Mako 284 Centre Console Boat Test

At the top of the gamefishing trailerboat food chain is the Mako 284 Centre Console. Manufactured in Missouri, USA and part of the giant Tracker Marine Group, the Mako 284CC is highly regarded for its excellent fishing fit-out, solid build quality and seaworthy deep-vee hull.

Mako 284 Centre Console Boat Test

Boat Test Mako 284 Centre Console: APEX PREDATOR
Author and photography: Jeff Webster

This boat test ran in ISSUE 116 of BlueWater magazine – APRIL-MAY 2016

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

Many readers will already be familiar with the Mako name. For decades these US-built boats have been respected among homegrown and international sport and gamefishermen. While the 1970s vintage Mako 20 centre console certainly springs to mind as a classic of its era, Mako has manufactured dozens of fine fishing craft over the years, ranging from centre-console through to half-cabin cruisers.

Under the ownership of the Tracker Marine Group, the Mako boat range has been consolidated in recent times. Only the best-selling models have been retained, with the brand now concentrating on what it has always done best – manufacturing first-class fishing centre-consoles.

The 284 Centre Console is the flagship of the Mako boat range, and this purpose-built, offshore trailerable gamefisher is now available for purchase in Australia through local distributor Fishing and Leisure Boats.

Built For Durability

Fishing and Leisure Boats offered a pristine, cream-coloured 284CC for testing on Queensland’s Gold Coast. This over-sized trailerboat was powered by dual 300hp Mercury Verado super-charged 4-stroke outboards and hauled about on an Aussie specification tri-axle aluminium trailer.

Weighing 4.5 tonnes in highway trim and with a 3m beam, towing this near 10m long rig can seem a daunting proposition. Nevertheless, it can be legally towed, albeit with over-size flags and a suitably large towing vehicle.

Many owners will forgo the trailer and instead keep the boat on a rack in a marina or a wet berth. Ordering the boat without the trailer saves nearly $18,000, which can then be put towards other costs such as marina storage.

The 284 Centre Console is an awesome-looking boat. The raised sheer in the topsides gives it a predatory look, as well as helping to shed spray in rough water.

There is no timber used in the composite fibreglass hull, which features a 21-degree deadrise, 3m maximum beam and a series of full-length planing strakes. This provides lift underway to improve economy and stability. At the bow the vee shape is seriously sharp. This fine entry, along with around 8m of water-line length, gives the boat a very soft, comfortable ride in rough water.

The big Mako is well built, with the hull foam-filled for safety and noise suppression. It is also reinforced with a one-piece fibreglass stringer grid and composite-cored fibreglass transom. The deck is chemically bonded and sealed to the hull, as well as being further secured with stainless-steel fasteners placed at 15cm intervals.

The fully moulded interior is finished with a neat, non-slip floor finish, while the gas-strut supported deck hatches are manufactured using the cold-moulded process, which results in a smooth, easy-to-clean finish on both sides.

All fittings and fixtures are made from stainless-steel for strength and durability.

Superb Features

Superbly appointed direct from the factory, with the Mako 284CC you are not left wanting for features or equipment. For offshore fishing, all you need add is electronics, a few more rodholders, a pair of outriggers and possibly a transom bait/rigging board, all of which are factory options.

The standard boat comes with huge underfloor storage and fishbox, as well as flush, built-in terminal tackle drawers, horizontal and vertical rod-rack storage and padded coaming bolsters, although full wrap-around is an option. Other features include six in-deck stainless-steel rodholders and an elaborate helm seat-box/work-station with built-in 189-litre livebait tank, storage areas and sink with running freshwater tap.

In the self-draining cockpit you’ll find a raw-water deck wash, walk-through transom door and 700mm-high transom cockpit freeboard. This means you can fight a fish over the stern of the boat while leaning comfortably against the padded transom wall.

Other onboard equipment worth mentioning includes the two 2000 g/ph auto bilge pumps, 1600 and 1100 g/ph livebait tank pumps, plus two cranking and one house battery with VSR and emergency parallel switches labelled and with tinned copper wiring for durability and easy maintenance.

Other features include an overhead fibreglass hardtop with alloy frame, as well as electronics box/radio compartment, rod racks and a two-person-width helm console with safety-glass windscreen and hidden/recessed toilet compartment with full standing headroom.

Most anglers would agree that the centre-console layout is the best for fishing. The only problem with this type of configuration is that it provides little weather protection – which is also true of Mako’s bigger 284CC model. However, Mako has addressed this issue in part by giving buyers the option to purchase clears that fit between the hardtop and windscreen, as well as side covers that stretch out across the wide walkway to the gunwales.

When in place, these covers provide pretty effective shelter from wind and spray, while the standard fibreglass hardtop will shield two or three people from the sun. An optional telescopic hardtop extension can be added to stretch over the rear cockpit, although you would not use it while fishing as it would get in the way of your rods.

Forward-Deck Layout

The Mako’s interior layout is typical of US-built centre-consoles. The fully moulded, easy-to-clean, self-draining interior has two by two-metre-plus side seats at the bow with cavernous storage cupboards underneath. Seat cushions are optional and were not fitted to the test boat.

Not everyone will appreciate the moulded forward side seats. With the optional cushions, the side seats are great for family outings, although many anglers will lament the fact that you can’t stand and fish up against the forward sides.

Theoretically you could fight a fish while standing on the moulded seats, but only in calm weather as it would not be at all practical in choppy conditions.

I believe a better solution would have been to enable the bow section to have an infill deck board fitted between the moulded seats in order to create a casting platform with optional lean seat. This way you could fish from the bow with better footing and bracing.

Under the Mako’s forward deck you will find a large, 445L capacity storage locker with overboard drain. The owner of the test boat used the space to stow deck lines, fenders, buckets and other things.

The Mako is rigged with an electric anchor winch so you can raise and lower the anchor from the helm, while a large hatch at the bow provides easy access to the ground tackle for maintenance.

In front of the helm console is a moulded seat with padded cushion and small ice box underneath.

Handy cupboards and terminal tackle storage drawers are scattered around the boat and very useful for tucking away equipment such as change-over lures and bait rigs.

Helm Design

The helm console is designed to accommodate everything you need for gamefishing. The test rig, for example, was fitted with two massive Garmin GPSMap 7612xsv 30cm (12”) displays built into the fascia, yet there was still space left for a third flush-fitted unit.

Beneath the displays, the engine instruments, stainless-steel steering wheel and throttles were neatly offset to the port side, allowing the skipper and one passenger to stand or sit before the console while also remaining reasonably well sheltered.

A safety-glass windscreen is perched above the helm console, while overhead there is a fibreglass hardtop with electronics box and aft-facing rocket launcher rod rack.

The hardtop is used as the mount for navigation and spreader lights, as well as the optional outriggers. As most anglers will know, with centre-console and walkaround configurations, the outriggers must be mounted up high so you can walk underneath them when moving between the bow and the stern. Alternatively, the bases should be mounted directly off the gunwales. The former is generally considered the best option, although you do lose some outrigger spread because the bases are mounted a little closer to the centre of the boat.

Beneath the helm console is the huge head/toilet compartment, accessed via a starboard-side console door. Oddly enough, the electric toilet for the compartment is listed as an option, while the sink with freshwater tap and pull-out shower head is standard.

From within the toilet compartment there is excellent access to the triple batteries, master switches and the wiring behind the helm – all of which are neatly and professionally arrayed.

Fishing Station

While the Mako 284CC has plenty of deck space in the rear cockpit, much of this is consumed by the elaborate seat box/bait-station – which has the built-in 189L anti-splash livebait tank, sink with running freshwater, bait board and storage lockers.

Despite the seat box/bait-station taking up a fair amount of cockpit space, there is still 1.25m of fishing space behind it back to the transom wall, while the stretch from the helm console to the transom is a considerable 2.8m. Add the space to the sides of the console into this equation and you’ve got loads of room for fishing.

Equally important is the shape of the rear cockpit, the internal freeboard and the size of the coamings –all of which are spot-on for stand-up gamefishing.

For heavy-tackle gamefishing you would order the boat without the elaborate seat box set-up and fit the rear cockpit with a game chair behind a simpler helm seat arrangement.

As noted earlier, some of the other features include the rear transom door and boarding platforms, bilge compartment access, under-gunnel rod racks and dual 369L underfloor fish boxes with gas-strut supported lids.

Performance

The Mako 284CC is offered with a range of twin Mercury Verado supercharged 4-stroke outboard engines. There is no option for a single outboard, as the transom is designed to accept two ultra-longshaft 76cm (30”) outboard drive legs only.

Entry Makos come with two 200hp Verados, which should be good for a top speed in the mid-30-knot range – adequate, but hardly exciting. Twin 200s would not make the most of the Mako’s excellent hull and I suspect the boat would feel a bit muted or suppressed in the mid range with the this power option.

The test rig was fitted with two massive 300hp 4-stroke Mercury Verados, and while you can option the boat with 700hp in the form of two 350hp supercharged Verados, the twin 300s provided plenty of grunt. We recorded a top speed of 47 knots, seriously quick for an 8m boat. You won’t need any more power as the hull was quick from a stand-still and responsive through the mid range.

If you wanted to save a buck or two, you might consider dropping to twin Verados of between 250 and 275hp – both of which would provide a top speed in the low 40-knot range, with sufficient power in the mid range.

Having noted the above, the Mako is great fun with big power on the back. It literally flies from wave crest to wave crest in choppy water, the knife-like bow entry shape slicing through the water remarkably softly.

The more power you have, the more fuel you are going to consume. This applies to the Mako/Mercury combination. In fact, 4-stroke outboards are far more economical than the big 2-strokes of yesteryear, although with 700hp on the transom you can expect a hefty fuel bill.

If cruising at 3500rpm and a speed of 23.7 knots all day, combining the two engines drinking a total of 65.9l/ph, you could expect a maximum range of 294.8 nautical miles using 95% of the Mako’s 863L fuel capacity. This sounds limited for long-range gamefishing, but of course, once you have reached the fishing grounds you would turn off one engine and troll on the other, rotating them throughout the day to save fuel.

First-Class Ride

Mako’s flagship model is one heck of a good offshore sea boat. The 21-degree deadrise hull is excellent and has rock-solid stability at rest thanks to the 3m wide beam, while the ride in choppy water is class-leading. Even when the boat comes off a steep wave there is little noise as every nook and cranny in the hull is foam-filled under pressure for flotation, but also for noise suppression.

Being a centre-console you can expect a bit of windblown spray in a three-quarter upwind situation, but this is to be expected from this open-style layout. In heavy conditions you can stay dry by fitting the optional front clears and canvas ‘wings’, which stretch out to the gunwales and provide effective shelterfor those standing aft of the helm console.

The Mako 284CC is also fitted with trim tabs recessed into the hull, so they won’t snag your line when a fish makes a last-minute dive under the rear corner of the boat. The tabs work well, enabling you to trim the boat to suit changing sea conditions.

The combination of the Mako’s great ride, good balance and excellent response to trim adjustment enables this big trailerboat to maintain offshore cruise speeds of 23 to 25 knots, even when punching into the sea. In calm to moderate seas, you could easily maintain speeds of more than 30 knots all the way to the edge of the continental shelf.

The Verdict

The Mako 284CC is a supremely capable trailerable gamefishing boat. The huge amount of fishing deck space, along with the first-class handling and ride, and the ability to sustain a very high offshore cruising speed are major benefits for offshore gamefishing.

It doesn’t have the weather protection of a cabin boat – and this may put off some buyers – but for those fishing warmer regions anywhere north of Sydney, few trailerable boats can compare. In addition to the excellent ride, handling, stability and the fishing fit-out, it’s hard to beat the sheer presence of the Mako 284CC on the water.

Highlights

  • Soft ride with rock-solid stability.
  • Great fishing fit-out.
  • Deep storage and fish lockers.
  • Spacious console head compartment.
  • Excellent build quality.

Capacities

  • Maximum power: 700hp
  • Maximum load: 1701kg
  • Fuel capacity: 863L
  • Freshwater: 40L
  • Livebait tank: 189L
  • People: 13

General

  • Type: Monohull centre-console
  • Material: Fibreglass and fibreglass/composite
  • Length overall: 8.64m
  • Beam: 3m
  • Deadrise: 21 degrees
  • Hull weight: 2722kg (dry)
  • Weight on trailer: 4400kg (approx)

Engines

  • Make/model: 2 x Mercury Verado 300hp
  • Type: in-line 6-cylinder, 24-valve DOHC EFI 4-stroke outboard
  • Rated hp: 2 x 350
  • Displacement: 2.6L (supercharged)
  • No. cylinders: 6
  • Weight: 288kg (lightest model)
  • Shaft length: 76cm ultra-longshaft
  • Gearbox ratio: 1.85:1

SPECIFICATIONS: Mako 284 Centre Console
Options fitted: Tilt hydraulic steering, 2 x Garmin GPSMap 7612xsv 30cm GPS/fish finders with Australia-wide chart and 1kw through-hull transducer, Icom VHF radio, Taco outriggers, spreader lights, powdercoat package on alloy framework, T-top weather enclosure, anchor roller, windlass and rode, 360-degree padded coaming bolster, electric toilet, onboard battery charger (240v).

Mako 284 Centre Console Boat Test

Boat Test Mako 284 Centre Console: APEX PREDATOR
Author and photography: Jeff Webster
Supplied by: Fishing and Leisure Boats

This boat test ran in ISSUE 116 of BlueWater magazine – APRIL-MAY 2016

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

>
Scroll to Top