki 175s, and are demonstrating outstanding performance and handling.
“The big difference is the horsepower,” Mark said. “This is a heavy boat, especially when it’s full of wet divers and all their gear, and the Verados have plenty of punch to get it out of the hole.”
The new motors on The Reel Thing combined with Mercury’s Digital Throttle and Shift technology have definitely changed the way the boat handles as well.
“I found the controls to be really good. She feels a lot better to drive, and as I said there’s a fair bit more punch as well,” Mark said.
During a recent sea trial The Reel Thing hit an impressive 38 knots with a wide open throttle.
“The boat was lighter than normal because there were only a couple of people aboard, but she was pushing through a half-to-one-metre swell which was impressive,” Mark said.
An outstanding combination of brains and brawn, Mercury Verado FourStroke outboards have earned a worldwide reputation for delivering the acceleration of a twostroke with great fuel economy, fantastic reliability and an automotive like driving experience.
Those are all features which appeal to Mark.
“The boat goes out whenever the wind isn’t blowing too hard,” said Mark, who estimates The Reel Thing carried about 4,500 passengers this year. “So we need the engines to be working all the time.”
Mark is the latest in a long list of professional operators currently using Verado power, joining the likes of the Australian Army, the Federal police, New South Wales and Victoria Water Police, the SES and the New South Wales Coast Guard.
The repower was carried out by Wes Frost Marine in Mornington, who Mark’s praised for doing “a really good job”.
“This is the first time I have run Mercury Verados commercially and from what I’ve experienced so far, I think they’re going to be great,” he said.
To find out more about The Reel Thing Charters, visit www.thereelthing.com.au or call on Mark on 0412 808 798.