Ben Bylett is an adrenaline junkie who loves adventure and fishing. The only logical decision was to buy a Yamaha jet ski and customise it into a fishing machine.
I love the feeling of adventure. I’m always telling people that getting there is half the fun. I don’t mind having a flick, either. So I thought, why not fish off a jet ski? The idea was pretty simple: buy an awesome Yamaha jet ski and fit it out with all the gear. I call it fishing with adrenaline.
What I love about having a jet ski is the versatility. I can use it as a high-speed fishing machine or grab my surfboard and chase waves. I can also take my family away on adventures and even tow the kids around on a biscuit. I have never once felt unsafe on the Yamaha, either. I’ve crossed river bars in conditions that would be scary as hell in a boat, but with the ski you can turn around on a dime, wait for a break in the waves, squeeze the throttle and be out in a few seconds flat. A huge advantage of owning a ski over a boat is how quickly I can get it into the water by myself. There have been times when I’ve spotted a school of fish while standing on a headland, raced home, grabbed the ski and been in the water in 10 minutes flat! The clean-up is also super-quick and easy – a light hose-down, an engine flush and it’s ready for next time. Because it’s so easy, I definitely use it more than I would a boat. I’ve had the ski for eight months now and have already racked up more than 100 hours of driving time.
I’ve had some awesome adventures on my ski. On one occasion, all the kids were having sleepovers. So my wife, Crystal, and I packed the ski up with rods, bait, a tent, sleeping bags, an esky full of food and a bottle of Wild Turkey. We dropped the ski in and headed up towards the Hawkesbury where we found a beautiful, isolated beach and set up camp for the night. We sat around the campfire, without another human in sight and had the best time. The next morning we packed up and went fishing. I dropped Crystal off at Maitland Bay on the Central Coast to explore for a couple of hours while I chased surface schools of tailor and salmon. On the way back home we were surrounded by a pod of dolphin – what a way to cap off a pretty special adventure!
I’ve had other awesome encounters with nature. A humpback whale once appeared out of nowhere and breached 5m behind the ski. Another time my eight-year-old son, Mason and I saw a 2.5m bull shark cruising on the surface. He swam alongside us for a minute or so before slowly dropping out of sight. That’s something I’m sure Mason (and I) will never forget. On the fishing side, I’ve caught some great kingfish up to 95cm, and once, on light gear, a mack tuna nearly a metre long, which gave me a hell of a fight. I’m looking forward to chasing mahi mahi this year and even considering throwing my hat in the ring for a big yellowfin or marlin. Watch this space.
My jet ski is a 2015 Yamaha Waverunner FX Cruiser HO edition. The Cruiser edition has a 1.8 litre 4-cylinder High Output marine engine with plenty of grunt and a top speed of exactly 100km per hour! It also has a newly designed, lightweight NanoXcel hull and deck, which provides amazing handling and stability in all conditions. The Cruiser has a 3-person theatre-style seat that gives really good lower back support for long hours spent trolling. The Cruiser comes with lots of awesome features like pull-up cleats and endless storage areas. Another handy gadget on the new Waverunners is ‘RIDE’ technology. This gives you a throttle trigger on the right side of the handlebar, and a reverse/sideways movement throttle on the left side of the handlebar. This gives excellent handling in all conditions. I have also added a custom fishing rig with esky/tackle bag holder from Moreton Marine Stainless and a Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro, which actually has the transducer inside the hull, so no holes needed to be drilled into my baby.
Fuel capacity: 70L
Storage capacity 126L
Compression ratio: 11.0:1
Cooling: Open loop
Engine Type: 4-stroke, 4-cyl DOHC, 16-Valve, High Output Marine Engine
For more information on the Yamaha Waverunner, head to www.yamaha-motor.com.au or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YamahaWaveRunnersAustralia
Ben Bylett runs an awesome Instagram page. Search @jetskifishingsydney for photos of his adventures so far.