Fishing Tips TOURNAMENT PROS EMPHASIZE ADVANTAGES OF FOUR-STROKE OUTBOARDS Posted 12/7/2009 The upcoming 2010 bass tournament tour will be Yamaha Pro Dave Wolak's third season to use a four-stroke outboard, and while he admits making the switch from two-stroke power was not easy, he also emphasizes today that it's one of the best fishing decisions he's ever made. "Four-cycle outboards offer a lot of advantages to tournament pros as well as casual weekend anglers, and those advantages continue to grow as four-cycle technology improves," says Wolak, who will be piloting Yamaha's new four-stroke V6 VMAX® SHO™ engine during the coming year. "Better overall fuel economy is probably top on everyone's list, but there are a lot of other reasons for any fisherman to start thinking of making the change. "I especially like the fact I don't have to worry about carrying extra oil anymore. With a four-stroke engine, I simply change the oil every 80 to 100 hours, just like on my truck. It's not nearly as expensive, and it's one less problem to worry about." "I change the oil about every two months, but I can easily imagine a casual angler only changing oil once a summer. That's going to save them a lot of money." Fellow Yamaha Pro Alton Jones, winner of the 2008 Bassmaster® Classic, likes the quick hole-SHO™ and faster overall speed now available to him with his new VMAX® SHO.™ "With most two-stroke outboards, it takes as long as 20 seconds to get up to 60 miles an hour, but with the faster hole-SHO,™ I'm up to 60 much quicker, and I can get up on plane in less than four seconds even with a full tournament load in extremely shallow water," he explains. "For a bass fisherman, particularly a tournament pro who does so much stop-and-start driving during every competition day, that actually gives me more fishing time. If I save eight seconds getting up on plane every time I move, and I visit 25 spots in a day, I'll have more than three additional minutes to fish, added to the time I gain with the faster top end speed." "That doesn't sound like much to a casual angler, but tournament fishing is all about time management, and just three minutes a day means nine minutes per three day tournament, and over a full hour during the season. That's a huge advantage." "I can't tell you how many fish I've caught during the last two minutes of a tournament day that changed how I placed in that event. Every pro can tell you stories like that." Wolak also believes serious bass fishermen will appreciate the fact the new VMAX® SHO™ is 34 pounds lighter than its two-stroke predecessor, even though the engine has a 4.2 liter displacement, the largest in its class. "The weight savings means better overall efficiency, from improved fuel mileage to faster top end speed," he explains. "It also helps create an easier towing package. Again, 34 pounds may not sound like very much, but it really does make a difference." Both Yamaha pros also appreciate what is probably the very first feature anglers notice about any four-stroke outboard, which is how quiet they run at full speed. "Four-stroke technology has made remarkable advances in recent years," concludes Wolak, "but like me, many anglers have been hesitant to make the change from two-stroke engines. With the products we have available now, however, I'm sure we'll see a lot more bass fishermen making that change, and I know they'll be glad they did."