Some of the best features in offshore fishing come together very nicely in this impressive, new fibreglass boat from Evolution.
If Charles Darwin was a fisherman I reckon he’d be hooked on the Evolution 600 Extreme! It sure is a good example of old Charles’ theory of evolution and how the best boats are the result of natural selection of what’s good, and what works over time.
In this big deep Vee fibreglass machine you can see the results of hard-won experience. In fact, builder Paul Junginga spent a whole lot of time fishing before he built his first boat. That was the Evolution 550 and it was an absolute beauty. The Evolution 550 proved Aussie builders could build hardcore fishing boats in fibreglass. The newer Evolution 600 does the same thing but bigger and better.
As you can see in the photos this big deep Vee really ticks the box on just every point including rough water ride, safety and plenty of fishing hardware. This is definitely a trailer boat you can the fight to marlin, mako and other big boys of the deep waters.
Key to the Evolution 600’s appeal is an exceptionally big, powerful hull with a deep Vee bottom that ensures a smooth ride in rough going.
It comes as no surprise the Evolutions 600 hails from the Port Phillip area because this, and nearby Bass Strait, throws up some very challenging seas and weather. And whether you are just chasing snapper on Port Phillip, or going after bluefin tuna offshore this big Evolution will handle the conditions.
There’s certainly a lot to like here starting with fully-kitted fishing cockpit with big in-floor 80-litre kill tank and proper live bait tank with viewing window in the cockpit.
A large cuddy cab with two sleeping berths is another big selling point of the Evolution 600 as is the sliding fibreglass door for added safety. When it’s rough, or bar-crossing time you simply close and latch the door.
Evolution 600 Extreme is definitely a craft for taking on bluewater territory, but pleasingly, she is still not too big to haul behind your Toyota Prado, or Nissan Pathfinder.
Recently, I had the pleasure of putting the Evolution 600 through her paces with Blakes Marine of Sydney. From the outset you can see she’s a classy fishing machine with a nicely balanced hull.
The feature that really tickled my fancy is the optional side door. They call it a ‘dive door’ but it’s great for hauling aboard larger-sized fish and bringing your guests aboard from the dock.
We found the door just the right height for stepping aboard directly from the ramp’s dock. It’s a real pleasure to step aboard this way and something you appreciate whether you’re going fishing, or jsut going for a cruise.
The Evolution 600 gave us a very comfortable few hours on the water, with a solid feel underway, more akin to a motor cruisers than a trailer boat. This plus the comfortable, roomy interior really makes you feel you have a serious bluewater craft under your command.
For the serious angler the roomy cockpit can accommodate two or three anglers, plus driver without feeling the least bit squeezy. Also having a fully-moulded cockpit that you can hose out the mess after a day’s fishing is another plus.
It’s also pleasing to see there’s no skimping on quality. The test package comes with an Easytow Tandem wheel trailer, Yamaha 225hp four-stroke motor, Lowrance HDS8 sounder/GPS chartplotter. For $98,990 ex-Sydney it’s really good value for the money.
Design: The Evolution 600 Extreme is built by PM Marine of Melbourne, which also produces the same style of boat in three other hull sizes – 500, 552 and 650.
Not surprisingly, the Evolution bears a strong resemblance to her sisters. She is a big, handsome boat with contemporary styled cuddy cab and the upsweeping sheerline that really conveys the impression of a serious sport fisher.
Integral to this design is the powerful deep Vee hull with a constant 21-degree deadrise from the bow shoulders to the transom. With high freeboard and plenty of bow flare this ensures Evolution can punch through big waves.
Overall moulded length is 6.5m bowsprit to transom while beam is just a smidgen short of our legal 2.5m trailer width limit. The hull also has a set of sharp-edged strakes, keel runner plank and reverse chines to help her get quickly on the plane.
Access aboard is from either a transom door/folding ladder or the optional side door. Either way you can get aboard pretty easily, but the side door is best. The latter also comes with a light slip-in pane for day use as the main door is quite big and heavy.
Structurally, the Evolution 600 is a very solid craft that incorporates advanced fibreglass construction plus positive foam-buoyancy for extra safety. The foam also ensures a very quiet ride and less noise generally.
The Evolution weighs in at 1200kg so you’re looking at a loaded weight of around two tonnes with full crew, fuel and gear. This is a serious lump of craft so you’ll find this boat isn’t too fussed by small wave chop or the odd boat wash.
Evolution is backed by a seven-year warranty. Its tow weight is around 2300kg, which falls comfortably within the capacity of larger 4WDs like the Toyota Prado, Nissan Patrol, Nissan Pathfinder and Grand Jeep Cherokee. I might mention the trailer has electric breakaway brakes and a low frame so the boat sits closer to the road and more comfortably when towing.
Overall height of the Evolution 600 is a bit high for garaging, however, the overall 7.5m trailing length is still not too big for home parking.
If you are really stuck for home parking space you could keep the Evolution 600 at a marina dry stack, or at a commercial stowage centre.
Performance: As we slide the big black beauty into the quiet waters of Bayview I was itching to give her a full-throttle run up the bay. The big 225hp Yamaha four-stroke fired into life first go and the Evolution slipped effortlessly off her trailer into the dark waters.
As is usually the case with big boats, the Evolution 600 glides easily along in smooth water and is finger-light to drive thanks to the hydraulic steering system.
After picking Alan Blake from the wharf we cruised up through the ‘school zone’ till we were free to open up the throttle.
Once clear of the moorings I pushed the throttle down and enjoyed the awesome power of the big Yamaha blasting us smoothly to the plane. In a matter of seconds we were doing 40 knots and simply flying over the quiet, green waters like a magic carpet.
There is hardly a bump when you are travelling at speed in this big deep Vee and you settle back easily into the comfortable, armchair-like pedestal seats.
The big Evolution rides with a distinct bow-up trim that suits open water operation yet doesn’t detract from helm view on calm waters. The hull also slices easily through bay chop and most of the time you travel pretty fast without needing to back off.
I found the boat settled into a nice cruising speed around the 31 knots at 4000rpm. This was the ‘sweet spot’ for the big four-stroke and covered the ground very quickly.
During the test I didn’t notice any need for electric trim tabs, which I believe is due to the Evolution's wide beam and highly stable hull.
With more time we might have ran further to sea but conditions were fairly calm and it would have been just a waste of fuel. This was quite a contrast to the rugged conditions in which we’d tested the Evolution 550 but that had been in Melbourne – need I say more!
I’m quite convinced this will be a brilliant boat in rough water and I base this on my experience with the smaller 550, which is a similar design.
The way the bows carry fullness well for’ard also should ensure this boat will run downhill with waves pretty safely.
The helm station is very comfortable with padded pedestal seat, adjustable slide, stainless steel foot bar and sports helm. The large moulded dashboard also gives you room to flush-mount a large sounder/chartplotter.
A flush-fitting throttle also gives you plenty of elbow room at the helm and makes it easy to slip from the sitting to standing position.
Other great features include a windscreen grab rail, passenger side grab rail, footrest and lockable side glovebox.
It goes almost without saying the Evolution 600 is a very stable craft at-rest. Even in a swell she sits very stable and will provide a great platform for serious game fishing. Side scuppers take care of water that might slosh aboard.
Power: The big E is rated for a single, extra-long outboard between 150-250hp, either two or four-stroke. She certainly performs more than quickly with a Yamaha 225hp four-stroke so there’s hardly a need to go for the 250hp.
I would expect the craft to go quite well with the 175hp size motor, however, my preferred power choice would be 200-225hp to ensure plenty of reserve power when you’re offshore and having to battle serious wind and waves.
The 225hp Yamaha V6 pumps and is certainly a really nice match for this boat and provides a smooth, steady acceleration. This is really the same 3352cc displacement as the Yamaha 250hp so there’s loads of low speed torque.
The speed results for the 225hp Yamaha were as follows:
3500rpm 27 knots
4000rpm 31 knots
4500rpm 35 knots
5500rpm 43 knots
It would be interesting to see how the Evolution 600 would sprint along with the Evinrude ETEC 200hp or 225hp motors. The ETEC might give you a bit more mid-range speed but otherwise about the same top end speed.
Certainly you should go for a clean tech motor regardless of brand choice. These days it simply makes better economic sense in a big boat to for a clean tech motor. It gives you much better fuel economy and ensures better resale value in the long run.
Talking of power the Evolution comes with 250-litre in-floor fuel capacity. This is adequate for most trips but some anglers will want the 320-litre ‘long range’ fuel tank for trips out to the shelf.
Deck layout: This is not a walk-around design but a very sensible cuddy deck boat of the kind Australian fishos love with wide, walkable side decks.
She also gives you a moulded bowsprit with double articulated bow roller, stainless steel bow rail and anchor locker that also incorporates the Tee bollard.
Not surprisingly the Evolution is designed to take an electric Stress Free anchor winch ($3,295) and this fits neatly within the anchor locker.
The Evolution 600 cabin is quite roomy with good headroom and two full-sized Vee berths that can form a double with an infill.
A nice, handy feature is the toilet space between the bunks, which lets you stand under the fore hatch for anchor work.
You also have fully moulded seats and padded backrests for added comfort. The cabin also has a proper cover over the helm electronics and a neat flow coated roof plus carpeted hull sides. The cabin entrance also has a moulded sliding door, which gives you some privacy if you add the optional chemical toilet.
Back in the cockpit you find the pedestal seat boxes have tackle drawers installed and there are long side pockets for fishing gear. There is also plenty of under-gunwale toehold space for fishing. From the fishing perspective this is a great work area and includes a raised cutting board, four side and two rear rod holders. There’s also an overhead rod rack, incorporating a neat bimini in black canvas fabric. About the only thing missing was front and side vinyl clears.
Other fishing features abound, including stainless steel rod holders, padded coamings and a large in-floor kill tank.
Verdict: Here’s a trailer boat for going places other skippers fear to tread. It’s got great sea-keeping ability and the level of construction gives you confidence to push out wide.
As presented, this is a serious fishing machine without too much concern for recreational cruising. However, it doesn’t take much imagination to turn the Evolution boat into a fairly nice family wagon. Firstly, you can add a rear lounge (optional) and also a chemical toilet (optional) in the cabin. I don’t think a lot of fishos will actually bother with the toilet, however, it’s still a nice creature comfort if you’re out all night.
Tricked up the right way, the Evolution 600 Extreme will be an extremely enjoyable craft in places like the Whitsundays. Up there you could spend a week sleeping aboard, hopping between resorts and fishing your heart out.