Savage has revamped the trusty Jabiru v-nose punt to create an ideal light estuary and creek fishing tinny. Kris Sweres reports.

AUSTRALIA’s  oldest boat brand, Savage, has taken a proven and popular boat design and tricked it up for the the keen estuary fisho. The new Jabiru Pro 385 features additions such as plate sides, a reworked interior and the new Ultra Lift hull design. Over the years, Savage has stuck to the original Jabiru v-nose flat bottomed punt style hull design that really distinguished this little craft.

Apart from a quality build, it’s a well balanced and stable craft suited to sneaking up creeks fishing and exploring. However, with any punt style boat, choppy conditions and large boat wakes can cause problems, especially whilst on the plane. Listening to consumer and dealer feedback Savage attempted to somewhat alleviate this with the new Ultra Lift hull design. The increased deadrise (about 15 per cent) makes a sharper point of entry, therefore providing a smoother ride.
Savage says the Ultra Lift Hull also enables fishos and boat owners to use smaller size outboards to achieve planing.

On the water

Despite being designed for calmer estuaries and freshwater impoundments I was suitably impressed at how rigid and solid the new Jabiru felt on the open water. Folded side decks are standard on the Pro model and they add to that rigid feel. With the inclusion of 2mm plate sides the overall ride and comfort seemed a lot smoother than I remembered from the original Jabirus. The down angled chines also helped deflect spray neatly away from the hull equating to a drier ride. At half throttle across the Gold Coast’s choppy broadwater I didn’t feel a drop (except from the sky).

Powered by a 30hp Vortex two-stroke this is a speedy little boat, so common sense is needed when travelling at speed.

The little things

The Jabiru 385 Pro boasts a few new interior additions. Standard features include carpeted floor, front casting deck and storage hatches both fore and aft. Having dedicated areas to store safety gear, tackle, etc, is a high priority for any dedicated fisho. Uncluttered casting decks are a wonderful thing! Plumbed live wells can be optioned, which would see this boat an inexpensive alternative to some bream and bass tournament boats.

This boat also features a small rod locker  on the port side. As space is limited, the locker is a side sliding “hatch” style design, which didn’t appeal to me. I’ve always preferred a traditional swinging lid on hinges for rod locker design.

This boat is primarily designed to fish. For example, there’s flat chequer plate on the bow deck, which makes mounting an electric motor easy; drill four holes, bolt one on and you’re ready for stealth fishing.
There’s a small switch panel on the starboard rear which unortunately had me constantly bumping its controls on and off with my leg whilst driving. A plastic cover could eliminate this issue and add some extra waterproofing to the electric panel.

Savage has included a small cutting board at the stern that doubles as a hatch for bait fishermen. In theory the idea is good, I just know I’d get the area filthy in no time! A hose down at the end of the day should solve any such issues.
All up. the Jabiru Pro 385 is a great boat for estuary lure fishermen. It draws very little water to allow you to sneak up bass creeks and over sand flats chasing whiting and flatties. And at this size it’s great for getting kids into boating with good stability at rest making them very safe. Even at 1.8m and 120kg I found these boats extremely stable.

Savage Jabiru Pro 385

LENGHT: 3.85 m
BEAM: 1.73 m
MAX HP: 15
RRP: $10,990
Fit-out:  (3.5 out of 5)
Ride/handling: (4 out of 5)
Performance:  (3.5 out of 5)
Fishability: (4 out of 5)
Overall finish: (3.5 out of 5)
Value: (4/5)
Overall: (4 out of 5)

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