Fishing Jet Boats – Yamaha 190 FSH Jet Boat
It’s a known fact that anglers will find a way to fish on any boat. I’m certain Yamaha jet boats have been used as fishing platforms ever since they hit the market in 1996. And there are a lot of them out there. Yamaha is building 500 to 700 boats a month, which for many boat companies is a good production year. But Yamaha had never designed a purpose-built fishing boat until it unveiled the Yamaha 190 FSH family of boats.
One of the things that has made all Yamaha boats so popular is the two-tier rear lounging area. Its designers know that most of a boat’s time on the water is spent with the key in the off position. As a result, they created a space people gravitate to when its boats are at rest. It has comfortable backrest cushions and padded decking. It also just happens to be one of the most relaxing places to wet a hook. You can wire a trolling motor to the expansive raised casting deck in the bow. This is possible because of Yamaha’s beam-forward design and an 8-foot beam. The forward deck is also a great place to toss a cast net for bait. There’s even a dedicated storage area in the stern for stowing a five-gallon bucket, where most people store their nets.
The 19-foot long Yamaha 190 FSH is the first Yamaha jet boat to have a center console. Many saltwater fishing boat share this design. It gives anglers a platform that’s fishable in all of its 360 degrees. We tested the Sport model. It comes with a T-top with a lightweight canvas canopy for shade. Another option is a Bimini top, but this can hamper fishing mobility. The T-top is a bargain that gives passengers more places to hang on. This is the result of the fat aluminum tube frame. The T-Top costs only $2,000 more than the Yamaha 190 FSH Deluxe. For more shade, head to the aftermarket and add a SureShade extended top.
Powering the 190 FSH is a Yamaha 1.8L, four-cylinder four-stroke engine. A 155 mm pump jet drive is mated to it. This combination puts out approximately 180 hp. It has the highest displacement of any jet-powered boat in the industry. Because it’s non-supercharged, it makes its power in the easiest way possible. Some mechanical efficiency is lost with a jet drive. However, its simple direct-drive system has fewer moving parts than outboards or sterndrives. Better yet, it only draws 16 inches.
But the real beauty of this engine is its compact size. The lack of a propeller makes it attractive for owners with teenagers who will be driving the boat. One downside to some jet-propulsed engines is that they can ingest things such as seaweed or fishing line. To overcome that, Yamaha has a patented clean-out port. You can access the clean-out port from the wet locker on the transom.
The High Output four-cylinder, four-banger engine moves the Yamaha 190 FSH efficiently. However, it’s not quite the screaming machine Yamaha’s twin-engine HO-powered models can be. Granted, conditions were far from optimal on test day. Temperatures on Lake Oconee were in the high 90s. To that we added a full tank of gas, glass-flat conditions (a little chop is better) and a couple of buffet-loving Americans on board. As a result, it produced the pokiest numbers you’ll see on this boat. Its time to plane was 3.5 seconds and it took 9.8 seconds to reach 30 mph. This boat reach speeds up to 43 mph in other tests, but on test day we could only wring 38 mph out of it at 7500 rpm. But for waterskiing, this setup provides the perfect rate of acceleration. Quicker models can be too abrupt if the driver hammers the throttle.
Jet boats can be difficult to handle for boaters who are used to conventional power. Because there’s not much hull protruding into the water, jet boats tend to wander at slow speeds and can slide out during hard cornering. Thrust from the jet nozzle steers the boat. If you chop the power, there is little or no directional control. Yamaha corrected these problems with an innovation called the Articulating Keel, which is a rudder that serves as an extension of the boat’s pronounced keel and tracks with the jet drive to deliver precise cornering and off-power steering — especially useful for docking — and allows even rookie drivers to back up in a straight line.
At speed, the Articulating Keel helps the Yamaha 190 FSH carve beautifully during hard turns as the boat leans in gently. One of the interesting side effects is that when you let go of the wheel (not recommended), it automatically resumes a straight-line course. The hull itself has 18 degrees of dead-rise, which gives it a good blend of wave-slicing ability and side-to-side stability at rest.
Ostensibly, the FSH stands for Family Sports Hybrid, but once we insert the all-important I, we know its primary mission. Its center-console design sets the tone for its fishing mission, and Yamaha provides plenty of space for installing big-screen electronics — either flush mounted in the dash or on a gimbal on top of the dash, which has a lip for containment of loose items. The double-wide leaning post sits high to accommodate a standard Igloo Marine cooler and has a tall backrest for comfort that can be flipped forward to provide rearward seating at rest.
Six vertical holders are on the sides of the console and four horizontal racks are under the gunwale, with four more in-gunwale holders. Useful features include an 18-gallon aerated live-well and a coaming pad to protect knees during fishing. For storing the catch, an insulated cooler is set into the casting deck. There’s a raw-water wash-down that’s tied to the jet drive system and eliminates the need for an additional pump.
The 190 FSH Sport shifts easily into ski mode, with a standard tow eye in the stern and a 100-degree rearview mirror for the driver, but unlike other Yamaha boats, it doesn’t have an in-floor ski locker. Cruise control helps dial in the perfect tow speed; it also includes no-wake assist to fine-tune boat speed in no-fly zones. Passenger capacity is eight. On either side of the leaning post are flip-up jump seats. On the casting deck is a thick pad for two more passengers. In front of the console is a doublewide seat with a tall backrest for comfort. You can equip the flip up the console seat changing room with a Porta Potti. There’s a two-speaker Jensen Bluetooth stereo.
PREFERRED SETUP FOR THE YAMAHA 190 FSH
The option list is short, because virtually everything is a standard feature. The190 FSH Sport, which lists for $32,499. It even comes with a painted single-axle trailer; a galvanized trailer is the only other option. The Deluxe version is $30,499 and has a Bimini instead of a T-top, but has every other option, including a bow fishing seat. Curiously, the Sport version is lacking. The 190 FSH version comes in at $27,999, but doesn’t have any sort of top for shade, nor does it have the bow seating cushion, leaning post backrest or the dual battery setup the other two have.
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