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Getting Peak Performance From Your Prop.

Imagine my surprise at being asked to write an article for Team Supreme Magazine. I had realized having sponsors meant attending boat shows and giving seminars on their behalf while promoting their products, but the written word is a new experience for me. So let me begin by saying my sole purpose for my articles will be to make you the reader an "educated customer". One who can go to their boat dealer or prop shop and ask all the right questions. After having laid down Mega bucks for that new or used bass fishing water rocket, you expect peak performance.

 "Peak performance" would be a combination of holeshot, midrange performance and top-end speed. Once you get past all the shine and glitter of the hull, massive outboard, trolling motor, and sure fire fish locator. You realize the propeller is about all you have left to "trick" out. And since a boat's propeller affects every phase of performance (handling, riding comfort, speed acceleration, engine life, fuel economy, and safety), it should be done correctly. But I'm getting ahead of myself. 

Since the country is experiencing torrid temperatures and excessive killer heat, lets concentrate on the effects of high surface lake water temperatures and excessive humidity on your outboard motor and propellers performance. I've got a feeling that all those fantastic performance claims we read about from some prop people are derived from test data gathered in cool, crisp, low-humidity conditions. Unfortunately, a great deal of bass fishing is done when it's miserably hot with unbearable humidity and high water temperatures! 

Now readers let me assure you there are not any tougher conditions to prop out your boat than blistering heat and oppressive humidity. It's common to experience a performance drop in an outboard motor of 5 percent to 7 percent under hot muggy conditions. "High water temperatures generally mean lower speeds because water gets less dense as it gets warmer. As a result, if you were running a 24-inch pitch prop in November and experiencing good performance, that same prop might be "to much prop" in July because of less water density and less output from your outboard motor. As a rule, the ideal situation would be to run a slightly smaller-pitched prop in hot weather, for example a 22 or 23-inch pitch instead of the 24 inch. It's true; performance decreases with high air temperatures, high humidity, and high water temperatures. 

A few things can be done to help offset the poorer performance. The first thing I do is to change props. I make my spare prop a pitch or two smaller and run it in the summer months replacing my primary prop. This tip will also help you get that water skier out and on top easier. Be sure to watch those Rpm's. I also lighten my boats load, take out any extra tackle (if there is such a thing), and only carry enough fuel for the days fishing. You can even notice a performance increase by fishing at night when the air and surface temperature is cooler. So remember the next time your out on the lake sunburned, dehydrated, and fishing's tough. Allow yourself some extra time to get back to that weigh-in. Your outboard and propeller is struggling under the adverse weather conditions just like you are.

Bob Capps is a weekend tournament angler. Sponsored by HoleShot Props, Nixa MO, Luck "E" Strike USA, Cassville MO, and Superbass, Park Hills MO.


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