The Best Motor for My Boat

Matt Straw

Choosing an outboard shouldn’t happen until you have a serious discussion. With some experts. Like yourself.

The owner is the only one who knows how the outboard motor will be asked to perform, and where it’s going to operate. We all know tournament anglers have different needs and preferences than weekend warriors and anglers with big families. But whether it’s a high-performance bass boat or a pontoon, we all want to know how to select the right outboard motor with the perfect prop, the correct shaft length, the optimum amount of power, and the proper rigging. And everybody wants to save money on gas and oil.

Mr. Ry Landry addresses those concerns for people all the time. It’s his job. Landry is Product Education Manager for Yamaha Outboard Motors, where he’s been working for the past 11 years. “I’m responsible for product information that’s not service related,” Landry said. “That involves talking to consumers and the media, doing internal training, and training for OEMs.”

One of the first decisions an owner is looking for is reliability. It is one of the top concerns of all outboard customers. “Reliability starts here,” Landry said. “That’s our motto. We’re pretty confident in our reliability. I was just in Belize where all the outboards you can find are Yamaha, and most have high hours of operation. Commercial fishermen, water taxis, fishing guides, tour guides—most all of them have Yamaha engines.” Reliability is why so many lodges up in Canada have switched to Yamaha engines over the past decade. Getting a mechanic up there or transporting a motor for repairs can be very expensive.

The next and much easier decision to make in today’s market is choosing between a 2-stroke and a 4-stroke, Landry says, is easier than picking a prop. “We don’t see many 2-strokes these days,” he said. “Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, and Mercury don’t have 2-strokes anymore. Only Evinrude has it. The advantage of the 4-stroke is power. The torque curve is beneficial during the hole shot and midrange cruising, with great fuel efficiency. All of Yamaha’s portables from 2.5 up 25 HP are 4-strokes today.

Fuel efficiency is a hot topic and another concern Landry often discusses with consumers. “It’s easier for engineers of cars than engineers of boats,” he said. “Internal combustion burns so much air to burn so much fuel to produce so much torque. So, it’s a mechanical thing. Yamaha engineers looked at the design and shape of the lower unit in the water to reduce friction, and we now have the most efficient lower unit we’ve ever had in terms of displacement. Measuring friction—drag analysis—is done on computers. Engine design has also increased the compression ratio on some of our engines from 9.6:1 to 12.2:1—a significant improvement in fuel efficiency. Other technologies have helped, too.”

A new technology from Yamaha to help with fuel efficiency, on select models, is replacing conventional steel cylinder walls with plasma fusion—a micro-textured surface that’s 60 percent harder and lighter than steel—means increased displacement without increasing powerhead size, less weight, and decreased friction, all of which increase fuel efficiency. If deciding between new and used—new may cost more but should have better fuel efficiency, saving money over time.

The next consideration would be to figure out what performance you are looking for. “Powering a boat is a tough thing,” Landry says. “Water provides a lot of resistance. Far more than air, so it takes far more power to get a boat up to 60 mph than a car. So, choosing the right outboard motor for your boat isn’t something to take lightly. Talk with a Yamaha dealer, whether buying there or not. Tell the dealer what the boat will be doing most and where it will be used. Is it a family boat? Fish alone a lot, or with friends and family? How fast do you need to go? Will you be pulling a water skier? Ask, a Yamaha dealer will help you prioritize what you want from a motor and a boat.”

One of the newest challenges for prospective outboard buyers is choosing between mechanical and digital controls. “If it’s a new motor, one nice option to consider is digital controls,” Landry said. “Mechanical controls are good old-fashioned cables for steering and speed. Digital has no cables, just sensors, and wires. Digital controls transmit signals to the engine. The engine’s computer instantly processes speed, steering, trim, and other signals. Without cables, a boat has some room for other kinds of rigging. Some people prefer mechanical, though, so control options are something to think about.”

A tiller handle is a manual control that comes standard on most portable models and can be added up to a F115. But to have the choice of digital or mechanical on a larger unit, you need to pick a motor that has the capability you want. The Yamaha V6 4.2L engines and I-4 4-stroke engines for instance, are available with either mechanical or digital controls.

A famous boat rigger once told me the average walleye boat he rigged had more electronic density than the fighter jets he worked on in the Navy. That was more than ten years ago and electronic density has increased tremendously. If you’re part of the bass world, you want a motor with a decent alternator. Alternators on Yamaha V-MAX SHO models, put out 46 amps at 1000 rpm and 50 amps between 2500 and 6000 rpm. You can power a full array of depth finders, GPS units, and radar with that much power. If electric accessories are your thing, ask about amp output on the motor being considered.

Some people get confused about the shaft length required on the lower unit. The cavitation plate, directly above the prop, should be even with the bottom of the transom pushing both prop and skeg below the hull. Shaft length on an outboard is measured from the inside top of the mounting bracket to the bottom of the cavitation plate. Any transom that measures 14- to 17-inches requires a 15-inch “short shaft” outboard. A 17- to 18-inch transom could go with a 15- or 20-inch shaft, depending on how it’s mounted. Any 19- to 22.5-inch transom is best fitted with a 20-inch “long shaft” outboard. And a transom 22.5- to 27-inches tall should be matched with a 25-inch “extra-long shaft.” (Yamaha F-Series outboards now offer the option of an “extra-extra-long” 35-inch shaft.)

“Making sure you get the right shaft length can be as easy as talking to the dealer,” Landry said. “Transoms have different holes for adjusting the height of the engine up or down. Those additional holes for bolting the motor on can be used to level the anti-ventilation (cavitation) with the bottom of the hull, but positioning can get tricky. It depends on how and where the customer is planning on using the boat. In the Texas gulf, many boats need jack plates to raise and lower the engine because they fish in very shallow water.”

Tell the Yamaha dealer where you plan on using the outboard. If buying from a private owner, consult a Yamaha dealer anyway—so that the setup is consistent with the way you boat and fish.

The final choice to make is one that takes in a ton of factors. “Picking a prop requires careful consideration,” Landry says. “Talk to the dealer of the brand of boat you have or go to We have a prop configurator that allows you to type in your boat type, length, and weight so you can pick a prop that fits specific needs a little better. It also helps a customer figure out what they need for better speed, a better hole shot, or better fuel efficiency during the type of use the engine will see most. Then they can start looking at things like a 3-blade versus a 4-blade prop, or whether it should be a ventilated prop.”

Check out for answers on brand new product, prop selection, rigging, maintenance requirements, new technologies and more. You’re the expert for your needs, so you might as well own it. Now that you know a little more about how to choose the best outboard for you, use it to purchase your new outboard.

The Best Fishing Cameras Under $1000

The Best Fishing Cameras Under $1000 thumbnail

If you’re beginning to hit your local waters or prep for that big summer trip, you may be thinking about buying a camera to capture those moments. As a photographer/videographer, what I look for in my cameras may be completely different from someone who just wants a few pictures for bragging rights back home. However, regardless of your end goal, it is always nice to have a camera that will help you get the results you want. Here are my top 5 picks for fly fishing cameras under $1,000 that will help you capture pictures and videos that will wow everyone from the local guide shop to the family dinner table.

Disclaimer: this isn’t a complete technical review, however, I will highlight a few specific specs for each camera that I think stand out.

Sony a6400 – $999

The release of the new Sony a6400 is a great addition to an already phenomenal a6000 series line up. The a6400 is a mirrorless micro 4/3 camera that has some great features for stellar photography and videos. The camera is compact, featuring a small body with small lenses and is the living embodiment of the benefits of using a mirrorless camera, but it is not too small to where it sacrifices usability. It is weather-sealed (not waterproof) which is great for the accidental spray of water or light drizzle. The camera features photo priority modes for those who understand manual settings, but also includes an auto setting if you aren’t too keen on the technical aspects of photography. Other features like a brighter and flip up LCD screen make the camera perfect for sunny conditions and can help you frame that perfect picture of yourself and your catch on the water without trying 100 times and sacrificing the fish’s health. Overall, this is an excellent starter camera with higher-end capabilities and is perfect for fast action situations like fishing. Below I will list some video and photo features that stand out:


  • 24 megapixel sensor
  • Takes incredible photos
  • Features sharp and quick autofocus (including a new animal eye-autofocus which if perfect for nature photography)
  • Interval mode for time-lapses
  • Fast continuous shooting at 11fps for those crispy action shots of casting or getting that fish drip


  • Good Dynamic Range
  • No crop factor in 4k at 24fps
  • Real time autofocus tracking
  • Con: no in camera stabilization (solved by purchasing lenses that have optical steady shot)

GoPro HERO 7 Black – $349

Ever since its first release, the GoPro quickly became a staple action/adventure camera, especially in the fishing world. The GoPro HERO 7 Black is no exception. Not much needs to be said about the GoPro — it is compact, high quality, waterproof, can take the brunt of a high-intensity fishing expedition, and doesn’t break the bank. Below are some features from the HERO 7 that make it a great choice:


  • Stabilization options — introduction of the new HyperSmooth stabilization at 60fps in 4k
  • TimeWarp or Hyperlapse feature creates smooth moving time-lapses
  • Easy to use interface
  • Live-streaming capabilities to show off your monster fish in real-time
  • SuperPhoto Mode — capture quality HDR photos

Canon 80D – $899 (Body Only)

While a few years old, Canon’s 80D full frame DSLR still holds its own in the camera world. As a DSLR, the 80D is much larger and less compact, but along with that comes superior build quality, weather-sealing and is especially better ergonomically for people with bigger hands. Don’t underestimate the ergonomics of your camera, the size of your camera can make a significant difference in your shooting experience. While the 80D is okay in the video department, it shines with photos and its fully articulating LCD screen allows you to see your screen in even the most awkward situations to ensure you get the shot. With its larger size and intuitive interface, the 80D centers around ease of use. It offers some of the best dynamic range in its price range for an APS-C camera and is a solid camera that continues to be a great choice for an introductory DSLR. Below I will list some video and photo features that stand out:

  • 24 megapixel sensor
  • Great quality photos
  • 7 fps Continuous shooting
  • Benefit of access to Canon’s range of EF mount lenses


  • 60fps at 1080p
  • Canon color science — great for shooting in flat profiles

At a great price point, the TG-5 is a rugged camera that is waterproof and shockproof. The compact body is chock-full of features such as GPS, compass, LED light and a built-in F2-4.9 / 25-100mm equivalent lens. Its plastic body actually stands up to being dropped, dinged, scratched and dented much better than full metal bodies, and it also makes it a light and pocketable camera — perfect for family fishing vacations. While this camera does have the disadvantage of not having interchangeable lenses, don’t let this fool you into thinking this is just another point-and-shoot camera. Not only can it serve as something to get a quick shot of your personal best brook trout, but there are also some features that allow you some creative capability as well. Below I will list some video and photo features that stand out:


  • 12 megapixel sensor
  • Great Macro capability
  • Can shoot RAW (which is hard to find at this price point and in a point-and-shoot type camera)


  • No crop factor in 4k video at 25/30fps
  • Can shoot 120fps in HD

iPhone X (or comprable smartphone)

What can’t you do with your phone at this point? While I’m specifically focusing on the iPhone, this suggestion can apply to many smartphones out there at the moment. This is a great option because you already have a great photo and video tool right in your pocket. Never underestimate the power of your phone to take great pictures. Plus, using your phone means you don’t have to spend money on a separate camera and it also means one less piece of great to worry about. Those comments aside, your iPhone is great because its waterproof, compact and easy to use. Additionally, there are so many great accessories that can help turn your phone in a photo and video machine including add-on lenses and products like the AxisGo Water Housing which we did a review on last year. Here are some general features that stand out:


  • 12 megapixel sensor
  • F 1.8
  • Optical stabilization
  • Good Dynamic Range
  • Excellent slow motion capabilities 60fps in 4k or 240fps in 1080p (the autofocus does suffer)
How do I choose what’s right for me?

Now I’ve just thrown these 5 options with a lot of information at you. So, you may be asking how to I choose what is right for me? Well, I hate to be that guy, but it really depends. You should definitely factor in price, how careful you are with cameras, mirrorless vs. DSLR, what your goal is (high quality content or just something to post to the bragging board), and whether you want to focus on pictures, videos or both, to list a few. However, this article should not be your only go to when it comes to making a decision. Buying a camera is a process that should take time, research and countless hours spent reading reviews. Hopefully this article acts as another tool in your search for the camera that will help you capture some epic memories out on the water this summer.

*Cover photo from FlyLords’ latest trip with Aussie Fly Fisher and Waterline Charters.

Article written by FlyLords Media Intern Matteo Moretti.

Continue reading “The Best Fishing Cameras Under $1000”

Au Sabot’s Historic Pocket Knife Is on Sale

France is the gravitational center of the culinary world, so it’s fitting that the country also produces some of the finest cutlery available. The focal point of that industry is Thiers, a town in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region that’s home to roughly one hundred knife making companies as well as a museum dedicated to the art and process. Thiers blades aren’t just for chefs though; knives of every kind are created there, including Au Sabot’s Le Thiers pocket knife, which is currently 40 percent off at Huckberry.

Au Sabot’s ode to Thiers is a handsome folding knife with a 3.5-inch blade made of carbon steel that’s available with handles made of hardwoods like rosewood and olive as well as more exotic materials like the horn of African buffalo. The knife’s form was developed by the Confrerie du Couteau Le Thiers, which means “Brotherhood of the Thiers Knife,” during the nineties to pay homage to the town’s 600-year history crafting blades. Fifteen local masters worked over months to design the Le Theirs. Au Sabot makes its version by hand in its factory there and includes a fold-out corkscrew in the handle, which, as the French might say, is quite à-propos.

NEW: YETI LoadOut GoBox for Camping

NEW: YETI LoadOut GoBox for Camping thumbnail

The YETI LoadOut GoBox leaves nothing to be desired when it comes to utility and durability. Designed for secure organization, this versatile gear fortress is ideal both on-the-go, or back at basecamp.

YETI LoadOut GoBox Payne Outdoors

YETI is offering the chance to win a kitted out YETI LoadOut GoBox™ curated by YETI Ambassador Conrad Anker. People can enter for a chance to win a YETI LoadOut GoBox™ packed with Conrad’s favorite camping gear by following YETI on Instagram and commenting on the LoadOut GoBox™ Ambassador Gear Sweepstakes Instagram post. The giveaway opens on May 2, 2019, at 8:00 AM CST and ends at 11:59 PM CDT on May 10, 2019.

YETI LoadOut GoBox Payne OutdoorsThe waterproof and dustproof GoBox can hold and protect everything from duck calls and rangefinders, to tippet and camera lenses, thanks to the included removable caddy, compartment divider, and Pack Attic™ deployable pouch. The LoadOut GoBox is built to be nearly indestructible—ready to endure seasons in the sun, negative temps in the field, and repeated abuse being lugged in and out of the truck, the boat, and the blind. And when it’s all said and done, the GoBox stacks up neatly until your next adventure.

“We are passionate about delivering products with a combination of exceptionaldesign, function and reliability that are natural extensions of the YETI brand,” says YETI CEO, Matt Reintjes. “With the GoBox, we have taken your standard storage box and turned it into a product with endless versatility and unprecedented reliability”.

YETI LoadOut GoBox Payne OutdoorsThe LoadOut GoBoxwill be available for purchase through for $249.99, starting in May 2019. Available colors include white, tan, and charcoal. Accessories included: Divider, Caddy, and Pack Attic™. For more information regarding YETI’s new Spring 2019 products, please visit

YETI LoadOut GoBox Payne Outdoors

About YETI Holdings, Inc.

YETI is a designer, marketer, retailer, and distributor of a variety of innovative, branded, premium products to a wide-ranging customer base. Our brand promise is to ensure each YETI product delivers exceptional performance and durability in any environment, whether in the remote wilderness, at the beach, or anywhere else life takes you. We bring our products to market through a diverse and powerful omni-channel strategy, comprised of our select group of national and independent retail partners and our DTC channel. By consistently delivering high-performing products, we have built a following of engaged brand loyalists throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere, ranging from serious outdoor enthusiasts to individuals who simply value products of uncompromising quality and design. Our relationship with customers continues to thrive and deepen as a result of our innovative new product introductions, expansion, and enhancement of existing product families, and multifaceted branding activities.

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