Buyer's Guide 2003 - Outboards

These quiet, fuel efficient outboards are top of the line.

Field & Stream Online Editors

1. Mercury | 225 OptiMax
Mercury's OptiMax technology provides up to 45 percent better fuel efficiency than a traditional two-stroke engine, but it's still got 225 horses to get you to the fishing before the action dies down. The pressure-controlled cooling system keeps the motor running at optimum temperatures, so it will last longer and perform more reliably. $15,000¿¿¿$17,000; 800-637-2879; www.mercurymarine.com

2. Suzuki | DF250
Most people think using a four-stroke motor means sacrificing power for fuel efficiency. Not so with Suzuki's new DF250 V-6, which features the quick acceleration of a big-block engine in a slimmer, quieter package. Wide-water anglers who cover a lot of territory will benefit from the long-range fuel economy; walleye fishermen who back-troll will appreciate the low exhaust output._ $18,293; 800-247-4704; www.suzuki.com_

3. Honda | BF15 For portability and power, it's hard to beat Honda's BF15 for your duck skiff or johnboat. It's the most powerful 15-horsepower four-stroke outboard available, but at 101 pounds it weighs less than many smaller engines. Quiet operation and minimal exhaust output make this a great motor for stealthy approaches to the blind or honey hole. $3,140¿¿¿$3,890; 770-497-6400; www.honda-marine.com

4. Yamaha | V MAX HPDI
If you fish hotspots so spread out they're in different time zones, you need an outboard with serious juice. Yamaha's fuel-injected 300-horsepower V MAX packs enough punch to pin you to your seat while it jets you from cove to creek mouth to dropoff. Designed specifically for large bass boats, this is Yamaha's fastest stock-production outboard. $18,750; 800-889-2624; www.yamaha-motor.com