Simple Tips to Conserve Gas When Boating
Frankfort, Ky. – It is amazing how quickly it happens. Your truck’s gas tank is nearly half empty by the time you finish a sausage biscuit and cup of coffee while driving to the lake with your boat in tow. The $4 per gallon gas stings your wallet. You may be well over $100 in the hole from vehicle and boat gas before making a single cast on a fishing trip this summer.
Large outboard engines drink gas at an alarming rate. However, a few simple tips can help you save boat fuel and reduce the financial pain of record gas prices.
Patterning fish close to the launching the ramp is one of the best ways to burn less gas. You might be surprised how good the fishing is near a ramp or marina. Many anglers bypass this water because they are too pumped up to get to their honey hole 10 miles up the lake. Launching your boat closer to your fishing spot not only saves gas, but it gives you more fishing time and saves wear and tear on your boat.
Fishing near the ramp can provide a bonus for bass anglers because tournaments use boat ramps and marinas as weigh-in areas. Many tournament anglers also release their bass right there. This stacks fish up on nearby structure, such as points, weedlines, channel drops, fallen trees and stump beds.
You can also challenge yourself to see how many bass you can catch without even firing your boat’s big motor. Some of the best fishing days occur when electrical or lower unit failures force you to use your trolling motor only.
By eliminating the use of your primary motor, you must probe a point, channel drop or stump bed for fish thoroughly instead of making a few casts and running somewhere else. Fish don’t bite unless your lure is in the water. You won’t catch a fish if your lure is jiggling at the end of your rod while you’re making a run.
Another gas-saving tip: Lighten the load in your boat by taking out what you don’t need for your trip. If you plan to bluegill fish, you don’t need the heavy sinkers, cast nets, strong rods and big reels left over from your last catfishing trip on the Ohio River. Take that stuff out of your boat and store it. Things accumulate over time on a boat from each successive fishing trip. Just remember to keep the required safety equipment onboard, such as your life jackets.
Go through each storage compartment and eliminate things you won’t need. You’ll just need to make a list before your next trip. Put that weight on your garage or storage shed floor. Don’t make your boat motor push it and burn more gas.
Proper boat maintenance is another way to save gas. The only time many of us maintain our boat’s motor is when it malfunctions. A person of modest mechanical means can change the spark plugs, the lower unit oil and inspect the fuel lines for cracks or dry rot. Check the primer bulb and make sure it is pliable and stays firm after pumping it full of gas. This saves fuel.
Keeping the bottom of your boat clean also saves gas. If you store your boat in water for any length of time, algae grows on the hull. The drag it creates forces the engine to burn more gas to get the boat through the water. A clean hull glides over the water, reducing the engine’s workload. A clean hull also improves the boat’s handling.
Finally, pay attention to your boat’s prop. If your boat is slow to get on plane or lacks top-end speed, the pitch or diameter of your propeller may be off. Have your boat mechanic check the propeller performance and upgrade if necessary. It will pay for itself in fuel savings while increasing performance. A bent propeller or one with a chunk missing from it also costs gas. Replace a damaged propeller.
These simple tips will lighten the cost of your fishing trip by burning less gas in your boat. This means more fishing trips this summer and fall.