I took the skiff out this morning in the wind with my 2 kids as ballast weight in the front (about 160lb between the both of them). Got up on plane with little effort, whereas before the tabs it would have never gotten there, especially into the wind. I also went down to a 4-blade 11 pitch prop from the original 3-blade 13 pitch. The rpm finally got up to max at WOT, which it never could with the 13 pitch. I think the combo of the prop and tabs made all the difference. They do leave quite a messy rooster tail now behind the transom, but they don't seem to add any drag to the boat at speed because they lift up against the increasing water pressure. I got the Bennett SLT 6x8 tabs, in case you were wondering, the smallest I could find. I was afraid anything larger would have been too much for my little motor to push up.
I just have to test it with only me in the boat next to see how it runs solo. I imagine it will be better than fine . I used to have a big whale tail foil on the motor, and needed to have it trimmed all the way down to get on plane by myself. Also needed to do that so it wouldn't porpoise like crazy. The added drag and pull to port from the trim and foil were awful. Now I can have the motor trimmed level with the bottom (3rd hole up instead of 1st on my Merc 20HP) and it works like a charm. For the ~$100 the tabs cost, they were well worth it.
I really think I could get it to plane normally with the old prop now too because of the tabs, but I'll just save it as a spare. I would recommend these tabs to anyone with a small boat that struggles to plane out, and that porpoises like nuts at speed. They fix both of those problems very well. Time will tell how well they hold up, but they seem to be pretty well made stainless plates.
Boat is a Carolina Skiff J14 (14ft) with a 20HP Merc tiller, by the way.
Dave, good to see you got the boat working the way you want. I think that different prop did more for you than any other change. Now it will be more pleasurable on the water for you.
Rocco, nice going. I haven't seen you on the water yet this year yet, but we fish some of the same areas. Where are you docking?
I had a great weekend sailing the remote control sailboats and understand I didn't miss too much as it was again fairly windy here in Cape May and was chomping to get out on the water again.
Got out early this morning with a charter and we had a banner day. Best trip so far and may end up being the best of the year as the fishing was that good. We left the dock at 5:30 am. to fish the last of the incoming and the start of the outgoing. Weather was perfect. Cloudy, overcast and light northerly breeze.
Started in the ocean where we caught 5 stripers. 2 were throw backs and 3 where keepers all around the same size. 28 1/2 to 30 inches. Guys let them all go and this was one of the keepers.
When the tide started out I moved us to the back bay to fish the outgoing tide at creek mouths. First area we stopped we had a double hookup with two bass. We caught two more bass here and a nice bluefish and moved on.
We would catch a bass here and there and then found a area with some egrets, cranes and terns working a section of sod banks. (that was the first bait fish that I have seen in the back this year.) We worked this area hard saw some fish busting on the bait and caught a good number of bass and one more bluefish. Most of the stripers were nice size. Most were 22 to 26 inches long.
When the action slowed I tried two other creeks without of hit and ended up going back to where we last saw the bait fish and picked up three more stripers, with this one being the last of the day.
Headed back to the dock at 9:30 am after catching 20 stripers and 2 bluefish and loosing a bluefish to a bite off and a good striper to a chafe off. Was a good move as the water was getting low, it was a bit cool and the wind started picking up. Wish every trip could be this good.
Almost like the good ol days. Looking good. Hope it sticks around a bit for you!
I think the tabs are doing a lot too. I can trim the motor out way more than ever before. It no longer pulls hard to the left because of that, so I'm not fighting it the whole time. And there is no more hippity hop rabbit bounce at speed. I hope to get it out again soon, this time with a fishing rod.
Saturday evenings trip turned out to be tough. We originally canceled as they were calling for wind and a strong chance of rain but later in the day they changed the forecast to very light wind and very little chance of rain. Left the dock around 4:00 pm with a father and young son, who were both wearing shorts. Shortly after we left the dock it started to rain lightly and I have them some foul weather jackets to wear. Turned out neither had ever fished before and I had to teach them how to cast. It was a bit painful. We ended up loosing 2 plugs due to them casting them up on rocks and two more that had nice blues on them that they let run into the electric motor and the main engine. They did get a couple of small stripers and missed a weakfish that they tried to lift into the boat without a net. About half way through the trip it started to rain hard. They were cold and fairly wet and wanted to call it a night as there looked to be no end in sight. I was okay with it as they kept loading up with weed and tangling lines constantly. I had a good work out. Right as they drove away the sun came out and cleared up pretty much. I thought about going out myself after they left, but had an early morning trip on Sunday.
Sunday expected the fishing to be a lot better. Had a one person, first time saltwater fly angler and conditions looked perfect. We left the dock at 6:00am. No wind and a good strong incoming tide. We worked the ocean hard and tried 3 different areas only catching a throw back fluke, two small stripers and missed what looked to be a weakfish about.
Water looked good but had a ton of that back bay straw grass that was always getting caught on the line. Everything was caught on chartreuse/white clousers and sinking line. With about an hour and a half left to fish the wind picked up pretty good to maybe 15 mph and we moved to the back bay where he caught a couple more small stripers and a bluefish. Not a super day but charter was happy.
Dave, Glad the tabs seem to be doing what they are supposed to do. Remember why I sent mine back without installing. One would have been in the way of my portable dive ladder. If you continue to give good reports I will try to move the mount for the ladder.
Ray, Hope you can keep them coming.
Had a couple three interesting trips. Sat. AM I was down to Key West where my son Sean has my flats boat moored next to his live-aboard sailboat. We went to a near by flat last of incoming & had many shots at tarpon going through. They were daisy chaining & traveling in pods of 3 - 6 up to large uncountable #s. Frustrating to say the least. Mostly used my fairly large tarpon streamers, 2/0, toads, bunnies. & some unnamed. Couple hours & we had enough. 3 guides were around & no one hooked. I did get a fairly large bonnet head shark & as we waved a guide in to our area he asked "what color did it take." Told him it was a bonnet & he waved. Earlier dark AM I was at my spot & caught a small snook & no other bites with few #s of fish in the area. This dark AM there were LOADS of feeding fish & I only caught one. Great to catch, but frustrating due to the fish being there & active & only one bite. Out going tide with my Capt. Bob Lemay night fly.
Took the whole family out on the skiff yesterday for some fun ride time. Was definitely overloaded, and struggled a bit at first, but it was able to get on plane eventually. Ended up ticking the trim up one more notch and was able to get up quicker. So I can say without reservation the prop and tabs help tremendously. One side note, I should have checked my motor anode before heading out. I heard a rattling in lower unit at low speed but didn't at WOT. Wasn't sure what it was, but didn't seem to affect the operation of the motor. Only when I put the boat back on the trailer did I see what all the racket was about. Whoops!! No more anode, and a nice ding in every blade of the new prop. D'oh! At least it was something stupid like that and not anything major. I guess after 16 years I need to change out that thing...
I change mine every year, but my boat sits at the dock with all kinds of nasty electric current around. Trailering your boat you get a lot more life from them.
I took the grand kids to a local pond yesterday for some sunfish with a bobber and worms as it was a bit too windy to take them out in the boat. They caught some sunfish and it lasted about 3/4 of an hour before they were ready to move on to something else. Did see a nice 4 or 5 lb bass come and look at their worm and hooked sunfish, but it was smart enough to just look.
Motor is a 2001, was barely broken in when I bought the boat, and it's been on a trailer since day 1. It didn't look bad at all, but I guess the inside where the bolt hooks in must have been corroded away. I guess 16 years of service out of something that normally lasts 1 is pretty good...!
I also finally swapped out the water pump impeller this year, again having never been changed since day 1. 16 years of use later and the thing still looked brand new. That little Merc 20 surprises me continually. I don't think I'll let it go that long anymore
You fishing the upper Delaware lately? Just saw your post about the streamers. I haven't been up there in years, but last time I went the rock snot was getting really bad up the west branch. Just wondering if it's gotten any better lately?
Being nice and cloudy and no wind today I decided go out with a friend and do a personal trip. We left the dock at 11:30 to fish the last of the incoming tide and the start of the outgoing in the back bay. I was going to fly fish and he was going to use a popping or swimming plugs. Was headed to the back bay sod banks when we spotted some birds working in the middle of a flat. When we got closer we could see fish breaking water feeding on spearing. I have not seen any bird activity in the back like that in years. We caught 10 blues, loosing one plug to a bite off. (no flies to bite offs) before the activity stopped. They were all decent size from 21 to 26 inches and keep 4 for dinner.
Next we worked some sod banks that produced last week and they were dead. We moved to another area that produced last week and found it dead there. When the tide started out I notices some egrets sitting on a sod bank picking at some bait. We went over and found some more blues and a couple of small stripers.
By that time the sun came out strong and we tried some creek mouths only to find them dead. The water was very clear and there might of just been too much light. Searching around we found another area where a couple of egrets were picking. Here we found more blues and stripers with a boil here and there indicating there were definately fish around. Here I got my nicest bass of the afternoon.
When the actions slowed we worked one more rip line and picked up two more stripers to end the day and headed back to the dock at 4:00 pm. Pretty good mid day trip. We had over 20 blues and 8 stripers.
No worm hatch so far this year. None of my contacts, not really many but good, have reported any. I've hit it a few times & actually the last couple, three, times have done stupidly well. It really is a zoo. Tide is not to my liking. Will be around in the evening in another day or two. Couple of nights off. Nice to hear that it was a streamer. Continued good fishing to you.