IF you are looking for an offshore fishing vessel with a difference that won’t break the budget, then a jet ski could be the surprising solution.
Jet skis, or personal watercraft, have been a common sight on WA waters for many years, but have not generally been viewed as a fishing platform, despite their popularity with anglers in South Africa and New Zealand.
However, there is a dedicated group of local anglers who have devoted themselves to this style of fishing and who have customised their jet skis to enable them to do so.
There are a number of reasons why people choose a jet ski for fishing and the first is, as mentioned, cost as they are generally much more affordable than a trailer boat.
They are also easier to transport than a boat and don’t require as much storage space.
Launching and retrieving is also simpler, and you don’t need any crew to help.
Running and maintenance costs for a four-stroke jet ski are also much lower than for a boat, while the trip out to the spot can also be both exhilarating and fast.
For many dedicated jet skis fishers the challenge of catching big fish from a ski is also a major part of the appeal.
All sorts of prized gamefish have been caught from jet skis around the globe in recent years, including billfish.
A location like Ningaloo, near Exmouth, is ideal for WA jet ski fishers as it offers world-class blue water fishing just minutes from the ramp.
At first glance, jet skis don’t appear ideally suited to fishing as there doesn’t appear to be much dedicated storage space.
However, a fully configured jet ski can offering a great fishing platform and Yamaha Motor Australia last year launched the JetFish concept to encourage more budding offshore anglers to give it a go.
Yamaha hopes JetFish will promote jet ski fishing to a wider local audience, with the company a market leader in this area with its WaveRunner series of craft.
At the forefront of this move is a fully customised JetFish WaveRunner FX High Output, which comes fully rigged for fishing adventures on the high seas.
It is kitted out with LED running lights, rod holders, fish finder, tackle drawers, drinks holders and a clever pair of fishing pods which can be can used for storing tackle and even live bait.
Pontoons on either side add stability for fishing, and can also be used for storing the catch.
Popular TV fishing show Hook, Line and Sinker tested out the JetFish WaveRunner and were delighted with the results, declaring it “the ultimate fishing weapon”.
They were particularly impressed with how quickly they could chase down shy schools of feeding longtail tuna on the east coast’s Moreton Bay, the acceleration and speed of the WaveRunner literally leaving a traditional boat in its wake.
It enabled co-host Andrew Hart to be able to get to the tuna and get a coast into the school before it sounded, as is so common with longtails.
He was also delighted that everything he needed for fishing was always within reach.
While this model showcases the absolute top level of customisation and ticks every jet ski fishing box, the good news for all WaveRunner owners is they can turn any model into something similar.
A customised fishing kit can be fitted to almost every model in the range and imagination is the only limitation.
All WaveRunners come with its patented RIDE (Reverse with Intuitive Deceleration Electronics) control functionality, which makes manoeuvring the jet ski simple and effortless.
To check out the Yamaha range of WaveRunner jet skis, visit www.yamaha-motor.com.au .