by Tim Huffman
Crappie fishermen, in general, are less aggressive than the bass fishermen getting from one spot to the next. However, some crappie chasers have the need for speed. Whether you’re into speed or just have a fishing boat that gets you from one spot to another, one general rule can give your boat better performance.
“Weight distribution is possibly the most important thing a fisherman can do to increase the speed of any type boat,” says Ivan Williams, Sales Manager for BassCat and YarCraft Boats in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
“Basically, the more boat you have out of the water the less resistance and more speed you’ll obtain. Staying as light as possible is important but the distribution front to back is critical. On our boats, ones set up to go fast, adding 80 pounds to the seat will reduce the speed by one mile per hour. Move up two feet and it only takes 40 pounds to reduce speed by one mile per hour. 10 pounds in the middle of the front deck costs one mile per hour. And one pound on the nose and you lose another mile per hour.”
The lesson Williams gives is to put your heaviest weight items toward the back of the boat. “I carry what I call my warehouse of fishing tackle in my boat. What I’ve learned and try to tell fishermen is to carry the majority of heavy stuff in the back compartments and lighter stuff toward the front. It doesn’t take many boxes of lead heads or boxes of 1/4- and 1/2-ounce sinkers to make a difference.”
Speed is important to Kevin and Charlie Rogers. They keep their Bass Cat on high plane in shallow water at Truman Lake.
“Your boat is just like an airplane with the center of gravity needing to be from the middle to the back. Keeping top-end performance at the maximum, you can back off the throttle, the boat stays on plane and your fuel economy can go up by 1.5 or more. So weight distribution is a big factor on how much you can back it off and still maintain the best performance.”
Crappie don’t care about our boat performance, fuel economy or weight distribution but you should. A little thought in packing your gear and tackle can make a difference in your speed and how much gas you buy.
For more information about BassCat and YarCraft, visit www.basscat.com or www.yarcraft.com.